Tesla Powerwall!!

In my post about ordering a home car charger I mentioned that I was using the same electricians to install the charger at the same time as they install another product that I’m super excited about – well I’ve order a Tesla Powerwall!!

😀

When I picked up my car from the dealer, he said to me “you excited to pick up your new car?” my response… “well not really…” But when it comes to a Tesla Powerwall 😀 I couldn’t be more excited!

I’ve got a few more weeks to wait until it’ll be delivered and fitted as I’m waiting for a DNO approval to fit the battery, but hopefully it’ll be up and running in time for the summer.

Nissan Leaf 2.Zero

I bought myself a new car this year and after two years of looking at electric cars, I’ve finally bought one! As of Tuesday, I now own a Nissan Leaf 2.Zero in black.

Car Front

Why did I buy an electric car?

I’m a fan of green tech, so at some point I had to put my money where my mouth was and purchase a car that was significantly cleaner than my petrol car.  My previous car was 10 years old and the brakes aren’t quite what they used to be… so I was contemplating fixing the vehicle or passing it on to family and getting a new one.

My commute to work is 40 miles each way and it costs me about £50 a week to run my petrol car. At work, we have free charging points (enough for 8 cars and increasing) – so the temptation to save some money on fuel finally got too great. Plus the new leaf that came out early this year had enough range for me charge the car to 100% at work, then drive home and back to work, using works free charger again 🙂

So what’s it like?

Well like I said above, I’ve only had it since Tuesday, but at first it was really odd… My previous KIA cee’d, I could feel the road through the steering weel and pedals – I almost felt connected to the road. This new car is “fly by wire” as in, the steering wheel isn’t connected directly to the wheels, so there’s no feeling in the steering wheel or pedals. The first day I took it to work, I must admit it made me quite anxious. Luckily I spoke to someone who told me this was quite natural to feel anxious and that it’d take time, but I’d get over it! The second day I took it to work was a lot better – I’d taken the drive assist off (that helped a lot!) and it just felt more natural.

Teething problems

The first day I took it to work the tyre pressure warning came on half way to work and then on the way back. Not sure if it’s a faulty sensor, but it didn’t reappear on Thursday… This weekend I’ll take it to the petrol station (haha) to check the tyre pressures.

Nissan EV Connect – can’t get it to work at all… Reading the http://www.speakev.com/ forum, it requires a TCU reset because the car has a greyed out car icon with a red cross through it.  So if you’ve bought this car and see this (below in the red box)… you’ll have to go back to a dealer to get it fixed.

I got in the back of the car on Wednesday at work, closed the door and then found that both doors had the child-lock on!! Haha!

The Handbrake is nifty. During the test drive, Derek (sales guy from Cambridge) mentioned that it was possible to put the handbrake on and then drive off with it on. This does work and is one of the reasons I decided to purchase the car, but the manual says not to do it… He’s hopefully going to find out for me why the manual says you shouldn’t do it.

Things I’ve found out

Don’t put the handbrake on if the car is moving (even at 5mph which is the speed I tested it at)!! It makes a hell of a noise!

I can drive from work to home doing 70mph (where possible) with the heater set to 23.5C and back again to work and still have 50 miles on the guess-o-meter (GOM)!  Cool!

(Picture above shows battery percentage after the test run)

The blind spot warning is really useful!

What’s next?

Well I have to get a home charger at some point – just trying to get a device that I’m happy at the moment, so will write another post when I’ve got it 🙂

Other than that – just keep driving it as much as possible to find out all the new features and get used to the ride.

… but solar panels don’t work in the winter!

I’ve had my solar panels since October 2011 (details about my system can be found on this post) and I’m always telling people how good they are. When I tell people about my solar panels, I get one question – “how much do they generate” and the second is a statement that always makes me want to bang my head against a brick wall – “… but solar panels don’t work in the winter!” Don’t they??

When I first started telling people they should buy solar panels, all I could them was how much electricity they would generate and potentially cut from their bill, but since then I’ve added monitoring to the system which uploads the data to the internet. After the person I’m talking to has used the infamous statement about not producing electricity in the winter, I then proceed to show them the stats from my solar panels.

In the UK, winter solstice is a day between 20th and 23rd December and for more than a week each side of winter solstice, there are less than 8 hours of sunshine in a day. It’s quite literally the worst generation time of the year for solar panels in the UK – especially combined with the weather that you can get at that time of year… But when the sun does shine in the winter, you can get very good solar output days!

This December gone, I checked my system from work during lunch (as I do most days! sad, yes I know…) and noticed the solar panels had heated the hot water. To heat the hot water, there has to be enough energy generated by the solar panels to not only cover the house’ standby usage (350 ish W/h), any additional power being used by family members and also the 1kW/h immersion.

What’s more impressive is that the date was 16th December!
(the red block indicates the immersion is switched on)
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In fact we even had brief solar water heating on the 19th and 20th but they aren’t as visually impressive…
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But what all three of those charts show is that solar panels do work in the winter. They can even generate enough electricity to cause a surplus and power devices around the home!

It is true that the panels do not generate as much electricity during the winter, due to the angle of the sun in the sky and the length of the day, but we still generate in the order of 100kW/h of electricity each December.
last12monthsapr15

And on a perfect day, it’s possible to generate 9kW/h.
6dec14