Monthly Archives: December 2018


Leaf’s Rapidgate : What can you do to avoid it ?

The Nissan Leaf is infamous for its lack of battery cooling. It wasn’t really an issue on the Leaf 24, and then with the Leaf 30, you could hit the red-zone of the temperature gauge after 3 or 4 fast charges during the day. So when the Leaf 40 came out, it was with a great disappointment for the Leaf community to see that battery cooling wasn’t installed and that after just one fast charge, it could get so hot that the BMS (Battery Management System) would limit the charging speed to protect the battery. Rapidgate was born.

Why is it getting worse with the newer models?

As its name states, the Nissan Leaf 40 has a bigger capacity than the 24 and 30 but the physical size of the pack is exactly the same as the one of the previous models. When you put more energy/heat in the similar volume, heat is more concentrated and temperature rises.

Why do batteries get warm ?

Charging and discharging a battery creates heat. You can see it on your mobile phone if you play a game or use an app that needs a lot of resource/power. the battery will get warmer as it discharges. The opposite is also true, we’ve all noticed our smartphones getting warm after a long fast charge. The exact same applies to car batteries. When you plug at home and draw 3 or 7kw of power, your battery will not suffer from excessive heat and it will stay at a reasonable temperature level. On the other hand, when fast charging at 40 or 50kw, the battery will get very hot, very quickly. Batteries are usually happy around 25-30°c, this is why most manufacturers offer battery cooling/warming. This is best for a better battery life. In parts of the world where climate is hot, such as south California or Arizona, Leaf owners have seen their batteries degrading very quickly. Thankfully, we have an extremely mild climate in Ireland, never hot, never cold, which minimizes the issue, and making our country probably the most EV suitable in the world 🙂

So what can I do to to keep my Leaf 30 / Leaf 40 battery as cool as possible ?

If you know you are driving a long distance in a day (say 400km or more) there are some simple steps you can follow to limit that heat gain:

  • Fully charge your car the day before. It sounds obvious, but charging the car the day before, allowing the batteries to cool down after the charge, will allow you to start your journey with a battery as cold as possible. The battery being full, you’ll make your first fast charge late in your journey.
  • Drive at reasonable speeds. The faster you drive, the worse economy you will get. A car doing 16kWh / 100km at 100kph will draw 16kWh in one hour. A car doing 12kWh / 100km at 80kph will draw 12 kWh in 1 hour 12 min so less than 10 kWh in one hour ! More time between charges mean your car will be able to naturally cool down a little. A better efficiency will allow you to get more kilometers from your charge and, spend less time recharging ie put less heat in your battery.
  • Accelerate gently, use the Eco mode to help you doing so.
  • Avoid regeneration. Every time you slow down, you are recharging the battery and adding a bit of heat back into the battery. It is better to avoid it as much as possible. If you’re cruising at 90 kph on the motorway and that it is going downhill, just coast and let the car pick up some speed, rather than regenerating. On a Leaf, you will need to press slightly on the accelerator to do so.
  • Do not use cruise control. It doesn’t anticipate slopes as well as a human can and will therefore over-accelerate and over-regenerate.
  • Minimise the use the e-pedal (ideally deactivate it): it is a very good system especially around town but has a very strong regeneration that of course will produce heat.

Finally keep in mind that driving slower will not necessarily mean arrive later at your final destination. If you drive faster between 2 charges and save 20 minutes by driving 110 kph instead of 90 kph between 2 charges, you could loose much more than these 20mn spared by spending more time at the FCP. A Leaf with a cool battery should take around 45mn to charge 80% at 50kw but this can easily double if the battery is hot and charging speed slows down to 22kw as seen after 1 or 2 fast charges. Drive wisely !

 

Edit (28th January 2019) : Recently, Nissan has updated the software dictating the speed at which the car must charge (based on the battery temperature). It seems that this fix is only for Europe and will be also carried out on existing Leaf. Tests have been done and it seems that the car charges faster at any temperature, which is a help on longer distances. However it means that the battery will get more heat thus challenge its life expectancy.

 


ESB FCP Charging Fees Survey Summary

Dear members,

This is a summary of a survey conducted amongst registered members of the Irish EV Owners Association about the planned introduction of fees at the ESB Ecars Fast Chargers in 2019. The survey applies to the Fast Chargers only and does not include any questions about the standard AC chargers.

This summary report contains the results of all the questions with the exception of the open response question 10. This is for IEVOA committee use only.

78% of the respondents indicated they had access to a home charger.

About 45% of the respondents use an Ecars Fast Charger every week. Most respondents (123) only use one a few times a month but that’s closely followed by a few times a week (117).

Most respondents are in favour of the introduction of fees on a per kWH basis (56%), though over 20% of the respondents would like to keep the chargers free to use.

Most members are in favour of per kWh pricing, (331) would like to keep the cost per kWh at the average Irish home rate (49.9% of those in favour of per kWh billing) with €0.20/kWh and €0.30/kWh the next highest percentages.

Of those in favour of per minute pricing (139), most would like to keep the price at less than €0.20/minute.

Only 21.5% of the respondents are in favour of a flat session fee, around half of those (48.5%) would like the session fee to be less than €3 per session.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (90%) would like to see an overstay fee applied but the response to when this would be applied is very mixed. 1/3 appear to want a per minute fee from the start.

36% of those in favour of a overstay fee would like the price to be more than €0.50/minute.

84% do not want a connection fee to be applied.

In summary, based on the results of this survey, if fees are to be introduced for the use of ESB Ecars Fast Chargers in Ireland the majority of users would like to see per kWh billing at an average home energy rate, without a connection fee, but with some kind of overstay fee.

The summary results of individual questions can be seen on this document.

Thank you to all who took the time to answer this survey.

The Irish EV Owners Association Committee


New variant for the Volkswagen E-Golf

Whist Volkswagen has become the specialist of future EV models announcements, very little has happened in their current EV range that is unfortunately more focused on multiplying ICE SUVs.

 

The PHEVs VW are gone (Passat saloon and Estate GTE, Golf GTE) and the e-Up! (BEV) never made it here. But the e-Golf is still here, awaiting for the anticipated I.D. (orders are supposed to be open in 2019). VW has been selling the e-Golf since 2014, in very low numbers first, but with more interest from customers since 2018 and the battery upgrade (35.8 kWh), and now a new variant is in for 2019. It is called Executive Edition and sits on the top of the 2-model range. For €3.500 over the base model, it comes with a good list of extra equipments such as leather seats, upgraded alloys (17” instead of 16”), the very nice 12″ screen replacing the traditional analogue dials behind the steering wheel. It also features Key-less access, rear privacy windows, and a few more minor elements.

This Executive Edition is giving a better value for money than the base model, without becoming the deal of the century. You may note that the heat pump is still optional (€1,067)…  but fake exhaust tailpipe comes as standard on all e-Golf 🙂 There is a technology package available for just €499, including Parking sensors, automatic high beams, a “lights and vision” pack or folding exterior mirrors. That is a package you shouldn’t skip.

It is important to know that the bigger wheels will affect the drag and therefore the range but Volkswagen has rightfully decided to offer a free 16” wheels “downgrade” so that luxury can also rhyme with economy.

The e-Golf has never been a cheap BEV, but keep in mind that the smaller but more premium BMW i3 starts at a similar price (€35,760 with a 42 kWh battery and 310km WLTP range), and in the non premium world you have a better equipped Hyundai Kona Electric (€35,995) that offers a range of no less than 482km WLTP.

 

e-Golf : €35,995

e-Golf Executive Edition : €39.495

Range for the e-Golf and e-Golf Executive Edition with 16” wheels :  230km (WLTP)

Range for the e-Golf Executive Edition with 17” wheels : 217km (WLTP)

 

Find all the info you need on the Volswagen Ireland website

Photo credit : Volkswagen

 


Irish PHEVs Sales – November 2018

In November, 19 new PHEVs were sold. Not very significant but still representing 2.9% of the total market this moth. And 0.59% on the course of the year.

Used imports are still very strong, and dominated by the Outlander PHEV. 173 used PHEVs were imported last month.