In 2021 EVs are coming from most manufacturers, and at some rate too. Back in 2015 when our Tesla was new, around a thousand a month were registered in the EU. In September 2021, over a thousand a day were registered! Recently on my commute along the M4, I usually see at least one car transporter of Teslas and often another with Zoes or Hyundai EVs. Public chargers are being installed quickly too. This is great, on the surface. However we can also see some incredibly inefficient EVs, huge SUV-like vehicles from all manufacturers that would be tough to use on many smaller roads in the UK. As more established manufacturers start moving to EVs, many seem to be starting with smaller volume, large expensive models- just as Tesla did. Hyundai have kicked off its IONIQ sub-brand with a large SUV, the IONIQ 5. The same platform is used by the Kia EV6 and a saloon IONIQ 6 is planned. Whether people will pay £40k for a Kia that also needs a subscription to the Ionity charger network, to come even close to Tesla’s trump card, it’s Supercharger network, remains to be seen. The car I saw at Fully Charged Outside looked really very good, if mysteriously lacking in boot space.
Established EV manufaturers like Tesla and Hyundai-Kia have the “secret sauce” that makes them very efficient. Why is that important? Well you’re carrying the energy equivalent to 2 gallons of petrol in a large EV. You’ll want to get the maximum range from that, or plan to be charging a lot more than you might need to. Ask any iPace owner!
In terms of chargers, Gridserve are replacing old Ecotricity chargers very quickly with ABB units with the now-standard “CCS” plug, while still maintaining Chademo some (Leaf-style) plugs. At the same time, many BP-Pulse units are failing and are not getting fixed quickly enough. It’s disappointing to see good equipment from only a couple of years ago failing. Even more disappointing to see it gathering dust. This is not sustainability!
There is currently no successor to the 2016 IONIQ electric, a UK-friendly sized car with high efficiency, sub-£25k new, and charging for 100 miles range in 20 minutes or less. The facelift, 38kWh model is highly regarded but the high charging rates from the 2016 model have been lost. We still have a 2017 IONIQ electric, and it compares really well with our 2015 Tesla. It’s very well built, seriously efficient and charges so fast too. Hyundai do also offer the Kona which shares the same platform with Kia’s e-Niro. This platform is somewhat compromised because it’s also available as a hybrid, but you can’t ignore the value proposition of a 250 to 300 mile EV for £30k. If only Hyundai had made an IONIQ electric on a purpose-built EV platform with 50kWh and fast charging!
Scotland in the “S”
We took a trip to Scotland in our 5 year old Model S 70D, around 420 miles from home. We used the Tesla Supercharger network for the trip to and from Scotland. No planning is needed and the car takes care of where and when to stop. Scotland is second only to London for charger density in the UK. “Chargeplace Scotland” has installed chargers of all types in a wide range of locations. The only issues were that many of them are now old, I was aware that the contract was about to change to a new provider, and we didn’t have the necessary RFID card that we knew was necessary to use many of the chargers. All the necessary information on charger type and cost is online though, and again it wasn’t necessary to look ahead for chargers. In fact sometimes we found working chargers after parking in a different car park, but with a 70kWh car we didn’t need to charge every day.
One of the biggest differences between Tesla and other manufacturers is that Tesla has its own charging network that is closely integrated with their cars. En-route you can see details of the available chargers at a site, including the cost, on the 17 inch touchscreen. Because Teslas are set up to charge faster with a lower state of charge, the fastest progress is to top up just enough to reach the next available charger. On the face of it, on a journey of 420 miles only one stop would be required with a car capable of 220 miles. However it’s quicker to charge 2 or 3 times. Charging is literally plug-and-play. Tesla has your credit card details for payment, which is between 22p and 37p per kWh, depending on location. (Per mile this is around 7 to 12p).
We stayed at a cottage and had checked with the owner that they were OK for us to plug in while we were there, however we didn’t need to.
We covered a total of 1150 miles. The total cost for public charging was £69 for 231kWh, the rest (140kWh) was free at Tesco, CPS and Urban Electric, and often at 22kW 3-phase AC, which our car can take full advantage of. This averages at just 6p per mile, below the cost of even an economical diesel, and remarkable given the comfort that a Model S offers for a long trip like this.
We also used our CCS charging facility, we had the car upgraded to do this and used a Podpoint CCS public charger at a Tesco store.
An Urban Electric charger had to be tried in Dundee- these are flush with the street until required. You do need the app, and find the charger, then they rise up out of the pavement to expose two points, disappointingly only 7kW power however.