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I'm having a bad experience with my EV. What to do now.

Discussion in 'General EV Discussion' started by Stefano, Jan 6, 2017.

  1. Stefano

    Stefano New Member

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    I'm not saying that I'm not happy to own an EV, I'm just having and underwhelming experience with the general electric car lifestyle so far. In September I got delivered a BMW i3 ReX 94 Ah, and I have been living the dream of a new EV owner in London: free congestion charge, no road tax, free charging with Source London and ChargeNow, ubiquitous Ecotricity charging points for longer range travelling, little impact on the environment and great driving feeling.

    Then some of the premises I relied on for my choice turned to be less valid, to the point that I'm now considering an exit strategy.

    Everyone knows about Source London's new fees. I have purchased my car with the idea of spending £5/year and get free slow charges in London. Not valid anymore, the new pricing is outrageous. I reckon charging must be paid, but companies tend to know that when updating the business model from free to paid, they should deliver much more and much better than before.

    Ecotricity. I don't know. I could only use their service twice because not all of their charging stations support CCS, and the South Mimms pump is out of service since 3 weeks ago. Keep counting, their customer support doesn't provide an expected solution date, they just say it's complicated. I guess so. Thing is, the pricing isn't fair and not flexible. As a result, I can't charge anywhere during my 45 miles daily commute.

    ChargeNow. BMW's own network is fragmented and not available in EU. It's managed by Polar, and their charging stations are often old, broken down, slow and clunky. There are 4 charging points near my office (which I need because Ecotricity isn't working) and they are offline. Their customer service says, "oh, we're sorry. But we can't send an engineer to check for at least 2 working days", waiting for them. Hopefully they'll have it sorted out.

    My house. I live in a new development and we have 3 charging stations in the private parking. I can't access them, they are reserved to "owners of the parking spot", they are not public. How did they decide to put 3 random charging stations in private parking spots when people don't have an electric, or for the matter, any car? Been working with the facility manager for 4 months, no solution. Pod Point is willing to install public charging points, but the developer doesn't give a s***. I'm considering a 50 meters extension lead from my apartment on the 8th floor to the ground (joking).

    London's rapid charging network is ridiculous. 3 or 4 always busy 50 KW points with Charge your car. This is it. Most of the other chargers are 3 KW. Yeah, I have 11 hours to spare every day.

    Yesterday I was stuck with no available charging points (all broken down). Had to connect 15 miles away to a 7 KW one, stay in the car 1.5 hours waiting with no heating, then drive to the nearest rapid one, stay in the car 45 minutes with no heating. Then drive home. I was miserable just because I believed it could be done.

    Here's what I think. I love the idea of having an EV, and I want to help the environment. Problem is, BMW and many other brands are quite not there yet. Maybe they haven't realized that building an EV isn't just a matter of building a brilliant car like the i3. It's more like building an ecosystem, and it should work better than the one they are replacing (fossil fuel) to be taken into consideration by people. I'm an early adopter, I realize I have to compromise. But it is not working for me. Probably only Tesla is there, and it's the car I should get. If only I wouldn't be stuck in a 23 months contract hire with BMW, I'd buy one today.

    I'd love to hear your thoughts.
     
    richardglover, gzoom and plokij like this.
  2. cah197

    cah197 Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    EV:
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    If you don't have home charging, it's going to be a pretty sucky experience. I hope that was made clear to you before you bought it.
     
    gzoom, bryand, SmurfUK76 and 11 others like this.
  3. Flyguy

    Flyguy Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Sheffield
    EV:
    Tesla Model S
    Not sure I quite understand this..... you have a REX. You therefore have no absolute need to charge. As such, why are you sitting around for hours when you could be going where you need to go ?

    I'm also not sure why your in the cold... does the heater not work ?
     
    BU88L53, SmurfUK76, plokij and 5 others like this.
  4. Jason Wallace

    Jason Wallace Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    I think that all of your points are valid.

    The i3 is an excellent car but you are being let down by infrastructure.

    It sounds like you are doing all the right things to make this work for you. We ARE seeing improvements in infrastructure but way way too slowly.
     
  5. drivelectric

    drivelectric Member

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    Location:
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    I sympathise. The level of reliability of rapid chargers and lack of support are scandalous. When they were free maybe it was maybe understandable, but not at 'current' prices. That said, your main problem seems to be home charging, which is a big issue in cities; where EVs can really help improve air quality but many live in flats. Having the benefit of a home charger on my drive, I rarely need to use a rapid. Your best hope seems to be to do a deal with a neighbour. Good luck.
     
  6. Ali H

    Ali H Active Member

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    Absolutely, without home charging it is nigh on impossible. We have home charging thank goodness but are some 18 miles from the nearest rapid at a Nissan dealers, closed out of hours of course, and 30 odd miles from the motorway ones. At £6 a charge pointless taking the EV so we now take the ICE on longer trips. What the hell are your development thinking of, assigning parking spaces to people with ICEs that have charge points on them? Why not reassign one to you? They obviously got a grant and just slapped them in which is the whole problem with charge points, they are paying lip service to them. Then when they break nobody wants to know. We are a long way from mass EV adoption whilst these practices persist.

    Ali
     
    Lancpudn likes this.
  7. AtTheVan

    AtTheVan Well-Known Member

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    Sadly a lot of people have been bitten by the excitement about owning a BEV only to realise that occasionally they'll be left stranded or unable to get somewhere on time.

    However as you have an i3 Rex then you don't need to be stranded, that's what the Range Extender petrol engine is for, and there's also no need to switch the heating off while charging as it's such little amount of power that it's better to be warm and have half a mile less range than be cold and miserable.
     
    MostlyBonkers and gladini like this.
  8. srichards

    srichards Well-Known Member Speak EV Supporter

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    Location:
    Mostly on the sofa
    EV:
    Kia Soul EV
    I'd contact the council about the developer. It may have been a condition of the planning to provide charging points. You can then say you're not allowed to use them so they haven't really complied with the planning as you'd expect anyone in the development with an EV would have access to those chargers.

    If you have an allocated parking spot then it might be possible to have a subsidised charging point installed or can you arrange a swap with someone that has got a charger in their space so they use your space and you use theirs if you get nowhere with the council?

    As you have a Rex you don't have to charge. You can just use petrol. It might just be easier to use petrol more often and make a lot of complaints about how you got a BEV and you are using the generator all the time because the public charging is so awful.

    Can your work place install a charger for you? There are grants available.

    I'd contact your local MP about the situation as well. It's just so ridiculous that so many charge points aren't working or aren't available so much of the time.
     
    Dtron, JDleaf, Tim Ostler and 5 others like this.
  9. Zomb

    Zomb Active Member

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    EV:
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    Can the facility manager get you in touch with one of the owners of the 3 spaces with charging points? Finding an arrangement with them would probably be the best way forward for you, as it could guarantee a charging space available at home.
     
    JDleaf likes this.
  10. Zomb

    Zomb Active Member

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    EV:
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    I've seen that a few times. Isn't operation quite restricted on the i3 when using the REX?
    (true question, not rethorical)
     
  11. AtTheVan

    AtTheVan Well-Known Member

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    If you're contacting your MP then a hand-written letter or a trip to their "surgery" meetings often gets more response.
     
    JDleaf likes this.
  12. stratadel

    stratadel Active Member

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    EV:
    BMW i3 94Ah Rex
    Have you spoken to the owners of the three parking spots with a charger? You may find they are quite happy to swap slots with you. If their spot is in a much more convenient location them bung them a few quid to compensate.
     
    plokij, JDleaf, GTE and 5 others like this.
  13. SolarBoy

    SolarBoy Member

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    Location:
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    EV:
    Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV
    Not a REX but a PHEV, and out of the 500 or so full charges I've done since ownership last Feb, 499.5 of them have been at home.

    The 0.25 of the 0.5 is happening today, the Mrs is charging up at the local Sainsbury's whilst she's doing her shop. The other 0.25 of that 0.5 I did last year to check the charging cable worked :)

    Some good suggestions above, and I understand your pain when charging suppliers move the goal posts.

    Considered an i3 as a second car, up to the point that found out it only had 4 seats, not helpful for a family of 5.

    Hope you find a solution.
     
  14. thinfourth

    thinfourth Non Member

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    That is a very old fashioned approach

    The modern approach is angry letters to MPs, making a hashtag on twitter and rants on social media

    Get with the times man.

    Being a backwards countryside dweller I would of stuck a nice note on the windscreen of the cars parked in the 3 spots with a charger
     
    JDleaf, RoyOb, cah197 and 1 other person like this.
  15. knoxie

    knoxie Well-Known Member

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    Charging at home is an absolute must, I would not own an EV if I didnt have the ability to charge at home, we bought a Type-1 to Type-2 cable 4 years ago now, I used it once to test it worked and 2 more times out in the wild and both of them times were because it left the rapid charger free for someone else, this is how little I need to use level 1 and 2 posts and I have got the 6.6kw charger too and still dont find the need to use public chargers.

    If owning an EV in London with all of the chargers that are installed there is tricky then every other town and city in this country has to be harder if you have no home charge capability.

    If you were nearer the ground I would be tempted to dangle the lead out of the window, the other option can your employer be encouraged to install a charger at your place of work?
     
  16. Russ

    Russ Well-Known Member Speak EV Supporter

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    Location:
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    EV:
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    The fact that so many Fast and Rapid chargers are faulty is an old problem and should NEVER happen.

    Having an occasional one go offline is understandable but if these were built to common industrial standards with a simple interface that has timeouts for lost comms etc, they should be virtually always available.

    The times I have seen posts here with a Rapid or Fast awaiting the charge or charge complete command yet nothing plugged in!
    Why must it be remotely reset? All it needs is a simple software timeout.

    Fast EVSE's are not much more than a connection to the mains for goodness sake with comms so simple it could be done with valve technology!

    Rapids are really just bigger versions of on board chargers. Different standards are really only different comms with a different plug on the lead, they still use DC apart from the Zoe charger which is a direct AC connection to the mains supply.
    If Tesla's EVSE's can be reliable, why can't the rest?

    Rant over......for a while!
     
    plokij and AtTheVan like this.
  17. proddick

    proddick Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Newbury
    EV:
    Tesla Model S, Vauxhall Ampera
    Sorry to hear you are having such problems charging your car and the Source London stuff is madness that the Major has to stop. I drive to London about once a month and the subscription doesn't make any sense for me. I will use the free 13A sockets in Westfield - hopefully, as I am sure they are now a lot more popular!

    Incidentally, everyone going on about how fabulous the I-Pace is should read the OP post. Doesn't matter how great the car is if you can't charge it. :cool:
     
  18. proddick

    proddick Well-Known Member

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    Location:
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    But in London (and other large cities) this isn't possible for a high percentage. There needs to be industry, local and central government collaboration to setup rapid hubs and local shared posts for city dwellers.
     
  19. AtTheVan

    AtTheVan Well-Known Member

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    I would have thought that there would be more of an uproar about all these broken chargers, especially around London where there is a big incentive to have BEV cars on the roads.

    Also, it should be easier to get them fixed as the area to be covered isn't as great as it would be in t'North where it could be 30 miles to the nearest charger.
     
  20. Kentish

    Kentish Well-Known Member

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    or a lead from the charge points to your parking space might be safer and cheaper ?
     
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