This is the end… maybe

Posted: November 27, 2015 in Uncategorized

Again, I’ve been quiet of late. As before if I have nothing to say then why say anything.

The Leaf has done me proud, I have now crossed the 142k mark and it still works for me. I was very lucky in that I only lost 1 bar after over 125k of travel. Can I say what gave me such fortune, no. Do I have an idea on it, yes.

Damien Maguire built a prototype, 3 pin charger that only charges at 8amps. The idea was that it could be used with any size extension lead and still cause no load on the power line. He tried to market it (but was shot down). As a thanks to me for allowing him to use my car as a test bed for it, he gave me the prototype. I have used it as my majority of charging for 2 (maybe 3) years, and it is my opinion that the fact I got such long life out of my battery is because of this charger. In case, you wonder, I repeatedly rapid charged but the low charge rate from Damien’s charger made up for any negative effects. Again, this is only my opinion, I have no scientific evidence for this, but then again ask anyone on the Irish EV owners group. No one seems to ever have gotten to 125k+ before losing a bar.

Anyhow, I write this post now because 1, I haven’t for a long time and 2, I may be finsihing up with it.

I wrote this blog to be honest about what it was like to own an EV. I believe I have achieved that. When I started this blog there was only a hand full of us (Brian, you can contest to this). Now the EV community has just grown from strength to…

So why am I saying goodbye (or maybe goodbye). Well, I dont know what more I can say, the Nissan Leaf I bought in 2011 has been amazing. A fantastic buy. I have saved so much on fuel by now I can’t even tell you anymore. At last count, it was just over 21k on diesel. That’s not a feckin small amount. The car cost me 36k, but to save save 21k over 4 years is not to be sneezed at either. Just so you understand, the 21k is the last check I did. I’m absolutley sure that its closer to 25k by now, I just gave up on checking the numbers. I just got used to enjoying the driving experience of my EV.

On a side note, myself and my partner had another kid (4 now) and I really really wanted the eNV 200 (7 seater). It ain’t out so I had to buy a 7 seater Trajet. Good car but I’d love to have the 200. Just in case anyone ever meets me in the diesel.

So, let’s get to the reason for this post (other than my usual yearly post). On December 1st, I will be now on my 4th year of driving an EV (a Nissan Leaf to be precise). Have I enjoyed it, FUCK yeah. Would I go back to petrol/diesel….. You must be fucking mad.. never.. never ever. I love a big diesel enough, I really do. Love the sound, love the grunt,…. but not enough. I love, love, …. I fucking LOVE…. getting up in the morning to a car that is, defrosted, warm, ready for driving (and I’m the model 1 version of the car, I’m so jealous of the guys/gals with heated steering, seats, etc). A car that responds instantly, when you put your foot down, not 2 secs later when the turbo kicks in, now!!.  No one can tell me how good that feels. How good it feels when some asshole sits beside you at the lights, revs, and trys to pull off in front of you and skip in, only to find when they are charging gear, they are now in my rear view mirror.

The car aint a drag car, it aint a rocket, but off the mark, it leaves 70% of cars on the line…. While they fumble with gears, I’m gone.

Now, I don’t want anyone to think I’m sided in 1 way or the other. After all Nissan have never given me anything, neither have ESB. All my posts are from actual real life experience. So please bare with me.

So getting to why I say, “the end”, I have been offered the chance to upgrade to the new “25okm” version of the Leaf. The 30KW battery. Am I tempted, yes. Is it worth it for me…. I dont know. The original model I have still does what I need. Yes, I have to charge a bit more than before but I still make it from Tipperary/Laois to Citywest on a charge. So why change?

It’s true, I have to charge more than I did before. Is it enough to upgrade, maybe! The difference between the mark 1 version and the latest version is big. 250km on a charge (170km in honest use) is big. I only ever got 120km on average, but I always got 120km, always. Just about no-one in Ireland needs more than that. After 150km driving you need a rest, why not charge while you have a sandwich.

So, anyway, Nissan have offered me an upgrade, 8,800k (trade-in) for my 4 year, 142k+ km Leaf. I think it’s pretty fair. Not only is my car well used but there is a serious dent in the rear passenger quarter panel and door. So I reckon the offer is fair enough, considering the price of the mark 1 has plummeted. I’m not annoyed at the price of my car going down so bad (it was 36k when I bought it 4 year ago). I’m actually delighted that the Leaf, Zoe, i3 and others have increased so well that mine is worth so little. It means the progress of these vehicles is increasing all the time.

Now, that makes people think… I wont buy now, sure his car is worth so little… but I have saved easily more than 21k in fuel over the last 4 years.

Also in full disclosure, I am still paying for my car. €673 a month. I am on my last year now.

So to get back to the Nissan deal.

Nissan Windsor offered me 8,800 trade-in. With what I owe still on the car, which is now 8,256 to AIB leasing, it will work out at 530 per month for the next 5 years if I extend the loan.

So I’m on the fence, I can continue to pay 673 for 1 more year and then be free to try a new deal or buy a different car (Mitsubishi, BMW i3 etc.), or extend my loan and have a new model Leaf (with 30KW pack). I have asked for the cold pack so need to get the new quote with it. I’d also like to have the 6kw charger and solar panel. Anyway, thats a decision I will need to make. It does not take, in anyway, from the fact that I made the right decision by going electric. I have never, ever, looked back.

Now, on to my last subject…. The new ESB charges.

I have stayed quiet for a long time, even after they announced these charges.

Time to speak up.

What the fuck, are ESB eCars thinking. I mean really!!!

I appreciate the idea of charging by the minute on FC’s when it comes to ignorant muppets that are charging the last 20-10% and keeping others waiting. Yeah, the only way to punish pr*cks like that is to charge by the minute….. but…. charging by the minute is technically unsound.

30cent per minute.

In winter it costs you more than in summer. Petrol doesnt work like that. You per litre and thats it.

We live in a techincalogical time. Why cant you have your street charging attached to your house bill. At the end of every electricity bill, just a charge for the street charging. Seems simple to me. I work in the computer industry, I know it can be done.

FCP charges: You can see by going onto EV owners groups (see I said groups, stupid but thats where we are) that charging this way actually costs more than petrol.


ESB eCars, COP ON!!!.

Anyhow, at the end of 4 years with an EV and over 142000km of driving, I can say this. I love my EV. I love my Nissan Leaf. I love the the Renault Zoe with its ability to use a street charger to the best (in a way that the Leaf cant). I love the Tesla 3. I love that the EV industry is constantly upping its game. I love that EVs are being more popular, although I hate it means I have to wait longer in queue to get a charge, after all when I started I had the CPs to myself (with the exception of Brian and a few others).

So is this good bye….. maybe..

If I get a good enough deal from Nissan then its the end for this EV (4 years of great work). If I dont and keep the mark 1 Leaf, I dont know what I can tell you anymore. The car has done everything I asked it. It still does. I have no more to tell you about having an EV. Make up your own mind if you want one. For me, I’ll never go back.

It Had To Happen Eventually

Posted: July 20, 2015 in Uncategorized

So this is a short but extremely late update on life with the EV.

As of today I have over 128000km on the clock and still going strong with no issues.

The actually real update is that a few weeks ago on 20th of June I finally lost my first bar of the twelve on the battery health indicator. This was at the impressive mileage of 125739km.

I know I wont get another 125000+ km before the next one goes but it does give me good hope for the future of the car I’m driving. Also, even though the battery SOH is now at 84% (using Leaf Spy Pro), I still get to work from my home 110km away, albeit not racing the car at full throttle but using a more moderate style of driving.


120 and 12

Posted: April 30, 2015 in Uncategorized

This i just a quick update to say that I have rolled over 120,000km and still have all 12 bars. To be honest I am pretty sure the car is not at 100% battery as it was when I bought it. That said, after 3 & 1/2 years of driving, fast charging when I want (and often), driving lots of extended journeys, cold winters, hot summers, cold summers, having washing machines in back, families in tow and always having the car set to charge to 100% (instead of the conservative 80%), I still have enough health in the batteries to show 12 bars out of 12. This is more than I could have hoped for. I expected to lose it at about 100k, then maybe 113k but it keeps on rolling. I know I am on borrowed time and that it will happen soon. I’m ok with that considering. I will update this blog when it finally happens :)


3 Years Down

Posted: December 10, 2014 in Uncategorized

I have been very lax of late with writing this and have put off this post for ages now. Anyway, on the 13th of October I drove my Leaf over the 100,000km mark. This is a milestone but also I was delighted because I am yet to lose a bar. In 3 years of daily charging and depleting of the batteries with frequent quick charging I still have all the bars. The battery health shows at being about 87% as shown on Leaf Spy Pro. Here are some pics I took of the occasion.

Rolled over 100k State of charge Battery Health

As I said I have been lazy about posting, as such, I am now over 106,000 km and still holding onto that 12th bar. I do expect to lose it in the next 5k-10k and will let it be known when this happens. I have to get my 4th service check later on this month and will let the results of that be seen. As for my range, I can still get from/to Rathdowney/Dublin on a single charge as I have before. I couldn’t even say how much I have saved on fuel money compared to petrol/diesel (but its over 16k by now). Hopefully I will happily get another year or two out of the Leaf at which point I will pass it on to my partner and get a new EV.

I have had a great 3 years driving so far.

So last Wednesday, I received good news from ESB eCars. They were going to be replacing the intermittently working chargepoint in Citywest (the one I rely on everyday) and one in the Red Cow Luas stop with new CPs. I was pretty happy about this. As such I pulled up Thursday morning and at 9am on the dot, the workers where there to start the work. I drove back at 13:30 to find the unit in place and powered up. There was one guy left (from ESB eCars) and he explained that it would take about 1hr or so for the unit to talk back to the servers and then it should be working. I stopped by at 15:50 and attempted to use it. “Invalid Tag” was what I was greeted with. Still I thought that this was only part of it settling. 9am Friday morning the same thing happens. I called in the issue and also put up a message on the ESB eCars Facebook page. I was nice and polite about it. I explained I was happy to see the unit go in so fast but that there was an issue. I got a reply later on to say that this brand new unit had a software issue, but not just this one. The unit in the Red Cow stop had an issue too. How does 2 brand units get past testing and get sent out with an issue that causes them to be useless after being setup. Also in the message they said they hoped to have it up by Monday. So it still wasnt too bad. I could limp along. So Monday comes, of course, the unit is showing the same issue. I decided to not drive home but to get a quick charge in Topaz (Newland Cross) and then head to Meath. There is no Rapid chargers near Summerhill with the exception of the Topaz stations near Enfield. To use these I would have to enter the motorway (going the opposite way to work) pay a toll then charge at the RC and then exit the motorway to drive back to Citywest. Anyway, I arrived again this morning to the same error. The problem is, arriving this morning I only had 5km left on the car. I rang the issue in again and posted to ESB eCars Facebook page again. This time I was very annoyed and in my annoyance I did use the word ‘fucking’ when asking them to fix the charger. I got a call from Carra, they said they couldn’t fix it as it was a manufacturer issue (fair enough) but they also went out of the their way to help me. They wired up a standard charger. With this I charged enough to then drive to Newlands Cross and fast charge again. It would seem that the best decision ESB eCars ever made was to choose Carra as their maintenance engineers as they always go out of their way to help you. All in All, about 1hr and 30 mins of my work time was gone which I will have to make up. Now, this is the best part about it. I received a message from ESB eCars saying “as was said before the charge point has a software issue which could take days to fix….. our engineers and IT staff are working on it….. please do not use foul language or we will need to remove your comments…” This is amazing, how helpful is that in alleviating my worries of the charging network. We already told you its broke!!! Of course, I also got the very useful suggestion of why don’t I drive further from home to the fast charging points and sit there after (or during) your working hours so that you can continue on your journey back home. Another sterling suggestion I think you’ll agree.

It’s a real pity, the speed and efficiency of putting the charger in was really brilliant. I was gonna be praising the work done. Unfortunately because of lousy decisions with useless CP suppliers it has all turned bad. So to ESB eCars, I am truly sorry for cursing because of my annoyance with be put out repeatedly on a unit I severely rely on. I hope I didn’t upset your sensitive nature. Anyway, I’m to fill in the hours I missed from today. I might even do some spare ones as I will probably need them for the rest of the week as electromotive half heartedly try to work out why there products don’t work.

I hate to have to write this after the last post that was so good but it is now getting to a point were it’s infuriating.

By ignorance I mean the fact that ESB eCars constantly ignore the EV drivers when we ask for information. Oh yes, you can get some information from them but is usually ambiguous and has to be dragged out of them or else a pre-canned response. Couple with the fact we have an inept Department of Transport that also ignores us just makes the situation worse. It may sound like I’m exaggerating but let me give a few examples.

Repeatedly many on the Irish EV Owners Group have asked for information on when chargepoints are going in and timelines. Occasionally you will get a reply but it is usually the same old answer about how multiple different things can affect the installation times and that they will update us later on. We used to get a fairly regular group email about chargepoint updates but this has all but dried up, with only a mail every now and again. We have asked for a simple twitter account that could give us updates on chargepoints status but this is made out as being really tough to do. Live Drive has a twitter account with updates, so does the Garda, surely these are busier. I can’t see the ESB eCars hotline ringing off the hooks any time soon. It would not take fuck all to have an operator send out a tweet on this account once a chargepoint has been reported as down or back up. The Hotline, why do I have to pay to report your service is down, 1890 numbers do not come under most people’s phone packages and usually end up costing an average of 52c per call (you might have to ring a few times to see if anything is being done about the chargepoint). And why do I have to keep giving my details each time, a simple database that can be accessed by the operators is not difficult (if you are stuck on using a PricipalID, use the registration plate number, these are unique).  A few weeks back I asked about a chargepoint in Port Laoise, I was told fairly promptly it would be up by the end of the week. When it wasn’t I repeatedly had to send emails asking when it would be up and only got an email back weeks later when they had an engineer actually at it. For the last few days the charger in Citywest has been stopping after an hour or 2 and then becomes unusable until the next day. Carra quickly looked at it but can’t find an issue and are waiting on the manufacturers. I then placed a message on the ESB eCars Facebook page complaining about this chargepoint and fact they seem to have no SLA or ability to hold manufacturers responsible for their products (shown in the past with the abysmal Chargemaster systems,  SGTE near the start and now followed on by EVVO, whose chargepoint has been in Mayfield for months and is still not on) only to find it disappeared from the front page instantly.  I guess this page is only for good news. Will I receive a reply about this soon, who knows. I mean the fact that ESB eCars is not even an actual member of the groups Facebook page shows a lot. The annoyance I and a lot of the EV owners are feeling in not because of chargers being down, it’s because of the lack of communication about the infrastructure that we are receiving from ESB eCars. Other than ESB & the Dept of Transport, all other parties are extremely prompt in keeping use in the loop, such as Carra, Nissan, DRD NI etc…

As has been raised before I would suggest that ESB eCars appoints someone to liaise with us. Someone that will actually chase after the information and will keep us up to date on the progress of things. This person could use the twitter account & group email (for those without twitter) to tell us of new chargepoints and timelines. Also the hotline could inform this person of reported downed chargepoints and Carra could inform them of the chargepoints being back up or if they need to be replaced/repaired. This would alleviate the considerable frustration we the EV Owners feel. We don’t care if it’s bad news, just tell us the news. Not knowing and feeling ignored only adds to the tension.

Gimme More

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Nissan Leaf Diary

So the other week I passed the 40000 km mark, (I’m over 41k now).

After reaching 40000 km

After reaching 40000 km

I’m glad to say that I have had no real issues with the only exceptions, a few broken CPs and also the more frequent and more annoying CPs blocked by ICE cars. Of course, Leo Varadkar could do something about the latter but as yet still seems to not care at all. Obviously after having such a good experience of having the Leaf, I want more (hence the title). Not just more mileage but more CPs, data, updates etc. Luckily enough I have been getting my wish, recently the CP in St Agnes Road, Crumlin (which I have long complained about) was changed out and is up and running. I’m delighted about this as I can use it when I have my boy and need to pick up from or drop off to school (and I suppose it only took 1 & 1/2 years to get replaced :p)  More importantly the CP outside the ESB building in Portlaoise is up. I’m a bit peeved at being told it would be up some weeks ago then being ignored every time I sent an email asking for an update on why it was not (finally got a reply to say it was running last thursday) but am genuinely delighted with it being there. It is a great location, close enough to the shops and also it is a location that would generally never get ICE’d except on exceptional occasions. There has also been a number of other CPs popping up (standard & fast) which is making it easier to get around. In fact, in Northern Ireland they are going up at a fantastic rate, only a little while ago there was a few, no there are loads (as can bee seen on this map). Also I wanted more data so about a month ago I bought a bluetooth ODBII connector (model ELM 327). It can be bought for about 20 euro on eBay or other online retailers.


You simply plug this little baby in and download an app from this call Leaf Battery. Once you have paired the 2 up the information on the batteries is amazing. It will tell you the state of charge, battery temps, battery voltages, kWh amount, Wh used during journey as well as expected DTE (distance to empty). DTE depends on you setting your average kms per kWh. Plus much more info.

So what have I found out. Well a few things.

SOC depends on the heat: @5°C 93.0 SOC, @8°C 93.8 SOC, @12°C 95.5 SOC, @15°C 96 SOC.

The highest kWh I have noticed on my Leaf is 23.3kWh after a charge, I guess this is relative to the temperature/SOC.

These are the averages of SOC vs bar disappearance (i.e whats left on battery as the 12 battery charge bars disappear)

Bars lost / SOC %

1 / 87.2%, 2 / 80.9%, 3 / 75.4%, 4 / 68.8%, 5 / 62.7%, 6 / 56.5%, 7 / 50.4%, 8 / 44.8%, 9 / 38.9%, 10 / 33.5%, 11 / ?%, 12 / ?%

All numbers are rounded down. Also there was less data points to work with after 8 bars as I often have 3 bars left whether I am travelling up or down. This is why there is none for 11 or 12. I did once get the car to go to – – – on the dash but didnt have my phone with me. When I got home I went back out to the car and check the remaining SOC, it showed 14%. I am not sure if this is because Nissan leave a certain amount of reserve (there last software update increased this) for you to get to a CP when the dashs appear. I believe there is about 5 mile left after the dashs but don’t quote me on that. I will do some more research and try and find the remaining numbers to have a complete set, including the important – – – / SOC% number and also what is left when it goes into turtle mode (although this will mean purposefully running out of power).  Anyway, for those who like even more data, here are copies of some logs the app stores on the phone. They can be opened in Excel as a csv files. No data has been changed with the exception of the GPS locations removed. BatLog2 BatLog1

Finally, the last more, I have been informed at the end of July the new Nissan Leaf will be coming out. Increased range, better safety (with the 4-way view while reversing), more luggage space, faster charging, heated seats & steering wheel. I am already looking at how I can get my hands on this model by trade-in or sale etc… (but thats just because I’m greedy I guess :p  )