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Some updates, 2300 miles Skye Holiday in EV

Discussion in 'Hybrid, PHEV & EV Electric Cars Forum' started by Gordon @ Convergent AV, Sep 16, 2017.

  1. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    So i realised i hadn't been posting here in a while.

    We went on holiday to Skye a week or so ago and we decided to take the Leaf rather than my iONIQ. Two reasons. One, Melanie wanted to do some driving and the Leaf is hers...and secondly i didn't want to use up 2000 miles of my 12000 mile allowance on a holiday seeing as i was already at 6000 miles in just under 3 months...gulp.

    I did several posts a day on how we got on. Give me 10 mins and i'll post them all here one aftr the other. Some are quite long...sorry. Hopefully some folk will find them interesting.
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2017
  2. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    Daily Update: Leaf version

    Some of you may be aware i own an iONIQ as well as our Black Edition Leaf. I am not what folk normally consider the correct current fit for an EV driver as i work all over the UK and Ireland and sometimes mainland europe. I travel extensively all over the country and have regular daily trips of over 150 miles. So when i first went from my 16yrs of VW Passat TDi use to the EV i posted daily updates off how i was getting on. All the learning curve of using rapid chargers and apps and cards and how your driving style changes etc. Well consider this post an addition to my iONIQ updates.

    My wife’s BMW died a month or two ago and after having had our iONIQ for about 6 weeks at that point we both decided we would not gt another ICE. So after some thought we ended up with the Leaf (called TYGER). Vicki at Wilsons in Epsom who did us our excellent deal, told us that we could get the ICE for 14 days if we needed it and, as we had a holiday booked for a week in a house on Skye with friends and i usually carry a lot of photography kit with me for the old Victorian Photographic process i work in, we thought we’d probably take them up on that. However, i’ve been very busy with my real work and had not been able to get all the stuff together in order to take all my victorian photo kit with me to Scotland so we decided i’d just scale down to slightly less old film camera’s of various descriptions and we’d take an EV. I have 12000 mile a year lease and pcp on the two cars and as the Hyundai is at 7000 miles after 3 months we thought it best to leave it at home and take the Nissan.

    Yesterday we left home at 6.15AM ish with full charge and 134 miles range on the Guess-ometer. In 100 yrds we had to pull over as the windscreen was completely misted up. After playing with various settings we got it cleared but the windscreen itself looked all smeary and strange. So it was out with the windolene wipes and paper towel and a couple minutes later we were on our way. Just on to the A3 towards M25 my wife tells me there is a red warning light on dash…so we pull off to BP/Starbucks and it is RAMMED full. Never seen it this busy at this time of day. No idea what is going on but we find a single parking space and i set about trying to get rid of the triangle. We presume it must the boot so i head round and sure enough, it’s not full engaged. Close it and jump back in. Light still on! Pull out manual and go to warning light thing. It says presence of this light means there will be a warning message in the other warning light section. So a warning light to tell you to look for other warning lights….er….ok….No other warning lights that i can see or messages. Go out and check boot again and all doors. All seem fine. Jump back in car. Light still on. OK i say, i wonder if it’s now just telling us the hand(foot)brake is on. So we put it in reverse and disengage foot brake and light goes away. So that was 15 mins wasted. Now back on the road at 6.40 having driven approximately 1 mile from home. LOL. That was the most stressful and worst part of the journey.

    Our plan was first stop at Warwick services, 95 miles from home for coffee and croissant and comfort break. My wife’s legs get very sore and swollen if she sits in same place for too long so we normally stop quite a lot on long journeys together so she can stretch her legs. To keep us entertained on these drives Melanie downloads Audible books podcasts. I am more a music guy than a talking book/podcast but having listen to both the Serial Podcasts series on our trip to Ireland last year i was looking forward to S-Town, from the same folk this time. We were 1 episode in by time we hit Warwick with 25 miles range on GOM. We’d been driving around 60-70 with short burst over 70 (on the Leaf speedo) so really 10% less than that. It feels like you are going slow but i am well aware that a constant steady speed like that compared to 75-80 and back to 70 etc will only result in a difference of arrival time that is insignificant. One of the chargers was ICE’d by a large workmans van. We pulled up at other plugged in, set to charge and as i headed to Starbucks i turned round to see the workmen getting in with their breakfast and driving off. We stopped for about 35 mins to charge to 94%. There was no hanging around. We took that long to have our coffee and pastries and check email quickly on phone. Next stop was to be Sandbach services 90 miles further up the road.

    The S-Town podcast really had me hooked after the first episode. It doesn’t finish as well as it starts but it’s well worth a listen. Listening to something like that shows you how you prejudice your views on folk by where they come from and how they speak. The main protagonist in this series is a slightly strange sounding guy with a deep south Alabama accent who, as the thing progresses, you find out is a deeply intelligent man with a world view and understanding that, currently, it’s hard to imagine anyone has in a town which is owned by a family who name all their children with names beginning with K and own a lumber yard called KKK Lumber…..But i digress. We got to Sandbach with 30 miles on GOM from a starting point of 130 miles. I’d been warned that the Leaf, without any battery cooling, can overheat when rapid charged time after time on long journeys but after this charge we were fine and about 1 block under red on the battery temp scale. We left with another 136 miles on GOM after having more coffee and answering some business emails. This stop was about 30 minutes as well and we were at 95% this time. The next leg was going to be the tough one .The increased GOM was, i think, due to the long section of the last part in roadworks doing 50 mph. This time we were aiming for 105 miles to Tebay in Cumbria, so a large increase in sea level and it was starting to rain.

    On this section i really had to concentrate to not pull out and accelerate past and drive at 70-75 all the time. Instead i took every opportunity to plod along behind buses or quick moving trucks until i got to Burton in Kendal and could see that i should be able to get all the way to Tebay. The podcast had really kicked off at this point and was proving gripping listening. I travel this route up and down the UK a couple of times every month and i normally know exactly where i am at any given time but on this journey i was finding myself really surprised to suddenly realise i was 2/3rds of the way up the country. I think it’s because of the extra stops meaning you are more refreshed and relaxed on each leg. I’d usually have stopped at Warwick then driven to Charnock Richard for KFC lunch then on to Edinburgh or Glasgow. Careful driving and we got to Tebay with 20 miles left on the GOM. Parked up and set car to charge we headed off to check out the lovely farm shop and get some lunch. I have to say that although this is a superb looking services and the farm shop is full of excellent produce, the actual food to eat at the services left a lot to be desired. I had a burger that consisted of a bun with no butter or mayo or sauce of any kind with a burger stuffed in it and some onion and lettuce…along with some not that great chips. At least with KFC/Macy’d/Burger King you know what you’ll get. Lunch finished we got some provisions for next stop as we were aiming for Abington village car park and the free CPS charger there about half a mile from the services on M74. It was 92 miles and this was again, going to be another uphill section i thought so even though it was less distance than to Tebay i expected it could be iffy.

    When we got back to car at Tebay it had actually stopped charging but the app said there was still time to go. I thought it’d tell us that it had got to max charge but it didn’t. Anyway, we left and the temp gauge for battery was now 1 block in to the red. I noticed when we pulled out of the services that there was a distinct lack of power delivery. I presume this is the car limiting how fast it can deploy the battery energy to stop it overheating? Anyway, we set off up the road past Penrith and on to Scotland and by time we got past Moffat the battery was back down out of the red. It got windy and more rainy as we drive in to the hills north of Moffat and the range started dropping pretty rapidly as we drive up hill. we were about 6 miles from Abington when the LOW BATTERY warning came on the dash with 16 miles on GOM. The last section from this point though is partly downhill and flat so it actually stayed at 16m for a while and we got to the charger with 12 miles potential range left. We needed to get to Braehhead shopping centre to get food to take in for our hosts and i knew there was a rapid outside the M+S there so we just stopped for about 20 mins the carp park to make sure we had enough to get the 40 miles to Braehead plus some contingency. Left with 80 miles on GOM and battery back up in middle of the red.

    Last short section of drive to M+S was uneventful except for the insane Glasgow rush hour traffic with morons undertaking and diving in and undertaking just to get to the stationary traffic ahead, 5 seconds before they would have got there anyway… Food bought we got back in the car with the range back up to 77 miles. So our 430 mile journey has so far cost about £23.00 (includes full charge at home). For rest of the week i am not expecting any further energy/fuel costs. Tomorrow we leave our friends at 7.30 am to drive to Skye! Sorry for lack of pics with this post. Will try to be do better tomorrow when scenery is slightly better than service stations!

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  3. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Daily Update: Leaf Edition

    So today i had to go pick up some stuff we ordered from PC WORLD and then go get provisions that we thought would probably not be available up in Skye. This involved some running around and would entail, hopefully, charging the car at Braehead shopping then a quick nip over to another location before heading back to where we are staying and filling up to 96% at the closest Rapid there. So I left our friends with 45m on GOM arrived with about 22 I think. When i got to the charge points the Rapid was full up with an i3 and an Outlander. So i parked at the slow charger bays and plugged in. As i walked past the two cars at the Rapid i noticed that the lights on them suggested it wasn’t actually charging…and there was no sound of fans from the thing, or any sign of power usage on the LCD. So both cars were just parked up. No idea which had finished charging first or if either had even been charging. The car park was rammed as you can guess on a friday in once of the busiest shopping centres in Glasgow. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and went in to the centre to get some cash then i walked over to the Starbucks and PC World to get some stuff we needed. I got back to the car 35 minutes later and the Outlander was gone but the i3 was still happily sitting there doing f’ all. So i put on my “Outraged EV Owner from Glasgow” hat and went in to the centre to find management to ask if they actually policed the use of those charge bays. The lady i spoke to said they did and immediately called someone on a walky talky to get them to go sort it out. I went back to car and left. I’d added 10 miles to my range and would now have to sit around in a car park in Johnstone for 30 minutes or more later in the day when i shouldn’t have had to. It’s not the end of the world but it’s pretty crap behaviour.

    So i picked up the rest of my stuff, had a Fish Super for Lunch and ended up at the Rapid charger beside the police station in Johnstone mid afternoon. No ice’ing, no other cars parked and not charging. Just a pity it’s such a relatively unpleasant place. I’ve not been back in Johnstone in about 20 odd years when my mate, who taught me to rock climb, lived there and i used to go pick him up to go climbing. Finished charging to 96% and left to head “ home”. I have got in the habit of sticking postcode in to sat nav when i leave and i did this time as usual. As i came to a junction where i expected to turn left sat nav said to go on for 500yrds then take a left at next roundabout. OK i thought, that must be some more direct scenic route, i’ll just follow sat nav. About 5 miles down the road I noticed the directions were continue for another 7 miles then turn right. I was sure this was not right so as soon as i saw a sign for the village i was aiming for i took that road…about 4 miles down that the signs say turn left…and there is a large road sign in middle of road saying ROAD CLOSED. Follow diversion. So i follow diversion and it takes me to the other village 7 miles away from where i originally turned off the road. So now i’ve used up a large junk of the range i wanted for tomorrow…so i head back to the Rapid in Johnstone and plug in and head to shops to get a twix and a coke. Come back and the car is back at 96%. So unplug and head back the way i know and expect. It turns out i put in a 4 instead of a 3 in to the sat nav postcode….doh!!!!!! Anyway. 118 miles on GOM for tomorrows drive up Glen Coe to Fort William and then on, over the sea to Skye.

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  4. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Daily Update: Flora McDonald Edition
    http://www.historic-uk.com/…/HistoryofScot…/Flora-Macdonald/

    It’s a day late but here it is anyway. The final part of our journey from Guildford to Skye.
    We left Lochwinnoch area outside Glasgow around 7.30am to head to Mallaig for the ferry over to Skye. We could have driven up north from Fort William and gone over the bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh but having looked at zap map and plugshare apps i could see that the charger just before you go over the bridge seems to be pretty temperamental and as i’d never driven in highlands i wasn’t sure what the elevation changes were going to do to range. So i decided to play it safe and take the ferry. I’d never been to Mallaig anyway so thought it’d be a nice detour…and it was.

    We stopped quite quickly en-route at Starbucks at local shopping centre near Paisley and at that point range was 120 miles with destination at Crianlarich about 40 or 50 miles away., i think we were at 89% charge. I should note that i don’t drive in eco mode and we usually have aircon on. Eco mode seems to add 5 miles to range on the GOM but i can’t stand the lack of throttle response. Thanks to some advice about the cost of charging at the Green Welly and the Real Food chargers plus their poor comms back to the charge network i thought we’d just stop at Crianlarich long enough to use the facilities and get enough charge to get to Fort William as we’d be stopping there for lunch and to get stocked up on shopping for the house on Skye as we’d no idea how stocked the co-op would be in Portree.

    The drive up side of Loch Lomond once you get past Duck Bay Marina is really lovely, especially now they’ve improved the roads. However, I was not prepared for the insane amount of traffic. I am from Glasgow. I have driven up and down that section of road many many times but i’ve never ever seen it as busy as it was yesterday at 8.00am. It was a procession of cars in both directions for several miles. I have no idea what was going on. Of course, in such circumstances you get loonies pulling out to overtake and then just ramming there way back in to the traffic trail having got about 1 second further down the road. Totally pointless and dangerous exercise in stupidity.

    Anyway,the Crianlarich charger worked its magic well and we left with 102 miles on the clock and about 40 miles to destination. Again, i went over the top with contingency as i didn’t know how the elevation change would pan out…which is kind of silly as Fort William is at sea level so we’d be coming back down anyway. It is funny though when you can see you are about to drive up a twisty long incline and in the space of about 1 mile you lose 10 miles of range on the GOM. Then about 3 miles further down the road you are back up by 6 miles or more…

    I’d noticed that there was a wee competition to take a photo for the banner page of the UK Nissan Leaf owners Facebook group page so as we would be driving through Glen Coe i thought a stop somewhere to try to get the Buachaille_Etive_Mòr in the background would look good. I decided that the car park for Glen Coe chair lift would be good spot so we headed off the road there. It was, of course, rammed full. In fact every parking bay we passed up to this point was rammed. Loads of foreign tourists parking their cars to stop and take a picture. I smiled when i thought about how amazed they would be when they actually got to the Glen, if they thought what they were seeing now was impressive. At the car park i initially wanted to get shot in front of a little bothy/cottage just down from it but there were folk staying there and packing their own car so i couldn’t get there, so it had to be main car parking. Quick manoeuvre to very edge of the gravel beside a flock of camper vans and i took some panorama’s. Quick checks to make sure they were ok then back down to main road. Stopped there and took couple more but didn’t like them as much. Then onwards. Next stop was hopefully going to be the car park for the Three Sisters actually in the Glen. Of course, this was impossible as all parking was full up and there would have been no chance of any decent imagery. So we just kept going to Fort William and enjoyed the amazing views on a lively cloudy/sunny morning.

    At Fort William I dropped Melanie off at the Morrisons and headed to find the rapid charger, hoping it would not be in use. The sat nav suggested it was much further away from Morissons than it was. In actual fact it was right behind it in corner of parking site. Possibly closer than where i actually ended up parking the car afterwards in the Morrisons car park! So i plugged in and left it to charge and went to help with shopping. After about 20 mins i said to Melanie that I should just go and check it hadn’t fully charged as we’d used a lot less energy to get there than i expected due to the slow progress travelling in traffic at about 50-55 on the dash. Sure enough when got back to the car there was a black Tesla S plugged in to the Type 2 and our car was at 97%! So i stopped it and moved to the supermarket car park. We then did a quick nip in the Lidl next door to get some sparkling water and then the plan for next section was to stop at Mallaig and get quick top up before getting on ferry and driving to our house in north of the island. At the Lidl i got talking to a chap i let in front f me in queue and he was asking if i was camping nearby. I explained where we were going and how surprised i was by the insane amount of traffic. He told me that since there have been so many films shot nearby it’s become a major tourist destination and the traffic has got a lot worse. He lives in Glenfinnan and told me that he’s been woken up at 4.00 am by tourists knocking on his door to ask if he can point them towards the “Harry Potter Bridge” ! He didn’t mind though as it was bringing in much needed revenue to the area. https://www.flickr.com/search/?text=glenfinnan+viaduct

    Drive from Fort William to Mallaig was really nice and the traffic was much more normal….once you got past Glenfinnan and the bridge. yes, there were a multitude of folk wandering around Glenfinnan camera’s in hand. I’’ve not seen Harry Potter but as we were passing through i looked to my right and saw a large victorian viaduct…which i imagine must be a bridge that the Hogwarts Express goes over? Once past there though it was down to just three other cars in our convoy and the other two eventually peeled off just before we hit Mallaig. Driving towards the charger location on sat nave we somehow ended up in the queue for the ferry. We were booked on one that was due to leave in about 1.5hrs time so we just asked if we could get on this one. The chap directed us to roll in to the standby lane and he’d see if he could fit us on….I’d decided that we had enough charge to get to Portree and if the charger there wasn’t working we should have enough to get us to our house with about 5-10 miles left anyway. We were the last car on the ferry and the last vehicle off at other side. Ahead of schedule! Whoo hoo. Plain sailing over in the 40 minute journey.

    Drive from south east edge of Skye to Portree is not that exciting until you start getting in to the top half of the island on that side when it starts to get much nicer. Once we got on to the road that comes from the bridge at the Kyle of Lochalsh again, the amount of tourists was nuts. I’ve not been to Skye for around 10 yrs and when i was last here it was february or march i think. The place is very different in summer and especially now. So much more stuff going on. You really would not believe you were on an island off west coast of scotland. It’s more like Cornwall in high summer. Anyway, found the charger at Portree, topped up to 80% and headed off to let ourselves in to our home for the week. We did do a quick stop at the big co-op just to recce it and see what we could get for food during the week. All done we rocked up in the lovely summer afternoon sunshine and i unpacked the car and plugged in to charge. Wanted to have 100% for my travels around the island.

    Today i plan to go recce some photographic potential places as i have “real” work to do nearby from 10.00am tomorrow until after lunch but i hope to get up for dawn to do some photography before coming back to house for breakfast then off to work….then more photography tomorrow afternoon. I am also looking in to a special EV expedition for mid week!

    Thanks for reading and hope these pics are more interesting. I’ll try to do more for next update.

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  5. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Daily Update: Skye Riding

    I have been procrastinating here about whether to get a ferry over to the outer hebrides primarily just to say i’ve used the rapid chargers on benbecula , north uist, Harris and Lewis. As we have got here just a few days after the ferry schedules change it means that i’m basically screwed unless i choose to stay overnight in a B+B on Harris. As i only have a week here with friends and no-one else seems to be in such a rush to come with me (although one of the party was almost with me!). I’ve decided to stay on Skye and enjoy what’s here. I think i’ll do the Harris thing at some point but not this trip.

    I was seeing a client nearby yesterday so no pics or updates but today after a long morning sorting out internet and pc problems in the house after several power cuts overnight, i set off for a journey in the car. It had charged to full overnight and had a range on the guess-o-meter of 125 miles. We are staying in Uig (pronounced OOO ig). There is a route around the top of Skye back to Portree (where the sole working rapid charger on the island lives) but i decided after looking at the map to go cross country down a Glen that looked like ti might be photographically interesting. It was a pretty ropey bit of road…sign at beginning of it said this road is often impassible in bad weather, seek alternate route. Weather was OK so i headed in it actually wasn’t that interesting at all until i got to the end ad the most amazing rock faces started appearing. It was at this point i realised i was at The Quiraing and i’d been here 10 years before but from the other direction. I was driving through here about 12.00pm and the amount of cars parked in passing places and on side of road and overflowing the actual parking areas was mad. I had wanted to actually photograph the amount of tourist activity (of which i am part) but i couldn’t get a space..lol. So i headed down the windy road back towards Portree and near the bottom i saw parking at side of road with a gap so i dove in. On getting out i saw i was parked beside a cemetery and that there was a car park for it with a large metal gate stopping folk from driving in. There was a Norwegian Photography guys 4 x 4 parked blocking the access drive in so i asked him if he’d be moving and he was…so once he’d left i reversed back up road, opened the gate and drove in and parked. I then went to look round the cemetery. It was very beautiful. Not many graves and all very well tended with shiny new or very new looking headstones. Also some nice little benches to sit at and take in the view. After taking it all in i moved the carp around and tok a couple of pics then left to continue my travels on towards Portree.

    The road from The Quiraing to Portree goes past The Old Man of Storr. This is another rocky escapement with a lone column (the old man). Again i’d been there before with my friend Andy several years ago and the pair of us went up there in february when there was snow on the ground and for about an hour and a half we were the sole folk around. Today, not so much. Check out the video. This is the end of the season up here…god knows what it must be like in mid july early august. After trying to help some Italian folk get their camper van out of a muddy ditch i headed off back down the road to Portree for a quick top up to 90% before i headed down to the south western side of the island, heading to the town of Broadfoot for some coke at the local store before going down a glen along the side of The Cuillins (large mountain range in middle of island) heading towards Elgol. I didn’t get as far as Elgol as the sat nav in the car seemed to be pretty clueless as to what the actual roads were. I was concerned about whether i’d get back to rapid in portree so i always make sure i aim to have 10-15 miles range for when i get back. I was about 10 miles or so from Elgol and i decided to put the rapid charger postcode back in sat nav to see how far away i was getting. It said 47Miles and car said 65 miles range. or around 54 % charge at this point. On the theory that 1% = 1 mile i should be ok so i kept going moving further away from Portree and the charger. The distance sat nav thought it was to get back started going down! When it got to 43 miles i decided to stop and check the map just in case i was confused and there was some other route back to Portree. There wasn’t. You had to go back the way i came. I have no idea what the sat nav was thinking. So as it was getting late i just headed back for last charge of day and trip back over to west of island to plug in overnight for 100% in morning. I got some nice pictures on my travels with Quiraig, Old Man of Storr and the Cuillins in the background. Tomorrow i think a trip to a couple of beaches may be in order and i might crack out the actual cameras!

    My final comment. I've still not seen another EV here despite the large amount of traffic. This makes it all the more amazing that I’ve never turned up at the long stay car park in Portree where the charger is to find it ICE’d. Even yesterday when there were cars queuing in turn to get a space when someone left, no one had just dumped their car in the ev charge spots. I hope it continues. The only problem i’ve had is the final charge today when i had three attempts to get the thing to validate my rfid card. After it failed third time i called CYC and the chap said that there was no problem and it should work. He took my details and while he was doing so i tried a fourth time and it worked….

    Onward for more EV adventures.

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  6. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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  7. Gordon @ Convergent AV

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    Daily Update: Last day on Skye

    Tomorrow we start the journey back to Guildford via Glasgow. Going back the same way we came via Mallaig, Fort William, Crianlarich and Lochwinnoch, then down M8/M74/M6/M42/M40/M25 next day. When i’m back at beginning of week i’ll tot up the miles and money spent on electricity. I think the Leaf is now at around 2.300 miles. It was at under 1000 when we left Guildford over a week ago.

    yesterday i did a little jaunt over to the most westerly part of the island in the afternoon (Neist Head) after getting completely soaked trying to get down to a fossil strewn beach below the Old man of Storr in the morning. The weather turns fast in places like this. One minute it seemed quite calm and clear and the next it’s pelting it down. I had parked my car a good half mile to a mile from the beach we were heading for as it was marked private road. I decided to leave waterproof trousers in car. Of course, half way down the road it starts to rain. Coming straight at back of me. Within a couple of minutes my jeans are sticking to my legs at back…then we get to the point where there is a super steep path and stair down a pretty vertical embankment/cliff and it’s obvious no-one is going to try it in the rain..so turn round and walk face first in to the stuff. By time we got to car we were all so wet we might as well have been swimming back. I was going to take my trousers off and put on waterproofs as trousers but i couldn’t find them!. So instead i lined the seat with “Bags for Life” from Morrisons and Carrefour. I then lent my friends in their hire car a blanket i keep in back to throw over anything valuable in there to keep prying eyes away.

    Due to the limited chargers that work on Skye i have been doing trips in morning then heading back to Portree and the Rapid there to top up to 90-95% so i can then do another 45 mile outward trip and back. I’ve been topping car up to 90% in Portree in evening and then heading back to the house to plug in to 13amp overnight. I didn’t want to use all the house electricity and ramp up costs for the folk we are renting it off. I shouldn’t really have worried. When we got home at lunchtime yesterday i changed my clothes and went outside to put Boots on table to dry in the wind and when i turned round i noticed the roof to eh house was covered in solar panels! that explains why there is no electricity charges. Anyway, i headed out to Neist and took some pics and watched an idiot Italian tourist buzz folk with his Drone and fly it directly over folks heads. i suspect he’ll have got some cracking footage out there.

    Today though we headed back to the fossil beach and we left early and went the scenic route to it from Uig, Over the hills behind the bay where it comes out at The Quiraing thing. This time i stopped at top of the road beside and took some polaroids and film shots but the ones here are all from my iPhone. After a jaunt down the twisty turns road we were soon back at the top of the cliffside to the beach, except this time we drove down the Private Road to where the SSE parking facility was for folk who wanted to go down to the beach. Skye doesn’t appear to be at the level of renewable energy that Orkney is at but they are having a go. This small hydro facility and a few Wind farms and windmills, plus a few other solar installations all popped up on my travels. The path down to the beach here is precarious. It’s very very slippy and muddy and frankly not very well kept. They are updating the facility there so there are a few containers there being used as offices and storage and i guess it must get a little windy as they are held down with massive backs of rocks for balast! SSE smartly put in a funicular railway here their staff to use to get up and down….would be good if they’d made ia a little bigger and given public access..lol. I was thinking of giving the guy coming up in it a fiver to let me hop on board…i was knackered by time i got to back up.

    Afternoon was a wee drive over to Stein Inn. It’s the oldest Inn on Skye and does great Whisky (i didn’t partake at lunchtime) plus nice food and bonus is it has a type 2 charge point at back according to plugshare app I think. I didn’t need a charge so we just had lunch and left. So that’s pretty much it for the Skye leg. I’ll just add that i saw my first plug in hybrid today in Portree. It was parked up in town, not at charger. A Chevy Volt! Never seen one before. Also the Rapid that took four attempts to validate my RFID card did some more weirdness this morning. I arrived with74% charge and plugged in. It starts to charge and says i am on 97.4 charge and turns off. So i try again and same thing happens. Slighty concerned I turn car on and then turn it off again after disconnecting cable and putting it back in holster. I then try again and this time it recognises true state of charge of the Leaf and works. Got back to the house with 20% charge left. Leave in 14 hrs. I expect it’ll be full up again by then. Hope you enjoy the pics.

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  8. Gordon @ Convergent AV

    Gordon @ Convergent AV
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    EV Weekly update

    So it’s been a week since we left Skye to head home from our summer break. I just realised I didn’t do an update to say how the journey home went and with thoughts on the trip so here you go.

    We left our rental house in Uig on saturday morning and immediately headed to Portree to top the car battery up to full for the drive back. I’d looked at the maps and decided that, as the charger on the Kyle of Lochalsh seems to get reports of it being non-operational a lot, we would take ferry bag to Mallaig from south of the island and drive from there to Fort William for lunch and a charge. When we got to Portree i was astounded to find my first Skye EV! There was a Zoe plugged in charging on the AC TYPE2 connector. So i parked beside it and used the Chademo for about 10 minutes and off we went. By time we got to the ferry we should have had enough charge to get to Fort William with about 30 miles range to spare. Ferry crossing was fast and once again we were last vehicle to get off boat. I made decision to just drive to Fort William and not brother with a quick 5 minutes at Mallaig charger. Within about 10 miles i was starting to worry that this may not have been a great idea. We were driving in to strong winds and some rain and it was taking a hit. However, we soon ended up in usual tourist traffic and slow speeds of 45-55 soon put us back on track. We arrived at Fort William with 10% charge left and plugged in and went for lunch.

    Back on the road heading for Glasgow our next stop was going to be the public charger in Crianlarich. This was the same one we used on way up. The drive back through Glen Coe was yet again spectacular but there was less tourists traffic this time…although it was still so much that it would have been the busiest i’d ever seen it if i hadn’t seen last weeks! At Crianlarich we turned up to find another Leaf plugged in charging with no-one in it. It was at 87%…about 20 minutes later it was at 93%…the owners eventually turned up and the wife says to her husband, it’s not full up yet. So she disappears and he puts the child in back of car and sits in passenger seat. It’s now at 95% after a few minutes. At this point i had got out of car and popped open charge door in preparation for getting on. The wife arrives back and starts the end charge process and asks if we’ve been waiting long. I wondered whether i should have explained to her that once you get close to 90% the speed of charge really slows down a lot. I didn’t as i was not particularly interested in arguments and just wanted to get on the road. So once they’d gone we plugged in and charged to 85% and left. I knew that would be enough to get us to Johnstone where we would top up before driving the 8 miles to our friends for the night.

    Next morning we set off on next leg of the journey. Melanie’s legs get sore if she sits in same position for long lengths of time so we had decided that as she wanted to do a bunch of driving we’d stop for night at hotel near Stoke on second day, although i’d have been happy going all the way in a oner. The first charge point stop was Abbington public car park about half a mile from the M74 services. I chose it as it’s free and it was last free stop before England. We arrived and started charging and within 15 minutes another Leaf turned up. I got out to let the chap know that we would have to go to about 90% before we left to get to our next charger and that we’d be about 10 minutes. He was fine and said that he was just happy it was working as he’d not been able to get it to work himself in the four times he’d tried.

    The next section of journey was in to very strong gusting headwinds plus rain. Sustained driving at 65-68 mph in this takes it toll. We decided to stop at Gretna for coffee and a charge rather than keep going to where i had intended. Melanie parked up and i got out to charge. The EH app seemed to work but when the charge process started it would fail at first step. I tried three times and each time it came up with an error on the charger screen. So i moved to the other charger. It was completely dead with no power at all! Back to the other original charger and i tried again. Same result but there was an INFO button. So i pressed it and it came up with the error report saying that the incoming voltage to the point was too low. mmm Melanie came back with the coffee and we left for Todhills services on M6 about 10 miles away.

    Todhills charger worked a treat and off we went after that. I took over driving at this point. We were aiming for lunch at Killington Lake. So some efficient driving was required as it was quite a long stint in to the wind and rain and mostly uphill. We got there fine and topped ourselves up with food before heading off. The Killington Lake charger though had bombed out on my first attempt to start charging with the app and on second attempt it all went a bit weird and i appeared to have got a free charge!

    Last stop was to be Keele services at the junction next to where our hotel was. We headed off and almost immediately the Leaf sat nav said the was a roadblock and would we like to change our route. We also had our Garmin in use and it didn’t say anything about road block so we just keep on the motorway. Pretty soon Garmin also suggested a new route..so we took it. Just as well. M6 was closed in both directions. I presume an air ambulance had to land on our side. Queues were huge. We got the new route just in time i think and we wound along side roads criss crossing over the stationary traffic for miles on end. Eventually we were directed back on at Lancaster area but we came on in to very heavy almost stationary traffic ourselves. it appeared the accident was about half a mile further on from where we joined as we saw it on other side of road. This slow section of journey helped keep range and we decided not to stop at Keele and instead just go to hotel as we were both very tired by now and the weather was miserable.

    New morning we headed off to one of the new Polar Ultrachargers about 12 miles away just off the M6 and a junction past Keele. It’s super fast and within 20 minutes we had enough to get us to the next location. We aimed for another Polar Ultracharger at a Harvester just off M40 near Warwick. Arrived there at 11.00 fish and again, quick top up. We could have got to 95% and i’d have driven all the way home but Melanie wanted to stop to eat so we just put in enough to get to Beaconsfield at bottom of M40. At Beaconsfield we plugged in and went to eat. I came out 25 minutes later and Melanie went to get some stuff from the shops there to take home. While i was waiting a couple came over to ask all about the car. Usual questions. How far does it go? How long does it take to charge? The chap was a courier van driver and was, i think, keen to consider an EV van but he couldn’t find one yet with the range he’d need for a days useage. Melanie arrived back and chatted to him and this wife as well explaining it was her car and how much she loved it. Anyway, that was that and we headed home.

    So here is the breakdown of travel cost for fuel/energy.

    charges on way to Skye.
    £22.00

    way home
    £17.30

    £39.30 for 2237 miles travel.

    That’s pretty good I think. In the old Passat TDi’s that would have used up 225.99 litres at 45mpg. At average diesel price just now ( £1.19) that would be £268.93

    I know that at some point this differential will change as governments start charging in Scotland or more duties or taxes are levied on EV’s but for now i am happy with the trade offs, and there are trade offs. The biggest problem is the charging infrastructure. Yes it would be nice if there were more chargers but more importantly the ones that are already installed should be much more reliable. There is little or no contingency if locations only have one or two “pumps”. Tesla have the right idea with their supercharger points being 6-16 at a time now. It's this issue that makes me always look to see where I can charge if the charger i want is borked. It's annoying to have to do on a long journey.The charge point companies, and in particular Electric Highway, really need to pull their finger out. Now i need to go and find out who to write to about the two Rapids at each end of Skye that have never been turned on for 18 months!!!!!!

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  9. IronGiant

    IronGiant
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    Thanks Gordon!!!
     
  10. gangzoom

    gangzoom

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    I think anyone who actually tried to use the current EV charging infrastructure will come to the same conclusion.

    @Gordon @ Convergent AV I praise your bravey, as I would think twice even attempting such a long trip in the Tesla upto Scotland given the lack of Superchargers there at present.

    When I had my Leaf I always had a plan A/B/C incase of broken chargers.
     
  11. PRESSTOG

    PRESSTOG
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    Great Trip Report, The Charging Network is the thorn in the side of EVs (Apart from Tesla and its great supercharger network, althouhg even that falls short north of the border).

    Its great to See Polar installing loads of ultrachargers in Hotels and pubs near motorway junctions, but again its half hearted 1 unit and the bays are not signed so get iced easily.

    They really need to pull the finger out and start installing some proper multiunit charging areas along the main motorway network rather than this dribdrab one here one there which may work or may be blocked.

    Polar have been promising a shiny multiunit ultracharger station at Milton Keynes Coachway as a demo of how these will work, but that has been promised for over a year and has still not shown any sign of life despite it being OLEV funded.

    EVs are reaching the point of going mainstream but the national charging network is in the dark ages, they need to stop messing with odd units here and there and destination chargers and get a national multiunit station network in place.
     
  12. jassco

    jassco
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    It's not just charging on the motorways that's an issue, it's recognition everywhere the importance of electric charging spaces and clamping down on ice cars blocking charging points. I'm at center parcs at the moment and they offer free charging. However, the first two days I tried to charge up, the bays were full of white vans from people working on site. I had to go either late at night (after a few drinks) to be able to charge, or early before 7am. The three vans on the left are all blocking the charging bays. IMG_20170921_115658443_HDR.jpg
     

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