Pure Planet EVs pilot May 2020 update - early charging patterns, feedback on EVs myths v reality


  • Community Manager
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Hi everyone

A quick update about our EVs pilot so far.

First of all, a massive thanks to Members who are sharing their EV charging times with us. Even though we know that due to Covid-19 life isn’t exactly ‘normal’ these days, your support has been tremendous.

Here’s a graph showing the pilot members’ charging patterns we’ve gathered so far. Note that these are quite small numbers (a few dozen).
 



It’s clear that there is some overnight charging, but it’s also interesting to see quite a lot of charging in the late afternoon and early evening. That’s not great news for the grid, which gets hit with peak demand at that time already (family meals, boiling kettles, Corrie and Eastenders on the TV).

Maybe we at PP ought to to incentivize EV drivers to schedule their charging times for alternative times of day?

A question which we’d love to get your feedback on. What were your biggest concerns about getting an EV which turned out to be untrue? The myth v the reality.

Mine, for example, would be that I worried that I’d run out of battery a lot. It turns out that 99% of my car journeys are within 40 miles of home, so I needn’t have worried.

Have a great Bank Holiday weekend. 😀


22 replies

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Mine is skewed because it has been sunny and my solar panels kick out 5kW so I have been doing a fair bit of 11am to 5pm and not drawing from the grid. In winter I would be midnight or 1am, especially if driving a long way in the morning so my battery is warm.
Thank you for the update. I have a brand new EV but have been in lockdown since it was 2 weeks old. I too worried about the battery needing charged when out and about. Glad to hear I’m not alone.
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Hi as we have had a tremendous month of April for Solar AND been at home nearly all my charging is done between 10am and 5pm when solar output matches my granny charger so im paying nothing (reflected by my monthly PP bill thats a third of its normal amount for electric! - sorry PP!) - im sure many other solar owners are doing the same - if i didnt have solar i would most certainly look at overnight tarrifs to do it on cheap rate - have never charged during peak times though (5pm to 8pm) its interesting to see a lot appear to be doing that - i suppose if your out at work you will plug in at 5 when returning home? You guys at PP need to target these people when you launch your EV tariffs to ease the peak grid demand

As for biggest myths about EV,s i didn't have any misconceptions as did my research before starting my EV journey 5 years ago - Go Ultra Low is running a campaign using the slogan " the electric car is now THE car" and its totally true in my case - love them and despise prehistoric oil burners now they really stink when they pass you especially at low speed

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Marc - out of interest which EV did you go for and why?
Brunel;53466:
Mine is skewed because it has been sunny and my solar panels kick out 5kW so I have been doing a fair bit of 11am to 5pm and not drawing from the grid. In winter I would be midnight or 1am, especially if driving a long way in the morning so my battery is warm.


Ah thanks for that info @Brunel
Makes sense 👍
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winiman3;53468:


Marc - out of interest which EV did you go for and why?


Hi @winiman3
I went for the Nissan Leaf. It's the 2018 edition with the 40 kWh battery (although it wasn't delivered until Jan 2019, ironically on the same day that they announced the newer model at CES in Las Vegas!)
Why the Leaf? A few reasons:
- Nissan had lots of experience in EVs
- The Leaf felt like the mainstream model, like the Ford Focus of the EV world
- I leased it and it fitted within my monthly budget
- Thanks to Pure Planet I'd had the chance to borrow a Leaf from Nissan in the summer of 2018, so I knew that I already liked it.

Also, the car I had at the time was a really old banger about to collapse. So driving the Leaf really felt like a huge step forward for me, like a car from the future.

I've got it on a four-year lease. So I know by Jan 2023 it'll be old tech. But I love it!
As a result of the lockdown, I've charged once since the trial started, which I seem to remember was late afternoon.

​​In answer to your question though, on a previous trial, we received cash rewards for overnight charging and it led me to set the car timer to only allow charging between midnight and 6am. That way I could still plug it when I got home, knowing it wouldn't charge until later... It made no difference to me, but clearly took the strain off the grid a little.

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Great stuff Marc - hope your enjoying the car and the upgrade!
In response to others i have a child with medical issues so still travelling often to hospital and back which is 50 miles away so have continued charging as normal through lockdown - however my wifes Zoe has not moved or been charged for the last 7 weeks!! (Its sat at 78% charge so withing the 20-80 zone)
As a result of the lockdown, I've charged once since the trial started, which I seem to remember was late afternoon.

​​​​​​​​​​​In answer to your question though, on a previous trial, we received cash rewards for overnight charging and it led me to set the car timer to only allow charging between midnight and 6am. That way I could still plug it when I got home, knowing it wouldn't charge until later... It made no difference to me, but hopefully took the strain off the grid a little.

Motorway journeys were always what made me nervous, and still do... Knowing you're using electricity a little faster, and the not knowing if the chargers at the motorway services will be available. I had to abandon the car once at a car hire place, and pick up a petrol car, as every car charger on the M5 was either in use or out of service. We had an appointment to make and we just couldn't spare the time to queue for the one charger that was working.

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​​​​​​​Ooops, accidentally posted before I'd finished... Then accidentally posted twice. Sorry 😊
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haha...never mind, it matches your name!
MrJonJon;53496:
....

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​​​​​​​Ooops, accidentally posted before I'd finished... Then accidentally posted twice. Sorry 😊
I've only been reporting my usage since the 1st of May, so may not feature in the graph. Still going to work every day and plug my car in when I get home in the evening. I'm using a charger that estimates how long it will take to charge my battery to the level I have set (85%), and then uses that info to charge the battery at what it considers the most environmentally friendly hours, aiming to reach 85% by 7.30am (the time I have set). Usually means that charging occurs between about 3 and 6.30am. Would be very useful for me if PP had a tariff that incentivised charging during these 'low demand' hours. There are other companies already doing this. I appreciate this would complicate the current single tariff structure, but given that electricity at these low demand hours is apparently cheaper, this would be logical and a good incentive to charge overnight rather than in the evening.

Of course that needs a smart meter and I can't get one fitted at present, so wouldn't do me any good if PP did introduce such a tariff. Slightly off topic, but it's not clear to me why a smart meter cannot be installed. My meter cupboard is outside, so negligible risk to the installer. The car charger was installed 2 weeks ago without any difficulty.
Started 2 years ago with 80 mile range 1st gen Zoe but managed 200 mile trip or two. Now Tesla 3 long range but no chance yet to check range in lockdown. Yes would like incentivised rate in middle of night (or middle of day for that matter) to avoid time when everyone has kettle and cooler on!
​​​​​​​Hardly been using car due to lockdown. Probably avaerage 20 miles per week. Hence not much charging.
winiman3;53491:
Great stuff Marc - hope your enjoying the car and the upgrade!
In response to others i have a child with medical issues so still travelling often to hospital and back which is 50 miles away so have continued charging as normal through lockdown - however my wifes Zoe has not moved or been charged for the last 7 weeks!! (Its sat at 78% charge so withing the 20-80 zone)


Sorry to hear that @winiman3
It must be a worrying time for you.

Re the two EVs. Do you have two chargers or you do take it in turns? (or have I asked you this before? 🤔)
Makes me wonder what the norm will be when families have multiple EVs, in the near-ish future.
MrJonJon;53496:


​​​​​​​​​​​In answer to your question though, on a previous trial, we received cash rewards for overnight charging and it led me to set the car timer to only allow charging between midnight and 6am. That way I could still plug it when I got home, knowing it wouldn't charge until later... It made no difference to me, but hopefully took the strain off the grid a little.


Do you mean vehicle-to-grid @MrJonJon
What I mean is, were you selling energy stored in your EV back to the grid, and being paid for those kWh's?
Or straight-up cash for only charging between midnight and 6am?
Marc;53705:
Do you mean vehicle-to-grid @MrJonJon
What I mean is, were you selling energy stored in your EV back to the grid, and being paid for those kWh's?
Or straight-up cash for only charging between midnight and 6am?


Hi Marc. It was the latter. It was a Western Distribution led charger usage trial about 2-3 years ago where they were examining the strain on the National Grid from EV's. The findings were reported in the report I emailed over. It used network attached home charging points to give them data on charging times and kW's used. Towards the back end of the trial, they created a system that calculated something similar to Economy 7 savings for night time charging and rewarded the equivalent as amazon vouchers. Apparently, it made a big difference to peoples habits, even though it was only about £10-£20 a month.
Makdoc;53504:
Slightly off topic, but it's not clear to me why a smart meter cannot be installed. My meter cupboard is outside, so negligible risk to the installer. The car charger was installed 2 weeks ago without any difficulty.


Hi @Makdoc
As part of the SMETS2 install they check gas appliances. Which means it's a little more tricky, and householders would need to be aware of this.
Currently our smart meter installers have furloughed some of the team, and those working as normal are covering emergencies only.
But yes it would make sense for outdoor installs to be done sooner, as the return to work rules relax (not that the return to work rules are being made v clear by the Government at this stage!)
Makdoc;53504:
Would be very useful for me if PP had a tariff that incentivised charging during these 'low demand' hours. There are other companies already doing this. I appreciate this would complicate the current single tariff structure, but given that electricity at these low demand hours is apparently cheaper, this would be logical and a good incentive to charge overnight rather than in the evening.


We hear you @Makdoc
👍
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Marc;53704:
Sorry to hear that @winiman3
It must be a worrying time for you.

Re the two EVs. Do you have two chargers or you do take it in turns? (or have I asked you this before? 🤔)
Makes me wonder what the norm will be when families have multiple EVs, in the near-ish future.


Hi Marc
Thanks for the kind words!
Yes in normal times im out at work all day so my wife has the Zoe plugged in (she works from home)
A full "tank" on my car will easily last all week at work so i generally would only charge it back up on a Sunday on my day off
If it was an issue in the future i would just install 2 chargers but as ive mentioned before i only charge at 10amps (2.2kw) to take advantage of solar output and if i had 2 chargers i would have one running in the day and one overnight - i do very occasionally use my 7kw charger if a quicker boost is required but 95% of the time use the granny chargers plugged into an outdoor double socket
winiman3;53717:
Hi Marc
Thanks for the kind words!
Yes in normal times im out at work all day so my wife has the Zoe plugged in (she works from home)
A full "tank" on my car will easily last all week at work so i generally would only charge it back up on a Sunday on my day off
If it was an issue in the future i would just install 2 chargers but as ive mentioned before i only charge at 10amps (2.2kw) to take advantage of solar output and if i had 2 chargers i would have one running in the day and one overnight - i do very occasionally use my 7kw charger if a quicker boost is required but 95% of the time use the granny chargers plugged into an outdoor double socket


Thanks for the info @winiman3
I suppose it is going to be another level of complexity in the not too distant future - the best way to run two EVs. Or three! One for the kids....
It would make sense for new homes to come with charging points?
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Marc;53829:
Thanks for the info @winiman3
I suppose it is going to be another level of complexity in the not too distant future - the best way to run two EVs. Or three! One for the kids....
It would make sense for new homes to come with charging points?


Yes totally - i know there are dual chargers out there - sure 3 or 4 would be possible with software management within the charging unit for charging multiple vehicles at once

Its interesting you mention childs vehicle we have just bought our 17 year old her first car - couldn't find a suitable EV in budget (3k) so she has picked a small economical diesel for now (which really pained me but i had little choice) but hope she will convert to an EV in the next few years as they get cheaper- So eventually that 3 EV household may become a reality for me unless she has left home by then!
Hi
Just to say there's a new post you can check out here inviting our Members to help us design new tools and website designs.
It's all about EVs - great if you're already into them, but you don't need to be an expert.
like many, I’m daytime charging because we have so much sun at the moment and our panels are kicking out way more than The base load of the house.
we are also heating hot water with our solar with Eddi.
we don’t gave Smets2 meter at the moment so are on the regular Tarriff but as soon as we are and there are EV charge Tarriffs available we will definitely move to charging overnight.

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