Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Already 5 Years of EV Only Driving & Riding - This is only the Beginning :)

As mentioned on March 25th 2015, it has been 5 years now since I started to ride and drive EVs only, mostly to commute

Let's see this in details ...

e-Solex (March 2010) 

It all started with the purchase of a used e-Solex back in March 2010, as warmer days were coming back with spring, I felt like testing this light Pinifarina re-designed Electric Solex. The e-Solex had been releaed in 2007 in France as far as I can remember, being a "Renaissance' from the original 1946 mass produced gas version  (a bit like the old/new Mini or VW Bug), but the price tag was 1,650 EUR, quick pricy
It was 2 years old - a 2008 model - when I got it from a lady in a nearby city. I remember test riding quickly in her parking, and I was given some technical advices from her husband especially on the disk brakes maintenance
I remember picking it up, writing a 700 EUR check and riding it back without helmet, at night, using mostly large sidewalks as much as possible to get home safe ... & happy :)
After getting a cool retro looking Bell helmet and an anti-theft U-lock I rode it to commute everyday, very carefully first, using quiet streets as much as possible, to get from Boulogne to La Defense where my customer was back then
I really enjoyed it a lot, it was light with 45 kg only, a bit torquy with its 400W motor, but limited to 35 km/h - the fastest speed on it was 41 km/h going  downhill, and the speed 1 / Economy Mode would limit the speed to 25 km/h and cut acceleration too much -
I had a problem once: Going uphill 'full throttle', I heard a 'pop' and then no more power, no lights, no nothing, so I had to pedal to finish and get to my customer; At lunch break, I got a voltmeter, checked the battery terminals and they were showing the normal 42V; I brought it to a repair shop in Paris and they replaced the bad quality fuse box, that's it, and I was back on the road :)  
When I changed customer and work location in june of 2010, the first thing I checked was if I could do the commute with the e-Solex, without any problem; I did that the saturday morning, and it was actually fine, so I used it again to commute, this time, going from Boulogne to Saint-Ouen, a greater distance, and when I was getting home, my battery pack would be showing 2/5
I got a second one, used & for the same price, thinking that it could be usefull to have a spare one in case the first one would fail, and also nice to ride as a couple to Paris in tandem on weekends, but I finally ended up using both of them myself ... and got a 3rd battery and charger for only 250 EUR from a lady who had hers stolen while charging at home at night ...

Vectrix VX-1 (oct 2010)

I don't remember exactly when I got interested in Vectrix, but I remember test riding it at the offical dealer in Paris one night after work; It was a nice experience and I can remember very well how big and heavy it felt compared to my e-Solex; It was simply the opposite, also with real good torque,
acceleration, even if I did not go very fast, being in traffic or small streets, very carefull as always with a new vehicle. I got an offer at 8,000 EUR from the dealer and thought it was really pricy !
So few days later, looking at the famous Craigslist equivalent French website Leboncoin for Vectrix, I found one, not too expensive, not too far, so I gave it a shot; I met with the owner, we test drove it quickly (me as a passenger) to go plug it in a public parking overnight since he had recently moved into an apartment building. Next day he called his bank and ask about selling it and they told him he would loose too much money, so he decided to cancel the sale :(
I went back another one on the website, same price, test drove it on a saturday, and got it the same day for 3,800 EUR (few scratches, lightly bent left handle) and rode it back home (I went back with the car next day to pick up my e-Solex, left parked at his place)
I drove this Vectrix for 3 years and 18,000 km more or less, and could now use the higher speed roads to commute; That was a very different experience, and I remember getting a lot of thumbs up and questions at the red light from other bikers
During these years, I had very few breakdowns, mostly battery SOC being wrong or controller getting dusty and limiting torque, nothing bad, and after getting to know it, I could do my daily commute fine, during 3 years and 18,000 km

Nissan LEAF (Nov 2011)

I actually remember very well going to the only Nissan dealer in Paris offering the LEAF in 2011, and signing the order on July 1st (booked on April 1st online) with my e-Solex; I had to charge the battery pack in my office, ride across Paris to get there, charge while doing the paperwork, and go back home whithout any problem, crossing Paris again; The sales guy was amazed :) He must have thought: "These EV early adopters are a bit crazy" :)
I then had to wait for a long time until actually got the LEAF, because of its red color I was told, until November 28, 2011; People ordering blue and white LEAFs were delivered two months before me ... When I finally got it, I was so excited that could just take off for a spin for no reason, just to enjoy this very new experience of driving a full EV, in silence, with all the confort of a modern car, that was really something at that time
To charge it, I always used the regular EVSE provided by Nissan - a second one actually, the original one remains in the trunk - and never got a special 3000W capable so-called "wallbox", a wall mounted hard wired unit, that costs 3 times more; I can charge at 2000W while I sleep, and did not spend a dime on top of the price of the LEAF - 31,500 EUR ! which is a lot for me -

BMW C Evolution (Jun 2014)

For the BMW C Evolution, I think the easiest - for me - is to send you to my recent post on it; To summarize, this Electric Scooter is a Dream Machine, come true - expensive, yes, but worth it ! -

Overall I had a lot of fun riding & driving these EVs for 5 years, I just love it !
I also like showing people - collegues, family, friends - that it is actually very real and feasable to do so :)

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