Non aviation content. Play nice – No religion, no politics and no axe grinding please.

Moderator: Flyin'Dutch'

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My Leaf comes with free recovery if you run out of juice and Nissan will provide a free loan piston engined car a few times a year if you want one.

Nissan garages also provide free charging around the country.

I’ve seen two Leafs in Leeds that are used for driving instruction on automatics. At least one of the instructors uses Nissan and the other various free charge points. Nice business model for him.
Flyin'Dutch' liked this
Well I managed my planned trip to Old Warden today to do three weighings and I stopped at South Mimms on the way up to grab £3 worth of power at 30p a unit (ouch). I was expecting to re-charge fully at O.W but I think the supply must have been low as it only recharged to 55miles and so I got range anxiety on the way back to South Mimms on the return journey. I then found two others charging so had to wait. Interestingly they had both been charging for over 30 mins when I arrived and it was only when I connected up and found it was on "Free Vend" did I realise why they were squeezing every last drop of free power before they went on theIr way.

I have never thought about using a hotel, it would save the yukky trips to the public loos !. But whats the process, do you pitch up, park and breeze into reception and ask to charge, or do you just find the charge point and connect up?
Flyin'Dutch' liked this
At the hotels you basically just park and charge. I've asked at a few as to whether they want to know I'm there, but they are never bothered. I think they must have a deal with Polar.

The only exception about speaking to reception is one at the A52/M1 junction - you go to reception to get the barrier code to get out.

The Polar charge point at Holiday Inn at Chester Racecourse is another nice one - the car park is often restricted to the public, but they always allow you in to get to the charge point. Again, I think it must be part of the deal. There is a rather nice bar and restaurant on the racecourse.

Word soon gets round about free vends and people are greedy. Most cars go to trickle charge when nearly full and it's a little pitiful seeing people seeking out 1p or 2p. That said, I was being very Yorkshire at the Novatel on the M60 the other night - I put in more than I needed as it was 6p cheaper than at home and it took some self control to persuade myself to disconnect once the charge rate went down to 22kW on the dashboard. Couldn't help calculating how many 6ps I was saving a minute :-)

One benefit of rapid charging on a cold night was that it warmed the battery. I did Mancland to Leeds at an average 4.2 miles per kWh, which is much better than normal in the winter. Given the fact that there is a quite a climb over the Pennines, which always takes juice, that was pretty impressive. You never quite get back all of the power on the decent, although I once managed to only drop 3 miles range all the way from above Junction 24 back into Leeds, which is a quite a distance.
Flyin'Dutch' liked this
Leodisflyer wrote:The Polar charge point at Holiday Inn at Chester Racecourse is another nice one - the car park is often restricted to the public, but they always allow you in to get to the charge point.

Hey Leodisflyer ,, :D ,,,it is precisely this , that gives people the jitters about going electric . Please don't misunderstand what I am trying to get at here , because I would go electric at the drop of a hat . But not until I can drop into a place to re-charge in the same way I can pull in to a petrol station to re-charge my car with petrol .
There is no way that I am going to put myself into the market for an electrically powered vehicle if the only way to keep it from turning into a milk float is by planning a route by joining the dots of the charging points .
At the present moment , these vehicles come out in favour of the 'silver surfers' with a bit of cash behind them and time on their hands .

I nearly qualify on all three counts there , but until the charging points equal the petrol pumps , I will be de-faulting to the choice that allows me to get to where I want to go . Without having to factor in where the charging points are .

Imagine that you are an electric car , and the only charging points were at specified Lloyds Pharmacies . You see ,,,we're back to Bertha Benz's problem from 1888.

Of course , their time will come ... But not quite yet . :D
This is why we use the Zap app to see where charge points are. The car park at Chester is a public one, it's just that they restrict ac cess to members on race days and/or charge. You don't pay get to the charge point and they never restrict at the barrier. You only need to speak to the attendant at the gate and they wave you through. Its so ,much easier than trying to find somewhere else to park.

There are other charge points in Chester such as the free ones at the Nissan garage or ones at the Adsa car park, but I like Polar ones. They have nice wide bays.

Owning an EV is a bit of a reversal of thought - you have free access to many places that are normally restricted and you need to learn to not be concerned about access. You tend to get preferential parking and are able to park in prime locations with less chance of getting doored.

Paid public car parks often have charge points. There will be signs on the charge points to say whether using them exempts you from parking fees or not.

If you are ever in doubt you can just go to a service station and use the wide Ecotricity bays - I'm just a bit Yorkshire about paying a third of the cost of petrol or diesel to use them when I can get free or cheap electricity elsewhere.
Going to Heathrow on a tower visit next week and I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the short stay car park at T3 has 2 free Pod-Point chargers (so 4 bays/sockets). Hopefully I can get a full 2 hr 20 min charge of the PHEV in whilst there! :thumleft:
Leodisflyer liked this
JonathanB wrote:Going to Heathrow on a tower visit next week and I’m pleasantly surprised to see that the short stay car park at T3 has 2 free Pod-Point chargers (so 4 bays/sockets). Hopefully I can get a full 2 hr 20 min charge of the PHEV in whilst there! :thumleft:

Do really believe there wont be a queue ?
Yup. I had a look on Pod-Point yesterday morning and only one was in use out of the four. It’s the same right now.
Picked up my Zoe yesterday evening :)
I hadn't test driven this newest model. Smoother (better accelerator / brake profile) and more powerful than the previous version which I'd test driven :D

Very happy so far - just need to work out how to register for the various apps. Preheat via the key worked well this morning.
Mr Bags, Colonel Panic, Flyin'Dutch' and 1 others liked this
riverrock wrote:Preheat via the key worked well this morning.

So it has an actual key - for the doors? And does the key need to be turned to start, in fact is there a "start" at all? Im interested in the practicalities of how these electric cars work.

Additionally, presumably they are 2-pedal like an automatic, so having read about an instructor using an electric car for driving lessons, presumably any student wouldnt be licensed for a manual ICE car?

Regards, SD..
On mine (which is a hybrid), 'start' is largely an arbitrary thing that just sets a state of readiness.

Pressing 'start' nothing actually happens other than the needles appearing on the instrument cluster, and the lights coming on if it's dark out. Only if the battery is completely discharged does the engine actually start.

But unless you've 'started', it obviously won't move!
@skydriller the Zoe has a remote key which is sensed by the car from a distance (has a transponder), has buttons on it for locking / pre-heat / open the charging flap, and if you press the tiny button on the side of it, you can pop out a physical key for when the remote's (or car's) battery has died.
The keyless system apparently allows you to walk away from the car with the key in your pocket and it should self lock. When you return, the key is detected and you can press a button on the door handle to open. You can also start the car if the key is detected within the car. Useful for when in work, at a supermarket, going flying.

For this car, if you use the keyfob's button to lock the car, it disables keyless use. This is important when you're at home, so fairly close to the car, because although it is almost impossible to hack the encryption between key and car it is easy to "relay" the signal - so make the car think that the key that is hanging in your coat pocket in you hall is actually inside the car. With such a device, a criminal can pretty much just walk up to your car and start it. There is then also a slot to put the key into.

Worth saying that this sort of thing is common on lots of types of car from multiple manufacturers - it isn't special for electric or Renault.

Start is a Start/Stop button beside the steering wheel. It checks that the key is correct before starting up various systems. My other car - a 12 year old diesel Honda Civic has push start too - although that does start the engine!

My electric car has a single gear transmission, controlled in the same way as an ICE automatic (P,N,R,D). There are various gear combinations within various electric cars.
Taking your foot off the accelerator feels like engine braking with a diesel. If you press the brake the speed reduces more quickly. There are profiles in place which govern the "feel" of these ensuring they are consistent - they aren't directly controlled. So if batteries have space, energy is recovered by the motor back into them when foot is off and further when braking (more than 30kW towards the battery). If batteries are full, or if more braking is required, calipers tighten on the disks to slow you. Different cars have different "profiles" - I suspect that in time cars will allow you to change "profile" (like the Nissan E-Pedal).

If you passed your driving test in one, you would be restricted to automatic cars. There are a number of driving instructors now using electric cars round my way as the fuel saving is significant, and much of their driving is slow around towns so they get good mileage.

I suggest you go to a showroom and try one!
The Leaf is similar again.

You have a key fob that you keep in your pocket. The car unlocks with discreet buttons on the door and the boot. The fob has a button that opens the charging flap (and unlocks the charing point for disconnects). There's a button in the cabin that does the same.

There's a start button, which is really just an on/off switch that looks like a button. Press start and, if the car isn't plugged into a charger, the dashboard becomes active and the mirrors unfold. If you are plugged in then you get to twiddle with the settings if you want, but the car is bright enough to not let you drive off while connected. Time between pressing the start button and being ready to drive is as long as it takes to unfold the mirrors.

Most of these settings can be tweaked if you want them to be different.

As has been said, some driving instructors use EVs to teach people to drive - their fuel costs are zero as there are plenty of places that give away electricity. Your licence would be for an automatic if you went down that route.

If you learnt on a Leaf, as opposed to some EVs, then there might be a bigger than expected skills and complication jump to a piston engine, especially one with a gear stick. You can choose to drive the Leaf with a single pedal. The brake pedal is just something that you use for extra force in an emergency of if you haven't planned ahead (the car will also intervene if it things there is going to be a collision - another setting that you can override. I rarely use my brake pendalas the regerentive braking is so powerful. I basically just press the brake pedal a few times every few trips to make sure that the pistons don't salt up. It's an absolute joy at the way all cars should be as you are in so much control with a single pedal. Press down to go fast, press harder to exceed the grip of the tyres and accelerate faster than 90%+ of other traffic and release the pressure to slow down.

If driving a Leaf regularly with the e-pedal, cruise control and speed limiter then you do need to learn to mix with piston engines in traffic as piston engined cars don't have the same level of precision and control. Adjusting to a piston engine after some time in a Leaf can be disconcerting for a while as, when you take your foot off the accelerator a piston engine can coast or, worse, speed up.
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