May has been full-on for Flip the Fleet.
Rapid Charger Survey
Your choice experiment and survey of experiences at rapid chargers showed:
- People are required to wait an average of 10 minutes for their turn to charge in around 14% of visits to a rapid charger station
- Most of the congestion is occurring at free charging stations
- The chargers are not functioning on around 4% of the visits and are “ICEd” (blocked by an internal combustion vehicle) on 2% of visits
- Immediate availability of the rapid charging was the most important priority for rapid charger users
- Proximity to a main route and high visibility (to increase personal security and reduce risk of vandalism) was the second most important charger location factor, while charger proximity to shops and food, and proximity to a public toilet were also important
- Women gave relatively more emphasis to high visibility and access to toilets, whereas men prioritised proximity to main routes and to shops and food
- Respondents visited a rapid charger, on average, 6 times over the three months leading up to the survey, but others relied heavily on them
- Provision of free charging is generous and helpful for locals, but some of you called for their owners to start charging users so that private sector investment in infrastructure is encouraged and congestion at these free hotspots is relieved.
The main conclusions and recommendations are described in Flip the Fleet Report #3 at https://flipthefleet.org/resources/research-reports/ and were featured in a media release and infographic: https://flipthefleet.org/2018/media-release-putting-ev-owners-needs-in-charge-of-chargers/.
Is Flip the Fleet making a difference? May’s 1-click survey
We asked whether Flip the Fleet will accelerate EV uptake in New Zealand. You answered with a resounding yes – see https://flipthefleet.org/2018/the-flip-the-fleet-project-will-accelerate-ev-uptake-in-nz-1-click-survey-19/. The consensus was that Flip the Fleet as a comprehensive and trusted source of EV data and information but believe that it can play an even bigger role in increasing EV ownership. Credibility is paramount; it has to reflect the good news and the bad in issues affecting EVs in New Zealand. But you also made it clear that we have things to work on:
- Don’t over complicate the messages: most people out there need to start with the basics
- Don’t drown people in numbers
- Complement the mainstream media with more active use of the social media
- Find ways to intercept the new EV owners and invite them to join Flip the Fleet
- Build more links with the other EV support teams and organisations to avoid duplication and combine strength
- Get the messages out to those who haven’t yet bought an EV!
We have been mainly preoccupied by this last imperative in recent months: working the media; giving talks; and opening the books. Anyone can now follow the links from “Can I check under the bonnet first?” on our website’s main home page (www.flipthefleet.org) to use anonymised data to help decide on whether to switch and what EV to buy. Between 20 and 30 people visit those reports on most days since it was posted. Comments in the 1-click survey report having used Flip the Fleet data to gather confidence to go electric. So more and more, your data and messages are spreading beyond our “EV family”.
Curious Minds funds battery capacity fade research
The Participatory Science Platform, part of the New Zealand government’s Curious Minds portfolio, will part fund research into Leaf battery capacity fade in the coming year (https://flipthefleet.org/2018/curious-minds-funding-to-test-battery-fade-issues/). There are three main parts to the work:
- Workshop tests of the reliability of battery ‘State of Health’ as a measure of energy holding capacity of the battery
- Fitting “EV Black Boxes” to monitor their battery temperature, charge levels, and change in battery State of Health
- Developing a battery care strategy for each participating family or business
Thanks to all the new owners who have signed up or started scanning, we now have lots more data coming in. This will allow a revised and improved statistical model to be published shortly, so please keep the scans coming in the meantime. The colder weather is expected to cause the SoH to dip, and also reduce energy efficiency (km/kWh), so recent drops in your SoH and range will be to some degree related to the change in season rather than battery degradation.
The first priority is to addresses the question that has been asked by many owners and dealers: is SoH a reliable measure of battery energy holding capacity and vehicle range? This is outside of the scope for Flip the Fleet to be addressing, and like the issues raised by our paper, it is more a question for Nissan to resolve. However, we have heard nothing from Nissan, so our many questions remain unanswered.
In this vacuum, Walter Larason (EVs Enhanced, Christchurch), who is also a co-author on our paper, has stepped forward to run workshop tests to check the accuracy of SoH measures. It’s tricky work – the cars need to be fully charged, held at a constant temperature, and be monitored in various ways as they are “runout” until the last bit of energy is drained from the battery. We believe between 12 and 24 tests need to be done before scientifically sound conclusions about whether the SoH is a reliable measure of battery energy holding capacity and vehicle range. It’s also time consuming work, and currently is being fit around people’s work commitments, often being carried on into the small hours of the morning. To date, 7 Leafs have been tested on his dynamometer so far.
As we believe this work is important for the many stakeholders involved, the Government has been asked to contribute funding to this work in order to speed it up. In the meantime, we are very grateful to Walter who has been working on this as fast as he possibly can.
This month’s hint to get the most out of Flip the Fleet’s dashboard
It’s easy to “filter” your data to select which regions, EV models, year classes etc. that you want to “benchmark” your car against. Drag down on the menus on the buttons towards the left of the second row of the report. It will say ‘Inactive’ if all the cars in the database are included. Just make sure the boxes are ticked for the years, models, regions etc that you want to include in the calculation of mean, median or percentile lines.