Secret Scotland

If it's secret, and in Scotland…

Tesla Model 3 here already

Funny how things change.

It was ages before I saw a Tesla Model S, now I can find them any time (all I have to do is wander into the west end).

Not only Model S, but also Model Y is fairly easy to spot there already.

A few days ago I read that the Tesla Model 3 was UK’s third bestselling car in August

The figures meant Model 3 registrations overtook popular cars including the Ford Focus, the Vauxhall Corsa and the Mercedes-Benz A-Class in August. Only the Ford Fiesta and the Volkswagen Golf sold more during the month.

I didn’t realise it was even being sold here, as I tend to read only US articles (UK EV items are still often fairly moronic).

So, I hadn’t expected to trip over one – but I did, at one of the now most popular EV ‘watering holes’ in Bothwell Street.

This seems to be the best place to find them gathering (if you’re looking for them), but the others are now quite busy too.

Tesla Model 3

Tesla Model 3

While it’s an interesting enough car, if you’ve read about it, then you might be curious about the interior, in particular the dash.

It doesn’t really have one, using a large, central LCD for all functions and displays, without no display ahead of the driver ie no instrument panel ahead of the driver.

As someone who has designed things, and needed to present information to users, this is something of a deal-breaker for me.

It’s rather like the menu-driven systems found on prosumer cameras – they work, but are such a pain and so inefficient in use.

There’s a reason professional cameras have a knob/dial/button for each/most functions which need to be accessed in use, and only items which need to be set up and accessed occasionally are hidden away behind menus and multiple button presses or touchscreen taps.

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09/09/2019 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

Charging for your electric car might be getting more convenient

(I’ve had to repost this as the original title included a reference to Musk. That seemed to attract so called ‘Entrepreneurial Bloggers’ like flies to shite as these con-artists tried to use this blog to publicise their scams. I’m hoping a retitle cuts down the ‘smell’, and their number.)

This thought dates back some years now, but when Elon Musk started to seriously cover the US with his Tesla Supercharger network, I always thought it was a pity he didn’t pull a marketing trick, and swamp Scotland with them, and be able to claim to have had the first electric vehicle network that covered and entire country, and (for that brand at least) had ended so called ‘Range Anxiety’.

I’m not sure, but I think Norway (looking outside the US) probably landed that one first, although Scotland’s smaller size, and main transport corridor through the more densely populated area just might have made it the first if bases on simple range criteria. By that, I simply mean that you might have had to use all your available range to get to a Supercharger, then having driven home, had to go back to the Supercharger to fill up again.

Please don’t start overanalysing that, correcting me on range, or start babbling about home charging etc. That’s not the point.

In fact, Teslas aren’t really the point, I only mention them in passing as a couple of news articles reminded me of my little fantasy.

First was a claim that “Scots are closer to their nearest electric vehicle charger than drivers in England”:

Scotland has a higher density of electric vehicle charging points than England with more than 1,000 now available to the public, transport secretary Michael Matheson announced today.

He said they formed one of the most comprehensive networks in Europe, with one an average of 2.8 miles away compared to 3.8 miles south of the Border.

This is believed to reflect the high number in urban areas, as drivers in rural areas are likely to be far more distant from their nearest charging point.

Mr Matheson said a further 800 points were planned.

According to Zap Map, there are 3,289 publicly-available individual chargers, three in four of which are publicly-run.

They include nearly 200 rapid chargers (50 kilowatt).

The others are privately-operated charging points available to the public, such as in shopping centres.

Scots are closer to their nearest electric vehicle charger than drivers in England

The second is probably the more interesting though:

in the UK. According to Nissan UK, there are about 9,300 public charging stations, as opposed to 8,400 gas stations.

The number of gas stations has been on a slight decline for the past 50 years in the UK, and some places are becoming petrol deserts. Just four gas stations exist in London’s congestion-charge zone, for instance, while Transport for London has installed more than 1,000 charge points in the past year.

Nissan notes that according to Zap-Map, two new fast-charge stations were opened every day the last month. Zap-Map also points to a current total of 290 Tesla Superchargers in the UK.

Charging stations now outnumber gas stations in Britain

Yes, sorry, ‘gas’, I know, but it is an original American article.

Their graph…

Fuel stations versus charging stations in the UK [Nissan UK]

Fuel stations versus charging stations in the UK [Nissan UK]

My interest is purely technical, having been priced off the road years ago, and having no prospect of getting a nice, cheap to run BEV, while they’re still new and priced at a premium.

Fuel stations have been disappearing around me for years, with quite a few of the sites now being snapped up by those gangs of ‘Guys with Bucket’ who like to wash cars. Their number is remarkable around here.

Every time I see them I wonder if SEPA (or Scottish Water) knows about them, as they don’t seem have any environmental controls in place.

The hoses just run onto the ground all day when they are open, and drain away into the street, then all the detergents and other chemicals they spray around just go the same way, down the drain, or soak into the surrounding ground.

Seems very un-Green and environmentally unfriendly to me, yet I don’t see any Green Loonies protesting around these places, demanding car drivers boycott them, or even Greta Thunberg sailing around them (in the water from all those hoses), calling on nearby school to have the local kids go on strike to protect their health from those nasty chemical being washed into the ground under their homes.

17/08/2019 Posted by | Civilian, Transport | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pop-up electric vehicle chargers – not looking good (so far)

I recently came across a news article heralding the arrival of a pop-up street charger scheme to be trialled in Dundee: I hope these ‘Pop-up Electric Charge’ people realise Dundee is in SCOTLAND!

While I wasn’t being negative, at the time I couldn’t lay hands on any illustrations of the proposed chargers, so didn’t know how practical they were for use in Scotland’s cold/wet/freezing climate.

From tech ‘toys’ I’ve built and installed out of doors, rain, frost, and freezing rainwater (plus snow) all combine to ruin anything designed on the bench and which works well in warm and dry conditions – only to be wrecked when place outside. Even just left outside in a sheltered position can see items deteriorate if not made of appropriate materials. Sunlight destroys plastics not designed for constant UV exposure, and condensation plus high humidity and freezing conditions can lead to ice formation, and destruction of items where water can collect in small spaces, and expand repeatedly.

I found a US article taking a look at the idea, and they did have an illustrative pic – I’m afraid things look good for dry and warm places, but Scotland?

Street charger tucks away for pedestrian access during the day

Pop-up charger concept

Pop-up charger concept

I tried a quick search on that name. While it brought up many hits, none of them linked to this concept, and I gave up.

Unless they change the design, or make something with greater water/weatherproofing – which would probably mean increased complexity, and ongoing maintenance needs to keep seals etc functional – I don’t really this is appropriate.

Far better to go with suggestions to utilise existing street furniture such as lampposts, distribution boxes, and other item already found on the footpath, and which avoid trailing cables.

I’d suggest another option – a sealed post hinged at its base, lying flat, which rotates 90 degrees to stand vertical.

This provides a lever effect to help break frozen rain/snow, and with no sliding elements can be sealed.

However, I remain practical and aware of lawsuits – and suspect something would have to be done with regard to the hole left behind when it is raised. Unfortunately, a simple hinged cover isn’t really the answer, as it could freeze shut. A little though does suggest it can be dealt with though.

Well, we’ll see.

It might last longer than…

Solar powered bus stops

 

10/08/2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

I hope these ‘Pop-up Electric Charge’ people realise Dundee is in SCOTLAND!

I saw this a few days ago, but couldn’t get it out of my head without a mention.

Dundee is to be one of two places in the UK to trial “pop-up” electric car chargers.

The chargers, designed to help drivers without access to off-street parking, will be built into the pavement.

Each hub will have three to six chargers and can be pushed back into the pavement when not in use.

The new technology is part of a £3m UK government-funded scheme and they could be installed in Dundee and Plymouth within a year.

Dundee to trial pop-up electric car chargers

I’ve never thought to stop and take pics, but can say that I’ve lost count of the number of my neighbours, and nearby developers of flats, who have installed powered gates and doors over the years, and have had them fail once they have been installed for a while, are not maintained regularly, and hit their first Scottish winter, be that a wet one, or a freezing one.

I’ve also seen such installation fail due to be installed on a busy road, where the road dirt and mud is constantly being splashed up and spread on those toys.

I won’t even bother suggesting that any installed in a seaside or shore location area (like Dundee perhaps) will have a corrosive salt atmosphere to contend with as well.

If these electrical chargers are going to descend into the pavement, then they’re going to HAVE to provided with reliable drainage.

The will have at least 240 V mains on them, and a decent fast-charger should be 3-phase, so that means around 400 V.

They’ll presumably need heating as will, since we have been known to have ground frost, ice, and snow lying on our pavements too – not to mention any rain freezing down  there too, during cold and frosty nights.

Still…

They will have thought of all that when designing their pop-up chargers.

Won’t they?

This may be extreme, but if you’ve ever had your doors frozen shut by frost after rain, you’ll appreciate how little it takes to freeze hardware solid.

Frozen cars and ice

Frozen cars and ice

21/07/2019 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

At least SOME people are open to forward thinking

I have to confess to being a reasonably well-qualified electrical/electronic person, so I find it hard to understand the general negativity and hostility I get whenever I dare mention electric or battery powered vehicles.

The response, before even considering the subject is almost always the joke about milk-floats, or the the media hyped lack of range (aka the wonderful invention of ‘range anxiety’ which is about as useful a concept as ‘road rage – both give the media a tag to hang stories on, but mean nothing), followed by the claim that there’s nowhere to charge a BEV (battery electric vehicle), so you will be stranded with a dead car if you dare go further than the end of your street.

I just don’t bother arguing, especially when they start quoting the loony claims about how EVs will NEVER work, and, since I can’t afford a car of any sort, don’t have the option of countering with, ‘Here, look at mine’.

I generally feel we’re around 5 years behind the US in this, which is a shame, but probably not a surprise in a country now famous for having great engineering ideas, but failing to capitalise on many of them.

Glasgow is at least trying – as I find myself saying all too often, Glasgow City Council comes in for a lot of negativity, but the reality is that this is ‘institutionalised’, probably from the same few disgruntled sources (with their own agendas, or personal issues), and has little basis in fact. The council may not be perfect (what council is?), but I suggest not listening to its detractors, who have had years/decades of fun at it’s expense, and use your own brain, not theirs.

MORE than 60 new charging points for electric vehicles are to be provided in Glasgow over the next six months.

Glasgow City Council has started work on an electric vehicle strategy and was recently awarded £625,000 from Transport Scotland to further develop the charging network.

There are currently 101 public charge points at 36 locations throughout the city. This is to increase to around 165 by the end of March

During the last 12 months (November 2017 to October 2018), nearly 33,000 charging sessions were initiated by more than 2,530 distinct users in Glasgow.  This was a 15 per cent increase in the number of users compared with the previous 12 months (up from 2,200).

A report updating councillors states: “This trend is set to continue and, if local trends follow national projections, this figure will rise to approximately 25,000 users over the next five years.”

The charging sessions over the 12 months consumed more than 281,000 kilowatts of electricity, enough for nearly one million miles of emission-free travel.

GLASGOW To Get Plugged Into Becoming An “Electric Vehicle-Friendly Destination”

Oh look…

Same charging site as in the quoted story, but a different charger! (I think mine is older – I got there first 🙂 )

Electric Charging

Electric Charging

24/11/2018 Posted by | council, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Another lost pic – my first charging EV

Filed away before it was indexed, I have to confess this is an old pic (yes, the registration plate tells the truth), but I have been watching out for it, as I had been frustrated by not getting to use it on the day it was taken.

(In fact, the pic is actually from October 2017, so is newer than the car, but still a year old – written then, but somehow lost in the Blog’s bin, and just rediscovered as ‘Unpublished’ by chance. No sense in letting it go to waste, and even a year later, the UK still seems largely populated by morons who laugh at BEVs, and worship diesel as if they are mentally stuck in the 1980s.)

Not so rare nowadays, it is (as far as my far-from-reliable memory goes) the first time I came across an EV (electric vehicle) charging in the wild. While I had come across charging stations, and EVs, even together, they had never been connected.

This is one of a number of EV charging stations which can be found around the city (look closer – the installation is not even finished as the base area is still to be paved). At the time, it was unusual to find them in use (well, why do you think the first I found was memorable?), but now, two years later, it’s unusual to see them NOT in use.

Electric Charging

Electric Charging

While these are fairly mundane charging stations, I keep reasonably up to date with advances (in the US, not in the primitive UK), and while the best chargers/EVs (not what is seen here) can do around 80% of a charge in about 30 minutes, there is now technology achieving a full charge in around 6 minutes – and while nobody is kidding that this is a full EV pack, what is significant is that this is also no longer a gimmick being achieved with a piddling little mobile phone battery, and is being done with tech that could be used for EVs.

I’m being vague simply because I’ve no time for the haters who troll after such news, and attack the tech/company/method/science/chemistry etc etc when specifics are mentioned. They’re tiresome children, no longer worth arguing with.

Bay Blocking or being ICEd

As I don’t pay much attention to UK EV events (I generally reckon to have read it all before, as the UK lags the US by something of the order of 5 years), I’m not sure if the alternative scene pictured below is also referred to as ‘Bay Blocking’ here (there are other expressions, such as ICEd), but when an ICE (internal combustion engine) vehicles blocks access to an EV charging bay, there can be some choice words exchanged (and don’t forget, while Scotland has all but wiped out gun ownership for everybody but criminals, they’re not so rare in the US).

Again, with no EV to worry about I don’t know specific enforcement rules around these bays BUT, if you look at the poles/signs giving parking restrictions etc, then you will see that these bays ARE marked ‘Electric vehicle charging point only‘.

Bay Blocking

Bay Blocking

It’s relatively rare to see this in Glasgow.

Most charging bays are clearly marked, both by signs and painted areas and symbols on the road, and have a fairly noticeable charging point growing out of the adjacent footpath.

It also pays to CHECK any vehicles thought to be offending first – many manufacturers are now adding plugs and larger batteries to existing hybrids, allowing them to be recharged, and not only charging their batteries by regenerative braking.

15/11/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , , , | Leave a comment

Athlete’s Village charger

I have to admit that this is an old pic, although if I had taken it yesterday the scene wouldn’t have looked much different.

I had been hanging on in hope of seeing it in use during one of my wanderings past the spot, but no luck.

Maybe one day.

And, yes, it IS live.

Quite different from the one they put in the car park of the big shed across the road.

Athlete's Village EV Charger

Athlete’s Village EV Charger

Whether it’s ever been used?

Athlete's Village EV Charging Station02

Athlete’s Village EV Charging Station

 

13/11/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | 2 Comments

Cute EV charging lead reminder

I’m pleased to see that (despite the naysayers) electric vehicle charging is both being provided and used in Glasgow.

It seems some people CAN think for themselves.

The only downside being that if it’s no longer a novelty, I can’t use it as an excuse for a pic.

However, we do have a car-sharing scheme in Glasgow, and one of the options is electric cars.

I’ve never bothered to look too closely, but a label hanging from the charging lead stuck into one of them said “Come closer… Look at me… READ ME!” as I shuffled past.

Interesting Car Charging West Campbell Street

Interesting Car Charging West Campbell Street

Interesting.

I wonder how many they’ve lost?

Cute Label

Cute Label

Oops

Given that the information available online could see you receive a visit from the boys with ‘Chequered Bunnets’, and maybe even have your car seized and destroyed if you cannot prove your case with 14 days, I’m a little concerned to note that this is clearly an electric Renault (I didn’t look at the details), and is WHITE.

According to ALL the (free – including DVLA’s own checker) online vehicle databases I can access this is…

Renault
Model Clio Dynamique Medianav
Fuel Petrol
Colour Grey
Year 2015

Emissions 127 g/km
Tax Band D
Registered 30 April 2015
Engine 1149 cc
Power 75 bhp

Somebody somewhere has made a – GASP – mistake!!!

 

16/08/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , , | Leave a comment

My first Tesla

While I’ve seen a Tesla Model S before, there was no chance of grabbing a pic as it was passing me as I waited to cross the road.

This time things were in my favour, and it was charging at one of the EV bays in Wilson Street.

These appear to have been upgraded since I was last here, and now have shiny new fast chargers made by Siemens and operated by efacec, added beside the original chargers.

You can find these locations using Plugshare

Interesting to look at the user notes – these bays get used by cars with internal combustion engines (now known as being ICEd when they are blocked for used by EVs needing use the chargers), but as this is not allowed I see they are also noting ICE cars getting tickets for using these bays.

The car is a 75D, now the entry-level model, which means 75 kWh battery, 4.2 seconds 0-60 mph, and a range of 259 miles (I’m assuming that to be the EPA figure, which will be more realistic than the EU figure). D means double motor system, so it’s also all-wheel drive.

Well, I’ve always been sold on these – I just can’t find anybody who’ll buy an arm or a leg so I can afford one.

Wilson Street Tesla

Wilson Street Tesla

New charger on the left, and sign warning of bays being for recharging only, on the upper right.

Wilson Street Charger Tesla

Wilson Street Charger Tesla

02/06/2018 Posted by | photography, Transport | , | Leave a comment

Closer look at Celtic (and Emirate shed) EV charging

Since I had some old (unused) pics lying around, I thought I might as well look at EV (electric vehicle) charging at Parkhead.

I won’t go techie, mainly because the last time I did this the end result was just to attract the sort of moron who spends their day telling folk they are wrong (even when they are right – I CAN read electrical standards).

There are actually some more (I haven’t mentioned before) down at Dalmarnock, but that’s not Parkhead, so maybe later.

This was sparked (sorry) off by the sighting of a privileged vehicle being charged in Celtic’s little car park, and it made me curious.

This turns out to be an electrical enclosure mounted OUTSIDE the car park, and fitted with 2 x 32 A 400 V and 2 x 16 A 230 V connectors. I assume isolators are mounted inside the enclosure (otherwise Glasgow neds would have their houses plugged in!) and ‘protected’ by the keys mentioned on the labelling.

Me? I’d check all those cables dropping from the bottom of the enclosure, and make sure they’re all legit, and that none of them run to any nearby houses.

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Rear

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Rear

With no good reason (ever in my lifetime) to be inside such a place, I can only take my best legal shot from a public place, the street, so this is the connection INSIDE the car park.

I’m guessing it’s just a conventional (but weatherproof) 13 A mains socket.

No fast(ish) charging here unless you have a Tesla and suitable adapter for the 32 A socket outside the fence.

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Spot

Celtic Car Park EV Charging Spot

Meanwhile, across the road

I hinted that the car park behind the big empty shed (they tell me it’s the Emirates Arena), across the road from Celtic Park had real EV charging stations that ANYBODY could use, not just someone with Celtic parking privileges.

And it appears to be free to use (after you cough up £10 for a card to let you access all such stations in Scotland).

Sure enough, I still have the pics from my wander across the vast empty expanse of that car park.

I wish I had an EV.

Charging Bays

Charging Bays

EV Charger

EV Charger

13/10/2017 Posted by | photography, Transport, Uncategorized | , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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