Does size matter?

I was watching a YouTube video the other day and it got me thinking. Is there an incorrect focus on battery capacity? Should the focus be more on the efficiency of the EV? I don’t know of anyone who went to buy a fossil car who asked “How big is the fuel tank?”. On the other hand, I do know a lot who ask “What is the l/100Km (mpg)?”. Come to think of it, I can’t recall ever asking “How far can I drive on a full tank?” either. 

There is a fundamental problem here. Consumers, and dealers, are fixated on battery capacity instead of the more important efficiency of the car. Think of the Tesla Model S for a moment. P60, P75, P90, P100. All based on battery capacity. Yet the Tesla isn’t really so efficient, I think somewhere over 22kWh/100Km. Imagine if you went into a fossil car showroom and they said, “This SUV has a 60ltr tank, or you can have this one with a 100ltr”  then you go down the road and the dealer says there “This city car has a 34ltr tank” and you never asked how much fuel it actually used. Maybe the SUV is using 15ltr/100Km, and the city car is using 7ltr/100km. Which is really better when you consider all factors, such as cost of fuel in addition to range? 

My Ioniq has a usable battery capacity of 28kWh, I understand there is actually more, but its a sort of buffer/reserve. This is currently giving me a range of about 200Km, and then with a rapid charger I can refill in 20 minutes or so, depending on charge level, to 94%.  In comparison, the new Nissan Leaf has a 40kWh and according to the Nissan Germany website a consumption of 20.6kWh/100Km. (I will say here I am surprised it is so much, I had expected more in the region of 16kWh/100Km). Ignoring the reduced charging times due to non-existent thermal management, the Leaf takes 40-60 minutes to reach 80% after an official 415 km on from a full charge (again according to the Nissan Germany website). The website does say its possible to charge to 100% at normal speed. So a bit of simplified maths, to cover 800Km at 100Kmh.

Leaf = 8hrs driving @100Kmh +  2 x 60 minutes charging (Total 10hrs)
400km on the initial charge, then 2 charges of 80% (320Km) to reach destination

Ioniq = 8hrs driving @100Kmh + 4 x 20 minutes charging (Total 9hrs 20mins)
200km on the initial charge, then 4 charges of 94% (188Km) to reach destination

Now, before anyone says anything, yes these figures are unrealistic as for the last charge it wouldn’t be really required for the Leaf to charge to 80% but I am ignoring the Leafs reduced charge rates of only 14Kw with a hot battery. Also I took the WLTP range for the Leaf, not a real world value, and for the Ioniq I took the range shown on my car a few days ago, rather than the (unavailable) WLTP value. The calculations also take no account for breaks or whatever, but the point is, even with a smaller battery and more stops, the better efficiency makes a real difference.

So returning to my original point, shouldn’t we be focusing on efficiency when talking about EV’s and not the capacity of the battery?

The second area that also needs to be addressed is charging rate. The Ioniq can charge at up to 70Kw, the Tesla Supercharger up to 120Kw the Leaf and Ampera-e up to 50Kw and the Zoe up to 43Kw. Sounds good in principle. Realistically the Ampera-e and Leaf charge a lot slower, I am sure I read the e-Golf tops out at about 40Kw. The Zoe can charge at up to 43Kw 400V three phase AC 63A. However, at least where I live, most Type 2 chargers are 240V AC three phase 32A or 22Kw.

Charger speeds are increasing however. When you look at the next generation 350Kw rapid chargers from Ionity it is clear that in the future charging will be quicker. Lets hoe they install enough chargers. It is already an issue with cars blocking the chargers, EV that are not charging or have completed charging, or fossil cars that are just parked in EV charging bays. I do sometimes worry if the next generation Porsche Mission E cars will use the rapid chargers as personal parking spaces.

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St. Johann in Tirol

Today we just went for a short drive of about 263Km. We went exclusively over main roads, avoiding all motorways and fast route. When we set off we had an indicated range of 224Km and by the time we arrived in St Johann in Tirol we had 121Km left and a consumption of about 9.8kWh/100Km which is one of the bast I had had. We plugged into a slow charger whilst we went for a walk, and a very bad meal. We left an hour later with a range of 158Km and on the way back at one point our consumption had dropped to 7.2kWh/100Km before climbing again to end up at 9.2kWh/100Km when we parked up at home.  The weather was dry and temperature around 18-22C.

 

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“Auf diese Steine können Sie bauen“

Another day,  another trip. This time to Schwäbisch Hall in Baden-Württemberg. We left at around 9am with a full charge and a range of about 215Km. We drove along the A8 direction Stuttgart keeping up with the flow of the traffic. Usually I like to go at about 110Km on the motorway, its a good compromise between speed and fuel saving. Having said that, this stretch of motorway is very fast, and has a lot of slow moving lorries, the result is that there is a tendency to go faster and faster. I can say the Ioniq electric can move at 180Kmh, but the power soon gets drained. So we pulled off at Ulm and went to IKEA to get a free charge and something to eat. We arrived at about 10;:30 and spent about a 75 minutes charging. The Ikea charger was 20Kh so in the time there we went from 18% to 65% charge. Next we went to Wiesensteig which has beautiful wood framed houses, stopping on route at a fast charger at A8 Nellingen, I have stopped here before and had nothing but problems with the charger. Today was no different. I started the charge session with the eCharge app, and of course charging didnt start. Tried again and again the charger reported and error said charging had stopped, but in fact it did charge for 9 minutes, and then stopped. I appear to have been charge for only one session, but its so hard to tell with the terrible echarge app. Anyway we had a few more kWh of power soon to Goppingen to a charger that is in the Ioniq Navigation. It turns out this charger is in the park place for the upper management of a company and the parking place is marked as Reserved for CEO (or similar). Strangely, the charger isn’t on any of the standard charger maps, such as Going Electric, plug share, new motion etc, so I wonder if it is actually a private charger. As there were no signs to the contrary, we plugged in and had another free charge. I have not seen this type of charger before in Germany, but have
seen videos of one in the Vlog of TeslaBjorn.

The next stop was in park house P6 in Schwäbisch Hall. This is a type 2 charger, and again, free, and for 2 hours the parking cost €3. The town is well worth a visit with its old buildings. In some ways it reminded me of Sarlat in France. On returning to the Ioniq we had an indicated range of 224Km and the distance to home was 198Km. We tool the non motorway route over Nordlingen, at speeds approaching the limit on the area we were in, so between 70Kmh and 100Kmh outside towns and 50Kmh in towns. We covered in total 204Km to home without recharging on route and still had 9% battery left.

The total distance covered was 470Km and the total cost of fuel was probably €7. I say probably as I don’t know the price of the motorway charge yet and the eCharge app doesn’t show the cost.

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Tyre Change

Over the last few weeks the temperature has finally started to rise, and we are now in the mid teens to low 20 deg C. I think its safe to say winder has finally gone, if not forgotten, at least on the low grounds. So last week I gave Autohaus Sangl a call to book an appointment for my tyre change. Usually I have summer and winter complete tyre sets, but as I had the winter tyres put on the standard rims, I have this time had the summer tyres put back onto the original rims. Sometime during the next few months I will purchase rims for winter. Currently I don’t know which rims I will get but I am leaning towards an original Ioniq set. It took about 90 minutes for the 4 tyres to be refitted and balanced. The cost was just over €120 including storage of my tyres. This is in line with what I was expecting. As an aside, when I called to book the appointment, for some strange reason I was told it would be €20. I asked if that was per tyre, but was told, it was the total price. It was obvious to me this price could not possible be correct. Anyhow, my car was also washed, which was a nice surprise.

Whilst I was there I took a short recharge. I didn’t need it but I had 10 minutes to kill waiting for my appointment. Our old car that we traded in was still there, waiting for a new owner. Next to me however were 2 white Ioniqs which had a vehicle to vehicle  (V2V) system built in. The idea is that one of these Ioniqs could goto a stranded EV and recharge it enough to get to a charge point. If I understood correctly, these cars are for the ADAC.

I also discovered that I need to get my charge port exchanged on the Ioniq. Currently the parts are out of stock, and have a longer delivery time, so Sangl is going to order the required items and contact me later to arrange an appointment to install them.

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10,000 Km

Over the last 15 years or so, I have averaged around 10,000Km per year, so when I got the Ioniq I insured it for 15,000Km as being a new toy I was sure we would drive it a bit more. We had also decided we would take a holiday to Norway in June, so that will probably be at least 6,000Km round trip. So a bit of a buffer would be good. However after only 4 months we had already passed 10,000Km. As a result I increased my cover to 30,000Km back at the beginning of March. I hope that will be enough!

It seams to be a common theme amongst EV drivers that they end up driving far more than was the case previously in a “Suck, Squeeze, Bang, Blow” car. Why should this be? I can only speak about my own usage, but I find that there is a certain delight in driving a vehicle that is relaxing to drive. The noise level in the car is dramatically lower than in a conventional internal combustion engine. There is of course still tire and wind noise but the level is generally low, and usually masked by the radio anyway. The “instant” acceleration, the challenge to get the best range on a charge and just a different driving experience are all part of the equation. In the end driving an EV is just fun.

An EV does not encourage high speed, long endurance driving either, although the car is capable of 170Kmh such speeds make no sense due to consumption. The Ioniq battery is a usable 28Kwh, which is quite small, so you are more of less forced to stop to recharge every couple of hours or so depending on the road, speed, time of year, weather etc, or to put it another way every 150-170Km in Winter and every 220-250Km in summer. Personally, I have no problem with this as after 2 hours driving I need a break anyway to stretch my legs, have a drink or goto the toilet. This forced break is one of the objections I have heard from non-EV drivers and a reason that EV’s are not practical. These people often claim they will drive 800Km on a tank of fuel non-stop.

Personally, I call this total Bull.

Once upon a time,  I use to drive Munich to Cambridge or Munich to Le Mans in a day. Each trip was 1200Km or so, but always needed to stop. There was no way I could drive for 12 hours without a toilet break or something to eat, not to mention the dangers of getting overtired and stressed out. So over the last 15 years or so I have taken it a lot more relaxed when driving long distances. On the trip to Le Mans, I usually stop overnight in Burgundy, and have a a good meal and a refreshing sleep. Even so, the 700Km to Beaune from Munich we stop every couple of hours or so. The stops are typically 20 minutes or so, which, coincidentally is the time it takes to recharge the Ioniq from around 20% to 94%. This means that our trip really doesn’t take much longer than with our previous car. We may need to stop a couple of times more than we would otherwise, but it really isn’t much.

At least in theory.

We have not yet driven to Le Mans in the EV, that trip will be in July. I do have concerns about driving in France. I have seen some really bad reports about charging in France from Frank Doorhof (youtube Link), as well as “adventures” from other people.  One of the areas I need to pass through has only 1 rapid charger at a Lidl, and if that is out of commission, there are no alternatives except the granny charger in a domestic socket somewhere, and at our destination there are a few slow type 2 plugs in nearby villages. Having said that, it does look like some new rapid chargers are being installed at an autoroute exit about 20Km away from our destination, so there is hope. There is still a 240Km “gap” that I need to find a solution for. I could take an alternative route via Paris and the Périphérique, but I really, really hate that road. When eventually the chargers near Orleans are up and running again, it will be a lot easier. Still, until then West France is an area of concern for me.

As for the chargers at Lidl and co, I think they are super and I am really thankful to the companies concerned that they provide these charger. I do wish however they were available 24/7. I would rather have a charger open 24/7 that I have to pay for than one that is only open in business hours but free. Maybe they could somehow get connected to a charging network for the hours they are closed so we could pay for them outside of store hours ?

 

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