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Beginner EV questions

  • 14-12-2021 12:24pm
    Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭

    I'm probably going to buy an EV soon, and have been reading through the forum, but I still have a few questions around public charging, and etiquette. The majority of my charging will be done at home, and public charging will be something I'll need quite rarely.

    1. Do you have to download an app/sign up to a particular provider, or can you just pay at charge point with a debit/credit car "on the go"?
    2. If you do need to sign up, are all the apps/providers interchangeable? If I sign up as PAYG with with one provider, can I use that on other companies' chargers? Or do you need to sign up with each company separately?
    3. At slow, on-street, chargers do you pay for parking as well as for the charging? For example, on the South Mall in Cork, parking is usually limited to 1/2 hours, whereas the electric charging points say there's a 4 hour maximum. Do you pay for 4 hours of parking + whatever the charging cost is? Or does the electricity cost cover your parking as well?
    4. At a rapid charge point (say, near a restaurant/cafe), if your car gets to more than 80% in, say 40 minutes, but you're still inside eating for an hour, are you expected to go out and move your car before you've finished? Or are you supposed to stay with your car while it's charging?
    5. When installing a home charger, my meter box is on the side of the house, in front of the gate to the back garden. They're close together, and the car will be parked very close, so distance isn't an issue. Are there any particular pro/cons to putting the box in front of the gate (visible to people on the street) versus behind the gate?
    6. Any other tips/gotchas for a first time EV owner?
    7. I get the impression (which may be wrong) that when a car is charging, the cable is "locked" into the car, but that when charging is finished, the cable can be removed by anyone. If a car is at a machine, but finished charging (is there an easy way to tell?), is it rude to move the cable to your own car? Or do they stay locked in until the car itself is unlocked?



  • Moderators Posts: 12,335 ✭✭✭✭Black_Knight

    1. Most are 1 app per provider. EasyGo have started rolling out credit/debit card payments, but no guarantees it's everywhere.
    2. Some are interchangable, but usually for a premium. EasyGo can be used at ESB and Ionity sites, but at a greater cost. ESB, Ionity and EasyGo are the main ones in Ireland.
    3. Different councils have different rules for paying for parking. In Cork it's free if you're charging. Not sure how they enforce the 4 hour maximum, but certainly you don't need to pay for parking while charging in Cork City.
    4. NI say Rapid. Here we call anything over 50kW a "Fast" charger. Typically stay with your car or stay close. If I know i'm going to be charging 30-40 minutes, i'll go about my business, but i'll make a point of getting back to my car as soon as I no longer need to charge. If you're finished charging, you're expected to move your car.
    5. Cons would be if it's ugly, and charge points now must come with a emergency stop switch (big red switch) so having that on the front of your house isn't that appealing. Another con would be if you change charge point you might leave the wall untidy/visible. Cabling and trunking might not be that good looking. Basically it's a visual thing. There's also been a few expensive charge points stolen from peoples homes. My charge point is at the side of our house, behind our gate. The cable slips under the gate and down to the car not a bother. Be aware of the length of cable you'll need though.
    6. Test the waters with public charging before you need to public charge. Get a night rate meter (free, just ask your electricity provider) and not a smart meter (they've very poor rate at the moment).
    7. Typically they default to staying locked to the car until the car is unlocked (cable is released for ~10 seconds after car is unlocked), but some cars have an override button to allow the cable to be removed when charging is complete. Some might think it rude to move a cable from one car to your own, but if the car you're removing it from isn't charging (and if you can remove the cable, then it's not charging) then that's pretty rude too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 85 ✭✭AFOL

    I have a question also.... waiting on an Enyaq to be delivered, no time soon.

    If I were to get a ferry to France for a driving holiday, how does charging while abroad work? Do I need to sign up to some PAYG account or can I just stop at a fast charger and use my credit/debit card?

  • Moderators Posts: 12,335 ✭✭✭✭Black_Knight

    Little bit of A, little bit of B i'd say. Apps like plugsurfing can typically integrate with multiple vendors, so you can use that 1 app to activate many chargers, but at a cost. Eg. Ecars costs €0.37/kWh on the ecars app, but €0.42/kWh and €0.14/minute on the plugsurfing app.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie

    Another question, based on things I've read. In general at public chargers the advice seems to be to top up to 80%.

    When you're charging at home, do people generally top up to full, or top up to 80/90%? My general day to day mileage will be fairly low, so is it better to just plug in at home every few days, then top up to full? Or is charging to full every night recommended? My thinking would be if I have a long trip planned the next day I'd charge to full (the same way I'd fill a tank of petrol), but if I'm only going 15km the next day, it doesn't matter if the battery is lowish.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,477 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    EVs have Battery Management Systems (BMS) with buffers at top and bottom, so you can never really be full or empty.

    That aside the battery does not like being idle at very high or low State of Charge (SOC).

    If you don't need the extra range, charge to 80% day to day, if you are doing a trip then charge to 100% no bother.

    This is general guidance

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie

    What's (roughly) considered a low state of charge? 20%? So let it run down to 20%, then top it back up to 80%?

    Edit: Sorry, just reread, and I see that you suggest topping back up to 80% every night.

  • Moderators, Sports Moderators Posts: 18,477 Mod ✭✭✭✭slave1

    No, I wouldn't top up every night, we have two EVs and have had for a few years, we top up only when around the 15%-25% mark and have both cars at 80% cut off, I'm WFT so it's a once a week top up, SWMBO tops up twice a week

  • Moderators Posts: 12,335 ✭✭✭✭Black_Knight

    Similar to Slave. Charge to 80% from ~50-80km range on the GOM, so about 15%-25%. If I've a trip coming up, i'll push that to 90% or 100% depending. Like last night I needed to charge, so I charged to 90% because tomorrow we'll be going on a bit of a drive (~200km) and there'll be some short drives today too. Saves me charging last night and topping up again tonight.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,129 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG

    Re number 4

    You're not expected to rush back to move as soon as you hit 80%, especially since many cars don't slow down at 80%.

    But to me, it is very easy to be helpful by being contactable. I don't mind arriving at a charger and finding it in use, what is irritating is when you don't know how long it will be in use.

    You're under no obligation of course, but it would be nice if you left a contact phone number, a note explaining when you hope to return, or register on the Needtocharge App and leave a QR code on display.

    Then if you're away from the car, someone can just call you or shoot you a message to ask when you'll be back.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie

    I'm not comfortable with leaving my phone number on display, but will take a look at the NeedToCharge app - do a lot of people in Ireland use it?

    I can definitely leave a pack of post-its and a pen in the car and leave notes like "I'm in the café next door, ETA 10am" if that would be useful to others.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 12,129 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG

    Not sure how many users there are in Ireland, but provided you're registered yourself then it doesn't matter if others are.

    They can still send you a message via the app even if they're not registered.

    There are about 14k users, but no breakdown of country as far as I know. Mostly UK and Ireland with some in Holland etc.

    I used to keep a pen and paper but I'm too scatterbrained to remember so this disc stays permanently in my window. There's one at the back by the charge port too.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,687 ✭✭✭Grumpypants

    Generally if you think about the situation that you would like to arrive into if you needed a charge in an emergency to get home and that will guide you.

    If you needed a 10 min charge to get 30-40km to finish a journey then you would be really annoyed if someone just plugged in and went to work for 8 hours. (Which does happen). If someone left a note saying I'm just in the cafe, if you need a charge in an emergency pop in and I'll move for you. Otherwise I'll be back at 2pm once I'm at 80% so I can get home. That would let you know the wait time.

    If you are just inside a shop/cafe and can see the car, if no one needs the charger then leave it plugged in. But it's nice to pop out if you see people queuing and move it once you have enough.

    Most public car charging is emergency charging. If you can charge at home it is much cheaper so there is no value in charging beyond what you need to get you home to the cheaper electricity.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,039 ✭✭✭innrain

    Plugshare it is used in other countries for exactly the same function. I'm checked in and you're asking me for how long. I answer with an estimate. I could even let a message and say I'm checking out at 18:07. Handy for a better use of a scarce resource. I had chats with other users on plugshare here in Ireland as well but quite limited. Unfortunatelly those who couldn't care less will not have installed need for charge or plugshare or whatever system is there in the wild.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,129 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG

    Downside of Plugshare is that it requires both parties to be registered, and also requires you to remember to check in each time.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,039 ✭✭✭innrain

    The upside is that with more people using it it builds a reputation of the chargers which in case of a network as ours it is a very good value for the community.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie

    What I'm learning so far is that you're not just buying a car, you're signing up to 53 million different apps :)

    So far it looks like:

    • The car's own app
    • ESB
    • EasyGo
    • Ionity
    • PlugShare
    • NeedToCharge
    • ABRP

    I really appreciate all the input - I'm sure once I get an EV there'll probably be more questions. I've been reading up on changing driving style (taking foot off accelerator rather than actively braking, for example), and all sorts of other bits, but it's good to get info from daily users.

  • Moderators Posts: 12,335 ✭✭✭✭Black_Knight

    Technically you could just sign up to easy go and pay their rates at ESB or ionity. The other apps are all optional really.

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,129 ✭✭✭✭DrPhilG

    Yeah 2 essential, the others optional but useful.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,552 ✭✭✭quokula

    That probably sounds more intimidating than it is, and it depends on where you live and what your usage is like. As mentioned above public chargers are just for emergencies for a lot of people. I've owned my EV for over a year and only needed to use public charging a couple of times because the ~350km I can have on the clock every morning at home is more than I ever use in a regular day.

    When I first got the car I stopped at a local charger to get a practice run at what was involved - It was an ESB charger, I had neither a card or an app but I was able to download and set up the app while sitting in the car and got charging with minimal fuss. Every charger I've used since then has also been ESB, not intentionally but that's just what's been nearby when I've needed one.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    Got it in one :)

    More like 60 million different apps. And you'll spent more time at service stations than you ever thought you would too :)

    I dont think i ever went to a service station in Ireland before I drove an EV. Now im in them once a week or so, sometimes more. Or I should say, I was, until i got sick of it and stopped taking the EV on long journeys anymore.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭loopymum

    I've been driving an ev for over 2 years & I only have ecars & easygo. I only public charge if its essential though. Would not if it was free unless it had a tethered charger & even then i would be hard pressed

  • Registered Users Posts: 12,731 ✭✭✭✭mfceiling

    If you'd never been to a service station before you had an EV how did you get the fuel for your car?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,212 ✭✭✭loopymum

    Diesel tank at home perhaps?

    I've hardly been to any service stations charging myself but mostly homecharging here

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,344 ✭✭✭Thoie

    My intention (and current driving routine) suggests that home charging will do me 99.9% of the time. As Black_knight suggested, I'll do a trial run of public charging once I get the car, just so I know how it works, and don't end up in an emergency situation trying to figure out what to do. Like most people I suffer a little from "range anxiety" which has stopped me moving to EV before, but with ranges of 400km + now available, that will take care of the majority of what I "usually" do. On the super-rare occasions that I need to do 500km+ in one go, there's another car I can borrow if I want.

    Most of my trips are about 20-30km, mix of rural and urban. The less frequent, but more "normal" round trips are about 200-300km, which shouldn't be an issue, even in cold weather (I hope).

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    At a garage :)

    Sorry meant to say motorway service station waiting around.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,687 ✭✭✭Grumpypants

    Yeah under 300 km is very workable. Even on the longer ones it's actually nice having to pull in and stretch the legs even without needing a charge.

    If I'm on the road with the kids I'll have to stop after two hours anyway. By the time I've loaded out all three kids, brought them to the toilet, got a drink, maybe a quick bit to eat, the toilet again 😂, and loaded them all back into the car seats it's easily been 25-30 mins. Which will give most cars a good 150-200km.

    I'm the same with the public charging. I do like to visit on a nice quiet time and test it out. So I know what I'm doing. But it is worth noting that I've found most EV drivers to be very helpful, if you ever get stuck you will find someone at the charger willing to help.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    Only 25-30 mins if you are not waiting on a charger. For example. next time when you are passing chargers, just take a look and see if anyone is on them and if there other cars waiting. And then remember if you were to need a charge at that point, then you are on the end of the queue and your 25-30min charge only start after you have waited to get on the charger. Its easily the most annoying thing about an EV.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,039 ✭✭✭innrain

    Currently driving a rental Diesel Golf SW around some mountain range on the continent. I can list you lots of things which annoy me with this car but the range anxiety I have experienced with it I have never experienced with the EVs. Started a 170 km journey with 260km range. After 20 km ascent the range dropped to 140km and couldn't find any service station opened although they had functioning chargers. There was pitch dark and a very tick fog which made the full beam to be less efficient than the regular lights. When the car reported 20km left we found an automated petrol station but AIB decided to block my credit card. ( actually they've sent me a txt to confirm the transaction but I didn't received it in time). I finally manged to pay with a virtual card but I may have lost a couple of pounds that night. It is true I replenished 1000km in 5 mins but I would have preferred an EV because with the EV I would have had plan A, B and C. An it is mental to see the smallest darkest petrol station I stopped having at least a triple if not a hypercharger.

    It is a brand new car, only 300km driven when I got it, and I drove a bit over 1k km. I find it inferior even to the Kona. Don't really know what engine has but underpowered should be its tradename. Even if it is a SW the boot is not very roomy unless I lower the back seats. Too many buttons on the wheel. I have to look down to see which one I press. My 2006 VW was much user friendly. The wireless charger is useless. I get notified every 10s that my phone is charging and after 30 mins overheats. All these but first are minor. My biggest issue is that tapping the acceleration does nothing in the first couple of seconds. All in all I miss my EVs with their "slow charging"

  • Registered Users Posts: 887 ✭✭✭higster

    I’ve just and bought a 2year old EV with little To no clue what I’ve let myself in for (just fell in love with it when took it for a spin). What apps did you end up using, who did you get for home charger installand any thoughts on charger unit (could be a while before get home charger installed for me, not straightforward one unfortunately so might be dependent on public chargers for a while in the Shannon/limerick city area).

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  • Registered Users Posts: 5,368 ✭✭✭JimmyVik

    We never bothered with a home charger. Just use the granny pack in an outside socket overnight.

    There is no end of apps you can install. The most important one being the one for your car that lets you remotely turn on the heat or AC :).

    We dont normally have to charge the EV at public charge points anymore. The waiting around just annoyed us so much we just take the diesel on any trips that would require the EV to stop for a charge now.