Tesla Powerwall and Rolec Car Charger

Last Friday we have our Tesla Powerwall installed and at the same time the electricians installed my Rolec car charger.  I was most excited about the Powerwall as I’ll hardly use the car charger and the Powerwall has an API which means I can add extra data to my home monitoring 😀

The whole process from emailing Tesla with some questions to getting the Powerwall has taken a while, mostly because we had to get some electrics fitted in the house before asking for a quote from Tesla.

The sign-up process is quick – fill in a brief form and pay a deposit by card.  The quote process after signing up is a lot more involved… You walk around your house taking lots of pictures and writing descriptions of where you’d like the Powerwall installed.  I’d prefer they sent out someone and I think it would have taken just as long for them to walk around my house assessing the various locations and Solar equipment as it took me to fill in the form – 2 and a half hours!  If you’re in the same boat, take pictures with a phone and fill the form in later on a laptop – you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle.

Once the quote form is filled in it goes off to your local installer (mine was 50 odd miles away) who takes a look and tells Tesla how much for their part installing the Powerwall will be.  I found this bit a little odd as we’d given various locations in the house where the Powerwall could go, but we weren’t told where it would go, so ended up asking for our installers details to contact him directly.

After you’re happy with the quote (cost of Powerwall + Installation) your installer then sends a request to the DNO who decides whether you can output from the Powerwall at 3.68 or 5kW.  This bit is the slowest part in the whole process and took around 8 weeks…!  Luckily our DNO was happy for us to output at 5kW from the battery (apologies if this isn’t the correct technical speak!  I’m no good with electrickery).

Mark Cawood (of Cawoods Electricians) and his team arrived around 8:30am on Friday morning.  You don’t get a sense of the size or weight of the Powerwall until you see it in person being lifted out the back of a van!

By 1:30pm the Powerwall and charging point were installed and the Powerwall just needed configuring.  I was surprised the process of configuring the Powerwall was so complicated and problematic.  It took around 30 minutes of trying various connections (wifi, ethernet and 3G) and filling the same form in 5 times to get the Powerwall correctly configured and setup.

By 2:30pm Mark and the guys had cleared up, given us a full demo of how to use the car charger, including some useful tips on how to store the charge cable, made sure we had access on our mobiles to the Tesla app and our Powerwall data and said their goodbyes.

I’d highly recommend Mark and the team if you’re looking to get a Powerwall or solar panels installed.  They were very friendly, tidied up and did a neat job of all the cable runs, answered loads(!) of questions we had, made sure we were able to see our Powerwall on the various devices we own and made sure I knew how to use the car charger.

Since installing the Powerwall we’ve used a grand total of 23 units, far less than our normal 60 odd units.  We’ve even had two complete 100% self-powered days where the solar and Powerwall have provided 100% of our power requirements for the day.

As for the car charger – I haven’t used it yet – still reads 0.26kWh consumed!  I’m trying to spend as little as possible on fuel during the spring-summer months since charging at work is free 😉

Leaf 2.Zero 600 miles In

I’ve now had my car for a week and a half and have clocked up 600 miles. It’s been an interesting week since I wrote the last post and there’s a few things I’ve noticed with the car over that time…

The drivers sun visor is seriously small compared to the one I had in my 57 plate KIA cee’d! I drive North in the morning and South on the way home from work, so the sun is always on the right side of my face. The sun visor in the Nissan Leaf 2.Zero is so short when pushed around to the driver’s door side that it doesn’t even reach my forehead and therefore is effectively useless. I’ve had to “Blue Peter” style myself a workaround (a.k.a cut a box apart and stuff it into the sun visor holding strap – see below!).

I tested out the anti-lock braking for an Audi driver on the way home at a roundabout this week… I wasn’t going very fast when the Audi driver decided to try and go across the roundabout in front of me when he shouldn’t have. I’m guessing the ALB kicked in because of the weight of the car and the fact that I put my foot right down on the brake to stop the potential collision that was about to happen.

I got the TCU fixed by the dealer last weekend, but still couldn’t get the NissanConnect website to verify ownership. Sat in my car on three occasions and waited over 10 minutes with the whirley-gig saying checking, but no luck. Ended up emailing NissanConnect on Saturday and had to send them a copy of the V5 inside page but by Wednesday evening they’d verified I owned the vehicle and the service was activated. It’s not the greatest of apps – partly because it’s incredibly slow to send / receive requests from the car – but it’s useful to see remotely how much battery charge the vehicle has left and on the odd occasion switch the heating on.

When I took the vehicle to the dealer at the weekend, I also got them to check the faulty tyre pressure monitor. They reset the monitor from the car dashboard – not exactly what I’d hoped for and I thought it wouldn’t cure it. On the way home the warning re-appeared, so the car has to go back for a new sensor in April.

The adaptive cruise control is incredibly useful – I’ve used it on every journey I’ve made this week. It did take a bit of getting used to. The main thing was wondering why the car was going slowly one morning, only to remember it was matching the speed of the really slow car infront. I have found that on my long journey to and from work, when the cars in cruise control mode there’s nowhere to rest my right foot. The gap between the accelerator and the side of the car is too small to put my foot between. It’s therefore a little uncomfortable when driving for long periods of time on cruise control as I’m not sure where to rest my foot. If I move my leg towards the chair (as if I’m sitting at a table), I feel I’m not close enough to the pedals to react in time if there was a problem.

Scheduling the car to be warm when leaving work is awesome!! Not only is the company paying for my lovely warm car by way of the free electricity, but getting in a car preheated to 23.5C when it’s 5C outside is so nice 🙂

That’s it so far this week, but if I notice anything else in the coming weeks/months – I’ll be sure to put another post up.

Ordered Home Car Charger

Follow on to my post yesterday about my Leaf 2.Zero.

I’ve ordered my home charger. It’s a Rolec, black with grey inserts, 32A tethered type 2 device. I researched a number of devices and companies when looing for a home charger and landed on this device because I liked the look of the device and the terms and conditions suited my needs.

So why didn’t I order a Pod point or chargemaster given that Nissan were offering them as part of a deal when order a Leaf 2.Zero?

For starters, it wasn’t clear if I was entitled to a free charger with my leaf? The Nissan T’s and C’s indicated that I needed to have ordered it by mid December 2017.  I may have been wrong and potentially entitled to a free device, but…

The chargemaster looked too bulky and quite expensive, so I didn’t look too far into this product.

Pod point I found too pestering. I received at least three emails (+ the phone calls!) from when I signed up for my car until when I finally got the message through to them that I wasn’t going to purchase their product. The wording in their emails I thought was a little misleading too “Your Pod Point Order” – what order? I never clicked order… And there’s never a clear indication of how much things are going to cost.

I also turned the Pod point down because of a particular part in the Terms and Conditions: “All our charge points are supplied with Carbon Sync capability. Carbon Sync allows us to briefly pause charging on instruction from official bodies (for example the national grid) for the purpose of balancing or maintaining stability of the local or national electrical generation or distribution grid. Under normal circumstances, we don’t expect Carbon Sync to have any material effect on charging, however, you agree that Carbon Sync may lead to pauses in charging.”

Given that I need my car to be charged to get to work, this particular feature of the Pod point was the deciding factor in ruling this product out. If I plug my car in, I expect it to charge.

I’ve now got a bit of a wait until my charger is fitted as it’ll be installed at the same time as another product, by the same electricians.

I’m soooo looking foward to the “other product”, far more so than getting my leaf!!

More to be revealed soon 😀