We have decided to take the plunge and get an electric car (Nissan Leaf e+ with the 60kWh battery).
We will be getting an untethered 7kw charger. The front runner seems to be the PodPoint. However, a key thing we would like would be effective management of it via a phone app to get off peak electricity and so on, and I have read some negative views of the app.
Any views very welcome.
Do you need (relatively) high speed charging? It saves you the cost of the charger and is kinder on the battery to charge from 13A; that's what I do with my Kia. I just fitted a bog standard outdoor socket with slightly beefed up cables run to it from the consumer unit. The car's own app manages the charging times perfectly.
We would like to have the option of relatively high speed charging and are okay with spending the money on it.
Is there any data on how much better for the battery charging from the 3 pin is compared to the 7kw? If it is significant then we would use the 3 pin when convenient.
Also, when you say 'slightly beefed up', what is it that is required? Thanks
I have no idea whether the Leaf has its own app! Lots to learn...
I thought there was next to no difference to the battery from the 3kwh and the 7kwh? I thought it was only rapids which are harsh on them? I'm still pretty new to it too, so still getting my head around it all!
We are getting ours fitted next week, but a we have a free public one 10 mins walk away, we will keep predominantly using that until they decide to charge us for it. Glasgow and Falkirk now charge so I guess it will come here relatively soon. We will continue to make the most of it for now though!
We found when we got quotes for fitting, most fitters seemed to have one or two certain units which they fitted. We went with the fitter who could seemed likely to be good (he spent ages measuring up everything, checking all access points and generally making sure our electrics were up to spec) and are going for whichever unit he uses. I can't remember now which it is we are getting. My husband was off work with a broken hand while we were sorting it all so I just left him to it!
Point of pedantry but they're not really "chargers", they're a fancy extension lead with a fancy plug, and some smarts to tell the car how much current they're allowed to draw as well as to monitor various safety points.
We use a "charger" from Zen Car - less than half the price of Pod Point etc., and we got it with a blue "commando" plug rather and had an electrician fit a corresponding outlet, rather than pay a firm like PodPoint over the odds to do an install. It wall mounts by 4 screws in to raws plugs. I had ours set so I could change the charge current; our options are 6/8/10/15 amps. 6A is for compatibility with our redundant micro-grid and we normally charge at 10 A to be kind to the batteries. (Cargo cult thinking, that).
They also do 32 A units.
If you limited yourself to a 10 A charger then you can use any off-the-shelf smart plug to give you app based control.
This probably doesn't answer your question at all, sorry!
Edit: One of the big benefits of the Zen Car one was that we could easily get a 10 meter cable in bright green - this gives us a lot of flexibility to route it out of harms way and makes it much more visible at night.
> I have no idea whether the Leaf has its own app! Lots to learn...
It does, but it's f*****g awful. You can also set charge timers in the EV menu that comes on there dashboard display after you power down.
I've got podpoint and had no problems with it, I've never tried using an app though I didn't even know there was one. We don't have the night/day tariff though. I think you can probably schedule it on the car as others have said though.
The second time I used our home charger it was only charging at like 3.0kwh and I called them up and the lady fixed it with an over the air update really quickly, which I thought was good service and reassuring. Been fine since then.
When someone said "slightly beefed up cables" (for a 3-pin plug), I've just bought an extension lead to charge up off the 3-pin when we go on holiday and stuff (it worked perfectly) and I read that you needed to use an extension which was ok with 13A. I didn't know there was a difference but I think normal home extension leads (for PC monitors etc.) are 10A. The extension only cost us £15 but I'm going to get a longer one on a reel soon with a water resistant plug so we can charge up if it's raining.
Edit: I went with PodPoint because that was what the salary sacrifice lease company were offering and it worked out at about £6 extra a month to get it fitted, over 3 years, so £216. (not including pension implications which would be miniscule on that amount). I never considered reading reviews or looking elsewhere. Also because the car is a lease I'm not really bothered about battery degradation etc. so never considered not using a home fast charger.
I have an Ohme unit. It cost £150 when I signed up to Octopus. I've just had my smart meter installed so I'm looking forward to switching to the Go tariff and charging my car for 5p a kWh overnight.
I wasn't really fussed about getting a "smart" charge point, but I'm really impressed with the Ohme app. It makes it easy to set the car to charge to a pre-set amount every day and override when necessary. I tried using the Nissan app and timer but it was such a faff I gave up.
Shameless plug now. If you do sign up to Octopus, use my link and we both get £50 credit: http://share.octopus.energy/super-liger-382
I don't believe that you'll see any difference in degredation using a beefed up home charger. The actual evidence repeated fast charger usage trashes batteries is pretty thin in reality
I'm sure you'll be fine, but do you realise that your installation is technically illegal? If an external socket is installed that is reasonably expected to be used to charge a vehicle then it has to conform to the appropriate regulations. This was brought in recently because there is a fault that can occur in the supply network that could make your car bodywork live, so car charging points should have measures to protect against this.
> The actual evidence repeated fast charger usage trashes batteries is pretty thin in reality
In general, the evidence on different charger usage patterns vs battery degradation is pretty thin so it's hard to say any which way. It's different for every battery chemistry etc as well, and most EVs have somewhat different chemistries. I doubt that to all intents and purposes it really makes a difference on a modern pack between 16 A and 32 A inlets. I wouldn't want to DC rapid charge very often though...
The damage mechanisms are many, and complex, and interacting. Good paper recently out summarising them all and looking at secondary methods arising from their interactions - https://pubs.rsc.org/en/content/articlelanding/2021/cp/d1cp00359c#!divAbstract
So by 'beefed up', I simply meant that we used 2.5mm^2 rather than 1.5mm^2 cable. The thinner called is technically fine up to 3kW but given that this was going to carry the load for hours at a time it seemed sensible to use a slightly heavier conducter.
My understanding of battery degradation is: 50kW motorway chargers are bad and to be avoided when possible; home chargers are better. Within the range of home chargers, slower is generally better. Also important is keeping, whenever possible, between about 20% and 80% SoC.
Hooo: that's interesting! The sparky who signed off on this (and who knew full well that it was for my car) didn't say anything... I shall investigate further when I get a chance.
It does depend on what system is used for your house earthing. If it happens to be TT (which is not that common any more) then your socket is fine as it is. So it's possible your electrician checked this and knew it was OK.
It looks like the new regs only came in on 1st Feb 2020 and my socket predates that. Next time I have a sparky in the house I'll ask them to take a quick look.
I didn't realise it was that recent, but then I only started reading up on this when I got my car last summer.
Worth bearing in mind for the OP though. You can't just add an outdoor (or technically even an indoor) 13A socket for charging a car any more. It would have to conform to the new regs.
But you can of course just use an extension lead from an existing socket, which is more dangerous but perfectly legal!
Thanks everyone for the helpful replies.
tbh I am getting cold feet on the Leaf as I learn more. First, there are some ambiguous signs that Nissan are going to discontinue the Leaf which would hammer its value. Second, it uses CHAdeMO leads rather than CCS and now even Nissan have switched to CCS for newer vehicles so it's obvious that CCS is the future: mind you I have no idea how much that matters e.g. can you just buy a CCS lead and use that? Third, Nissan has switched to active cooling for batteries which again does not look good for Leaf value. I am a bit swamped by it all at the moment. Ugh.
> Worth bearing in mind for the OP though. You can't just add an outdoor (or technically even an indoor) 13A socket for charging a car any more. It would have to conform to the new regs.
> But you can of course just use an extension lead from an existing socket, which is more dangerous but perfectly legal!
This seems rather unenforceable. "I added it for the lawnmower, but it was handy to use for the car too when I decided a month later to get one"?
Edit: but if you're doing things properly this socket appears to comply, costs £50.
There is also an additional testing requirement:
Neither of these seem onerous.
> I am a bit swamped by it all at the moment. Ugh.
You have my sympathy.
Buying an EV now is fraught with "what ifs". There's so much coming to market with so much change, and the Leaf - (even the e+) is towards the lower end of the coming ranges, which may not be a practical concern but if you're considering depreciation... Unknown territory.
We got a new model Leaf (40 kWh) at the end of 2019 and haven't regretted it, but if we had to make the same decision now, it would be nowhere near as clear cut. I tried a couple of other EVs via a specialist rental firm a couple of weeks ago - it was notable that they both had CCS not CHAdeMO.
> mind you I have no idea how much that matters e.g. can you just buy a CCS lead and use that?
DC fast charging cables are as thick as your arm and are hard wired to the off-board charger. Adapters are possible for some permutations of DC chargers but not others; I don't know the details. I don't think CHAdeMO is going away any time soon, but over the lifetime of the vehicle...? I was very surprised they didn't use CCS on the new model Leaf.
> First, there are some ambiguous signs that Nissan are going to discontinue the Leaf which would hammer its value.
It's a hatchback, and the world wants crossovers. I don't know why - I find the hatchback an incredibly useful form factor for a family runabout. I was disappointed to read yesterday that Lotus are now turning their attention to an SUV/CUV. I kid yet not.
> It's a hatchback, and the world wants crossovers. I don't know why - I find the hatchback an incredibly useful form factor for a family runabout. I was disappointed to read yesterday that Lotus are now turning their attention to an SUV/CUV. I kid yet not.
There aren't very many electric SUVs, so that is a market that needs to be tapped. Why do people like them? Because they are very practical vehicles. The "4x4" aspect is largely irrelevant, they are just MPVs that don't look or drive like a downsized Transit van.
As for discontinuing the Leaf, the future as far as electric goes has to be bringing electrics into the "normal" range as that's what people like to buy. So if the Leaf goes, almost certainly an "e-Micra" will replace it - it's almost exactly the same body. (As always happens and has with the Corsa, Fiesta etc, there has been "model inflation" and now the Micra is a family hatch, not a small car - unusually though Nissan appear not to have a genuine small car in their range now, unlike say Vauxhall who added the Adam below the Corsa, or Ford the KA below the Fiesta).
I agree about it being unenforceable. I would be very surprised if anyone got in trouble for using an unauthorised socket to charge their car. But if I was an electrician I would not want to fit a non-compliant socket knowing that it was going to be used for car charging. And if you find an electrician who is willing to fit one, then they clearly don't know or don't care about the regs, so would you want them working on your wiring?
Regarding the socket you listed, it's not the socket that's the issue, it's the earthing requirements. More detail in your second link if you scroll down, under "Can I use a PME earthing system for electric vehicle charging equipment?". An electrician would be breaching the regulations if they just wired that Screwfix socket to a regular consumer unit as if it was a normal socket. If you get a proper current-model EVSE fitted it contains electronics to make it comply with the regulations.
Thanks for pointing this out - my charge socket went in when I got my PHEV in 2016, so long before the latest update to the regs. It's probably quite unlikely to do any damage, but I will have a sparky look at the system and tell me if I need to make any changes the next time I need one in the house.
I've spent plenty an evening at campsites with horrific (and yet perfectly legal) bodges of extension cables plugged into 13A sockets in barns and toilet blocks...
There are a lot of options in the small-ish SUV / crossover category now: e-Niro/Soul, Kona, and the new MG are all worth looking at (the first three are essentially all the same car). The market gap seems to be in the big SUV category, assuming you can't afford a Model X.
I remain surprised that we've not yet seen a full electric Outlander from Mitsubishi- the PHEV was a massive success and I'd have imagined that converting that to full EV would have been relatively straightforward. My Niro is great but I'd take an e-Outlander in a heartbeat if one existed at a sensible price. Getting four people plus camping and climbing gear for a weekend into the Niro is going to be tough.
> So by 'beefed up', I simply meant that we used 2.5mm^2 rather than 1.5mm^2 cable.
I'm struggling to think why anyone would use anything smaller than 2.5mm T&E to supply a 3 pin socket, TBH.
> Regarding the socket you listed, it's not the socket that's the issue, it's the earthing requirements. More detail in your second link if you scroll down, under "Can I use a PME earthing system for electric vehicle charging equipment?". An electrician would be breaching the regulations if they just wired that Screwfix socket to a regular consumer unit as if it was a normal socket. If you get a proper current-model EVSE fitted it contains electronics to make it comply with the regulations.
Missed that, cheers.
I have a 7kw tethered pod-point charger. It works well and looks nice. You can't set the charging schedule from the charger (or it's app) but you can from most (all?) cars. I put my energy tariff into the app and it tells me how much I've spent charging the car.
It wasn't the cheapest, but the quality is good and the install was easy. I've no regrets.
I'd recommend 7kw over 3kw if you do any sort of mileage. I charge every three days normally, but having the faster charging makes for more flexibility.
Oh gods I'm having a bad day! You're quite right. 1.5mm^2 is for lighting cables, and 2.5mm^2 is for standard 13A ring mains. We used the next one up - I think it must have been 4mm^2.
Thanks for the suggestions. So many things to think about and compare that we are losing the will...
Typical. OP asks for suggestions and gets a whole load of alternative charging ideas about other methods.
In reply to the OP. We have a variety of chargers within our staff at work. They all seem to accomplish the same thing of charging somewhere between 3kw and 7kw. It seems the apps are at different stages. I believe the podpoint one has had a recent update and has caught up with others. One of my colleagues came and showed me his app for his charger and it was a horrible mishmash of unhelpful info and downright annoying to use. Not sure which model it was but it made me certain i would probably throw that charger in the bin if it was mine.
Anyhow, onto the point of the post. Isnt it the done thing to just recommend what i have? I have a SYNC EV. It is the smallest charger i could find. It links to internet easily. It charges fine. It has a card which allows me to disable it a bit like paying cashless which i like. Its app is an absolute breeze to use and allows me to schedule charging for late night if i want to. It cost me about £500 fitted and i suppose i could get one cheaper but i am happy with it.
Thanks, much appreciated. I wasn't aware of the SYNC EV. Will look into it