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Electric car questions.

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Questions about electric cars (BEVs not hybrids); a few on here drive them so thought I would ask here as I’m thinking of going electric next year. I’ve never been in a BEV so showing my ignorance here!

1. Seems to be drive can be to rear axle only, front axle only and both axles therefore effectively four wheels drive. Also appears motor can be one per axle or one per wheel. With the high levels of torque available from electric motors, how does the handling and grip compare with ICE cars particularly in slippery conditions? I guess they all have ABS, maybe traction control to help?

2. Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range? I noted one test report I read for a new BEV, that when fully charged the car apparently said 14% lower range potential than manufacturer’s figure for max range. The report didn’t explain. Wondering if the difference could be due to regenerate on braking?

3. I note most BEVs seem to have huge amounts of torque and therefore acceleration is faster than a significant proportion of vehicles on the road even modern ones. Does this make them harder to control or are they very responsive to throttle? There will all be drive by wire presumably. I’m not sure why they need to be that quick in acceleration nowadays 😉. I’ve seen Teslas somewhat surreally rapidly accelerate past me on motorways when I’m already doing 70!

4. Is there any reduction in turning circle when front wheels are being driven or four wheels are driven? 4 wheel drives normally have a larger turning circle, though just front are less affected, and rear used to turn on a smaller circle iirc from driving them many years ago.

5. Do all BEV have reversing “bleepers”? Can they be turned off? If you are reversing out of garage onto your drive do you really need a bleeper being activated? At least in car parks, on streets, etc, they can alert those walking nearby.

6. Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

7. Do BEVs not have or need some sound creation for driving at town speeds? I was taken aback at a small Peugeot recently that almost silently glided past me whilst on the bike. I didn’t hear it except for a faint tyre noise when it was virtually on me.

8. Any website(s) you recommend as a good source of gleaming more info?

Any other comments on BEVs happy to have. I really don’t know much yet about electric cars and their drivability. I spoke to one owner recently whilst he was charging and he was explaining some things about the chargers; more about what goes wrong, like some cars don’t like some chargers and the charger system can switch off randomly - not handy when you’ve left you car and come back later to find you only have an additional 14 miles as happened that day! He was happy overall having been driving electric cars for 2.5 years, and with free electricity (he said he had never paid for charging as his LA doesn’t (yet) charge in their area).

TIA.

 wintertree 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

A few random comments, hope they help.

> how does the handling and grip compare with ICE cars particularly in slippery conditions? I guess they all have ABS, maybe traction control to help?

Our Leaf has an "eco" button that turns down throttle response, useful for snow.  Traction control on the electric motor is very good if you're being even half way sensible. 

Summer grip - insufficient, I'm gong to put Pilot Sport 4 tyres on it once the eco-tyres are ground down.

 Handling - the steering is so feedback-free it's hard to connect with the car in a way that builds the faith needed to really push it.  Hired a Tesla Model-3 dual motor for a week; a lot of momentum behind it and the party piece accelerate soon gave way to annoyance at the user experience / user interface.  BMW i3 drove like a BMW that happened to be electric although the crossover from power to regeneration wasn't as seamlessly smooth as the leaf.

> Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range

  • If you drive ahead and let your car slow with no throttle for bends, junctions etc in an ICE, not spilling any energy through the breaks, it'll make little difference.
  • If you late-brake in to everything, you'll overwhelm the regen rate and heat the kinetic/thermal breaks up.
  • If you drive like a normal person it makes a big difference.

> I noted one test report I read for a new BEV, that when fully charged the car apparently said 14% lower range potential than manufacturer’s figure for max range

Range-meters in EVs are like the Windows file copy dialog. https://xkcd.com/612/ - some are based on recent driving style, big hills confuse them etc.  You'll get a feel for your car once you get one.  I hired a BMW i3 for a week, it seemed much better than our Leaf at this.

>  Do all BEV have reversing “bleepers”? Can they be turned off? If you are reversing out of garage onto your drive do you really need a bleeper being activated? At least in car parks, on streets, etc, they can alert those walking nearby.

Leaf's don't have them.  I didn't know any did...  It has a high pitch noise to alert others when moving slowly, that can be turned off but I don't.

> Do BEVs not have or need some sound creation for driving at town speeds? 

See above.

>  Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

Leaf: No.  Tesla: Yes, Others: No idea.

> Any other comments on BEVs happy to have.

Company called "EV Rent" will get you in the driver's seat of most models for anything from a day to years.  

> I really don’t know much yet about electric cars and their drivability.

Amazing off road on dry ground.  The instant and precise throttle response is brilliant.  Very simple and low cognitive load to drive.  Holding precise speed "by ear" is almost impossible so get used to using a speed limiter or cruise control.

>I spoke to one owner recently whilst he was charging and he was explaining some things about the chargers [...]

Public charging is a mess but it's getting better

 Sealwife 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

I have been driving a fairly basic Nissan Leaf for 3 years now.  Other half about to take delivery of a Kia E-Niro, which we have both test driven.  Technology is moving quickly and the E-Niro seems very sophisticated.  I will answer your questions as best as I can from a non tech users point of view.  Lots of electric car drivers get right into all the different options available in great detail - not me, I just drive the thing.

> 1. Seems to be drive can be to rear axle only, front axle only and both axles therefore effectively four wheels drive. Also appears motor can be one per axle or one per wheel. With the high levels of torque available from electric motors, how does the handling and grip compare with ICE cars particularly in slippery conditions? I guess they all have ABS, maybe traction control to help?

Not a  clue about axels but I have driven extensively on small country roads on snow, frost and icy conditions.  I haven’t noticed any particular differences in handling in slippery conditions.  What I do when it’s slidey is put the car in Eco mode which limits power output (basically it slows acceleration) so I don’t accidentally spin the wheels.  When slowing down I make maximum use of B mode (regeneration, which feels like engine braking).  This combination works well in slippy conditions.

> 2. Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range? I noted one test report I read for a new BEV, that when fully charged the car apparently said 14% lower range potential than manufacturer’s figure for max range. The report didn’t explain. Wondering if the difference could be due to regenerate on braking?  Depends on how hilly your route is and on how much regeneration is possible.  My Leaf has one level of regeneration, the E-Niro has variable regeneration controlled by flappy paddles and it can be used pretty much in lieu of brakes outwith emergency situations by a skilled driver (I only got a quick go of it but it seemed very effective).  Driving electric tends to change your driving style - far more anticipation.

> 3. I note most BEVs seem to have huge amounts of torque and therefore acceleration is faster than a significant proportion of vehicles on the road even modern ones. Does this make them harder to control or are they very responsive to throttle? There will all be drive by wire presumably. I’m not sure why they need to be that quick in acceleration nowadays 😉. I’ve seen Teslas somewhat surreally rapidly accelerate past me on motorways when I’m already doing 70!

My Leaf accelerates fat quicker than any other car I’ve owned (been driving for 30 years).  I have become very light footed!  Eco mode can be used to slow it down if necessary.  I used to use it all the time when I first got the car but now only put it on if it’s slippy.

> 4. Is there any reduction in turning circle when front wheels are being driven or four wheels are driven? 4 wheel drives normally have a larger turning circle, though just front are less affected, and rear used to turn on a smaller circle iirc from driving them many years ago.

Not that I’ve noticed.

> 5. Do all BEV have reversing “bleepers”? Can they be turned off? If you are reversing out of garage onto your drive do you really need a bleeper being activated? At least in car parks, on streets, etc, they can alert those walking nearby.

My Leaf does not have a bleeper.  Can’t comment for other cars.

> 6. Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

No storage space in a Leaf bonnet.  Standard size boot for what you’d expect for a car of that size.  Id imagine there would be youtube walkrounds of various models where you can get a look under the bonnet.

> 7. Do BEVs not have or need some sound creation for driving at town speeds? I was taken aback at a small Peugeot recently that almost silently glided past me whilst on the bike. I didn’t hear it except for a faint tyre noise when it was virtually on me.

I think most do have some sort of sound.  Mine doesn’t have anything added but it has a slight hum to it. However, some ICE cars are also now very quiet.  My neighbours beamer sneaks up our driveway as quietly as the Leaf.  All I hear is gravel crunching and I have to look to see which car it is.

> 8. Any website(s) you recommend as a good source of gleaming more info?

Loads of groups - some very technical, others for numpties like me.  I’m a member of a few Facebook EV groups, a couple of locally based ones which are good for area specific aspects and a Nissan Leaf one for model related issues.

> Any other comments on BEVs happy to have. I really don’t know much yet about electric cars and their drivability. I spoke to one owner recently whilst he was charging and he was explaining some things about the chargers; more about what goes wrong, like some cars don’t like some chargers and the charger system can switch off randomly - not handy when you’ve left you car and come back later to find you only have an additional 14 miles as happened that day! He was happy overall having been driving electric cars for 2.5 years, and with free electricity (he said he had never paid for charging as his LA doesn’t (yet) charge in their area).

I mostly charge at home so have very little experience of public chargers.  I have solar panels on my roof and a charger which can divert energy from the panels into my car completely bypassing the grid should I be charging when it’s sunny.  What’s not to like

> TIA.

 Si dH 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

I don't have any real personal experience yet, but we recently ordered a VW ID.3 to replace my wife's car so I have done a lot of research and a couple of test drives, and I can answer some of your questions. (We are keeping my diesel Octavia as a backup but hope to minimise its use as we very rarely need both cars at the same time.)

> 1. Seems to be drive can be to rear axle only, front axle only and both axles therefore effectively four wheels drive. Also appears motor can be one per axle or one per wheel. With the high levels of torque available from electric motors, how does the handling and grip compare with ICE cars particularly in slippery conditions? I guess they all have ABS, maybe traction control to help?

No personal experience in difficult conditions but all the feedback about driveability that I have seen from current users on ID.3s is very positive. Of course, it will depend on the car. Anecdotally it seems to me that most manufacturers are loading their EVs up with lots of driving assistance kit over/above what the equivalent ICE car would get, presumably to show off their high tech credentials and keep up with Tesla.

> 2. Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range? I noted one test report I read for a new BEV, that when fully charged the car apparently said 14% lower range potential than manufacturer’s figure for max range. The report didn’t explain. Wondering if the difference could be due to regenerate on braking?

Can't answer your questions about regen well, but I think it will depend on the car. There are a variety of regen systems out there with various levels of automation built in.

What I can say confidently from all my research is that you need to treat declared 'WLTP' range the same way you view the standard mpg mileage figures advertised for ICE cars - ie, you will only get them when driving conservatively on a good day. Air con and heating both reduce range significantly too. Range tends to be much lower in winter both because of heating for the cabin and heating for the battery (newer models have advanced battery temperature control systems to improve longevity.) So to quote some figures - an ID.3 with mid spec battery has WLTP of ~260 but I understand you'd be lucky to get more than 180 miles at motorway speeds in winter, 220-240 in summer, unless you switch off all the climate stuff.

> 3. I note most BEVs seem to have huge amounts of torque and therefore acceleration is faster than a significant proportion of vehicles on the road even modern ones. Does this make them harder to control or are they very responsive to throttle? There will all be drive by wire presumably. I’m not sure why they need to be that quick in acceleration nowadays 😉. I’ve seen Teslas somewhat surreally rapidly accelerate past me on motorways when I’m already doing 70!

ID.3 was very easy to drive on our test drive but can't really say more than that.

> 4. Is there any reduction in turning circle when front wheels are being driven or four wheels are driven? 4 wheel drives normally have a larger turning circle, though just front are less affected, and rear used to turn on a smaller circle iirc from driving them many years ago.

EVs that have been designed from the ground up without an engine under the bonnet can put the wheels nearer the corners of the car, which reduces the turning circle. An ID3 is golf size externally, is bigger inside but has a turning circle smaller than a Polo and not far off that of an Up. Not the reason we bought one but a bonus if you're keen on a small turning circle. EVs that share a platform with an ICE/hybrid version or that have been designed with a longer bonnet anyway can't take advantage of this quite so much. Of course, putting the wheels under the corners and having a very short bonnet also means you have less space under the bonnet for a 'frunk' - see Q6.

> 5. Do all BEV have reversing “bleepers”? Can they be turned off? If you are reversing out of garage onto your drive do you really need a bleeper being activated? At least in car parks, on streets, etc, they can alert those walking nearby.

Didn't know any did. If ours does I hope I can turn them off! Are you just thinking of reversing parking sensors?

> 6. Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

Some have it and some don't. An ID.3 doesn't.

> 8. Any website(s) you recommend as a good source of gleaming more info?

I have gleaned loads of information from dedicated web forums. I'm sure you can find them for most EVs. I'd advise searching out a forum for a specific model you are interested in and then asking questions there. There will also be loads of threads about what real world range you can expect. The SpeakEV forums seem fairly well-used for general questions. There are also quite a few popular YouTube EV review channels if you like videos, but some seem to focus on a particular brand or model, so I'd go to the forums first and see where that takes you.

> Charging etc

The more research I have done, the more I've come round to the idea of seeing charging in a completely different way from filling with diesel. You don't run it until empty and then go to a charging point, you top it up at home every night for no effort and low cost, so that except for long journeys outside your max range, you literally never need to make a trip to charge it at all if you don't want to. (I am due to have a home charger installed on Thursday, so I'll post back if this turns out to be incredibly painful, but so far it's been easy.) If you regularly make longer journeys and want to know what the charging infrastructure is like in certain areas, then there is an app called zapmap that is very good.

Re: costs - I think this very much depends on personal circumstances. I don't think you'll be wanting to charge for free at Tescos etc because the free chargers out and about are all I think AC 7kw ones that won't charge an EV with a decent range up in less than 8-9 hours. They're really just to get a free top-up while shopping. We are taking a significant financial hit to switch because we would never normally buy a new car, and there are very few decent used EVs around yet with good ranges (plus used car prices are currently very high anyway.) However reading the forums it seems that if you are the type that likes to have a new car every three years, and especially if you do high mileage, then you can save a stack of cash in running costs by going electric instead of buying a new ICE. There are one or two special electric tariffs available that give you very low rates to charge in the middle of the night.

 Jamie Wakeham 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

I've had an e-Niro for ten months and had an Outlander PHEV before that.

> 1. Seems to be drive can be to rear axle only, front axle only and both axles therefore effectively four wheels drive.

Not all.  The Outlander was 4WD if you engaged it, the Niro only 2WD.

> 2. Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range?

Yes, if you use it sensibly.  Basically you start to drive much further ahead to allow yourself to use regen only, as any KE that has to be scrubbed off by the discs and pads is KE not being fed back into the battery.  A nice side effect is that your discs and pads last forever - mine were in very good nick when I returned my Outlander with 42k on the clock.

> Wondering if the difference could be due to regenerate on braking?

No, it's more to do with the fact that the range meter is a guestimate that tries to factor in driving style, weather conditions, use of heater or aircon.  Range is strongly dependent on speed so if you drive slowly for a while it will increase the likely remaining range.

> 3. I note most BEVs seem to have huge amounts of torque and therefore acceleration is faster than a significant proportion of vehicles on the road even modern ones. Does this make them harder to control or are they very responsive to throttle?

They don't have ridiculous amounts of torque, but what they can do it deliver it right from standstill so they feel very quick from takeoff.  But not terribly hard to control, especially if you put them into a less aggressive mode.  It I put the e-Niro into sport mode and floor it out of a slip road at 30mph I'll get wheelspin.

> 5. Do all BEV have reversing “bleepers”?

Nope.

> 6. Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

Depends.  There's not very much in the Niro.  Google for 'frunk' (front trunk...)

> 7. Do BEVs not have or need some sound creation for driving at town speeds?

They now must have the ability to make noise (until fairly recently this wasn't mandated).  But they can still be switched off.

> 8. Any website(s) you recommend as a good source of gleaming more info?

Speak EV is a useful forum.

> Any other comments on BEVs happy to have.

Do it.  Think about range, and what you need, but remember that you will start every journey from 'full'.  For me the biggie was being able to day-trip from Oxford to the Peak and back, a 300 mile round trip.  The Niro has a range of around 260 miles, depending on conditions and driving style, and can do this trip with a ten minute coffee and charge stop each way, and that's good enough for me.

Switch to Octopus energy for one of their EV specific tariffs - look for Octopus GO.  They give you typical rates in the daytime but very cheap night time rates to charge.  

If you join them using my link, we each get £50

share.octopus.energy/eager-eve-607

Post edited at 22:05
 wintertree 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Si dH:

>  (We are keeping my diesel Octavia as a backup but hope to minimise its use as we very rarely need both cars at the same time.)

I did similar with a diesel.

It's been a real PITA.  A lot of modern cars don't take well to being parked up for long periods.

All a bit anecdotal, but since our EV-replaced diesel got laid up as a low usage spare, this is my tale of woe... You need to keep it on a maintenance charger or the battery will go kaput, then if you're unluckily once you jump start it, the alternator is going to slag itself charging a drained battery.  I normally roll it a few meters each way every few weeks; in the winter it got buried in snow.  Once I finally got it dug out, the brakes were properly ceased (should have left the hand brake off and left it chocked and in gear).  Almighty clunk when driving off breaking the weld, shortly after it threw a reluctor ring causing the traction control to kick for a moment at speed.  Oh, how we laughed.  After changing pants.

Looking at the price of used cars now, selling it seems like an excellent idea.

If nothing else, put it on a maintenance charger and make sure to drive it every few weeks.

In reply to Climbing Pieman:

Forgot to say, don't forget the low BIK rate; if you can make a salary sacrifice and take it as a leased BEV, it could be quite a cheap way of doing it.

Also forgot to say, the unofficial wading depth of the Leaf is 600 mm.  No air intakes you see...

In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

>  A nice side effect is that your discs and pads last forever - mine were in very good nick when I returned my Outlander with 42k on the clock.

Depending on climate and indoor/outdoor parking, one can get problems with brake disc corrosion from lack of use.  It's worth making sure they get exercised occasionally.  For safety reasons, officer.

 Jamie Wakeham 13 Sep 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> Depending on climate and indoor/outdoor parking, one can get problems with brake disc corrosion from lack of use.  It's worth making sure they get exercised occasionally.  For safety reasons, officer.

Doesn't the physical braking system always engage at very low speeds, though?  I'm sure that on both of mine, the regen stops working below about 5mph and the pads and discs take over.   I assumed this was as much to keep the discs clean as the fact that regen isn't terribly effective at low speed.

 wintertree 13 Sep 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> Doesn't the physical braking system always engage at very low speeds, though?  I'm sure that on both of mine, the regen stops working below about 5mph and the pads and discs take over.   I assumed this was as much to keep the discs clean as the fact that regen isn't terribly effective at low speed.

Yes, ours comes in at the very low end if you use the brake pedal - which you have to in the Leaf as it doesn't have a "coast" mode other than abuse of neutral.  But on a journey without a lot of stop/start, it's very, very occasional and gentle compared to typical usage patterns for an ICE.

In reply to Climbing Pieman:

Many thanks for all comments so far. I’ll have a detailed read of them tomorrow, but a quick point or two meantime.

Reversing bleepers - I’ve heard many this year when cars were reversing though I’ve no idea what the car makes were as at the time I wasn’t interested in makes as I wrongly assumed that all had them! Maybe they are one manufacturer for all I know meantime.

One in an under cover car park was so loud when it started I was startled (and it was quite painful to my ears having tinnitus). That’s what prompted that question as I could imagine my neighbours complaining with the noise if I was early or late in the day when my estate is near silent otherwise! I am not sure I could have a BEV with loud reversing bleepers if they could not be silenced in certain circumstances.

My driving style is gentle on brakes so I guess regeneration might not be great with me.

I had already decided I need to try before buying as I can imagine it’s a whole different experience*, so maybe a rental option would be good; good to know their is a company available.

* I was once a passenger in a hybrid and the surreal experience of that put me off even thinking about a hybrid. For example, to hear the engine revs and general noise increasing whilst the car was slowing, and vice versa the car accelerating quietly as the engine revs had dropped (or had switched off?) just was so unnatural to my decades of driving ICE vehicles. I don’t think I could adjust to that!

 Si dH 14 Sep 2021
In reply to wintertree:

> >  (We are keeping my diesel Octavia as a backup but hope to minimise its use as we very rarely need both cars at the same time.)

> I did similar with a diesel.

> It's been a real PITA.  A lot of modern cars don't take well to being parked up for long periods.

> Looking at the price of used cars now, selling it seems like an excellent idea.

We still need it for the annual Font trip (covid allowing!) and probably other occasional family trips, or if I get stuck in to a boulder requiring 4 pads. I initially wanted to replace it but realised my only electric options were something like an iPace or Model X, which are all unaffordable and my wife would hate driving anyway. So decided to replace her (Astra) instead. I'll probably take the Octavia out for a short motorway burn once a fortnight - it got grumbly after a 3 week break in one of the lockdowns. I'll do some research into maintenance batteries.

Post edited at 07:57
 girlymonkey 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

Our EV is a van and the previous owners had fitted an after market reverse noise. It shouted loudly "vehicle reversing, please stand clear!". We live in a very quiet cul-de-sac, and really didn't want to shout at the neighbours all the time! My cousin found the speaker for us and cut the cable, problem solved! It does have reverse parking sensors, which are a bit annoying, but same as most modern vehicles. 

Loving the EV, it's smooth, quiet and cheap to run ☺️

 wbo2 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

> Reversing bleepers - I’ve heard many this year when cars were reversing though I’ve no idea what the car makes were as at the time I wasn’t interested in makes as I wrongly assumed that all had them! Maybe they are one manufacturer for all I know meantime.

Leafs have them, but they can be turned off .  Lots of ICE cars have them too, vans etc..

> My driving style is gentle on brakes so I guess regeneration might not be great with me.

If you turn up the regen level (it's adjustable on most cars) then you will find regen perfect for you

I've been driving an old style Leaf some time now, and most everyone on my street owns at least one electric car so I have a pretty good feel for levels of reliability (very, very high compared to ICE).  As I'm always planning to replace it I've test driven quite a few others as well...

1. Seems to be drive can be to rear axle only, front axle only and both axles therefore effectively four wheels drive. Also appears motor can be one per axle or one per wheel. With the high levels of torque available from electric motors, how does the handling and grip compare with ICE cars particularly in slippery conditions? I guess they all have ABS, maybe traction control to help?

I live in Norway, it's pretty slippery here .  Non issue, and I've driven on plenty of snow, ice and wet

2. Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range? I noted one test report I read for a new BEV, that when fully charged the car apparently said 14% lower range potential than manufacturer’s figure for max range. The report didn’t explain. Wondering if the difference could be due to regenerate on braking?

Regen matters, but that's most likely temperature and recent drivers behaviour

3. I note most BEVs seem to have huge amounts of torque and therefore acceleration is faster than a significant proportion of vehicles on the road even modern ones. Does this make them harder to control or are they very responsive to throttle? There will all be drive by wire presumably. I’m not sure why they need to be that quick in acceleration nowadays 😉. I’ve seen Teslas somewhat surreally rapidly accelerate past me on motorways when I’m already doing 70!

The extra acceleration is really nice to have, especially in heavy traffic.  Getting into gaps, roundabouts is much easier, sager.

4. Is there any reduction in turning circle when front wheels are being driven or four wheels are driven? 4 wheel drives normally have a larger turning circle, though just front are less affected, and rear used to turn on a smaller circle iirc from driving them many years ago.

No idea what you're talking about here.  The car I've owned with the worst turning behaviour was a Peugot station wagon as they'd stretched the car and messed around around with some other angles to make car park turning better.

6. Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

A bit

8. Any website(s) you recommend as a good source of gleaming more info? 

Bjorn Nyland on youtube has done more real world testing than anyone else I can think of - how long to drive a 1000kms etc.. 

Any other comments on BEVs happy to have. I really don’t know much yet about electric cars and their drivability. I spoke to one owner recently whilst he was charging and he was explaining some things about the chargers; more about what goes wrong, like some cars don’t like some chargers and the charger system can switch off randomly - not handy when you’ve left you car and come back later to find you only have an additional 14 miles as happened that day! He was happy overall having been driving electric cars for 2.5 years, and with free electricity (he said he had never paid for charging as his LA doesn’t (yet) charge in their area

I charge at home most of the time, but have a reasonable amount of fast charging.  I think my advice would be to go and drive some cars.  Go look at the e-Niro, whatever Hyundai you can , Polestar 2 and try a Tesla.  They are going to feel very familiar to drive, just better.

 elliot.baker 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

I'll throw my hat in the ring as well! We got an e-niro on salary sacrifice in March this year. Been the best car I've ever owned or driven by a long way.

1. no idea which wheels are driven and the wheels will spin if you put your foot down, even if you're already moving sometimes, but we drive it in eco mode now all the time because the throttle response is more gentle when you're pulling away. If you are slightly more gentle than just jamming your foot all the way down you can pull away as fast as you want in normal or sport mode. Never driven in slippery conditions.

2. it has 3 levels of regen (4 if you count "off") and we generally have it on 2 so when you lift off the throttle it starts to slow down and regen, but if you have it on cruise control (adaptive cruise control is a game changer, you can go on motorways forever without touching the pedals), then it regen's going down hills all the time anyway to stop you going over your set speed. Both the reviews and my personal experience suggest the manufacturers range for this car is pretty accurate. I find the trip computer to be unnervingly accurate, like to within 1-2 miles on a 75 mile trip. But I've never had it down to less than 20 miles, more often it's never below 40%.

3. See above, not hard to control and yes very fast throttle response on sport and normal but on eco it's much more gentle (and eco!). It is wonderful pulling away from lights faster than everyone else. Until you don't realise the golf next to you is an e-golf and it zips off like a bullet haha.

4. I find the turning circle excellent I notice this all the time in the supermarket carpark.

5. I think it's called "VESS" Virtual Engine Sound System, that makes the sci-fi hum below 20-30mph and a beep when you're reversing. You can just press a button on the dash to turn it off, which is useful for 4am hiking starts to not wake the neighbours!

6. no storage under bonnet in this, just loads of motor looking gubbins and screen wash etc.

7. as above. I turn it off in traffic jams but have it on otherwise so people know I'm coming. It's just like a sci-fi warble hum.

8. I just read reviews like What Car and Car wow etc.

Other comments - I would probably never go back to having a non-electric car now. But I am really keen to go to Scotland one day for a couple of weeks with my family, if I was doing this, I would just hire a petrol/diesel car. The 250+ miles range of the e-niro is fantastic for everything day-to-day, and across the Midlands, even to Wales and the Lakes (which we've done) but I just don't think it would be practical yet to do a tour of Scotland (for me). But I don't mind the idea of renting a car for a few weeks, cheaper than owning two by a long way.

When we've stayed in cabins / cottages for British holidays with this car this year, we've just dangled an extension out the window and charged it up for a few hours a day which has been perfect. It takes 28 hours to charge fully on a 3-pin plug but that still means that in an afternoon/evening you can get about 30% charge in which is plenty for day trips.

My experience with public chargers (I've used them twice) is that the first one was awful and wouldn't release my cable, had to wait on the phone for 15 minutes to get it out, 2nd one was perfect and you just dropped tokens in at some visitor centre in the Lakes. I pray that in the next few years they all become contactless tap and pay with Apple pay or credit card, downloading apps and pre-paying is an absolute insult.

 henwardian 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

I'm not an electric car driver but I'll give a couple of inputs on this anyway:

1, 3. Test drive one and you should get a good idea of how it drives. On a more basic note, assuming it's not a sports car, electric cars are going to be designed to mimic the driving experience of ICE cars as that is what drivers are used to. So even if electric motors are cabable of wheel spinning all the way to 100mph, the car is most definitely not going to be set up that way (even the Tesla sports cars force you to navigate into the depths of loads of sub-menus to turn on the lightspeed option).

2. Vehicle manufacturers have always overstated fuel economy and range for ICE cars, It won't be any different for electric ones. You just need to trawl the internet to find out what the real world range of your chosen car is.

4. This is different for every vehicle and depends on a lot of factors, electric vehicles are bound to have a wide range of turning circles, seems like the best thing again would be to look that info up for the car you think you are most interested in.

5. All beepers like this can be turned off by removing the correct fuse (or with a pair of wire cutters if the fuse powers other useful things).

6. Same answer as 4.

7. I think you answered your own question here (i.e. "no").

 wintertree 14 Sep 2021
In reply to henwardian:

> On a more basic note, assuming it's not a sports car, electric cars are going to be designed to mimic the driving experience of ICE cars as that is what drivers are used to

You probably want to drive an EV before making that comment.

They definitely do not mimic the driving experience.  

> (even the Tesla sports cars force you to navigate into the depths of loads of sub-menus to turn on the lightspeed option).

A Tesla forces you to navigate loads of menus to do almost anything.  Because it's UI is designed by idiots.  Fact.

 Jamie Wakeham 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

> My driving style is gentle on brakes so I guess regeneration might not be great with me.

No, that's good.  You want gentle braking over longer distances to get all of the regen through the motors.  You need to avoid harsh braking where the discs have to kick in and turn all of your KE into waste heat.

> * I was once a passenger in a hybrid and the surreal experience of that put me off even thinking about a hybrid. For example, to hear the engine revs and general noise increasing whilst the car was slowing, and vice versa the car accelerating quietly as the engine revs had dropped (or had switched off?) just was so unnatural to my decades of driving ICE vehicles. I don’t think I could adjust to that!

That was a pretty odd thing about my PHEV: because the petrol motor was used as a generator to recharge the battery, and not to directly drive the wheels (except in motorway cruising) there was no direct link between revs and speed, and for a while this did confuse my brain.  Of course, this isn't an issue on a pure BEV.

Annoyingly at the moment you can pick two out of long range - big boot - reasonably affordable.  The MG5 has a proper boot but not great range (the new long range variant promises better).  The new Kia EV6 has >300 miles but not much of a boot...

In reply to Henwardian:

2. Vehicle manufacturers have always overstated fuel economy and range for ICE cars, It won't be any different for electric ones. You just need to trawl the internet to find out what the real world range of your chosen car is.

Manufacturers don't have any choice - they are mandated to report what they get in the WLTP test (which superseded the NEDC).  They are not, and never have claimed to be, a measure of long distance motorway range.  EV range is very sensitive to speed.  WLTP is a mixture of speeds, not a huge amount of high speed, and if you spend most of your time in towns you will get or exceed this range.  On the other hand if you drive nonstop at motorway speed you won't get very near it - typically between 80% and 90%, depending on your model and the weather conditions.

Post edited at 10:15
 jkarran 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

My experience is a couple of months living with a first gen Leaf and a second IC car.

> 1. ...how does the handling and grip compare with ICE cars particularly in slippery conditions? I guess they all have ABS, maybe traction control to help?

It has all the electronic wizardry, with the ECO mode on it's sluggish, switched off it's like a 90's hot hatch with vague steering.

> 2. Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range?

No but having an E drag brake is nice once you get used to it, you rarely need to get off the accelerator pedal unless you're actually stopping. Going slow and really limiting acceleration makes the biggest difference to range.

> 3. I note most BEVs seem to have huge amounts of torque and therefore acceleration is faster than a significant proportion of vehicles on the road even modern ones. Does this make them harder to control or are they very responsive to throttle?

The first gen Leaf is quite modest, the second gen which I've done a few dozen miles in feels quite quick, cooking 90's Impreza kind of quick. Both very easy to drive. I suspect you could easily get yourself into trouble in a properly fast EV because of the lack of drama there's no real cues as to how fast you're piling on speed. Last time I went fast car shopping I found rally-inspired 4wd turbos delivered similar huge but unspectacular performance on quiet stock exhausts, pretty scary how fast bends appeared if you weren't 100% focussed!

> 4. Is there any reduction in turning circle when front wheels are being driven or four wheels are driven? 4 wheel drives normally have a larger turning circle

You get what you get, obviously if it were designed differently then it could turn tighter or less tight. FWD leaf turns normally, I do a couple of 3pt turns a day in it no bother. IMO rwd drives better in the real world as you don't feel the fidgeting but most non-sports EVs will be fwd or 4wd.

> 5. Do all BEV have reversing “bleepers”? Can they be turned off?

Mine doesn't, don't know if I could turn one on. Look while reversing and go slow, same as with IC relly.

> 6. Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

Dunno, never looked!

> 7. Do BEVs not have or need some sound creation for driving at town speeds? I was taken aback at a small Peugeot recently that almost silently glided past me whilst on the bike.

Mine doesn't. There's tyre, wind and whiny powertrain noise, it's far from silent but still nicely quiet. I doubt it's any quieter than the well silenced diesel Volvo my father used to have.

> 8. Any website(s) you recommend as a good source of gleaming more info?

No idea, sorry.

> Any other comments on BEVs happy to have. I really don’t know much yet about electric cars and their drivability. I spoke to one owner recently whilst he was charging and he was explaining some things about the chargers; more about what goes wrong, like some cars don’t like some chargers and the charger system can switch off randomly

Haven't had to engage with public chargers so no experience of that.

jk

 BennoC 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Jamie Wakeham:

> No, that's good.  You want gentle braking over longer distances to get all of the regen through the motors.  You need to avoid harsh braking where the discs have to kick in and turn all of your KE into waste heat.

I find that if I hold the left paddle in my e-Niro the regen braking applied is significant. similar to hard friction braking. If you continue to hold it the car will also stop on regen braking, and it won't creep forward when you release it. 

I also turn VESS off as soon as I get in the car, and only turn it on in busy areas.

It's great, there's no way I'd go back to an ICE car. The silence, lack of engine vibrations....

In reply to Climbing Pieman:

Appreciate all the comments. Loads of helpful stuff and very useful pointers I should consider on any car I am interested in. Thanks everyone.

Comments: I like that there are different driving modes; Eco sounds like most of my driving style! This should therefore also help with some regen.

It’s a private purchase (BIK would have been nice). Most of my driving is now local or well within what seems to be the norm range available now in cars. I appreciate range is based on recent driving (indeed my current ICE alters throttle response, for example, based on how you have been using it; only problem is if I really need a rapid response I need to hit the sport option!).

I would base my range thoughts on a useable range of 60 - 80% of manufacturer’s figures. Charging at home would be my norm. I have already changed elect supplier to Octopus Energy this year in expectation of getting a BEV tariff in future (if they continue to exist) and it prob would be with them.

Tesla is off the list (not that it was ever on for various reasons but is now especially if the touchscreen is the main control centre!). I just don’t like to much having to be done by touch screen. 

eNiro was at the top of the list on paper (never been near one yet though) until last month when I heard about two owners, who I know by name, are both frustrated by the lane departure warning noise, but more importantly have had problems with the “Active Bonnet” activating randomly for no apparent reason. By itself not a problem if warranty covers the teething problems but apparently Kia’s stance was it was not warranty work. I will need to have a closer look though and consider if the active bonnet “fault” is an ongoing problem. Golfs also on my list to look at. Otherwise I’ll search online for others in same size groups and take time to had]ve closer looks and some test drives.

Thanks all.

 BennoC 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

The lane departure noise is annoying, and you can turn it off, but it's the sort of thing that would save your life during a moments inattention. so I leave it on.

It also momentarily turns off when you indicate, so as long as you indicate when you are changing lanes/overtaking it isn't a problem.  

 elliot.baker 14 Sep 2021
In reply to BennoC:

Second this yeah there is a button to turn it off and it encourages me to indicate anyway which can only be a good thing (I indicated anyway but this encourages me more).

All the reviews for the e-niro were amazing and they were really nick-picking by saying that yes all the different dings and bongs it makes when you turn it on are the most annoying thing.

I've never had an issue with the bonnet and it's a 3 year lease so I don't really worry about that kind of stuff.

The nice little things in the car like ventilated seats, heated seats, memory electric driver seat if you have two drivers (we do), under boot floor storage, good storage space in the front, lane keeping assist and adaptive cruise (game changer!), hi fi is good (sub in the boot), these things vastly vastly make up for the mildly irritating and (perhaps) over-protective dinging noises. Not to mention the acceleration and absolutely silent driving.

 Jamie Wakeham 14 Sep 2021
In reply to elliot.baker:

Agreed.  It's saying something that the worst thing I can come up with about the car is that it plays a little jingle when you start it up.

In reply to elliot.baker: and BennoC

I do use indicators a lot generally, so it’s not a deal breaker, though my past driver training was “if required” i.e. if no one about to see or benefit no need to indicate. Useful therefore if it can be switched off.

Your certainly selling the eNiro!! I did look at it on paper albeit some 2 years ago now and was very impressed with the spec/style/etc, but at the time, firstly, the waiting list was 1 yr and, secondly, I had looked at charging availability in the areas I was then visiting and was put off by the real lack of realistically practical availability of charging infrastructure.

Two years on, my circumstances have changed and public charging is of lower need (and no doubt it’s improved a lot overall in 2 years), though I’ve still noted in passing some concerning problems with at least one charging station.  A P&R car park, that has 8 chargers (four rapid), and for the last 2 years at least I’ve been reliably informed usually have only 2 - 4 working at any one time. It’s also the charging points for the LA’s fleet of electric cars just to add to the demand for the working ones. To be fair to the LA, the times I’ve parked there, they do seem to move their cars away from the charge points if they are not on charge, and appear to only charge one car at a time.

Cheers, must go and see an eNiro and get a test drive arranged.

 wbo2 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:  Couple more comments - I know a couple of people with e-Niros and they're happy.  Very similar to the Hyundai Kona (Hyundai own Kia) - and a 7 year warranty is not to be sniffed at... the only downside is that both have recently released cars that supercede them to an extent.

Don't discard the Tesla till you've tried one... 

I'm not sure how far you usually drive but all these cars have real 450-500km range (in summer).  500km is a long way.

Don't bother looking at the Golf.  Go straight to an id3 - better in every way.

** re noises - modern cars make a variety of noises as well - go for a spin in a modern ICE Mercedes

In reply to Climbing Pieman:

If you are anywhere near Milton Keynes*, evexperiencecentre.co.uk have a range of cars from different manufacturers available for test drives, and very reasonably-priced short rentals. 

For real-world range and efficiency (and information about drivetrain/driven wheels etc) check out ev-database.co.uk

It sounds like you've already done the research and waded through the fear mongers' usual concerns - you'll love driving electric.

*I've just spotted that you're in Fife. Doh.

 Si dH 14 Sep 2021
In reply to wbo2:.

> Don't bother looking at the Golf.  Go straight to an id3 - better in every way.

I really liked the ID.3 (obviously, since I've ordered one) and for me it was better than any of the Korean options...but if the OP doesn't like the idea of touch screen controls in the Tesla, then they should note the ID.3 is touch-screen everything too.

The infotainment touch screen software was also the subject of most criticism for early ID3s, but they have mostly fixed it with updates now, and are switching to over-the-air updates going forward.

In reply to wbo2:

> Don't bother looking at the Golf.  Go straight to an id3 - better in every way.

Yup, sorry, without researching them I thought the ID3 was a Golf! Seen them on the road and I recognise Golf features. I like the style, etc externally, however, if they use touchscreen for most things that may rule it out.

I’m used to touchscreens, but personally see that you can only use them practically and safely when stopped. Buttons and levers you know where they are and can use use them without taken eyes off the road. Just my opinion, sure a lot of folk get on fine with touchscreens.

In reply to George Killaspy:

> For real-world range and efficiency (and information about drivetrain/driven wheels etc) check out ev-database.co.uk

> It sounds like you've already done the research and waded through the fear mongers' usual concerns - you'll love driving electric.

Thanks I’ll have a look.

Yes done the thinking it through and can see benefits to buy one, and I’m looking forward to the day it happens, though still to actually drive one! Hopefully, it won’t be a big shock!

In reply to Si dH:

Really not sure I would buy a BEV with a touch screen that has to be used for “everything”. If it has some buttons/ levers for main controls likely to be used daily or more frequently, then maybe.

My current car has a touchscreen for some things, but plenty of buttons and levers for main driver needs. Worth having a look at an ID3 and possibly a test drives though once I see it. I have some specific needs otherwise to consider also like a certain boot size min, plenty of headroom and legroom.

 hokkyokusei 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

Been driving a Tesla Model 3 Performance for the last two years ...

> 1. Seems to be drive can be to rear axle only, front axle only and both axles therefore effectively four wheels drive. Also appears motor can be one per axle or one per wheel. With the high levels of torque available from electric motors, how does the handling and grip compare with ICE cars particularly in slippery conditions? I guess they all have ABS, maybe traction control to help?

M3P is four wheel drive, two motors, one front, one at the back. Handling is excellent, yes ABS and traction control. I've never managed to spin the wheels, even when flooring it, which I do. Often. It's a bit addictive!

> 2. Does regeneration on deceleration make that much difference to range? I noted one test report I read for a new BEV, that when fully charged the car apparently said 14% lower range potential than manufacturer’s figure for max range. The report didn’t explain. Wondering if the difference could be due to regenerate on braking?

A bit. As most people have said, the difference in range is down to the industry standard figures given compared to real world use. Just like an ICE car. Range is better in summer than in winter.

> 3. I note most BEVs seem to have huge amounts of torque and therefore acceleration is faster than a significant proportion of vehicles on the road even modern ones. Does this make them harder to control or are they very responsive to throttle? There will all be drive by wire presumably. I’m not sure why they need to be that quick in acceleration nowadays 😉. I’ve seen Teslas somewhat surreally rapidly accelerate past me on motorways when I’m already doing 70!

Well, yes, bags of torque in mine! Very responsive to throttle though, and with regen braking turned to max, you start to slow down as soon as you lift your foot. Regennis adjustable, but I very soon got used to it and have it on max now. For the mist part it's one pedal driving.

> 4. Is there any reduction in turning circle when front wheels are being driven or four wheels are driven? 4 wheel drives normally have a larger turning circle, though just front are less affected, and rear used to turn on a smaller circle iirc from driving them many years ago.

I couldn't really say. Turning circle isn't amazing, but then it's one of the larger cars I've driven, other than a ford galaxy, which was _awful_. I've not had any issue to speak of.

> 5. Do all BEV have reversing “bleepers”? Can they be turned off? If you are reversing out of garage onto your drive do you really need a bleeper being activated? At least in car parks, on streets, etc, they can alert those walking nearby.

No idea, mine doesn't have one.

> 6. Is there any storage space under the bonnet? Surely the whole area is not taken up with motor(s) and other things is it?

Yeah, enough for some hand luggage, boot is pretty big though.

> 7. Do BEVs not have or need some sound creation for driving at town speeds? I was taken aback at a small Peugeot recently that almost silently glided past me whilst on the bike. I didn’t hear it except for a faint tyre noise when it was virtually on me.

Newer ones do, mine doesn't.

> 8. Any website(s) you recommend as a good source of gleaming more info?

If you're on Facebook, join a group for your car if choice. You'll soon hear all about the bad things!

> Any other comments on BEVs happy to have. I really don’t know much yet about electric cars and their drivability. I spoke to one owner recently whilst he was charging and he was explaining some things about the chargers; more about what goes wrong, like some cars don’t like some chargers and the charger system can switch off randomly - not handy when you’ve left you car and come back later to find you only have an additional 14 miles as happened that day! He was happy overall having been driving electric cars for 2.5 years, and with free electricity (he said he had never paid for charging as his LA doesn’t (yet) charge in their area).

Tesla have their own charging network, which is very reliable. Even in just the two years since I got my car I would say that public charges have improved greatly. I avoid the chargers that require you to have an account and an app, as it's just one more thing to break down when you need it most. I just use the ones that let you pay via contactless card. It's worth checking the max charge rate for whatever car you're considering. Inna Tesla charger you can add over a hundred miles in the time it takes you to go and get a coffee and/or have a piss.

Having said all of that, get a charger fitted at home if you can, and investigate the various electricity supply options. You can charge up overnight far more cheaply than at public chargers. I'm on octopus agile (which isn't great right now) but on occasion octopus have paid me to charge up my car!

 hokkyokusei 14 Sep 2021
In reply to Climbing Pieman:

> I’m used to touchscreens, but personally see that you can only use them practically and safely when stopped. Buttons and levers you know where they are and can use use them without taken eyes off the road. Just my opinion, sure a lot of folk get on fine with touchscreens.

I was a bit sceptical, but have had very few issues with the touch screen. Many of the more involved operations can be controlled by voice control anyway. 


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