Whether you drive an Electric Vehicle (EV) or just want to know more about them, why not come along to the TT Grandstand Pit Lane at 6:30 p.m. on Monday 18th. June 2018, where we hope to have a gathering of several models for you to view.
At 7 p.m. we will hold an informal, open EV forum meeting in the Press office discussing a wide range of topics affecting Electric Vehicles on the Isle of Man.
Once again, please 'like and share' to help us get the message out. Click here for the event on Facebook.
Put the date in your diary - Monday 18th June at 7 p.m. Park your EV in the Pit Lane and come along and meet everyone in the Grandstand Press room.
It’s been a while since we had an EV Forum meet-up and since then a lot has changed. Many more EVs are now on Manx roads, more Charge Points have been provided, both public and private, and it feels like a ‘tipping point’ has been reached for the change over to electric transport.
The Manx government have now formed a sub-committee which will create a 5 year policy for all things EV. They will be represented at this meeting and will be interested in the views of current EV owners. We are all well aware of the downsides experienced by early adopters, but have you any ideas how things should be improved to encourage more EV ownership? If you have any specific topics that you would like to discuss then please email them to us at firstname.lastname@example.org We cannot promise to discuss every topic raised but we will do our best.
But mainly the forum is for you, the EV driver, and for anyone considering an EV purchase or lease, you are more than welcome to come along and chat to current owners.
Another reminder will be issued before the date but please 'like and share' to help us get the message out. Click here for the event on Facebook.
It was time for the clocks to spring forward last night so here is a timely reminder to check that your car will charge at the time you think it will!
Check your car's clock and charge timer and the climate timer if you use one.
From the MUA EV tariff webpage: "you [the bill payer] are responsible to ensure that your electricity supply switches at the appropriate time by carrying out regular checks of the switching times of the meter. "
So it's a good time to check that your Electricity meter has the correct time and has not 'drifted'. MUA domestic meters operate on GMT so the off-peak rate for the EV tariff is always midnight to 7 a.m. GMT. Now that we are in British Summer Time (BST) all appliances that use the off-peak electricity should have their clocks checked.
My new MUA electricity meter, the Elster AS230 Single Phase Meter, has a clock capable of changing itself to BST but by the look of this image it is not activated.
The meter provides 2 Daylight Savings dates whereby the clock can be advanced by one or two hours at the start of the summer and can be retarded by one or two hours at the end of the summer.
That is a quote from the Elster AS230's manual which states that It is also capable of operating as a Smart Meter but that capability is not activated either. One day perhaps!
EVIOM came into being to provide answers to the many questions regarding EV ownership. Its purpose was to give new and prospective EV owners the benefit of knowledge gained by early adopters. So here we are, some 4 to 5 years later, and now every week a new EV arrives on the Island. The Nissan Leaf is by far the most popular due to the many great second-hand deals on offer but what can these new-to-EV drivers expect from their purchase? Below are a few things that may be of interest to new EV drivers. They are taken purely from our own experience and, as everyone’s driving style and journeys are different, are not meant to be typical for every EV.
Over the last 4 years we have driven our Leaf Acenta and covered 30,000 miles, mainly on-island. That’s a typical average of 20 miles a day. We are based in Douglas and have regular trips over the mountain to Ramsey and back as well as to all corners of the island. Our Leaf has a 24kWh battery and a 3.3 kW on-board charger. We charge overnight at home to the 80% battery capacity or what is termed the “Long Life” battery mode[i]. Occasionally we will set it to 100% if we know we have several trips to make the next day. Our home charger is a Rolec 32 Amp, which is capable of charging up to 7Kw. We bought this charger so we could ‘future proof’ the home charging capabilities should our next car have that greater charging capability. Although, in theory, we could have connected the charger to the garage wiring, we decided to add an extra, dedicated ‘circuit’ in our electrical distribution board. Unfortunately this meant the fitting of a new consumer unit but luckily this coincided with some other electrical work being undertaken at the same time. We bought the Charge Point directly from Rolec as there were few options for purchase at the time. Nowadays there are CPs from other manufacturers being offered for installation by registered local electricians.
It should be noted that only once have we had to charge the car from empty. Typically we have 20-30% left after our daily journeys and charging to 80% would take approximately 3.5 to 4 hours, which is ideal for overnight charging. We never rely on the Guess-O-Meter (GOM) which indicates approximate range, but instead, after a few weeks of driving, we soon got a feel for how much battery capacity we used on typical journeys and judge our range by the % reading. We also usually have the cabin pre-heat set to warm the car by 07:00 hrs, especially in the colder months.
We have a dual electricity meter provided by the MUA and this gives us cheaper, off-peak, electricity between midnight and 07:00 hrs. We set the car charging timer to start at 01:00 and charge until 80% full. We chose a 1 a.m. start time to compensate for the change to British Summer Time as the current electricity meter only has a clock based on GMT. It should be noted that it is the responsibility of the bill payer to ensure that the time clock on the meter is correct and in our experience it can "drift".
Here is a typical graph showing our overnight charging. The large peak is the battery charging and the smaller peak is when the climate control kicks in for the pre-heat. All this is pre-set and controlled from the Leaf’s on-board computer.
It May Be Winter Outside…
This is another reason we love our Leaf. Getting into a warm car with a frost-free windscreen on a cold winter morning is just one of the factors that makes driving an EV a pleasure. Smooth acceleration and regenerative braking also make for safer driving in winter. If it does get slippery then switching to ECO Mode and even turning off the traction control gives the car a better chance of grip in very bad road conditions.
In fact, all the year round, we will use ‘B’ mode regularly, particularly when going back and forth over the mountain. ECO mode in the towns is also recommended.
Like any car, the way you drive and the terrain affect the amount of fuel that you use. We are careful drivers but will quite happily “open her up” on the mountain road if conditions allow. We also like to set ourselves challenges as to how little battery percentage we use on typical journeys from Douglas to Ramsey. We have found that higher use of the battery mainly occurs when the traffic is such that we cannot take full advantage of regenerative braking. Obvious really!
There has been much talk recently about how badly the battery of an EV is affected by the cold weather and it is true there is an effect. But just how bad is it? Back in 2010 the AA[ii] ran a campaign that showed that both petrol and diesel cars exhibited an increase in fuel consumption due to cold weather. They showed that fuel consumption is higher when the engine is cold and stated “it could equate to an additional cost of 3p per litre”. Added to this is the extra use of heaters, lights, and heated screens/seats etc., which use more fuel no matter what type of car you drive.
When you first switch on the Leaf you will see an option, on the central console screen, to send telematics[iii] data to Nissan detailing your mileage and battery storage capacity. If you accept this you will be able to view your driving records on-line at “YOU+NISSAN” and also on the Nissan EV app on your smartphone.
This data is available on-line with about 2 years of historical data and will show you distance travelled, electricity consumption, travel time, CO2 savings and average energy economy. This term Average Energy Economy is very useful, as it will tell you how many miles you have travelled, on average, for one unit, or Kilowatt hour, of electricity (Miles/kWh). So if, for example, you average 4 miles per kWh and a unit is 8.75 pence then the electricity cost averages at just over 2 pence per mile.
Here is our chart showing the data collected from 1st. March 2016 to 28th February 2018. The top graph shows our Average Energy Economy in Miles/kWh, the highest reading in June 2016 at 4.5 Miles/kWh and the lowest being 3.5 Miles/kWh on several winter months. The lower graph shows the Average Mean Temperature measured at Ronaldsway.
The energy economy graph follows the temperature graph, which is to be expected, and it appears that we had a warmer summer in 2016 than 2017 but the recent 2018 February average mean temperature of 4° C didn’t have such a corresponding low in the economy reading. In short, I believe the lower economy figures in winter are similar to what you will find in ICE cars but obviously more noticeable when you have a smaller "tank" of fuel.
Turning Over A New Leaf
So that's a short summary of how we operate our Leaf and this post was written with the intention of giving some insight into EV ownership. When we look back, did the Leaf live up to our expectations? Well, yes, and much more. Our main reason for switching to pure EV was simply to remove the tail-pipe emissions. We were never under the illusion that it was a cheaper motoring option to ICE transport. No motorised transport is free. Saying that, we used to spend £185 on petrol each month and now our car fuel bill is about £15 a month which is a good saving to put towards purchasing a new car. We have never, in the last 4 years, had free road 'tax' although Electric Vehicles are now taxed at zero rate.
We are now ready to take ownership of the latest Leaf the 'Leaf 2.Zero', which by all reports, is a great improvement on the previous models. We will be very sorry to part with our current Leaf as the car shows no signs of wear and tear or battery degradation and is the easiest car we have ever driven.
[i] The 80% “Long Life” battery option was an option on the 24kWh leaf. Nissan have removed that option on the 30kWh Leaf.
[iii] At first there was no access to the Nissan Telematics system on the Isle of Man but campaigning by EVIOM who negotiated with Telenor, the company supplying the telematics infrastructure to Nissan, meant that the system has been available to IoM users since March 2014.
Diesel was a niche market in Europe until the mid-1990s, making up less than 10% of the car fleet. The sales of diesel cars have now overtaken those of petrol cars in the UK and the same trend can be found in Europe.
Diesels produce 15% less CO2 than petrol, but emit four times more nitrogen dioxide pollution (NO2) and 22 times more particulates - the tiny particles that penetrate the lungs, brain and heart.
Japanese and American carmakers backed research into hybrid and electric cars, but the European commission was lobbied strongly by big German carmakers BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler, to incentivise diesel. A switch to diesel was said by the industry to be a cheap and fast way to reduce the carbon emissions that drive climate change.
Only a year ago the European Commission started legal proceedings against the UK for failing to address high levels of urban air pollution.
In particular, levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2), an emission strongly linked to major respiratory illnesses and premature deaths, are considered "excessive" in many urban areas across the UK. In addition to aggravating existing health conditions such as asthma, research shows air pollution causes around 29,000 premature deaths in the UK every year.
At that time a test of real-world emissions found that 7 out of the 10 cars tested did not meet any of the European standards. It was reported that the UK has some of the worst NO2 levels in Europe.
So the VW scandal comes as no surprise. It has been widely reported, for some considerable time, that most cars do not reach any of the standards advertised by the manufacturers.
Yet we are still incentivised to buy these high polluters through lower taxation and fuel prices.
The oil companies and manufacturers of diesel cars are holding back the take-up of Zero emission vehicles. Is it now time for the Isle of Man government to provide incentives for the cleaner alternative – all Electric Vehicles? Should they also take a long hard look at how their aspiration to reduce emissions is being undermined by the car manufacturer's spurious claims regarding emissions from diesel and petrol cars?
Back in April 2014 EVIOM reported that incorrect fees had been applied to all EVs licenced in the Isle of Man. (See that post here). EV owners found themselves paying car tax at the low emissions band for Category B vehicles. At that time the situation was rectified and refunds were made.
Due to a blunder by the DoI when making the licence review in 2015 EVs were kept at a higher rate than low emission cars. EV owners found themselves paying almost three times the amount of car tax than for petrol/diesel/hybrid cars.
So if you own a fully electric car you would pay £14.00, whilst owners of a BMW i8 or Toyota Previa, for example, only pay £5.00. In fact over the last two years EV car tax has increased whilst polluting car's tax has decreased!
We are told that the DoI "will address the anomaly" in the next duty review but that they "are unable to refund any duty, but will reduce the rate in the new legislation that will be drafted"
EVIOM has suggested that the DoI should change the rate for ZERO emission cars to £0.00.
If this was done, at least for the next two years, it would address the fact that EV owners have paid extra this year and, more importantly, provide a better incentive to drive Zero emission vehicles.
Feel free to write to your MHK if you agree!
So this is Tynwald in action to reduce carbon emissions to zero by 2050!
It is the opinion of the author that it is time this government woke up to the fact that EVs are here on the island NOW and more and more are being used by island residents, businesses, town commissioners and even government departments. The government should be encouraging the use of EVs by prioritising ANY legislation that would help them achieve their published emissions target.
The minister recognises the fact that "Ever improving fuel efficiency standards and the introduction into the mainstream market of ultralow emission vehicles are leading us towards low emission transport systems which we need for the future." and that there is a "recent marked increase in fuel efficiency of new vehicles across Europe and the growth in numbers of electric and hydrogen powered vehicles."
But there is no government backing for EVs, and they are just paying lip-service to keep in-step with the international legislation. Making two blunders over the EV car tax in less than two years is inexcusable and shows a lack of commitment to encourage the use of low emission technologies.