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ChrisB

Home to Cornwall and back, time and money

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I will be driving to Grampound in Cornwall at half term. Sadly, the parking situation at my friend's house is such that I cannot use a granny lead to charge, so I will have to depend on public chargers. Accordingly, I plan my travel to arrive with 80% charge. I don't want to use superchargers because I'm saving my 400kWh for a trip on the continent later in the year so I selected to use chademo chargers only. With no other tweaks, I get this result:

Depart home with 90% charge, drive 97 km    
Charge at Eurogarages Weyhill West Services from 67% to 93% for 34 minutes, drive 285 km
Charge at C&C Taxis from 26% to 82% for 73 minutes, drive 10 km to target arriving with 80% charge
Total time 361 minutes, the cost of the C&C Taxis charger is given as "Chargeable - up to £8 per charge" and the Eurogarages costs £0.30/kWh so about £7.8.

Why _2_ stops to charge, I ask myself? I tried the idea of adding a specific charger as a waypoint and got this result:

Depart home with 90% charge, drive 324 km
Charge at Lifton Farm Shop and Restaurant from 13% to 96% for 112 minutes, drive 67 km to target arriving with 80% charge.
Total time 360 minutes. The cost of the Lifton Farm Shop charger is 10.8p/kWh so about £9 for the charge, but requires membership of the Polar network.

Now I'm interested as I see a possible improvement. Can we reduce the financial cost of the trip? I tried adding a free to use charger as a waypoint and got this result:

Depart home with 90% charge, drive 323 km
Charge at Lidl Plympton from 15% to 97% for 113 minutes, drive 74 km to target arriving with 80% charge,
Total time 380 minutes.

This route plan costs 20 minutes and saves about £9, and doesn't require me to have membership of the Polar network.

OK, so we can trade time against money - in this case spending 20 minutes more saves £9, or the other way round, spending £9 saves 20 minutes.
Can we consider having the route planner consider the cost of power at chargers as a factor? Maybe an input parameter would be "I consider my time to be worth £?? per hour"
Such a method would also require the planner to have knowledge of the user's membership of various charging networks to be able to calculate the cost of using each possible charger. It is probably desirable to be able to input this anyway to avoid turning up at a charger and discovering that I don't have the right membership. Oops.

Another useful feature would be to prefer or to require chargers located where food is available - if I'm going to stop and charge for nearly 2 hours, I may as well use the time for eating.
 

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That's quite the plan!

Oddly enough, easier ways to find chargers with amenities is on our list of features to add, so perhaps when Bo or I get enough time that may be coming to a (better) route planner near you!  Initially, will probably involve just a search button to find things in a category around a charger, but eventually we'd like to have a filter to only consider chargers with food / other amenities nearby.

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For the trip described above, I used Google maps to discover that there is a Harvester just over the road from the Lidl supermarket, which gives that route a pretty large bonus as Harvesters are fairly child-friendly and I'll be traveling with my 5 year old daughter. She hates stopping just to charge the car, but stopping for lunch or supper is fine with her. If eating supper doesn't use enough time we can wander around the supermarket for a while.
Last time we did that trip we stopped at the Lifton supercharger which is located at a hotel with pretty much nothing of interest to a 5 year old. The alternative supercharger would be Dart's farm which somehow manages to have all the soullessness of a motorway service area without actually being one. Having to stop at the Lifton supercharger again on the return journey (arrived with 2% charge) did not go down well at all!

It would be nice to have a database of nearby amenities for chargers - planning a route for EV driving in real-world cases involves thinking about things like "What will the child/ren be doing while the car charges?" and "What charge network memberships do I need for this trip?" along with "What is plan B if this charger is offline?" as well as optimising the cost (in terms of both time and money) of the trip.

So, version 99.99pl97 will understand children, who you buy power from (Ovo? free membership of Polar; Ecotricity? half price charging; others I don't know about), dogs, a traffic model based on time of day/week and term time/holiday time/bank holidays to estimate congestion and chance of having to queue for a charger, and other ideas that other people will no doubt contribute.

Having said all of that, please don't get the wrong idea. I think this is a very, very useful tool. I stumbled upon it while looking for data on Model S power use as I was setting out to do manually the work that this tool does automatically.

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