VW EV owner's woes.

Our transport is heavily oil-based. What are the alternatives?

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Potemkin Villager
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VW EV owner's woes.

Post by Potemkin Villager »

This thanks to the much despised and unspeakably petit bourgeois Grauniad.

"Our VW Passat GTE – a plug-in electric hybrid – completely died a few months ago. Because it is just outside its three-year warranty, VW wants to charge me more than £2,500 to fix it.

The car refused to turn on and, instead, displayed a “hybrid system error�. My breakdown firm took it to my local dealership . They thought they’d fixed it and charged me several hundred pounds.

Two weeks later, the same error occurred, and the car was once again recovered to my local garage. This time, however, I was told they couldn’t work on it as the problem was with the high-voltage power system. I therefore had to pay my recovery service to ship it to a different VW dealer more than 30 miles away.

It has diagnosed the problem to be with a battery control switch which, it argues, is not covered by the seven-year extended battery warranty."


(Some fancy battery control switch there!)

and:-

"I bought a secondhand VW Passat GTE in June for £20,000. It had done 34,000 miles and was out of the manufacturer’s warranty by about 10 months. It had always been serviced by VW main dealers. At the same time, I purchased a private warranty.

The car was initially great to drive. However, after three months and 4,000 miles, it stopped working.

VW initially said it needed a new mechatronics assembly, plus a few other parts, at a cost of just over £2,700, including labour. It has now said it needs a new gearbox."


For now I will stick with my 14 year old Renault Clio which set me back less than folk are being charged for repairs here.
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kenneal - lagger
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

There is probably less to go wrong on an electric vehicle but when it does go wrong it would seem to be a more expensive repair than on an ICE vehicle. As e-vehicles become more common and ICE vehicles less so more garages will go over to e-vehicle repairs and the cost should come down with more competition.
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vtsnowedin
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Post by vtsnowedin »

A life lesson there. If you are a first adopter of a new product from Cell phones to EVs always trade them in before the warranty expires.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

Those are plug in hybrid cars. All the complexity of an ice with an electric motor bolted on and fancy electronics to balance the two. Far more to go wrong. I am buying my second eV on Saturday, another Nissan Leaf, this one with over 200 miles of range real world. I stuck with the same model even though it is less advanced than most of the competition because the first one has been extremely reliable and they were offering a large discount to clear stock before an upgraded model comes out. I am buying now because a no deal Brexit will trigger import tarrifs of nearly £3000 under WTI rules.
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Post by clv101 »

Full EVs (not hybrids) have the potential, which is being realised in the field, of being significantly more reliable, contributing to significantly lower cost of ownership before even considering the fuel.

The only fossil fuel we buy is diesel for the car and ~15 litres a year of Aspen for garden tools/chainsaw. Don't use any grid electricity, or other oil/coal/gas. We're very tempted to go EV (used Leaf or Clio) - but it would have to be a 2nd car which rather blows the economic argument, even though it would replace the vast majority of our trips and mileage. We'd only have enough local electricity generation to power it for ~8/9 months a year and we'd need to keep the diesel 4x4 for for heavy work.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

I see no reason to not have the EV for what it can do and reserve the 4x4 diesel for what only it can do. Your total fossil fuel consumption will be way down lower then the average.
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Post by clv101 »

vtsnowedin wrote:I see no reason to not have the EV for what it can do and reserve the 4x4 diesel for what only it can do. Your total fossil fuel consumption will be way down lower then the average.
The downside is the fixed costs of insurance, tax, routine services... not to mention space on the drive.
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Post by vtsnowedin »

clv101 wrote:
vtsnowedin wrote:I see no reason to not have the EV for what it can do and reserve the 4x4 diesel for what only it can do. Your total fossil fuel consumption will be way down lower then the average.
The downside is the fixed costs of insurance, tax, routine services... not to mention space on the drive.
My insurance is pretty good about extra vehicles on the theory that you can only drive one at a time. Not so good if you have three teenager's driving.
Tax and registration is usually worth it if you need it more then once a month.
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Post by fuzzy »

There is very little domestic 'driver' insurance in the UK. The cars are insured at the full whack and you have to tell them who will drive them. For non commercial insurance I think only direct line offer the other way around ie 1 owner x 2 cars etc. I hear it works out about the same cost as 2 full insurances. VT, everything is a ripoff over this side.
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Post by BritDownUnder »

fuzzy wrote:There is very little domestic 'driver' insurance in the UK. The cars are insured at the full whack and you have to tell them who will drive them. For non commercial insurance I think only direct line offer the other way around ie 1 owner x 2 cars etc. I hear it works out about the same cost as 2 full insurances. VT, everything is a ripoff over this side.
I worked for the state accident insurer in New Zealand. When I got there I could insure a car third party for NZ$200 per year (about 80 pounds). The registration was about NZ$190 which included the state insurers levy to cover all medical costs of accidents. In Australia, the registration is $520 pa, the medical insurance levy for third parties is about $350 pa and the car (much newer vehicle than in New Zealand and fully comp btw) is about $1200 pa.

The main part of car insurance is due to theft, damage to vehicle caused by accidents and (in the UK anyway) medical insurance fraud caused by deliberate rear end collisions. I am sure in the USA the people who are caught doing insurance fraud either spend a lot of time in prison or get their asses sued off.
From what I remember a lot of the insurers in the US are actually mutuals and are therefore less inclined to rip people off.

Interesting story about the car. I remember Joseph Tainter talking about hybrid cars saying that with a hybrid car you get twice the complexity, a fossil fuel drive train and an electric drive train. Maybe therein is the problem.
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Post by PS_RalphW »

My reason for buying a long range EV is so we can dump the old diesel second car. It will save us maintenance. MOT, insurance and repair costs, as well as reduced fuel costs on the few long journeys that we use it for. It has cost us 500 pounds repairs in the last year, and it is only worth 1000 pounds. It is also a dodgy VW engine which we never got fixed for the emissions cheating. We were also keeping it so the kids could learn to drive in it with its manual gearbox and low insurance, but neither kid is interested at present.

Both cars are tax free.
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Post by adam2 »

Not everyone can keep two vehicles, but if you can then there is a lot to be said for an EV for daily use AND a diesel 4WD for emergencies.
It is far easier to store a hundred liters of diesel fuel than to store the equivalent electricity.

An EV can be charged by a suitable off grid renewable energy system, but you will need a very large system.

A stash of diesel fuel has many other uses, as does a large RE system.

And returning to the O/P about EV repair costs, EVs are still a bit new to the mass market and I suspect a certain amount of overcharging is going on.
"Installers and owners of emergency diesels must assume that they will have to run for a week or more"
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Post by Catweazle »

Electric 4x4s would make sense for us people living in the sticks. We don't do much mileage, but it can be over rough roads littered with pieces of tree and cow manure, and we have room for wind turbines.
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Post by kenneal - lagger »

One of the reasons that we have a Discovery is that we tow trailers. We have a 3.5t GVW tipping trailer and a large stock trailer. The stock trailer has to be towed 38 miles to the abattoir every now and then with a couple of 800kg beasts on board. It would need quite a big electric motor and battery to do that.

I have an MOT failure disco which I had been thinking about turning into an EV for working off road on the common. I would have to increase the size of our PV system and probably put up a small, 6kW, wind turbine to power that. The alternative to using the Disco on the common would be an electric, or electrified, quad bike (4 wheeler to our US cousins).
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Re: VW EV owner's woes.

Post by PS_RalphW »

Tested rapid charging in my new Nissa n leaf today. Worked fine. Car is rated at 100KW charging but in practice it only does about 40KW. (most compatible UK chargers only do 50KW anyway}. Enough electricity for 100 miles cost £4. Coffee and a bag of crisps cost £4.60

I plan to take it on its first long run soon, the first time in 5 years I have risked depending on the public charging network. With luck the car will be the last one I ever need to buy. Biggest risk is that the charging infrastructure is standardising on CCS and my car uses Chademo. The betamax of charging standards. Otherwise I expect the low running costs to more than offset the high purchase price over its lifetime.

If you can afford them, there will soon be EVs on the market that beat ice cars in every aspect except purchase price. If you have 400 miles of range you don't really care about finding a working charging station every couple of hours.

The UK charging infrastructure is still woefully inadequate requiring careful planning for long journeys with first and second fallback plans to ensure not running out of charge. The number of electric cars on the road is rising far faster than the number of stations, and there is still a horrendous mess of different payment methods, registration requirements and interoperability and reliability issues. But of course it is a free market so it is clearly better than a centrally regulated one.
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