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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi all,

So today we ventured out for our first "long" trip. It was only an 80 mile round-trip however once we go to the destination, I thought it would be good to check some of the immediate chargers in the area as I have so far only used my home charger.

Charger 1:
Distance: 0.5 mile
Brand: BP
Type: CCS
Result: Fail
Had to adjust the car to essentially not park in the bay but park outside/into what is a walk-way as the cable would not reach.
App was already installed so I topped up £5. Car could see cable, App could see charger, Charger would not push any juice to the car.
Tried 3 times and gave up when a Tesla pulled up...

Charger 2:
Distance: 0.5 miles from above
Brand: Podpoint
Type: CCS
Result: Fail
4 chargers, all 4 plugged into cars

Charger 3:
Distance: 1.5 miles from above
Brand: ChargeYourCar
Type: CCS
Result: Fail
App/Charger would not connect. On the way to this charger, we went past Charger 1 where we saw the Tesla driver in the car but no cables connected suggesting it did not work for him either.

Charger 4:
Distance: 3 miles from above
Brand: Ecotricity
Type: CCS
Result: Pass
75>80% in 7 mins, 5.7kWh charging @ around 43kW
Plugged in, Car saw CCS straight away and within 1 min or 2, started to charge. Very much the experience I have seen numerous times on youtube videos.


Conclusion:
I am an EV novice - never owned one before so despite installing a whole load of charger apps the night before, I still had to install, setup, add payment details to 3 of the 4 brands above to then find half did not work.

The 4 trips took around an hour taking into account the trip itself, reading/working out what to do, installing apps/registering/setting up, a bit of faffing trying to get it to work etc.

If this was not a test and I had been low on charge, this could have been a big problem and I think it just further highlights the poor infrastructure in the UK but more importantly, forward planning needed + home charger. Having said that, if the experience could be like Ecotricity where it just worked, there might be light at the end of the tunnel.

Location was around the Crawley/Gatwick area (UK). Zapmap did not have any issues showing either.

The car however performed brilliantly - no issues with sticking doors, lining up plug issues, or not unlocking cables etc.

I'm still learning and today being a quiet Sunday (and only 3 days since picking up the e-tron) was a good test to see what the chargers in the area were like. I may do something similar tomorrow around where I live.
 

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Audi eTron 55 2020. Jaguar iPace HSE 2019.
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Ref charger 4, Ecotricity - was this one where you used the Ecotricity App? Or just tapped a credit card?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Ref charger 4, Ecotricity - was this one where you used the Ecotricity App? Or just tapped a credit card?
All 4 were app -
For the Ecotricity, its called Electric Highway in the google appstore.
Location was Pease Pottage Services
Easy enough - open app, scan the QR code of the charger you are using (there were two at this site, plug in and away you go.
Once finished, it sent an invoice fairly quickly showing charge time start/end and of course unit used + cost.
In this case, it was 7mins, 5.7kWh @ £0.30 per kWh = £1.71 including vat
 

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This is why applications like plugshare are so important now - they allow users to rely on each other‘s reviews and updates to identify working chargers
 

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I've just about given up the notion of "being good citizen" and parking between the lines when setting to charge. The station cables are short and very stiff. I pretty much park at whatever angle I need to be able to get the cable to lock in.
 

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It really depends on charging provider
They way Electrify America sets up their charging sports and charging pedestals makes it almost impossible to charge unless you park exactly as required by them
Agree about the stiffness of the cable and the size of the plug for DC chargers - it is the very definition of "created by committee"
Tesla superchargers are much nicer.
Initially I was worried that my wife would not be able to use DC chargers because of the size and stiffness
 

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It really depends on charging provider
They way Electrify America sets up their charging sports and charging pedestals makes it almost impossible to charge unless you park exactly as required by them
Agree about the stiffness of the cable and the size of the plug for DC chargers - it is the very definition of "created by committee"
Tesla superchargers are much nicer.
Initially I was worried that my wife would not be able to use DC chargers because of the size and stiffness
The irony being that EA is owned by VW...you'd think that when EA decide where to place their chargers they would place them in the easiest to access locations for the majority of cars in the VW Group. Case in point, the EA chargers in Santa Rosa, CA I used last week. 10 charges I think but due to the position of the charges, only 2 would easily work for an E-Tron or Taycan.

I have also given up on parking within the parking spot- I can frequently be found parking across the 'no parking' hatching.

To the OP- I am a Brit in CA. I haven't been able to understand why my UK Friends aren't going out and getting EVs. YouTubers like SHmee150 and Seen Through Glass keep saying the infrastructure isn't great- I had put that down to them being ICE purists but then I hear stories like yours and I really feel for you guys. On the plus side, the experience will only get better as the infrastructure picks up.
 

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Having said that, if the experience could be like Ecotricity where it just worked, there might be light at the end of the tunnel.
Ecotricity's Electric Highway has been notoriously poor up to now (kudos to them for being the first national network, but the maintainance has been non-existent for years). Most drivers' experience is the opposite of yours. That said, Electric Highway is now Gridserve owned and they're upgrading all of the chargers (they will be contactless 30p/kWh) to new units (more connections, more power) so your statement re: future is still true :)

Your account of events is a little depressing to read though. There are a lot of legacy chargers out there (BP and CYC especially) which are just falling apart. Instavolt, Osprey and Pod Point are your more reliable providers. BP took ownership of Polar which means a lot of their chargers are due for replacement, whether they will or not is another question. Shell and BP are supposedly moving to add High Powered Chargers to their forecourts at some point? Progress seems slow.

Anyway, do keep us posted on your next research mission.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Apologies for the delay - shortly after taking ownership of the car, it went back into the dealership who hung onto it for about a week so I've only just got it back.

Yesterday/Today was my first short-medium journey going from Guildford to Coventry to a place just north of Leicester and then back to Guildford.
We knew Leg 1 (121 miles) would be fine but I set the battery to 100% charge the night before and in the morning, we were ready to go.
I made it there with a comfortable 80 miles remaining and averaged around 2.5miles/kwh. This was with a boot full both over and under into the storage space + 1 adult passenger + 1 baby (and seat) so the already heavy car was even more heavier.
Decent temps of low 20's and air con was on + ventilated seats x1.

That evening I went to an Asda. Out of 4 EV bays, 1 was free, 3 were Iced.
Plugged it in (BP Pulse), app read charger and activated it, car read charger, started to charge.

27 minutes later and I stopped the charge only to find it cost me £0.00. Not because it was free but because it did not charge!
Error according to My Audi was:
Could not execute action on e-tron. No Mains voltage available.

We found a Shell that evening but due to the rowdy footy fans, decided not to charge as by now it was late and borderline dangerous to sit in a shell petrol station that is closed where an EV bay is open 24/7.

I decided to borrow the electricity of the place I was staying at and charge overnight via the 3pin charger.
I added around 30 miles.

I went there again this morning around 7am:
1. Cable too short - suspension setting allowed me to raise it over the bump they had installed. And yes I had already pulled it out.
2. I used my Shell EV card - very easily activated it and started to charge within a few minutes.

I went from what was now 63% to 100% in around 44minutes I want to say - i was sleep deprived so might be tad wrong - either way, under an hour but over half.
Charged at 44kw instead of the 50 it was sending out supposedly

All in all - pleasant experience with the Shell. It was just the bay which was a bit tight for this boat.

Had we not found this Shell, it would have been a further 5-8 miles to a service station and then the only ones in a good radius were slow chargers.

So nothing major but as always, supermarkets keep allowing (not telling security patrol) normal cars to park in the bays but more importantly, for the second time, BP Pulse let me down.
 

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Shell charger cables are too short. They all seem to be like that, in some cases its possible to park sideways into the bay tp get the charge port nearer the charger.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Thats good (and bad!) to hear that it was not just me. It did have some give in that it seems like this specific one had a reel of cable on a ratchet system so I managed to pull out a bit but not nearly enough. Going to have to find a magnetic bonnet/front protector if this is the case as the cable had grit on it which I can only imagine does wonders to the paintwork.

Sideways for this specific one was not an option as the cable came in from the left and immediately to the left of this bay was bushes/trees
 
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