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Living with an Electric Car

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Jenny
1344126.  Mon Mar 16, 2020 12:59 pm Reply with quote

I'm going to move this thread to WFHIT since we did have another thread about electric cars there.

 
PDR
1344194.  Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:19 am Reply with quote

With the car fully-charged my better third set off to work on Monday and did a couple of other short trips, but forgot to put it on charge overnight. She went to work yesterday, and on her return the battery indicator showed 86%. She put it on the mains charger and the display said around 3hrs 45mins to full charge. When I came in a couple of hours later the display showed 98% charge and 1hr55mins to full charge (which is rather what you'd expect from a lithium battery - the charge rate plummets for the CV part of the charge cycle no matter what charger you use). So from this brief sample the car looks eminently suited to this everyday use, even if we don't recharge every night.

We're still going to get a faster charger installed at the house because amongst other things we have established that there are no commercial roadside chargers within 15 miles of home other than one at a service station on the M3. The apps claim there are several, but on investigation we find that either they haven't worked for ages or they are restricted to customer use only for the business that hosts them. I wonder how widespread this sort of thing is.

The car has developed a couple of faults. It's prone to switching on its headlights at random times when driving, which is annoying, but more seriously the heater doesn't work. This is actually quite serious because it means the car can't be defrosted, and according to Mr Google it's a very common problem. In an internal combustion car the heater is driven from the engine coolant which (once the engine has warmed up) will always have vast amounts of surplus heat available due to Carnot's Theorem (from the second law of thermodynamics), but in electric cars a heater must draw energy from the drive battery, reducing the range.

To minimise the range reduction the heater systems need to be as efficient as possible, and therein lies the rub. Simple heater elements (like electric fires) are not that efficient, so electric car heaters tend to be quite complex devices involving Carnot heat pumps (like an aircon or fridge in reverse), and they are carefully managed to keep the efficiency up. Both the heat pump units and the management software seem to be rather unreliable, and also the actual operation of the climate control system is less than simple. The instructions are vague and the functions of some aspects are rather obscure. One of the minor points is that it would appear (but is not explicitly stated) that the heating system is disabled when the car is driven in "eco" mode (which is the normal mode for round-town driving).

We have booked the car into the local dealer to have these issues investigated under the warranty, and if necessary some personal training on how to operate the heater!

PDR

 
tetsabb
1344196.  Wed Mar 18, 2020 4:37 am Reply with quote

I imagine I am not the only one to have youlgeaved "Carrot's theorem". Very Discworld...

 
crissdee
1344202.  Wed Mar 18, 2020 5:38 am Reply with quote

I have wondered how an EV would arrange heating for it's occupants, it would appear (from this small sample), Not Very Well. I await further news with interest.

 
PDR
1344205.  Wed Mar 18, 2020 6:47 am Reply with quote

I think this problem is particularly prevailent on this specific car, although a quick googling does get many hits for heat-pump-related problems on other EV models as well.

PDR

 
Alexander Howard
1344219.  Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:36 am Reply with quote

When we all have to be electric, with even hybrids verboten - most people do not have their own front drives. If you live in a flat will you have to have your car dangling out of the window on a cord?

 
cornixt
1344224.  Wed Mar 18, 2020 10:15 am Reply with quote

I expect that in urban areas you'll just have to sit at a fast charger station for 20 minutes once per week. Most new electric cars have a range of a few hundred miles, so I expect that those with longer driving distances will get vehicles with higher capacity batteries.

 
PDR
1344507.  Sun Mar 22, 2020 4:05 am Reply with quote

My better third used the car to go to Ferring yesterday to check on her late father's house. It's a 95-mile round trip on non-motorway and (mostly) non-dual carriageway roads. She started with a full battery, and on arrival back at home the charge indicator showed 32%.

We're forming the impression that the practical urban/rural roads range is something under 150 miles - fine for what she needs, but less than claimed in the brochure.

PDR

 
Alfred E Neuman
1344914.  Fri Mar 27, 2020 4:01 pm Reply with quote

PDR wrote:
So from this brief sample the car looks eminently suited to this everyday use, even if we don't recharge every night.

The battery will last longer if you donít keep it full too, which is especially important if youíre planning to keep it longer than a couple of years.

 
Jenny
1344967.  Sat Mar 28, 2020 3:39 pm Reply with quote

Why is that, Alf, and does it apply to phone and iPad batteries too?

 
Alexander Howard
1344976.  Sat Mar 28, 2020 6:37 pm Reply with quote

"If youíre planning to keep it longer than a couple of years". Isn't it worrying if the economics of electric cars are predicated on getting a new one every two years?

With my last car I had a postcard from the garage saying "after three years, you'll be thinking of getting a new car" - which suggested that (a) they think I am made of money and (b) they had no confidence in the product they sold me. Is an electric really going to need a chuck-out after just 24 months?

 
PDR
1344983.  Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:05 am Reply with quote

The charging thing is interesting, and is putting more emphasis on getting a fast charger installed at home. The various apps and websites suggest there are a reasonable number in the local area, but the reality is quite different. So far we have yet to find a single commercial charger within 15 miles (you don't really want to go any further than that with a ~150 mile typical range) that isn't either:

1. Not working, having been reported unservicable at least 6 weeks ago (many several months ago)

2. Actually not public, but restricted to clients and staff of a specific business

3. The wrong format.

Having a car which is really only suited to local driving with no local charging facilities would seem to be a significant issue.

PDR

 
crissdee
1344986.  Sun Mar 29, 2020 5:22 am Reply with quote

But hasn't that always been one of the biggest issues with EVs? Until the infrastructure is even slightly approaching that which is in place for IC vehicles, there will be a reluctance to take up the technology, and indeed vice-versa, in that no one will invest in getting the infrastructure in place until they can be sure of either a return on the investment or at least a significant demand.

Alexander Howard wrote:
"If youíre planning to keep it longer than a couple of years". Isn't it worrying if the economics of electric cars are predicated on getting a new one every two years?


Not just cars, so many consumer goods are seen as "consumables" to a greater or lesser extent. All the "white goods" in your kitchen, your phone, your telly. Anything even vaguely "techy" is deemed obsolete in a couple of years. Then there was the bolleaux one of the mattress companies tried, just to get us to change perfectly good mattresses after eight years.

It's all a plot I tells ya!

 
Jenny
1345019.  Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:24 pm Reply with quote

At least it's humanly possible for many people to instal a fast charging facility at home though - can't really have a petrol station in your front garden.


Regarding mattresses - I find ten years is about as much as I can take for a mattress, though that might be because two of us are sharing it. Our current mattress is about eight years old, and I am starting to feel as if I am sleeping on a slope, at the bottom of which is Woodsman. I really can't sleep if I'm actually in contact with another person as distinct from sharing a bed with them.

 
Alfred E Neuman
1345022.  Sun Mar 29, 2020 2:53 pm Reply with quote

Jenny wrote:
Why is that, Alf, and does it apply to phone and iPad batteries too?

Lithium ion batteries life is reduced if they are kept 100% full, itís better for the battery to allowed to drain and recharge than to keep it topped up at 100%. The newer Teslas will only charge the battery to a certain level (I canít remember the exact percentage off the top my head) and only charge it to 100% if you specifically ask for it, typically the night before you plan a long journey.

And yes, it applies to phones and iPads too. Laptops as well - many of the newer laptops have smart charging that allows the battery to discharge a bit while it is plugged in, as is often the case with office workers, in order to protect the battery. The latest version of the iPhone operating system also limits the amount of time your battery spends at 100% charge to increase the batteryís lifespan.

 

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