We had a good time the Royal Manx Agricultural show this weekend. We chatted to a good number of people many of whom had already been looking into replacing their car with an EV in the near future.
It was interesting to hear what people thought of the cars. Many were surprised that an EV could be a decent sized family car, not just small city cars. Not too many people thought the range was as issue, especially for the island. An overwhelming theme was the purchase price of new cars, but I did find that a lot of people I spoke to were surprised to hear how long the modern crop of EVs have been on the market and there is a healthy second hand market growing. The most popular modern EV, the Nissan Leaf, is approaching it's 5th year on the market. Shop around and there are some bargains to be had.
I should have got some leaflets printed as people did want to take some info away with them. Links to URLs are tricky to hyperlink to in a field, even if they are more tree friendly.
Remember that the have the next EV Users Forum meeting next weekend on Saturday 15th of August from 10:00 at in the cafe at the Northern Swimming Pool, Ramsey. There is a charge point in the car park and plenty of space to bring you car or bike along.
Our family has never needed to own more than one car. I used to use a company van for work and have always owned a motorcycle. Since last year though I've changed jobs and we have another member of the family. As from September Mrs EVIOM ends her maternity leave and heads back to work teaching the EV drivers of the future.
So I started looking at options for a second car:
Option 1 - Buy a cheap second hand car for peanuts and run that. I could pick up a small petrol or diesel car pretty cheaply that would do the job but the thought of fuelling up at the pump again left me feeling sick. Not to mention the pollution from an older car and the maintenance costs.
Option 2 - Lease a new EV. Now that's more like it, but could I afford to?
Only the oracle Google could help with this one. A quick search on the web showed that a lot of EVs could be leased but most are still quite expensive compared with their gas guzzling equivalents. Then I came across the Renault website, and their lease offering. Prices from as little as £179 per month! Surely that can't be right? Initial research showed it was right but unfortunately wasn't available to us poor souls in the middle of the Irish Sea. As most of you will know that have tried to purchase an EV in the Isle of Man the local Renault dealer Eurocars won't have anything to do with Renault's Z.E. range.
Back to google then as I'd decided this was the right car for me. It had 5 seats, was slightly smaller than the Leaf but had good range and spec. I'd had a good look at one while at the London round of the Formula E race. So I persevered.
I found a company called Fuelincluded.com that were offering Zoe's for lease for as little at £145 per month. The deal I wanted, to included up to 10,000 miles per year would have been £199. The beauty of this deal was that the electricity you used to run the car would be refunded every quarter so your fuel was included in your monthly payments, true fixed cost motoring.
I contacted the company who put me in touch with the Renault dealer in Liverpool to arrange the car. After a couple of weeks emailing and making phone calls I was told that I would not be able to take out the lease from the Isle of Man. On top of that I was told that I couldn't even buy a second hand Renault as I would have to lease the battery (there is now an option to buy a Renault Zoe outright) and the finance company wouldn't do that for someone on the Isle of Man. I was gutted to say the least. This meant that no Manx resident could own a Renault EV, surely this couldn't be right?
Oh, hey Google...
I knew you could now buy a Renault Zoe without leasing the battery now but would there be any second hand cars without the battery lease? I found a dealer in the Irvine, Ayrshire that had a number of Zoe's for sale from £6995. I contacted the dealer asking if any of them could be purchased outright. The answer was no.
But that wasn't the end of the story. This time it was Brian McGhie of Parks of Irvine that took on the challenge, not Google. He said I could lease a new Zoe for less than I could finance a secondhand car. I told him of my struggle and rejection by Renault Liverpool. With this in mind he cautiously went away to research this for me but was confident we could arrange something. I wasn't holding my breath.
So Brian called me back saying that we could indeed lease a Zoe and take advantage of the lease offer... So I have now paid my deposit and the car is on order and I should be over to pick it up in a couple of weeks. Chargemaster have also been in touch to arrange the installation of my free charge point.
I'm still not convinced it will be plain sailing with the charge point installation as they are asking for details that I think is only on a UK electricity bill and of course the problem of getting one of their electricians to install it (I don't think they have realised where I am yet), but I'll keep the blog updated with the progress on that separately.
Also I'll keep posting on the progress of getting the car collected, registered, driving back to the island and re-registering it here. I do these things first so you don't have to...
It's also worth mentioning that I contact Roy Hall of Neva Consultants to look into leasing a car from the Isle of Man. Roy was on the phone when myself and Cat Turner were on Manx Radio's Talking Head's. Roy has leased six Peugeot iONs on the island. It seems that the finance company's system struggled with the Renault so I had to go elsewhere this time. If you're after other vehicles though, especially the iON i'd recommend giving him a call.
The 2nd EV Users forum meeting will be held at the Northern Swimming Pool, Ramsey on the 15th of August. The last meeting, held the Green Centre in Douglas, was considered useful and it was great for EV owners and those interested in EVs to get to gather and compare notes and discuss the practicalities of EV ownership on the Isle of Man.
We previously had Richard Bujko, Strategy & Business Development Manager at Manx Utilities, who was good enough to listen to the forum's thoughts and update us on the MUA's plans regarding EVs. Since the last meeting we have seen some charging bays painted as EV only and we are looking forward to seeing updated information of EV tariffs, public charging etc. Unfortunately Richard will be unable to attend on the 15th but we are hoping to have Andrew Cowie come along to represent the MUA. We are hoping that Andrew can bring along one of the MUA's Peugeot iONs or even the ManTTX TTZero race bike. Fingers crossed for that.
There is charging available at at the rear of the swimming pool building in the main car park. Although given the numbers of EVs at the last event we will have to take turns.
Electric cars, motorbikes, scooters and e-bicycles are all welcome, as are those who don't have EVs but would like to participate to learn more, or share their previous experiences.
We'll be meeting at 10am, on Saturday 15th August 2015, at the cafe by the pool, we've reserved the long tables in the front window. We aim to gather at 10am, get everyone parked up and fuelled with tea and cake, and kick off the meeting at 10.15am-ish.
If you would like to see a copy of the previous minutes please drop EVIOM message via the contact page, Facebook or Twitter with your e-mail address and I can forward them on.
New Fully Charged episode from Robert Llewellyn (@bobbyllew).
"A slightly bumpy ride around the less glamorous outskirts of Paris in the recently released Nissan env200 Evalia. It's a 7 seater MPV, a mini van. Driven by Nikki Gordon Bloomfield and co-piloted by Premier Cabs (Blackpool) CEO John Cutler."
We had reported the blocked EV space to Castletown Commissioners via the following URL; http://www.castletown.gov.im/forms.aspx and on our way back to the car, 100% charge by the time to roads opened for the lunch break at the Southern 100 races, we received a phone call from the Commissioners to say that Police had found the owner of the car and ask them to move it. Which they did.
So thanks to Castletown Commissioners, the Police and the owner of the car for moving. Seems the system works.
After our travels to England in the Leaf I've been thinking about public charging infrastructure in the Isle of Man. The regional model in the UK makes things a bit tricky and difficult for visitors. It's great for those that travel those routes regularly but to join a subscription service for all the regional schemes is impractical. Ecotricitys Chargers and Ireland's eCars scheme are free once you've registered.
For the Isle of Man I'd like to see a network of public charging stations that are free at the point of use and open for visitors to use. We don't make non-residents register in advance before they can buy petrol from a petrol station. Also, without an extensive public charging infrastructure I can't see how we could encourage EV ownership for those without their own driveway or some kind of off street parking.
I want to see what people's views are on public charging. Do you think more points are needed? What type of connectors and power output would you like from them? Would you pay a subscription or like them to be free to use? Should tourists be able to use them for free?
A big question is how should we finance them? A subscription fee? Rates? Car tax? Corporate sponsorship and/or government funding? Or even set up a cooperative?
My own opinion is that a good public charging infrastructure is key to breaking the chicken and egg paradox for greater EV ownership. If you think about it we can charge our cars almost anywhere there is power. At someone's home, quayside, lamp post, pub car park.
It may be that in a couple of years with affordable cars than can easily achieve 200+ miles it may not be so much of an issue. However, if you have to park your car on the street or public car park overnight you need somewhere to plug in.
10:45 this morning (Wednesday 10th June) will see the 6th Zero Emissions motorcycle race over the TT Mountain Course. Due to poor weather conditions and other unfortunate delays over practice and race week the schedule has been a bit mixed up, but hopefully things will go to plan for the rest of the week.
The first electric race took place in 2009 under the banner of the TTXGP and was split into the Pro and Open classes. Rob Barber won the Pro class and overall on the Agni machine with a standing start lap speed of 87.43mph. The Open class was won by Chris Heath at 66.02mph. These were the winning times, the slowest time of the race being 40.09mph for the Brunel X-team.
The following year the the Isle of Man Department of Tourism and Leisure took over and the TT Zero was born. The story of what happened between Azhar Hussain's TTXGP series, the FIM and the Isle of Man can be left for another article.
2010 saw the lap record rise to 96.82mph with Mark Miller and the MotoCzysz E1pc. An impressive increase in performance on the previous year.
The following year a prize was offered for the first bike to break 100mph average speed. Michael Rutter and Mark Miller got close with 99.6mph and 98.29mph respectively on their MotoCzysz machines.
MotoCzysz saw some real competition in 2012 with the appearance on Mugen on the TT Zero grid ridden by King of the Mountain John McGuinness. There was a close battle between McGuinness and Rutter for the honour of being the first achieve 100mph. The three podium place men ended up all lapping over 100mph. Micheal Rutter taking the top step with 104.056mph!
2013 saw the same top top men in the same order. MotoCzysz mounted Rutter breaking the ever increasing lap record with 109.675mph while the Mugen Shinden still wasn't far behind with 109.527mph...
MotoCzysz didn't return in 2014 due to it's maverick creator Michael Czysz's ill health. Now Mugen had two Shinden San machine's ridden by John McGuinness and Bruce Anstey. Lap times took another big leap with a new fastest race time on 19' 17.3" and 117.366mph.
This year so far hasn't seen such a big increase in speed, although the lap record has been unofficially broken in practice by McGuinness on the latest Mugen Shinden incarnation at 118.056mph and registering 162mph on the Sulby straight.
Mugen's main competition this year come from the Victory motorcycles. This is basically the Brammo bike and team after Victory Motorcycles owner Polaris took over Brammo. Both Victory machines have lapped over 100mph so far. A last minute change of rider from William Dunlop to Guy Martin after Williams crash in Monday's Supersport practice which has taken him out for the rest of this years TT.
The Saroléa team also managed to lap at 101.02mph in thier final practice. So out of 7 entrants that made it to this years TT (10 listed in the programme) 5 have lapped over 100mph. Can the Lightweight lap record be broken today? Or will we see 120mph?
It would seem that the Mugens will take the top two steps followed by Martin or Johnston on the Victory. However, the Mountain Course if tough on bikes and the saying says "to finish first, first you have to finish" is as true for the TT Zero bikes as it is for the other classes.
Good luck to all competitors and teams and here's to a good race that see's some close racing, lap records and everyone back home safely.