BoMW
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:22 pm
Location: Sherwood Forest

MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Sun May 18, 2014 1:38 pm

Last Tuesday was the day I decided to drive down to London from Robin Hood country, approximately 132 each way. I made plans on Monday evening to find my ideal rapid charging locations so as to avoid using the Rex.

My first leg was to leave Nottingham and head down for BMW Lancaster at Milton Keynes, 81 miles away where ChargeMaster has a CCS rapid charger. As I arrived, (Rex had already activated for the last 5 miles of 70mph motorway driving) annoyingly the parking space had been taken up by petrol cars (bmw employees) leaving me with no chance of attaching the cable to my car. The kerb side spaces had no paint markings to designate a charging point so any car owner is able to park along the road and prevent you from charging. Resident bmw genius suggested I drive into their service garage and charge up there. I did but I realised that it was just a 32amp unit and I really needed something rapid.
Eventually a BMW employee came to move his car but no need, the charger was not registering my ChargeNow card.
I rang helpline and they just confirmed that the charger is showing no errors on their systems. Having wasted an hour I drove a mile down the road to Milton Keynes coach terminus where a another CCS is installed. Miraculously all was working well (user face could be simplified) so within 30 mins I had 85 mile range and was on my way to the olympic village, westfield shopping centre, albeit 80 mins late.
I arrived at Stratford with Rex engaged for last 10 miles.
Now Westfield has plenty of 32 amp outlets but they are on a particular floor and there's no signage. I did eventually locate them and plugged in my bmw cable.
A swipe of my card and charging was in progress. 4 hours later on my return, shockingly my i3 had only 8% charge. No idea what happened but clearly some error. I then had difficulty removing my cable from the unit. I made a phone call to Source London with the promise that the unit owner would call me back, but nothing. With 15 mins of jiggling I got my cable back.
Next plan was to head for Ikea at Tottenham, North Circular which had a ecotricity CCS but, no go, an error showing on my i3 display, saying insufficient power from the unit, with rex on I headed for M1, Toddington services.
Tried ecotricty unit but my i3 was again showing the same error. No choice, had to fill up to the brim with 7.8litres.
Headed back to Milton Keynes coach terminus to charge but unbelievably this time, error showing on the unit before I even plugged it into the car.
Headed to BMW dealer a mile away, no problem with parking this time but still not recognising my card. Headed back to coach terminus, nothing working.
Decided to drive to BMW northampton, near the M1, placed all of my cards on the sensor but not one was recognised, including my charge master card (unit owned by CM).
Arrived at Newport Pagnell services, again an error, ecotricity unit not providing enough power to charge the car (also red lights flashing around inlet).
Carried on driving to Leicester North services 11 miles away on the A50, i had zero electric range and 15 miles showing on the petrol gauge which turned orange in colour from white but within a minute it plummeted to 9 miles! (Wonder if it turns to red when you're into reserve fuel?).
For the last 5 miles I reduced speed to 54mph , switched into eco plus mode and unplugged everything. Thankfully I arrived onto the forecourt to fill up. Interestingly I could only add 8 litres (1 litre reserve?)
I arrived home after an epic 5 hour journey with all that hassle, a journey which would normally take 2.5 hours.

My experience this day had depressed me greatly, although I had embraced the future, clearly the charging suppliers had not, the infrastructure is no where near ready.
My i3, collected 02/05/14---44000 miles by 30/05/16
SOLD 05/03/17 :(

SanSerif
Posts: 175
Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 11:09 am
Location: Southern UK, EU.

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Sun May 18, 2014 1:48 pm

It's very poor, isn't it? Fantastic car but let down by the charging infrastructure. What's galling is that BMW could have simply put a CCS rapid at their i-dealers and they'd have a nationwide network under the control and support of someone with an interest in keeping it working. But BMW aren't alone in this - Renault and Nissan have screwed up on this as well. Only Tesla seem to have sussed it - and they don't even have a network of dealers.

I bought the REx very much because I'd read enough public charging horror stories on the Leaf forums. In a fit of optimism, I also had it fitted for CCS. Which I have never used - and suspect I never will.

Last time I did a long trip, (160 miles) it was a dream. Started off with a full battery and a full tank and kept the battery at 75% and topped up once. With more confidence on the return, I found that I could do the entire run on the initial battery + tank.

BrianStanier
Posts: 255
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:00 pm
Location: Durham, UK

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Sun May 18, 2014 2:00 pm

Only a week with Rex so I haven't has an opportunity to try the new CCS chargers north of Newcastle, but your experience suggests that I'll be lucky if they work. After three years of waiting with the Leaf for a decent working joined-up infrastructure it seems we're little further forward. I'm glad we chose the Rex!

buickanddeere
Posts: 35
Joined: Sun Apr 27, 2014 3:15 pm
Location: East Coast of Lake Huron

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Sun May 18, 2014 4:33 pm

I'm considering a BEV but never even thought of taking round trips farther than 40 miles in winter or summer. And maybe 60 miles most spring/fall . Unless commuting from one property to the other where I know my charger works on the other end.
There are all kinds of free L2 chargers in south western Ontario.

Plug
Posts: 259
Joined: Fri Aug 02, 2013 1:17 pm
Location: UK

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Sun May 18, 2014 11:40 pm

SanSerif wrote:I bought the REx very much because I'd read enough public charging horror stories on the Leaf forums.
Same here, I wanted the BEV but the i3 is my only car and the more research I did about rapid public charging the more obvious it became that you can't rely on it 100% for the long journeys so REx it was (without CCS). Every week there are trip reports like this on the other EV forums, the accepted solution seems to be to plan a back-up charging point for every stopping point.

BoMW : If you do that trip again it'd be interesting to see how you'd get on if you just ignored public charging and relied on the REx. You'd get all of the way to your destination without needing to stop. Yes, you'd have to pay for petrol but total travel time would be a hell of a lot less, probably only a few mins more than your normal 2.5 hours.
Last edited by Plug on Mon May 19, 2014 1:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

amateurish
Posts: 102
Joined: Mon Dec 16, 2013 9:10 am
Location: MK, UK

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Mon May 19, 2014 12:40 am

BoMW: that is a really poor show, and confirms what I have read in other forums about the terrible state of the UK charging infrastructure.

I think the best advice for REx owners is just to forget about rapid charging, and just use your REx for long distance driving. For your journey of 260? miles I think without charging you could probably have got away with only two fuel stops. And if you drove economically, maybe just the one. And using the REx is cheaper than rapid charging with Chargemaster.

I too specified the rapid charging option, but I can't see myself ever using it now.

fenlander
Posts: 22
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 10:02 am

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Mon May 19, 2014 1:19 am

I ordered the Rex without CCS, mostly based on my experience driving a Leaf for the last three years.

Maybe in another three years the rapid charging infrastructure will have improved enough, but right now it is way too unreliable and patchy. Stopping for a couple of minutes to fill up with petrol is easy compared to 30+ minutes for a rapid charge that may or may not work. It's not 'pure EV', but it's pretty rare I need that extended range and when I do the convenience of a Rex beats rapid charging hands down.

BoMW
Posts: 265
Joined: Sun Feb 02, 2014 5:22 pm
Location: Sherwood Forest

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE---UPDATE!!

Mon May 19, 2014 5:31 am

Interesting developments today but Firstly I wanted to add that a 40 mile trip to Rotherham resulted in the same errors (AC 63amp outlets).

So today I complained to ecotricity about their charging units and I had an interesting conversation with their engineer. He told me that enquiries have been made with BMW and the problem is down to a connection not being made inside the car socket. He explained that because the cable is pretty heavy the plug is weighted down so a contact at the top is not being made. He suggested that I lift and tilt the plug upwards and hold it until the i3 starts to charge.
So I stopped at Toddington services where I have had errors previously (car blinking red and showing "no power coming from the unit"). I parked up as close to the unit as possible, didnt need to swipe card, plugged in, tilted upwards, activated charging and WOOOALA! Amber blinking , charging in progress! So relieved that it was something so simple.
Of course there are plenty of units still around that show errors before a plug in and card swipe but this error where on the i3 screen it shows " not enough power coming from the charger" seems to be resolved.
My i3, collected 02/05/14---44000 miles by 30/05/16
SOLD 05/03/17 :(

MikeS
Posts: 713
Joined: Thu Jan 16, 2014 8:29 am
Location: Brighton UK

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Mon May 19, 2014 7:31 am

Just to clarify - are you talking about the car connection? I ask because if so surely that would be the same using an EVSE at home and I’ve not heard of such problems.
BMW 3 Series 2005 - Aug 2014
BMW Z4 35i 2009 - Mar 2014
BMW X1 Mar 14
BMW i3 Sep 14

BrianStanier
Posts: 255
Joined: Sat Oct 19, 2013 12:00 pm
Location: Durham, UK

Re: MY FIRST, LONG AND DISAPOINTING DRIVE

Mon May 19, 2014 8:02 am

I think Ecotricity (and the OP) are talking about the CCS 'gun', which with its cable is fairly heavy.

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