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I have just had my first experience of driving an electric car, a Tesla Model 3. My sister has just got one and came to stay. I only drove it for a few miles as there was no fully comp insurance cover for me. However it was enough to give me a wow moment. I've been driving for over forty years but this was a total surprise.

It is a very nice sport-looking saloon with almost a full glass roof. The boot is very long but not particularly deep and there is some further storage under the bonnet (hood).

There's no dash, just a very large tablet but then of course there isn't much data to display. Memory position seats are nice and there's no cut-down of electrical features as far as I could see that might have been needed to reduce consumption. There's great lighting and heat.

However the biggest surprise was the drive. I was absolutely gobsmacked by the power - torque available. From the moment you touch the accelerator, the car follows a straight line graph of speed over time. It doesn't hesitate at all. At different depressions of the accelerator you are effectively dialling-up a different gradient on that line, so different accelerations.

It absolutely goes like stink and seems to have endless legs. Apparently is will do 0-60mph in 3.2 seconds and it feels like it and doesn't runout of grunt. There is just as much torque at high speed as very slow speed. It's like sitting in an aeroplane and then being released down the runway.

As soon as you lift off the throttle the car slows down, I suppose using regeneration. I had a little bit of a play with the settings and there is an option to select "roll to a halt" or something but that wasn't chosen. So it is quite a marked slow-down and hardly needs the brake at all.

The range is a little under 300miles and the charging at our house was limited to 10A so the 50KWh battery takes some filling and it isn't cheap to do that. As for the monthly contract cost, well it doesn't seem far removed from conventional costs but I don't have too much detail.

So that's it. It's brief but I thought I'd share my wow moment. It is a far better experience than I had expected.

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Very jealous, I would love to have a drive of one of those. I'm waiting for the technology to become cheaper as not within my budget currently. Would make a great second vehicle for trips where you don't need the range.

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They are awesome. You can set it so it only needs the brake to come to a halt. A wall of torque.

I'd love to fit one of the motors to a series. Straight to the transfer box. No need for gears. Fill the bonnet with batteries and also where the tanks were and you'd have a decent range. A snorkel for the motor cooling and you'd be done.

There is a company that has deciphered the computers and has a new control box so you can control it on a column shift lever.

 

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Although in a different league, we have a Leaf and it's a great commute vehicle... Quick, quiet but not so good for range. 100 miles real world if you take it easy ! 

They will be very useable one day. Still can't see them taking over from IC and expect Hydrogen to be developed far more longer term....

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Yes, driving electric is different.

Client had one of the 1st Tesla's and I took it for a spin.

Out accelerates a motorbike, drifting the thing around is easy and the satnav screen size is awesome - taking you from charger to charger, make reservations, etc. ICE leaves a lot to be desired (many are upgraded after delivery)

However, build quality is very much BL era and the range, esp. in Winter, is depressing.

Electric driving is easy and obviously fills a need.

Me, doing 60,000 miles a year in 40 countries with various levels of road quality, weather and lack of charge points, will be using diesel for the next decade....

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Saw a leaf motor on ebay a while back and couldn't help thinking that for a quick and dirty project, it could probably fit in place of an LT230 driving front and rear props from the Leaf diff, and leaving loads of battery space in the engine bay. I think overall gearing would be roughly halfway between normal high and low range, so not good for everyday use, but for a greenlaner or playday truck, not so much of a problem...

And if it doesn't work out, stick it in an argocat instead  :D

Luckily, I have enough projects to keep me busy already, so it remains just a coffee-time idea.

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I use an eNiro fairly regularly at work, it’s great fun to drive. Amazing torque delivery and scarily fast if you’re not careful. Will do 250 miles on a charge too, which is great for what we are using it for. It’s got all the toys you could dream of, but the only thing that affects the range is the climate control - A/C and heat basically. The only problem is that the regenerative braking is so good that I find I barely ever use the foot brake, so they get a bit rusty. Just have to remember to use them a couple of times a journey to clean the rust off.

Would love a go in a Tesla!

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I saw an Ad for an electric Corsa and then checked it out but then saw that the fossil fuel versions were around £16K but the electric version was twice the prices at £32K.

I then thought £16K buys a lot of petrol. 🤔

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Couldn't afford one full stop. I still don't think its any more environmentally friendly than IC, merely a different type of polluter.

I do wonder if the batteries will become similar to phones, tablets, laptops etc, and lose capacity fairly quickly. 

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They really are quite amazing. A friend of mine has got one for work. The amount of energy recovered from regenerative breaking is impressive. 

I think the R&D will be going into continously developing batteries, not Hydrogen as suggested earlier on. Hydrogen has too many problems: handling (it can escape steel pipes and containers) , storage, low density, production (either energy intensive by splitting water, or high carbon as a byproduct when produced from steam and natural gas). We now need to invest in a big way in nuclear power and we might be on to something. 

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Left field question those that have driven talk about not needing brakes. So do the brake lights come on with regenerative braking. If not I for see a lot of rear end shunted teslas....

Mike

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1 minute ago, miketomcat said:

Left field question those that have driven talk about not needing brakes. So do the brake lights come on with regenerative braking. If not I for see a lot of rear end shunted teslas....

Mike

Yes, they do. I asked the same question. 

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It depends upon the degree of regenerative braking decided upon where your foot is on the pedal, ie just gently checking your speed or slowing down enough that people behind you need to know. If the battery is at full or near full charge then the regenerative braking isn't available so you are then braking just like any other car. 

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5 minutes ago, miketomcat said:

So do the brake lights come on with regenerative braking.

Yes they do, I speak from the perspective of a BMW i3, 24 months / 11k miles into ownership.

Picking up on other comments in this thread, the i3 will apply mechanical brakes under some circumstaces, to mirror the retardation given by regeneration, so the driver gets a consistant level of retardation from simply lifting the throttle pedal. This ensures the friction surfaces of the mechanical brakes are clean and ready for use.
In the i3 it is possible to 'read' the dashboard display to keep the regeneration retardation below the level causing brake light illumination. Of course this depends on the driver correctly reading the road and traffic conditions, to manage safe travel within the limited regen braking they are permitting themselves.

Not all EVs are the same, there can be a lot of sophistication beneath the skin, but some have more than others.

It should come as no surprise to realise that simply lifting part of an EV drive train into another chassis and partial drive train is likely to leave the owner with something less than a full deck of cards.

Regards.

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4 minutes ago, David Sparkes said:

In the i3 it is possible to 'read' the dashboard display to keep the regeneration retardation below the level causing brake light illumination. Of course this depends on the driver correctly reading the road and traffic conditions, to manage safe travel within the limited regen braking they are permitting themselves.

Yes, this was exactly the same for when I had a Mitsubishi Outlander PHEV driving in EV mode. 

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On the Kia you can adjust the amount of ‘automatic’ regenerative braking - i.e. the amount that happens when you take your foot off the pedal. This is useful as different roads require different levels. The higher levels illuminate the brake lights. The applied regen brake works with the paddle and this definitely puts the brake lights on as it will stop the vehicle if you hold it long enough. 

It does have a lane departure assist thing that will try and steer you back into the road if you stray onto or near the edge, which I find incredibly annoying and have to turn off every time I drive it.

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James May now owns one of each hydrogen and battery electric and sums up the debate between the two quite nicely in this video from 9:10:

Whatever the "proper" solution is is an interesting thought experiment, but the real solutions are being implemented right now by the business world and if conclusions from rigorous research into the best for our society/economy/environment can't be implemented in the real world then we'll end up with what we end up with. The best and most efficient technologies aren't always the ones that win in the end.

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In my short drive of the Tesla I wanted to use the brake but hardly ever needed to because of the quite marked slowdown as soon as I lifted off the throttle. So the question asking about the brake lights coming on during this phase, whilst not occurring to me during the drive, is certainly relevant. I would straightaway change the setting to allow roll to halt so that I needed to apply the brake when coming to a halt but it wasn't my car. Certainly my sister's foot didn't move much! Brake lights at a higher speed are always annoying and often bad driving - think 'overtaking' motorway lanes and the constant on/off you see with bumper huggers. If and when they all drive EVs then think of the lack of feedback to those behind if they are just lifting off and not pressing brake.

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3 hours ago, Peaklander said:

In my short drive of the Tesla I wanted to use the brake but hardly ever needed to because of the quite marked slowdown as soon as I lifted off the throttle. So the question asking about the brake lights coming on during this phase, whilst not occurring to me during the drive, is certainly relevant. I would straightaway change the setting to allow roll to halt so that I needed to apply the brake when coming to a halt but it wasn't my car. Certainly my sister's foot didn't move much! Brake lights at a higher speed are always annoying and often bad driving - think 'overtaking' motorway lanes and the constant on/off you see with bumper huggers. If and when they all drive EVs then think of the lack of feedback to those behind if they are just lifting off and not pressing brake.

Its what you are used to. I don't think it would take you long to adjust to it. When you take your foot from the accelerator pedal it will start to regeneratively brake (providing the battery will allow) and the brake light will come on. I think you can adjust the amount of regenerative braking (you can on the PHEV). I used to find it strange when going back to cars without regenerative braking for the first mile or so thinking "why is it not slowing down when I take my foot off the pedal?". 

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A friend has hired a few electric cars as he would like one. I had a drive in them whilst he had them, one was an e golf and that was a no go. The other was the lowest spec model 3, so shorter range and slower. 

The technology is good in terms of drivability, quick enough for a saloon, power comes in very quickly but loses the feeling as you speed up as a conventional engine would be coming on chat by then, nicer to drive than anything diesel or with an automatic box and handled well for such a heavy thing. The technology in terms of the stupid ipad with it's christmas music and snow graphics,  the other cars and cyclists on screen, the voice control, the nonsense door handles inside and out, the cruise that tries to drive at the speed limit even though it got the speed limits wrong then has a fit when you get to a corner, the crummy column gear change, the fact that you need the app on your phone to start it / drive it / open the boot etc which of course the rental company wouldn't register you for so you had to use the emergency credit card which doesn't allow you to open the boot without going through the touchscreen, trying to touch basic buttons like window demisters on the screen whilst moving was dangerous in my opinion, etc etc. The build quality felt poor, it felt like a £25k car priced at £45k so I guess the £20k difference is the electric technology. 

To me it was an electric car built by a technology company not a car company. I think if you could get tesla to license the motor / batteries / drive to someone like BMW you would end up with a much nicer prospect. 

I was also a little shocked to find out how much they charge you per minute that the car is plugged into a charger after it has finished charging. It's something like 70p per minute. That means if I'm working in France I would have to stop and charge atleast once on the way, say at the tunnel (which would annoy me to have to sit around), then find a hotel with a charging point, which are quite rare, I've looked! Then I can't go to bed until it's finished a full charge and I have to go out and move it. Which means the amount of sleep I get is going to be minimal. For me it doesn't suit what I do and won't unless they come up with batteries that you can swap out, charge on the move or charge very quickly. 

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My thoughts on electric cars are they are built with power to individual motors which control the wheels and not as a ' replacment ' for the diesel/engine with one single motor?

 

I do wonder if you were to use a single motor into a gearbox of a Series/defender/disco like some have said here, the motor wouldn't work no where as efficient as 4 seperate motors to the indiviual wheels.

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8 hours ago, Badger110 said:

My thoughts on electric cars are they are built with power to individual motors which control the wheels and not as a ' replacment ' for the diesel/engine with one single motor?

That is incorrect.

The BMW i3, and I am sure many other pure BEVs, have only one motor, in thiscase driving the rear wheels via a differential and unequal length drive shafts.

8 hours ago, Badger110 said:

I do wonder if you were to use a single motor into a gearbox of a Series/defender/disco like some have said here, the motor wouldn't work no where as efficient as 4 seperate motors to the indiviual wheels.

I'm not sure about the 'motor per wheel' solution you advocate; it creates a terrific unsprung mass to control, but putting the electric motor output through 'standard' gearboxes is a recipie for inefficiency, therefore a waste of battery power.

Gear trains get hot as power passes through them, the power taken to produce that heat comes from the power source, whether an IC engine or battery.

Regards.

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Hub motors are a thing, but most evs are still single or dual motor for the faster ones, and in which case they are then 4wd.

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