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.
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.
Reading through the proposal there would be an increase for many car owners with vehicles taxed on engine size, if first registered before 1st April 2010, of between £1 and £31. However, most articles and discussions on social media ignore the benefits for owners of EVs, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, classic cars and welfare vehicles. The proposed increases affected older vehicles taxed on their engine size, with those taxed on emissions seeing zero or small increases. Although, strangely, the higher emission band saw a decrease.
The new proposal was by no means perfect but EVIOM were glad to see some progress from an EV perspective, which this blog is unapologetically biased toward. The existence of modern zero emission EVs had been acknowledged and EVs registered in category 'L' were to pay £0. Whatever you call it, this is a "road tax" and there is the question of whether EVs should be exempt. In answer to that we'd say that once more than half the vehicles on the road are zero and/or ultra low emission it won't be sustainable to have a zero or very low rate of duty. However, we are a very long way from that tipping point and until we get there cleaner vehicles must be encouraged for the sake of health and the environment locally and globally.
The Order was withdrawn by Minister Harmer as he thought the majority of the Legislative Council would vote against it. It would seem that government isn't willing to make changes that could prove unpopular with some and again prove the lack of commitment to environmental issues and reducing emissions.
The Department has outlined the principles behind its proposals and supplied supporting information, comparisons and examples. However, it is clear that some Tynwald Members still have questions, so I am happy to organise a briefing to provide a fuller understanding of the changes and the alternatives
Infrastructure Minister Ray Harmer MHK
To be clear, EVIOM has at no point asked for EVs to be exempt from paying any kind of duty. What we have been asking for is parity with other vehicles of the same type but propelled by other means. To us it would make sense to categorise a vehicle, such as the Nissan Leaf, as category B in the lower emissions band. Once the older, more polluting vehicles age out and are removed from our roads the duty paid for this band would have to increase to maintain revenue for the island's road infrastructure.
Ideally EVIOM would have liked EVs to be categorised by the type of vehicle they are rather than all lumped together. Also, some government documentation states that a driver must be over 21 to drive a vehicle in category 'L'. These are issues the DOI had not addressed in this new proposal, but we hoped this would be the first step.
EVIOM has also been made aware that it's a bit of a lottery when registering an EV or PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle), with some vehicle owners paying five times more than others for the same car! It does seem very strange to us that the category of a vehicle for the purposes of both taxation and driving licenses should be open to interpretation.
There are some parts of the Isle of Man Government who intend leasing the right to extract new fossil fuels from the sea bed in Manx waters. EVIOM believe that to do our part in fighting global warming, fossil fuels should be kept in the ground and resources be directed toward renewable energy.
We'd ask you to take a look at the petition below and sign if you agree:
We believe that exploration and extraction of fossil fuels (possibly using fracking techniques) is not compatible with the islands environmental commitments and it's UNESCO world biosphere status.
One question we often get asked at EVIOM is how many Electric Vehicles there are on the Isle of Man. We've asked Vehicle Licensing a few times over the years recently we got the figures sent though. It's tough to know the exact number as not all vehicles are Manx registered due to being recently imported or maybe if someone has a UK address a car would be registered there to benefit from the UK's Plug-in car grant. Other issues with counting EVs is that the vehicle categories used when registering on the Isle of Man. Some EVs seem to end up being registered as Category B, some Category L and some hybrids seem to have made it through to Category L regardless of whether they have a plug or not.
All this makes a true count impossible but we can report on the number registered as an 'Electric Vehicles' and Category L. These include cars, vans motorcycles and mopeds all lumped in together.
At present there are 93 registered EVs on the island. There are 63 hatchback cars, 10 vans, 7 motorcycles and 3 mopeds. There are also a handful of vehicles classed as quadricycles and agricultural vehicles along with one very interesting vintage car circa 1916. If the owner of this vehicle would like to get in touch EVIOM would be very keen to take a look. As many makes and models are singular we won't publish a complete list of each but the over 50% of the total are Nissan, 43 Leafs and 8 eNV-200 vans. After that we are into single digits for Peugeot, BMW, Tesla and Renault.
Cars and bikes aren't differentiated, so along with the others we have a total of 10 electric 2 wheelers including mopeds, maxi scooters and the famous Saroléa Manx 7.
Strangely there is at least one or two vehicles on the list that are hybrids of the non-plugin variety so it's strange they make the Category L list but it has become clear that vehicle category can be somewhat hit and miss here on the island. Plug-in Hybrids shouldn't be on this list either and we have no way of knowing how many there are presently. This is a shame as plug-ins are rapidly increasing in numbers on our roads.
It's a small number compared to the large amount of vehicles per head on the Isle of Man. Given many discrepancies in vehicle registration categories, however, it doesn't seem that the count is complete or indeed accurate but does give an indication of the numbers.
If you own or know of any of the interesting or unique EVs on the island please get in touch as we would love to learn a little more about them and you.
EVIOM is pleased to report that the anomaly surrounding vehicle duty for zero emission vehicles has been raised in the House of Keys this week (Tuesday 14th February).
David Ashford (Douglas North) asked the Minister for Infrastructure, Ray Harmer, "what consideration had been given by his Department to varying vehicle duty for alternative fuel cars?" Mr Harmer advised he intends to take a revised Vehicle Duty Order to Tynwald this March. This interim order will address a number of different issues but he did confirm that he proposes to include a zero rating for electric vehicles. Over the next 12 months the Department will carry out a review of road pricing and attempt to address the balance of maintaining revenue with the Government commitment to reducing carbon emissions and incentivise "desirable behaviour". The review will involve looking at strategies employed by other jurisdictions and will include some kind of consultation.
Recognising that Electric cars, or EVs, are the predominant type of zero emission vehicle Mr Ashford pushed for confirmation that all types of alternatively fuelled vehicles will be included in the review and close attention paid to changes announced by the UK Chancellor in their 2015 budget for April this year. From April, in the UK, zero emission vehicles will have a standard rate of £0 but if the list price is over £40,000 they will pay the additional rate of £310 a year for 5 years. The Minister confirmed that he will "take a very close look at what is happening in other jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom."
It is not just about carbon emissions; it is also about affordability and the commercial sector.
Ray Harmer MHK - on the subject of vehicle duty based on CO2 emissions
MHK for Ramsey Dr Alex Allinson also highlighted the current anomaly of zero emission EVs paying more duty than low emission or hybrid vehicles. Dr Allinson went on to ask if there would be any other incentives to try and encourage the adoption of electric vehicles in the Isle of Man? Mr Harmer confirmed his Department would be looking at this but warned that in order to introduce a similar scheme to the Plug-in Car Grant in the UK it could cost the Manx tax payer in the region of £300,000.
Those other schemes such as grants could be looked at, but we have also got to take into consideration budget factors.
Ray Harmer MHK - on plug-in vehicle grants
The lack of public charging infrastructure and how this could hamper attempts to encourage the uptake of electric vehicles was also brought up during the discussion by Mr Ashford. Mr Harmer didn't reply with any specific plans in this area but did say that he would like to work with other Departments and the MUA on the provision of public charging as well as encouraging overnight charging when demand is low and off-peak tariffs are available.
I do think it is something to actually work together as a Government looking at both the economic benefit and also the potential new innovations in the future.
Ray Harmer MHK - on the question of public charging infrastructure
EVIOM are pleased this is finally being looked at as we have been highlighting vehicle duty anomalies since 2013. We look forward to seeing what changes will be made in the short term and hope for much greater encouragement of EVs on the island in the long term. If you haven't seen it already I encourage you to take a look at this post on EVIOM entitled EV Disincentives – A Letter to Your MHK a post that outlines what we see as the main disincentives to owning an EV on the Isle of Man and what we'd like the Isle of Man Government to consider in order to encourage the uptake of EVs. In it we ask you to forward this letter, along with a covering letter/email, to your own MHK.
Here's a poem from an EVIOM follower and proud new EV owner who was shocked to discover the the Isle of Man Government charges more to license a zero emission EV that some petrol, diesel or hybrid cars. See related article here.
I've bought myself a new car, electric one you see to help with our emissions, I'm as pleased as I can be.
When I came to get a license it's cost me three times more than someone with a hybrid and I think that's really poor whoever in the government thought up this idea that zero should cost more, it really is quite clear.
Over in the Uk the charge is actually free but on the Isle of Man they want money out of me.
The licensing department say the area is grey but it's obvious to me, there really is no way that zero comes above an emission guide of fifty it's written on the form, I am not trying to be shifty It clearly states in Band A it should only cost five pounds and I can hear you all now making spluttering sounds it's not about the money but the principle at stake.
I really think our government has made a big mistake they need to help all e-drivers who are helping with the quest to cut out all emissions, we are all trying our best.
So the licensing department needs to be put straight as hopefully our government will sort out this debate.
By Poetry Pam
The poem was published in the Isle of Man Examiner on October 6th 2016, you can find it here.
TT 2016 is just round the corner and that means another installment of the TT Zero race. Mocked by some, loved by others, you can't argue that the rate of progress these bikes and teams have made since the first electric race over the mountain course in the the form of the TTXGP. Anyone with an interest in the sport or automotive technology can't help but be impressed.
Here's a quick reminder of where we came from. The 2009 TTXGP winning lap by Rob Barber on the AGNI was 87.434MPH and the first TT Zero race in 2010 was won by Mark Miller on the MotoCzysz E1pc at an average speed of 99.604MPH. By 2015 John McGuinness took the Mugen Shinden to the win at 119.279MPH.
This year sees the return of McGuinness and Anstey with team Mugen on the new 2016 Mugen Shinden Go. Victory's sole rider, William Dunlop, will ride the new Empulse RR. Friends of EVIOM, Saroléa, return to the island and have confirmed two riders this year, Lee Johnston and Dean Harrison will ride the beautiful Belgian bike for the one lap race.
The official TT programme shows other entries from the Universities of Nottingham, Brunel and Bath. A Lito TMR (I couldn't find any information on this machine), one unconfirmed machine ridden by Antonio Maeso and an intriguing entry for Mark Miller and Splitlath...
There is also a third Saroléa bike in the list but as mentioned earlier, the actual entries do tend to vary a fair bit between the programme and the start line on Wednesday of Race Week.
EVIOM wishes all the teams and riders the best of luck and is looking forward to a great and hopefully record breaking race.
To find out more information on practice and race schedules visit iomtt.com and listen live over the air or online via Radio TT. The race will also be shown on ITV4 in the UK and IOM.
You may or may not be aware that Tesla Motors visited the Isle of Man recently to meet potential customers and offer test drives in a Model S P90D they brought with them. EVIOM managed to wangle a go.
Lets get the numbers out of the way first. Or rather the numbers and letters. The model we tested was the P90D, that's 'P' for Performance as this model has the more powerful motor in the rear. '90' denotes a battery capacity of 90KWh, it's the 85KWh model with an optional upgrade giving the car an increase in range of 6%. The 'D" means all-wheel drive, one motor in the front and one in the rear with no heavy drive-shaft between the two axles, this means the floor of the cabin is flat and there are no restriction of leg room.
The Model S comes in a range of versions from the rear-wheel drive 70 starting at £51,900 all the way to the P90D at £84,500. Both prices are before incentives such at the UK plug-in car grant if you are able to register the car in the UK rather than the Isle of Man. There are a range of additional options available such as Smart Air Suspension which automatically adjusts itself to the road surface and is location aware so can learn where your steep driveway is and raise the suspension for you. There is also the famous Autopilot feature which allows the Model S to automatically steer within its own lane, it has traffic-aware cruise control and will park for you as well. Our Model S had the acceleration choices of Sport and Insane mode allowing the car to accelerate from 0-60MPH in in just 3.1 seconds, the optional Ludicrous mode decreases this to 2.8 seconds and a quarter-mile time of 10.9 seconds. Not bad for a 7 seater luxury car. Range is the Tesla's other impressive number with NEDC claimed figures between 275 and 320 depending on the battery chosen. Take a look at the Tesla Motors website and build your own model S to the spec you want.
The numbers are all very impressive, whether they be prefixed with pound signs or suffixed with the letters M, P and H. But what Tesla Motors have built here is a high quality luxury car with superb ride quality, more technology that the space shuttle (maybe not a SpaceX rocket) and negligible running costs. One potential owner said he wouldn't be buying a Model S after all because of the price of electricity on the Isle of Man. This seems to be the most misinformed reason for not buying a Tesla, assuming you could afford the asking price, so I got out my calculator. If you charged the P90D at the peak rate electricity price of 16.25p per unit it would cost you £14.62 (plus VAT at 5%) to charge from totally flat to full and on that you could reasonably drive around 300 miles. If you can't afford that then you can't afford any car let alone a Tesla!
The car drives so smoothly whether you're in traffic, pootling around country lanes or exploring all that Insane mode has to offer. No matter how you are driving it there are no extra vibrations or noise, something that EV drivers are already accustomed to. The Tesla just turns this up to 11, or down from 11, erm... Throttle response is instant as there's no waiting for revs to build or for an automatic gearbox to decide what gear you should be in. I recently drove a Mercedes C class (hybrid) and was so annoyed by the throttle lag and noise from the engine when it finally decided to do what I told it to do. EVs have spoiled me on this front but this is the 21st century after all. Although all modern EVs have this instant torque and response you can use the Model S as you like without worrying about range due to the size of the battery.
The battery itself is an impressive piece of technology. You can charge the car from a domestic 10 amp 3-pin socket, giving you a measly 7 miles per hour on charge, right up to the Tesla Supercharger which has a whacking great 120KW DC kick and will give you 170 miles range per half hour charge. The Tesla isn't picky when it comes to charging, the car has a type-2 7-pin socket with a range of standard and optional adaptors allowing you to take advantage of almost any kind of power socket such as an industrial 3-phase supply or a CHAdeMO DC rapid charger such as those found at UK motorway service stations and supplied by Ecotricity. Both the Tesla Superchargers and Ecotricty rapid chargers are free to use.
The interior of the car has everything you'd expect on a high-end luxury car, there's too much for me to list here. The most striking feature of the interior is the 17" touch screen which makes up the centre console.
From here you control most of the car's functions from media, navigation, phone, lights, ride height, regenerative braking and even check you calendar. It's quite an imposing console and I must admit that at first sight it gave the impression of a 60 inch TV in a bed sit. Once you realise that there are no other buttons or controls on the centre console it starts to look OK, much like that 60 inch TV over time. For the iPad generation its intuitive and responsive to use.
The Model S is far from being an everyman car, but this is precisely what it isn't trying to be. Tesla took a top down approach when building cars for the first time with the Roadster then the Model S and soon the Model X. If you were in the market for a high performance yet practical luxury car it would be ludicrous (no pun intended) not to go for the Model S. Just because you have the finances for a car like this doesn't mean you want to throw money away on services and fuel costs. Plus there's the superior feel and response of the electric drive train, once you've driven electric you won't want to go back to 19th century technology. I don't want to get into the debate on whether EVs are "green" but they are responsible for fewer harmful emissions in our towns and cities so that has to be a consideration too and that also means that the Model S is exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
I like what Tesla and their CEO Elon Musk have tried to do. They've aspired to create a new car company that doesn't follow the same tired road that the rest do and have forced the established car manufacturers into a position where they are playing catchup. Tesla have made their patents freely available to anyone to try to encourage others to start building credible EVs, it's amazing more haven't as yet. The Tesla model S isn't a car I can't afford to own myself but it's certainly one I aspire to own, that's got to be the mark of a great piece of design, engineering and not to mention marketing.
EVIOM would like to thank Tesla Motors for allowing us the test drive. Especially Jean-Luc and Wendy from Tesla Motors, Manchester South.
As I have come to realise, traveling across the UK in an electric car is full of ups and downs.
It all started well. We collected the car with a full charge from Park's, Irvine with a full charge and a list of post codes for the satnav. No fuss at the dealer. Signed the forms, ran through the basics of the car and headed south. I'd worked out that we had just enough on one charge to get to the rapid charger in Dumfries but along the way we spotted the CYC charger at New Cumnock so pulled in top up and play with the buttons. I was surprised how quickly the car charged as I'd heard that the 2015 Zoe charged slower than previous models.
I really wanted to pull into a charge point along the way in a wind farm, but unfortunately we missed the turning as it was just down a small and tiny road and would have meant doubling back on ourselves. But no to worry there was a rapid charger in Dumfries.
Well, there is a rapid CYC charger in Dumfries but the AC charge cable was connecting to a Zoe that had finished charging was locked into the car. I couldn't disconnect it. The car belonged to a company call Co Wheels so I googled the name and found a contact number. The guy on the phone told me that they had a deal with Dumfries council for exclusive use of the charger and no one had the key for the car to come and disconnect the cable. It all sounded like total rubbish to me, they were just monopolising the charger. Plugshare showed a slow charger at Dumfries Royal Infimary, I though it would do for a slight top up as the car was showing 39 miles range for out remaining 29 miles to drive.
Well, that charger was also a bust! None of my RFID cards worked and the charger had no sign or information on how to use it. We decided to give it up as a bad job, grab a bite to eat and head to the Travelodge with an Ecotricity Rapid charger. At least I knew I had all evening and night to get someone to fix it if we had any problems with that one.
I love Ecotricty! The charger worked. By the time we'd checked in and grabbed some snacks to munch on while watching Doctor Who a guy in a BMW i3 was sat waiting to charge and Zoe was almost full anyway. It goes to show how many people are using the rapids on the motorways.
I'll have a good whinge to Go Wheels, Charge Your Car and Dumfries Council when I get back home. I may need to do this journey again and the rapid at Dumfries fills a big gap in the area.
Tomorrow's another day and we should have plenty of time to get to Heysham for the 2:15 boat. Fingers crossed...