Long Distance BEV. Cardiff to Sheffield.

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Well-known member
Apr 14, 2014
Hampshire UK
Started at 7:30 this morning with a full charge courtesy of a Best Western and Zero Carbon World. Lesson learned that the breaker switch above the type 2 connector is switched down for on up for off. Ha ha. Wonder if they are all like that.

After weeks of planning and a family get together on the Saturday night we punted off early.

07:30 Planning 2 rapid stops and one slow charge to be there by tea time. Good plan.

First stop on the M5 north bound after seeing a lovely sunrise coming over the bridge from Wales. Able to try the traffic jam assist for the first time as vehicles stacked for Bristol before heading north. Across the bridge into the sun the ACC kept dropping out but finally re-engaged after I pressed the set button instead of resume. Odd.

8:40 Gloucester services. 35% remaining. Rapid easy to find and engaged first time. Great. These really are a fantastic model for services. Layout is great. Charging is away from the door area less likely to be iced. So coffee. 09:09 enough charge to reach next rapid at IKEA Wednesbury. Reconoitered 8 weeks ago. On setting off it pings to let us know we have left a door open so we stop in the petrol station to close rear door hard. This seems to happy most times we've used the rear doors. Needs a heavy clunk. Next it tells us we can't make it. Mmmmmm. Switch to Eco pro and it's ok by a few miles. Press on.

Play with the heating. Have heat pump so that's a bonus. Occasional use of seat warmers before finally switching to Eco pro plus just to be sure. Slow traffic joining M6 means less power. Have been keeping max at 65mph to extend range. Fast enough not to tangle with lorries and not annoy others too much by being a blocker to faster traffic. Seems like a good compromise speed. Reach IKEA.

11:14. It was all going too well. CCS is bust. "check if the intake and exhaust port of the charger is not clogged". Great. Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV is parked in one of the spots but not coupled up. Strong smell of melting electrics. Anyway after discussion with Ecotricity who are not aware of any faults...hahah. Eventually get the AC working by repositioning and lifting the nozzle to flex the charge plate in the i3. Standard procedure now and I think the fault lies in the i3. So if you ever get red flashing and "voltage too low" message just try lifting the cable as the synchronisation starts. Once it's blue you can let go. There is still ice on the ground and the filters on the inlet are all soggy with frozen water being at ground level? Who designed this? There is a concrete plinth but I bet when it snows it drifts up against the filters. Ecotricity say no errors.

At this point we are going to miss the school pickup and serious questions are asked about dropping other half at station......not good. Still it is a one off commute.

So more coffee break and not going to make it to Sheffield for tea. Shop in IKEA instead.

14:12 Leave noticing that a LEAF has plugged in sorry for blocking you if you read this. The LEAF starts its DC charge as soon as I unplug? How come that DC works? Maybe my AC charge has warned it up and melted all the ice in the filters? Take a picture of the split menekes connector which has obviously been dropped.

15:15 Donnington with no excitement except the slip back onto the M6 southbound was shut. Anyway make Donnington all on comfort mode no drama. At this point we decide to have a delayed lunch as we know we are in for a trickle charge. After the same flashing red lifting tilting trick we have a charge. Third of the day.

17:00 leave for Sheffield. M1 busy and save some range in the road works at 50 and coasting on the down hill sections. Chesterfield is a draw back. Enter with 9 miles spare and mega jam at the syntners roundabout means juice is eaten up. 3 miles spare as we race up the hill to Sheffield. More jams in Sheffield as we are at rush hour peak time. Anyway make it. At the end there is no difference in Eco pro or comfort mode.

18:16 Sheffield 7% 2 miles remaining. What a trip.

Tomorrow find a charger within 2 miles ;-)

I hope that gives people knowledge and confidence in what can be achieved. 195 miles and no money paid out to petro chemical retailers.
Gonville said:
I hope that gives people knowledge and confidence in what can be achieved. 195 miles and no money paid out to petro chemical retailers.

Sounds like you had a wonderful adventure there. I guess there are trips when one doesn't mind travelling with clenched buttocks and there are days when one does. :D

Gonville this is really useful. I just hope my confidence will increase with time so I can make similar trips. With only 250 miles under my belt so far in my BEV I am still learning what range is available in this cold weather. I am also nervous of depending on chargers I have not checked out personally.
CCS recharging stations are much more complicated than a level 2 unit. A CCS unit is a high power dc power supply, a level 2 EVSE is essentially a fancy ac power switch. STicking a CCS unit outside that may have to contend with rain, snow, sleet, fog, hot, cold, is tough on them, and it can affect reliability a lot more than the level 2 type. Plus, with their cost, my guess is that it will take a long time for them to become as common as level 2 units, and will never become as common as a fuel pump. As a result, and because of the time it takes, relying on one can be problematic unless it is yours (or maybe put in for you by your employer).
I have a plan too - I live just outside Swindon and want to visit my parents in.... Scarborough (they have a charger outside their house now thanks to the GOV)

Problem I have is the first stint to get me from Swindon to the M1 is rather large. I usually go north on the 419 and pick up the M5, crucially after the CCS at Gloucester, so the next nearest one is Hopwood, which is 82miles from my back door (measured in ICE car last month) - theoretically possible?!?!

Now Hopwood was getting CCS last year, however during my last two visits just concrete plinths, so only CHADEMO and the 7kw AC for me!

From there I can get onto the M42 towards the M1, again Tamworth has no CCS and Donningotn on the M1 is also sans CCS.
Trowel CCS (down today) Tibshelf no CCS. Woodall no CCS and offline, Wooly Edge no CCS and offline.

Then there is the last stint from the A1/M onto the A64 and Scarborough, nothing there!

I reckon at the rate Ecotricity are rolling out and upgrading I might be able to have a go this summer.

Am I mad? Any thoughts!

Check out this https://evtripplanner.com
mrsmith said:
I have a plan too - I live just outside Swindon and want to visit my parents in.... Scarborough

I reckon at the rate Ecotricity are rolling out and upgrading I might be able to have a go this summer.

Am I mad? Any thoughts!

Check out this https://evtripplanner.com

I'm thinking you should go east on the M4 and then up the A34. Hit the M40 Gaydon for one CCS then off on the A43. Choosing your route you could use IKEA at Wednesbury as I tried before going across to M1.

The trip planner is very good. I used it to confirm my research on my trip. In hindsight I would have come south from Gloucester across to Gaydon to get the CCS there but apparently that is bust as well.

York has a lot of chargers. I'm going to try and reach that from Sheffield. However you are right that a lot of failures up the M1 are annoying. I see that their upgrade programme has recommenced

I recognise that a CCS is a big beast. It's a joy when they work. As I say the one at Bristol Southmead hospital has been flawless. Seimens unit. Hopefully the new BMW units which are allegedly only $6,000 might make an improvement in reliability.
FWIW, at least in the USA, the BMW sponsored CCS units are 25Kw units verses the max 50Kw that the i3 can handle as an input. Now, the larger one still needs to taper off, so the differences aren't as great as one would think, but still are there. BMW announced a program in the USA to expand the CCS networks, and I hope it happens in my area, but I'm not holding my breath!
I've done some long trips in my 16000 miles of Rex driving. Most of my experiences have been a failure in CCS stations but CHamedo don't.

I could never consider using the AC and reading that you left at 0730, drove 195 miles and reached your destination at 1815 just doesn't seem very 21st century
It was a journey that had to be done.....and time was not of the essence as the lawyers would say. I'm looking forward to future trips and you have to start somewhere.