Time to say goodbye

We are trying to sell out Ioniq Electric. After our last trip to France, and the issues with CCS charging, we decided we had had enough of looking for a charging place every 150 km or so. So it has to go. In a way I will be sad to see it go. It’s a lovely car, and I still get a thrill every time I sit in it. But its time to change.

The next car is on order and if all goes well, it should be here in August or September.

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France trip during Covid-19

Due to family illness we need to goto France to sort out some health related issues with my wife mother. The trip has taken a month to arrange after we were told by the social services that we had to go for a meeting, most of that time was to get permissions sorted out. At the time of travel, people living in France were not allowed to go more than 100km from their home and not from one department to another. We have to cross from the east to the west of France.

Then there is Corri-door, the French rapid charger network on the Autoroute, or perhaps better said the ex-network. Att he start of 2020 they switched off the network with no warning and have stated they do not intend to restore the service. so 200 chargers missing. As a result there are no rapid chargers from Corri-door on our route that we can use. Luckily there is Ionity at a couple of locations, but we had to fall back to type 2 chargers as well, so out trip was longer than usual.

Finally, the hotel we had a confirmed reservation for in Beaune told us, when we enquired if the restaurant was open 2 days before travel, that they were closed on the date of our reservation. Nice of them to tell us, or it would have been. Ok We managed to get our prepayment back and book a new place but it was annoying.

moving around our final destination, to and from the hospital wasn’t an issue as we could plug our granny charger in to recharge, and there was a local type 2 when we went shopping, but compared to last time charging was an issue.

On our way home, in Orleans all the type 2 chargers we tried were out of order. Our Ioniq has a range of 240 max and on the Autoroute more like 180 before we must recharge. Our route has gaps in rapid charging of 300km. France, you need to get your act together. Corri-door is doing more to kill the EV than the fossile lobby!

We will probably have to go again to France later int he year, and I am not looking forward to it.

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So what happened to the Portugal trip?

Well in a word, nothing.

Since the end of 2018 I have been long term sick and my health insurance would not allow me to travel. So apart from a couple of short day trips our Ioniq has hardly been used. The last trip we made was for a week to Pisa in January 2019 at the suggestion of my Dr and before the health insurance told me I was not allowed to leave my home area. Between Feb and Dec 2019 we have covered only about 6000km.

And then came Covid-19.

Between Jan and Apr 2020 we have covered a whopping 500 km. This has lead me to reduce the tariff I have for my insurance to the minimum available. We need to visit family in France but that is also currently not possible.

Things will get better.

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A charge card for Portugal

For our Sumer holidays this year we were torn between going to south Italy or to attempt to get to Portugal. So of course I started to investigate getting an access card for the Spanish and Portuguese charging network. Spain was relatively easy. Just get the IBIL & Easy Charger apps, and make an account. I few days later I received an RFID card and that was that.

Portugal was not quite so simple. First download the Mobi.e app and create an account. That was easy, and gives access to the AC charging network. But what about DC charging ? Well, there you need to have a contract with a CEME. Now the website of Mobi.e does have a list of CEME, but finding one that has a website, and of those, the ones that have the website in English isn’t so easy. Google translate can help a lot, but often important information is in areas that Google can’t translate such as images or dropdown boxes in scripts.

I ended up on the website of Prio, and with Googles help managed to find what I need and an application form, which of course was in Portuguese. I managed to get it filled in but discovered I needed to print it, and include a Portuguese tax number, which of course I don’t have. I sent it in by post anyway and used Google to write a letter saying I didn’t live in Portugal and was visiting just for a couple of weeks. The response was that I still needed a tax number and my German one would be ok. So filled out the form again, sent it in and it was rejected as the tax number was incorrect. After a lot of emails, with Google translate the very patient staff of Prio helped me get what they actually needed and hay presto, the account was opened, and all I needed to do was log in and change my password.

Except I couldn’t log in, it didn’t work

More emails. more back and forth and the guy changed the password and send me the replacement, and with that I could log in, and reset the password again.

Next step was to apply for a charge card. Opening a account does not apply for a card!. Well, I found out how to do that and waited, and waited. Nothing. A couple of days ago I thought I must have done something wrong, or the card had been lost in the post, so yesterday I applied for another card. Today, the original turned up. it just needs to be activated, and the PIN number chaged at a Portuguese charge point.

So yeh, I can now I can charge in Portugal. Unfortunately not. Due to illness I am currently off work, and my health insurance has told me I am not allowed to take a holiday, even though it would do me a world of good.

Prio Chargecard arrives.
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Future EV ?

Although my Ioniq is only 18 months or so old, I have been thinking for some time about what comes next. Originally I was thinking a Tesla Model 3 or maybe a Kona. However, a car I have been following for a while looks extremely interesting, and that’s the Byton M-Byte. I don’t know the pricing yet, nor have I seen one in the flesh, or should that be in the steel, so that will be a deciding factor of course. Another contender might be the Polestar 2, but I suspect that will be too expensive for me.

When can we expect to see the Byton on sale. Well, I don’t know that either, but Byton has said end 2019. I am assuming that will be China or the USA, with the EU more 2020. A 2020/2021 delivery time would fit in to my expected car change timetable quite nicely. However, of course, by then the Tesla Model Y will, *might*, be out and even perhaps a VW EV, or maybe not. One thing is certain the options available in a year or two will be more than now, with better range and hopefully lower prices. Delivery times are for me not as important. I had originally planned to keep the Ioniq for up to 6 years, so if I need to wait a year for delivery, it just means I order a bit earlier.

So what will I be looking for in a new EV? First and foremost, a fast charging speed, then the range. I would rather charge for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours than charge for 90 minutes every 6 hours. I tend to take a break every 2 hours when driving anyway as there comes a point when range is hours per bladder. Equipment level is naturally important, as are OTA software updates. So a built in wifi/LTE will be needed too. I love my regen paddles on the Ioniq and use them constantly. A large infotainment center is essential along with a good sound system. Full autonomy isn’t something I am looking for, but I can see it being of use as I get older, and my reaction times get longer. I can’t see me putting my car into a car sharing pool.

I guess time will tell what will happen when it comes time to upgrade. I am not in any hurry, the market is changing so fate that what id fantasy today will be the norm tomorrow. Who knows what we will see on sale in 2 or 3 years time. What “secret projects” are out there that will surprise us?

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2019 the first few months

Due to illness I haven’t updated the blog for a while, or for that matter driven very much. So what’s been going on with the Ioniq ?

In January we drove to Pisa for a week. We left very early int he morning and reached Pisa y early evening. The trip was a bit of an adventure with a terrible snow storm, in fact the next day the Brenner pass was blocked due to the amount of snow. We also had issues with getting a charged in one town. Enel X had a charger their at the offices, but refused access, despite their own app saying access was possible. Another charger in the town was defective, and a 3rd didn’t even exist. Eventually we got a charge at Lidl. The trips around Pisa were nice and relaxing. Plenty of type 2 chargers, but not many CCS.

Otherwise, we had a few short trips pin the local area and one trip to Heilbronn for my wife to run the half marathon, and another to Linz for the day.

The car is still performing perfectly, and we are still very happy with it.

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30,000Km Service and costs over the year.

It is now almost a year since we bought the Ioniq, and its time for its 30,000Km service. Actually it’s a few Km early, but I needed to get the winter tyres fitted so it made sense to do both at once. The cost breakdown is as follows:

  • €89.00 – 30,000 Km inspection.
  • €25.00 – New pollen filter
  • €71.20 – Mounting winter tyres on rims, balancing etc.
  • €35.60 – Cleaning all 4 break callipers and greasing mechanism.
  • €37.82 – Storage of summer tyres.
  • €49.14 – VAT.

This makes a total cost of €307.76 which is ok when you consider that includes a more work intensive tyre change. Our battery State of Health is at 100%, so no degradation despite probably 95% of the charging being rapid charges. In addition the inspection cost, we have had a total fuel cost of circa €450 over the 30,000Km. Our fully comprehensive insurance is relatively expensive at about €600. This works out at about 4 cents per Km (excluding cost of buying the car of course).  Judging by the prices I have seen for used Ioniq of a lower specification than ours, I would estimate depreciation has been about €2000 over the year. The Ioniq is currently in such high demand that the values are not really dropping much. I have even seen some offered for sale, and sold, at more than the original purchase price.

So all in all we are very happy about our EV and do not regret it for one moment.

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eRuda. A disappointment.

eRuda, or elektrisch Rund um den Ammersee, is the biggest meeting of EV drivers in Germany, and this year there was something like 270 EV registered to take part over the 3 day event. I had been looking forward to this since the spring. The meeting place was in Weilheim on the Friday 5th October. On arrival, we were not greeted or directed to park in any specific place, which surprised me as we had registered as part of a team. The first event we were due to take part in had already left a few minutes before we arrived, and so we were told just to make our own way to the destination. On arrival,  we waited a long time, looking for other people taking part before eventually we found them. The presentation about the village of Wildpoldsried was interesting however. In the evening there was a briefing for the next days “challenge”, followed by a presentation by Otto Schönbach who drove in a Twizzy from Munich to Nordkap. What a crazy trip!

Saturday we arrived early so we could be in the group leaving by 8:30. We had expected a start photo and to be registered as setting off. There were a couple of people standing around, and on enquiry we were told just to set off. The “challenge” was to get to the top of the glassier road, Rettenbachferner, the highest road in the EU. I didn’t find it that much of a challenge. I had expected the pass to be steeper. We saw a few other EV who were attempting it without recharging, by driving very slow, and thus causing a lot of tailbacks.  I don’t think slow driving EVs really promote their adoption. Anyway, we arrived at the top of the mountain with something like 50% charge after having a recharge some 10Km before the start  of the Ötztal. On arriving at the checkin point we were given the sticker, and that was that. We then had to head back to Landsberg am Lech. The instructions on the briefing said to goto one specific address, but it was incorrect. We actually had to goto the town centre. Once we arrived there, they asked why we were not on the leavers list, the list we were looking for when we left in the morning. However they stamped the back of our sticker with the arrival stamp and we parked up. Up to this point we had only seen 2 other members of our team.

I felt the whole eRuda was chaotic and not well organised. So we didn’t bother going to the Sunday events. I can not see myself taking part again.

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Stelvio or Bust.

It sort of a tradition that we take all our cars up to the top of the Stelvio pass during the first summer that we have them. For the Ioniq, this was delayed a few times, but at last it was now time to do the trip.

We left Munich at about 8am with 80% or so charge and headed down the A95 towards Garmisch. I had it in mind there was a rapid charger at and A.T.U. between Garmisch and Lermos so when we arrived at the A.T.U. and found no charger I was confused and a bit worried, as I now only had about 20Km range. Our only option was to return to Garmisch and plug into a 22kW type 2 from New Motion. I am certain it is not a 22Kw connection, as the car told me it would take 8 hours to charge. This would suggest the charger was only providing about 4kW I think. After an hour we had an increase of 18Km. We decided to continue to Lermos where we charged for another 30 minutes and had an increase of 25Km. This gave us enough range to get to the Ella rapid charger at Karrösten. it was now 12:30. I had imagined we would have been at Stelvio by this time.

After the rapid charge was completed, it was time to goto Malles Venosta in Italy where I planned to have a rapid charge before the accent of the Stelvio. As with the rest of the trip up-to now, this didn’t go to plan. The charger is on a public square in the centre of the old town. As luck would have it, the square was closed due to a village festival. The only other charges are both slow type 2 belonging to hotels and one of those is out of action since July so I decided with 110Km range, that we had enough range to get to Bormio where we would charge over lunch before returning over the other side of the Stelvio. From Malles Venosta to the top of Stelvio is about 20Km, and then from there to Bormio about 30Km. So it shouldn’t be a problem

The drive up the Stelvio is not recommended for new drivers or people who are not confident. Its narrow with a lot of kamikaze motorcyclists going way to fast around blind bends and cutting the corners of the hairpin bends. Going up the mountain I had several occasions where I had to stop because of this and because of other cars coming down the hill that refused to give way on narrow stages. I was always taught that those coming uphill have priority unless otherwise signed, this doesn’t appear to be the case in Italy.

From our initial 110Km at the foot of the pass, by the time we were half way up, we were down to 40Km. by the last 5 turns I was at two bars on the battery meter, and I had doubts we would make the top. On reaching the top we had 8Km range left and of course there are no chargers or even 240V power points anywhere to be seen. We parked up and went for a pizza, and asked the owner if there was anywhere to plug in. As expected the answer was no. I didn’t really enjoy the pizza for some reason. The top of Stelvio is a mess of parked bikes and tourist trap stores. We didn’t look at any. I usually enjoy the view from the top, and usually spend a bit of time looking at the stores, but today I was very worried about how we would get the 40Km+ to the next charger.

Isn’t regenerative breaking a great thing?

On restarting the car and leaving the parking place we had 7Km range. using a combination of regeneration step 1 & 2 we dropped the 16Km long 2000 meter drop, 48 hairpin bed road and recovered to 62Km in range. in addition we used no power at all actually going down the road, effectively we had 71Km of fuel free travel. We headed to the closest rapid charger at Lasa. There were conflicting reports about the status of this rapid charger. One said it had been removed and was being upgraded, another said it was getting the price info and that it was all ok and operational. The former proved to be correct. The charge point has gone. So we continued onto Silandro and charged there instead. The RFID cards proved to be an issue. Maingau/ESL was refused, as was Ella, SWM, Hyundai/enbw, Smatrics, and Chargemap. It finally worked with Plug Surfing. The next stop was Brenner. No issues there. For the Tesla owners, the supercharger has been expanded to 16 bays, and the CCS charger has been moved along 2 bays. There are 2 empty concrete bases, so it looks as if extra CCS may soon be installed. The type 2 charger has also been moved over and replaced with another type I think.The rest of the trip from Brenner to Munich went without any real issue, except an SUV/Tank trying to run me off the road at the Brenner bridge video toll gate. We arrived back in Munich at around 11:00pm with 90Km range left. The total distance was some 650Km. I didn’t record the kWh/100Km.

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To France for first time in the EV

My wife’s family live between Le Man’s & Tours in West France, so we drive there a couple of times a year. This journey was the one thing that was putting me off getting an EV. The charging structure in Sartre is really bad. My impression of charging generally in France was not positive. There are plenty if type 2, lots of type 3c, but not so many CCS ( or CHAdeMO for that matter). 

I has searched all the charging apps for CCS on the route I take from Munich for many many hours and came to the conclusion that it would be difficult to make the trip. Between Auxerre and Tours a distance of about 300km there was no rapid chargers that are operational. There was an option via Paris which I hate, but again the last 300km has only 1 rapid charger, and if that is broken there is no fallback. 

The other, preferred, optional route has a charger at a LIDL that according to Chargemap has been out of order since last November. I sent a series of emails to LIDL France and the emphatically stayed the charger us operational. Using this route I could probably reach my in-laws without a great problem. Once we get there we would have to use the granny charger at it’s low power setting. My in-laws only have a 6.6kW supply into the property!

We have for many years now split the drive over 2 days. First to Beaune, and then the rest, so this time was not going to be different. I booked a room at the Mercure Beaune Centre hotel partially because of its location and partially because it has chargers. Most of the chargers were Tesla Superchargers, but they had one charger with Type 2, Type 3c and 2 pin 240V sockets.  On arrival, and plugging into the type 2 we discovered the charger wasn’t compatible with the the Ioniq for some reason. We kept getting “Charger Error” displayed in the Ioniq, and the charger never started charging. We reported this to the hotel, but they couldn’t do anything as the maintenance people had left for the day. So we had to charge with the granny charger. The hotel did say they would get the maintenance guys to look into it on Monday. 

The following day we drove via Chateau Chinon-Ville, and as expected the Lidl charger was out of action. It was powered off, and covered in cobwebs. So much for the assurance from Lidl  that the point was functional. My plan B was to charge at Magny Cours, and that was a faster charger and fully functional.

The rest of the trip to the in-laws was uneventful really, except we discovered a new rapid charger at Neuillé-Pont-Pierre on the A28 (at the exit after the toll booth, which is about 35Km from our final destination. This was excellent as it meant we didn’t have to load down my in-laws house with our granny charger. My in-laws house is only provided with a 6kW electricity supply as it is in the middle of nowhere and they have only a few fridges and thats about it.  During our stay we topped up a few times at the local supermarket on a type 2, and on a day trip we failed to charge at a type 2 at Montreuil-Bellay. The charger had 2 type 2 sockets. one was in use by a Tesla and they were charging, but the second socket gave us the same error as at the hotel. It did finally say it was charging, but it terminated about 2 minutes after we left, resulting in a bill for 45 minutes charging for 0.01kW.  I successfully challenged the bill later.

New Rapid charger at Neuillé-Pont-PierreThe return trip we did a bit differently. We headed along the A10 towards Orleans, charging at Villerbon which is finally in operation, and then cross country to Charny. In the car park of the supermarket we found a type 2 socket which we plugged into whilst we had a very nice lunch at a local restaurant. Much to my surprise the Maingau/ESL card worked here. We increased out charge by 35%.

After lunch we continued to the Autoroute A8 at Sépeaux where there is a rapid charger. Unfortunately this charger is not yet in operation, o we had to continue across country to Aillant-sur-Tholon which is a really small town that has a rapid charger next to the church. On arrival there was a Zoe which was just finishing its charge, so a short wait of 5 minutes was on the cards. This was the first time we had to wait for a charger during this trip, but half an hour later we were fully charged and on our way again via the A8 to Beaune and back to the Mercure Beaune Centre hotel.  At the hotel, the type 2 charger still wasn’t operational, and again the technician wasn’t available. The hotel received a written feedback on this when I received their satisfaction survey. Anyway, we charged again overnight on the “granny charger” and continued the next day in the direction Mulhouse and Germany.

In Germany I also wanted to try a different route. For some reason in the south west of Germany chargers are few and far between except on the Autobahn. Just before Freiburg we charged on the motorway to 94% and then headed to Tuttlingen. According to the apps there was a rapid charger at the VW dealership which may or my not be operational, depending which app you look at. otherwise, there are a few type 2 around. On arrival at the VW dealer, the road was dug up and it was not possible to access the dealership. At least so it appeared. I parked close by and took a walk around, eventually asking someone on a bike in the forecourt. The dealership had an access via a back road, so we were able to reach the charger and get fully charged again.  I had planned a stop at Memmingen but the rapid charger there is broken, and has been for a couple of months. The CCS doesn’t recognise any vehicles. As our charge level was getting a bit low, i need a charge so our next stop was at Autohaus Sangl, where we originally purchased our Ioniq. There there is a free 20Kw CCS. On arrival the park bay was blocked by an i3 that had stretched its charge cable over to a type 2 charger in the next (and empty) parking bay. My only options were to park on the pavement or block the entrance to the parking.  I chose the former and no sooner had I plugged in that I was verbally assaulted by an older couple for blocking the pavement and received threats that they would call the police and get me towed away. Whilst they were technically in the right, the way they spoke to me telling me “in Germany we obey the law, which obviously isn’t the case where you come from” was out of order. After I calmly explained to them why I was there, and explained that I was unable to drive further unless I charged as this was the equivalent of a petrol station for me, they calmed down and we had a chat about range and charging duration. They went on their way and I finished my charge.

We arrived home an hour or so later, tired but happy.

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