Thinking of Purchasing an Electric Vehicle? (1 Viewing)

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Nov 28, 2020
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Trip from Hell.

Thinking of Purchasing an Electric Vehicle?

Buyer Beware!


If you are considering purchasing an electric vehicle, be sure to check all the facts, and do not rely on dealership salespeople to be totally forthcoming. And, you can expect the manufacturer’s claims as to range, charging station access, and adaptability of your vehicle’s charging port to various charging cables, all to be greatly exaggerated. I learned these things the hard way. Here's my story. Some of the issues I encountered are related to the particular vehicle I chose, and some to charging stations in general. We use the metric system in Canada. For the benefit of my U.S. readers the equivalent mileage is shown in brackets.I am an 84-year-old retired male in good health, and in possession of all my marbles. I had purchased my last new vehicle in 2014, and at that time made the decision that I had earned the right to one more new vehicle purchase in my lifetime. My Scottish ancestry dictated that I place some funds in a sound investment account to ensure the purchase would not be a burden when the appropriate time came around. So, in 2021 I began researching new vehicles. I decided I could save on personal operating costs and make my small contribution to improving our Earth's atmosphere by going electric. Quite progressive for an old codger like me, eh?

The reasons I chose the 2023 Jaguar I Pace are strictly personal. Suffice it to say, the Jag dealer in Brampton, Ontario assured me that I could expect a range of 381 kilometers (267 miles) on a full charge, and that there was no shortage of charging stations, both locally and on all major highways. Charging times would be 20 to 30 minutes. A home charging station was highly recommended.

We take a few “lengthy” driving trips each year. Usually one to Florida, and at least one to visit family in Michigan. Then there is a trip to visit our son, who is a pilot based in Sioux lookout, Ontario. An extra 10 to 20 minutes per stop compared to what we were used to with a gasoline vehicle would not be such a big deal, right? Slow down, smell the roses. Life is too short to sweat the small stuff, right?

I waited more than a year to take delivery of the I Pace. A beautiful automobile, indeed. For the princely sum of $131,000 Canadian dollars, it had better be! ($4000 of that was a luxury tax, and about $17,000 in sales taxes). But, my last new vehicle purchase of my lifetime, so just be happy the investment account did its job, shut up and enjoy the good fortune, right? (By the way the home charging station and installation was about $2100).

With a 90% charge and high expectations, we set out for Englewood, Florida from our home in Owen Sound, Ontario, with only 300 kilometers on the odometer. We have made this journey many, many times, and we are well aware that it takes approximately 26 hours of driving time. That number includes the usual refueling, and toilet stops We are accustomed to two hotel nights, arriving on the third day. Forget that schedule, or anything close, with the I Pace. We know absolutely that the driving time to the Blue Water Bridge in Sarnia, Ontario to cross into Michigan is about 3 hours and 15 minutes, and 227 kilometers (141 mi). Therefore, we planned on recharging at a station in downtown Sarnia, which is 225 K’s (139 mi) from our home We didn't make it. That means we got considerably less than the 343 (213 mi.) kilometers promised at 90%, and less than 3 1/4 hours of driving time! We actually had to stop for a small charge about 20 kilometers (12 mi.) east of Sarnia, and then limped into the higher-grade charging station which was our original destination. We knew then that we had to re-calibrate the rest of the trip.

Now, to be clear, the Jag Nav screen populated that there were many charging stations on route through Michigan, and Ohio. What we found, however, is that most of them were low wattage units, requiring many hours to recharge, and that few of them were on major arteries like I-75. As we began to run low of juice for the second leg of our trip, we were forced to leave I-75 and travel several kilometers into a small town. Our first stop was at a Tesla charging station. The lady with the lovely English accent on Google said we could definitely recharge the I Pace at a Tesla station. WRONG! TOTALLY WRONG! You absolutely cannot charge an I Pace at a Tesla station! Now, once again we are getting dangerously low on juice because the vehicle does not, in fact, get the range promised at full charge; not even close. We managed to get to a charger at a Buick dealership, only to find it was a 6.7 KW charger, and it would take more than 22 hours to charge the I Pace! We knew that there was a Super charging station 26 kilometers (16 mi) away, if we were willing to go off our route onto the Ohio Turnpike. It had begun to rain, and it was dark when we elected to make a go for that station, 26 kilometers (16 mi) away, with 58 kilometers (36 mi.) of juice showing on the Info Screen. ONCE AGAIN, WE DID NOT MAKE IT! We coasted to a stop on the shoulder of the Ohio Turnpike, in a torrential downpour, very high winds, and very heavy truck traffic blasting past the vehicle, causing it to rock and roll like a boat in a storm. But, let’s keep our wits about us, and get some help, right? One of the ballyhooed features of the I Pace is that it has both an Optimized Jaguar Assistance contact button, and one for an S.O.S. Emergency. Both are supposed to contact a Jaguar Call Center immediately, automatically giving them the vehicle location, from which they are to determine the type of assistance required. We tried the first one, over and over and over again. We even checked the manual to make sure we were doing it properly. We were. Then, in desperation, we resorted to the S.O.S. option, thinking summoning an ambulance would be better than nothing. NOTHING IS WHAT WE GOT! ABSOLUTELY NO RESPONSE to either option. Meanwhile, the pounding wind and rain went on unabated. We finally resorted to calling our CAA number in Canada. They, of course, referred us to AAA in Ohio, who for whatever reason contacted the Ohio State Police, who in turn contacted a towing service. We sat in those terrifying conditions for two hours and 10 minutes. There is no doubt that my wife came very close to having a nervous breakdown. We were towed to the charging station we had been attempting to reach. It had a 50 KW unit, a 150 KW unit, and an Ultra 350 KW unit. As fate would have it, neither the 50 KW or 150 KW unit cables would connect properly into the I Pace charging port, and the 350 KW Ultra unit was being used. Eventually it freed up and we began charging the I Pace. One hour and 27 minutes later, with a 90% charge and an electricity bill of $44 (US$), we were on our way to the nearest hotel in Findley, Ohio. How long it would have taken for a 100% charge is anyone’s guess. Keep in mind, this is still day one of our trip; we had been on the road for more than 14 hours and had only traveled approximately 450 kilometers (280 mi). Oh well, a good night’s sleep and tomorrow will be a better day. Right? Not to be.

Starting out the following morning, we very conservatively planned our next charging station stop. As we drove along I-75, it became obvious that we were not going to reach our intended destination. Again! My wife insisted that we were not going to even try to put up with this situation all the way to Florida, and back. I tended to agree with her, and suggested we head for the nearest Jaguar dealership, which was on the outskirts of Dayton, Ohio. They had three chargers. One of the three cables would not properly fit into our I Pace. THIS WAS AT A JAGUAR DEALERSHIP! When they hooked us up to their third in-house charger for faster service, it blew out their electrical system, shutting everything down completely. At that point, we made the decision to leave the I Pace with them and rent a good old-fashioned gasoline engine car for the rest of the trip to Florida.

While it was with the dealership, they ran several diagnostic tests and reported EVERYTHING IN PROPER WORKING ORDER. The technician commented in his report that one and a half hour charging time is considered normal! First time we had heard that! A far cry from 20 to 30 minutes.

I could go on and on but suffice it to say the return trip with the I-Pace from Dayton, OH to Owen Sound ON was no less harrowing. Four charging stops, over a distance of 700 kilometers (430 mi)! Many of the cables would not fit into the I-Pace port. Many of the chargers did not have enough local electrical back up to charge to their stated rating, which only added to the charging time. Many times, the charger payment reader or charging unit itself were not working at all. We left the Jaguar dealership in Dayton with a 100% charge, and the Nav screen clearly indicated that would take us 335 kilometers (208 mi.) SO, THIS MEANS THAT THE INFORMATION FROM THE JAG NAV SYSTEM ITSELF DOES NOT AGREE WITH THE MANUFACTURERS’ CLAIM OF A RANGE OF 381 KM’S! IN OTHER WORDS, WE WERE DOWN 46 KM’S BEFORE THE RETURN TRIP EVEN BEGAN! The same Ohio Turnpike charging station was 260 KM’s (162 mi.) away, meaning we should have arrived there with 72 km’s (45 mi.) to spare. When we arrived there, we actually had only 31 KM’s (19 mi.) left. This result was while traveling in low eco mode, no heat, fans, radio, nav screen etc., and wrapped in blankets to stay warm. Once can only imagine what all these numbers look like in the midst of a Canadian winter.

So, what can one take away from all of this? Is there a place for EV's? Probably. Short trips, where no charging is required before returning to your garage charger. (Don’t even think of going electric without a home charger). But keep in mind the following:

1. Don't believe the range claims made by the manufacturer, and dealership. The Jag tech guy in Dayton tried to suggest that there must have been a lot of big hills between Owen Sound and Dayton; there are none; flatter than pee on a platter. He also suggested it must have been a very cold day, and that we were using maximum heat and fans. In fact, it ranged between 8 degrees and 11 degrees Celsius, so we used very little of either. Whenever we were concerned about usage, we made sure we were running on low eco-mode, which insures use of a minimum amount of power.

2. Don't believe the information given to you on your screen as to KM’s left to the next charge.

3. Don't believe that all charger locations shown on your info screen are fast chargers. Many are 6.7 KW trickle chargers, requiring more than 22 hours charging time. Try relying on those on a trip to Florida.

4. Don't believe that your I-Pace will properly connect to all charging station cables. It won't. When you reach the location, it might be out of order, not accept your payment information, or just already be in use.

5. Don’t believe a proclaimed 150 KW charger has sufficient local power to give you that charge rate. Many times, it only operated at a rate of 40-60 KW.

6. Don't ever rely on the Optimized Jaguar Assistance or S.O.S. options.


Let’s say you get to drive in OPTIMUM conditions all the way to Florida, for instance, and you are lucky to achieve 90% of the range estimates. That is 343 kilometers (213 mi) between stops. And, let's say you are fortunate enough to find high-powered charging stations, without going too far off the beaten path. (Assume 20 to 30 kilometers (12 to 19 mi) to be acceptable). And let's assume the charging cables fit your vehicle, the payment screens work, and they are not already in use.


Again, using actual KM data from Owen Sound, ON to Englewood, Florida as an example, a distance of 2,317 kilometers (1440 mi), at an average speed of 90 KM’s (56 mi) per hour, and a 90% range of 343 kilometers (213 mi), would require A MINIMUM OF SEVEN ONE- AND ONE-HALF HOUR CHARGING STOPS! This would add an additional eleven-and one-half hours of travel time. A total of thirty-seven- and one-half hours travel time, compared to twenty-six hours in a gasoline automobile. An extra hotel night, meals, etc...

Meanwhile, finally back home, we experimented with charging the vehicle to 100%, and the best range scenario is 336-346 KM’s on the Nav screen, NOT 381 as claimed by the manufacturer.

My conclusion is this: EV’s are fine for trips to the grocery store, the dentist, or even to visit grandma, so long as she doesn’t live more than 170 kilometers (106 mi) away. (Half the actual range of 343 KM’s. Grandma is unlikely to have a charger in her garage.) But, for lengthy road trips of more than 170 KM’s (106 mi.), stick with your gas guzzler. The infrastructure and vehicle sophistication simply aren’t there yet to support that kind of usage.

And, when the infrastructure is finally there to support EV platforms, you can bet your sweet bippy the charging rates will increase to the point that there is no fuel saving by going electric. We experienced a charge fee of $44 for a charge to 90% at one stop. The Toyota Camry we rented had a range of 486 miles, and cost less than $50 to refill.

We have requested Jaguar North America accept the return of the I-Pace, and refund our money. In actual fact, the price of the automobile has increased since our purchase date, so they could resell it at a higher price. Because we are reasonable people, we even offered to purchase one of their 2023 high end gasoline models to sweeten the deal.

They have declined to do anything.

And these are only a few of the reasons why this mode of transportation is simply not a valid and reasonable means to go anywhere outside of town. A scooter will suffice to cover even you and a few days of groceries and a 12 pack.
The real world where the politicians, auto manufacturers and marketing people fear to tread, is simply not the place for electric cars.
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The problem with EVs is that since they are largely subsidized by governments, the price you pay is much lower than the actual cost.

So when an EV gets in even the mildest accident, it's usually a total write-off as it's not worth it to fix, which is costing the insurance business huge bucks. And guess who pays for it with higher insurance premiums.

You and I.
This is why all the major auto makers are switching to support Tesla charging. Here's a video from last year on the issues with chargers:
Can you say USB C ?

Imagine when they decide to change the standard, gonna be lots of old receptacles in cars.
So very sorry to hear about all what you had to go through. But a very interesting read. So well written and thank you so much for your great tips. Shame on Jaguar for not taking you on your offer. I will never consider them ever again, although I love the looks and style of that model.

I think you have to share your story in the national press and make/force Jaguar to do the right thing. You have one more great purchase to make in your lifetime. Don't give up with this. You deserve another great experience and would love to hear your next story. Thank you for sharing this.
I might have an electric if I drove a lot of KMs to work every year, but only if it was a second car. Having been lucky enough to work from home for the past 25 years means that my car use is pretty minimal in comparison to the daily commuters. The covid induced trend to work from home has probably hurt the electric auto segment as it was a pretty strong argument for those with long commutes.

We do like to take the occasional road trip so even a Tesla with their network was out of the question for me. As soon as you go off the main routes of major cities, it thins out quickly. And I really despised the thought at planning my travels around charging issues.

A plug-in hybrid would be pretty ideal such that all your local driving would be electric and charged at home for minimal expense, yet when on the occasional road trip you'd still get pretty decent fuel consumption and not have to worry about charging at all if you didn't want to. And you could still take advantage of electric if it happened to be convenient.

People who live in rentals are at the mercy of their housing accommodations and any plugin might be a nightmare, so it is essentially out of the question for many of them. Sticking to an ICE or a hybrid might be best in this scenario.

My wife was wanting a new car this summer so I was kinda thinking about a plug-in-hybrid, but the wife didn't want to wait for one due to short supply and long lead times. We settled on a hybrid SUV - uses about half the fuel my older ICE based SUV gets (an MDX). Its nice, pretty peppy, acceleration is surprisingly good, I assume partly because of the electric motors, but you can almost instantly feel that the vehicle weighs significantly less than the MDX - so I have to wonder about how it'll hold up (and protect us) in an accident. Otherwise, no real complaints so far with the hybrid.
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Thank you for sharing. This is why my next car (on order for Q1/24) is going to be a hybrid, not a battery-only one.
Thank you for sharing. This is why my next car (on order for Q1/24) is going to be a hybrid, not a battery-only one.
Which one did you go with?

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