• ElectricV

First Winter Commute...

As I silently booted up the car and left the house at 04:30 this morning, two things occurred to me; firstly, having previously felt slightly guilty about disturbing the morning peace with a 4.4ltr Range Rover and prior to that, a rather raucous V8 Jaguar F-Type, it was nice to leave others undisturbed! Secondly, I noted the outside temperature was only five degrees centigrade. Sure, it was dry and there are going to be MUCH colder mornings, but I was about to embark on my first Winter commute.

Before sharing this experience, we should discuss an issue I recently experienced with my newly installed EO Home Charger. For those that have read the blog, the installation experience was superb, far exceeding all expectations. Once installed, there was time for a quick test to make sure everything was working, and then off I went to my weekday base in the North West. All was well…

On my return a few days later, having drained the battery for all it was worth, I arrived home and duly connected up the car, expecting to wake up to a fully charged steed ready to transport me wherever I needed to go. To my surprise (horror) things were not quite as expected, and only a handful of miles had been added overnight. It didn’t take much investigation to establish that the MCB had tripped and charging had seemingly stopped shortly after it had commenced. After a reset, the car started charging once again, but it was short-lived.

Following some dialogue with the installation company, they recommended I reduce the Ampacity via the JuiceNet App connected to the EO Charger to see what impact that had on things; reducing the Ampacity meant the car charged for longer, but it still tripped. I must heap further praise on Stratford Energy Solutions for the way they dealt with the issue; at my earliest convenience they arranged for an engineer to visit and within no time they had switched out the faulty MCB and all was well. They stayed onsite for long enough to ensure everything was ok, and once again they had a very happy customer.

Two lessons from this experience…

1. When having a Home Charger fitted, make sure it is tested for as long as possible to ensure there are no issues.

2. When charging overnight, check periodically during the evening to make sure it is still charging if you want to be guaranteed to avoid an unwelcome surprise in the morning.

Anyway, back to my first Winter commute…

As I say, it wasn’t freezing cold this morning, there wasn’t any adverse weather, and the road was dry so it could have been a whole lot worse…but, it was time to use the Heater for the first time, along with the Heated Seats, the Heated Steering Wheel, and of course, lights! I had 92% charge which the car informed me would transport me 209 miles based on previous performance, and with only 130 miles to cover and charging stations at my destination, I figured I wouldn’t have to temper my driving too much.

Things got off to a rather poor start, with user error meaning I had cooled seats and very limited hot air flow for the first ten minutes! With the situation quickly corrected, the experience was much improved and things were going well, but the range was dropping at an alarming rate! After an initial panic, I took a small breath and applied a little intelligence, realising that I hadn’t actually used 40 miles of range in the first ten miles, but instead the car was simply correcting the range estimate based on journey thus far, so in essence it had calculated that the overall range capacity had dropped by 30 miles. As this was still suggesting I would arrive with 50 miles in the tank there was no need to adopt a more leisurely drive, although clearly I was going to keep a close eye on this!

Along the way I played with some of the toys. The speed limiter is a great feature and one I have always been a fan of on previous cars (the Jag is no exception), but I’m less positive about the adaptive speed limiter. The super-clever matrix high beam headlights are brilliant at applying wizardry to avoid blinding oncoming traffic and the cars directly in front, whilst at the same time providing maximum possible visibility. But, once alongside a car it appears happy to blind a driver in their side mirrors! A great feature, but one for use on single carriageways perhaps.

The third toy to explore was the feature that allows you to identify how much power the various bits and pieces are using (i.e. heating, lights, etc.) and how the range would be impacted if the different features were to be turned off. It was somewhat surprising that although the visual suggested there was battery drain from having lights and heating switched on (obviously), the range gain was stated as zero. This warrants a little more research and experimentation.

Nearly three hours after leaving the house I’d arrived at my destination, the car was on charge, I was at my desk with a morning coffee, and the working day was underway. I had arrived with 47 miles to spare having averaged a speed of 57mph and achieved 42.4 kWh / 100 miles. Based on the driving style adopted on the drive this morning, and a full battery, the range would have pretty much been bang on 200 miles (assuming 100% charge is 84.7kWh).

Of course, when the real winter weather kicks in (rain and very low temperatures) I would expect the range to be dramatically reduced, but with some pre-journey battery and cabin conditioning whilst plugged in, and adopting a more relaxed driving approach (generally appropriate for adverse conditions) I don’t see the winter causing me any challenges with my standard approach, which is a welcome relief!

Time will tell…

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