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Charging networks

Discussion in 'General Charging Discussion' started by MarcMathews, Jan 10, 2017.

  1. MarcMathews

    MarcMathews New Member

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    Hi,
    I just got a used Leaf two weeks ago and mainly charge it at home and have used Ecotricity's rapid chargers at service stations.
    I live in Surrey and have now started to think about what I would have to do if I drove into London and had to charge the car there.
    I am a bit in the dark as to what I would have to do to charge it at a public charger. Are all the networks completely separate to one another? I.e. if I wanted to be flexible to use any (technically suitable) charger anywhere, would I have to join all the networks?
    Thanks for your help!
    Marc
     
  2. Donald Allwright

    Donald Allwright Active Member

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    EV:
    Renault Zoe R240
    Welcome to the world of EVs, and also the world of public charging pain. The short answer is that yes, you will have to join each network separately. The requirements for how to use each network vary, so I have taken the approach of joining each network as and when I anticipate needing to use it. They all have their own pros and cons, but in practice I am acquiring a list of which charge points work for me.

    I have signed up for the Electric Highway but not used it as it represents poor value in a Zoe that can only charge at 22kW, however I have found Polar Plus to work well (although others here will swear at them!) and have just used my first pod-point charger. Charge point genie have worked well but proved rather expensive compared to the alternatives. Source London are no good for me as an occasional visitor to London, and the less said about Source East, the better.
     
  3. Flyguy

    Flyguy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sheffield
    EV:
    Tesla Model S
    Yes, its a pain and its stupid and its the way it [currently] is !

    For example, I was in one of the Park & Ride sites outside Cambridge yesterday. I was working in town all day and being able to destination charge while the car was parked would have ment that I could have got home afterwards without having to stop again. Luckily there were four charging bays with Type 2 connectors available and not ICEd at which I could easily have charged. However, despite the fact that I needed a charge and [presumably] that the owners of the chargers wanted to sell me their electricity I couldn't use them. They require a Source East RFID card that I dont have (indeed I have been told that Source East barely even exists anymore as a functional organisation !).

    I have a whole collection of contactless and swipeable cards issued by trusted financial institutions that I can use all over the world to buy almost anything. But they are no good. To buy £1-2 of electric requires a SPECIAL card that only works in a handful of chargepoints in a little corner of this little country.

    So the investment is there, the market is there, but the brain cells required to put them together have gone bye bye...

    PS. I ended up having to stop for 30min in Leicester Forrest service station on the M1 while the EH provided me with 34kW of DC
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
    Donald Allwright likes this.
  4. richtrash

    richtrash The older I get the faster I was

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    Location:
    Bicester
    EV:
    BMW i3 60Ah Rex
    Have a look at Zap Map, it will show you all the chargers and who administers them. When I go into London I usually charge at Beaconsfield or Heston that gives me more than enough range to get in and out again.
     
  5. MarcMathews

    MarcMathews New Member

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    This is quite crazy. The problem is that the networks that I have checked out require a monthly subscription, which would mean that I would have to pay £20 or more per month just in case I have to charge at one of those. Sounds like someone needs to buy up all the chargers and then open it up to different networks. Or why indeed not just accept a credit card? Even parking meters accept cards. Anyway, thanks very much for the insight!
     
  6. richtrash

    richtrash The older I get the faster I was

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    Location:
    Bicester
    EV:
    BMW i3 60Ah Rex
    Welcome to the crazy world of EV charging ;)
     
  7. Flyguy

    Flyguy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sheffield
    EV:
    Tesla Model S
    We were traveling in the Netherlands and Germany just before Christmas and signed up to PlugSurfing. They appear to be an integrator who facilitate access to charge points from a whole range of chargepoint owners. An RFID dongle from them costs a one off €10 and that combined with their app allows access to thousands of charge points across both countries and Belgium.

    It worked very well the two times we used it. You change when and where you need and PlugSurfing send you a bill at the end of the month.

    Would be great to get something like that going here. Or better yet, invite PlugSurfing to expand over here...
     
  8. Sandy

    Sandy Zoe Devotee

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    EV:
    Renault Zoe Q210
    Don't worry Chargedisaster are on it!
     
  9. Patator

    Patator New Member

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    Well, I wanted to go in France with my UK car and gave up because of those stupid network subscription thing. In the UK it is annoying enough... internationally speaking... even worst.

    It is not only a matter of money, it is a matter of having a smart phone, getting network connection, being registered... if you are caught by surprise and have the roaming data and your smartphone, it is still another 30 minutes to find your way around.

    I still do not understand why they can not accept credit card (they have NFC reader after all).
     
  10. richtrash

    richtrash The older I get the faster I was

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    Location:
    Bicester
    EV:
    BMW i3 60Ah Rex
    It's been discussed many times and various reasons have been given from to expensive to install to not secure via not hip enough for EV charging, if they don't want to use RFID cards to work they have no chance with Debit/Credit cards
     
  11. Simon Hewison

    Simon Hewison Well-Known Member

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    Plugsurfing are effectively a reseller of multiple network access; they don't have a network of their own, but they submit all their authentication tokens to the e-clearing.net clearing house, who do all the hard work of hooking up all the partner networks using OCHP, which should allow both remote starts and RFID authentication.
    There's another (newer) clearing house, called Hubject, which uses a slightly different protocol to link partner networks.

    Companies like Plugsurfing do all the customer management and end user billing work, and the network operators can then concentrate on keeping the charge points working, but there's nothing stopping the networks doing the end user billing themselves as well.
     
  12. srichards

    srichards Well-Known Member Speak EV Supporter

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    Location:
    Mostly on the sofa
    EV:
    Kia Soul EV
    Plug surfing concept sounds great.

    I'd hope someone like zap map make one.
     
  13. Patator

    Patator New Member

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    At the very least... then, they should provide the possibility to connect and download the app from their network/wifi. so if you have no 3G or if you are in a foreign country and do not wish to use 10Mb of roaming data at 10p a byte... well at least you can connect to the pump.
     
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