Have You Tried Unplugging It and Plugging It Back In?

Saturday 18th October 2014

My sidekick and I spend a lot of time discussing Electric Cars, especially at 6:30am on our morning walk. This is our best time to talk as there are no computers or phones getting in the way. We discuss the latest developments in Electric Cars, the latest gossip and often the latest arguments between EV owners! Always interesting!

Some may say we are a little obsessive about Electric Cars, and they may well be correct. Electric Cars do take up quite a large amount of our time, especially with a garage full of them! We run the New Jersey Electric Auto Association (NJEAA), organise and attend various events, and just take time to chat with people at the supermarket, it’s all very time consuming. Do we enjoy it? Well yes, we do, otherwise we wouldn’t be doing any of it. We would just be driving electric cars and be getting on with our lives.

The community we have gathered through the NJEAA are all like minded EV owners and, we all have the same purpose – to convert everyone to Electric Car driving. Easy – right? Sometimes yes, but more often no. We see that some people are ready to make the move to electric and want to know how. While there are others that just don’t see why they should. How can an Electric Car meet any of their needs? They see Electric Cars as being like a golf cart – we still have a long way to go. But we are seeing a change, there is definitely an increase in Electric Car purchases. It’s slow going but it is happening.

I think some people are waiting for perfection, hmm, that could be a while yet. Most of the EV’s on the road today are all working pretty well. Some have had some bumps to overcome and some are still working out software glitches. While many of us will stand by our EV’s through the good and the bad, some people are just not ready for the ‘not quite perfect’ yet. It’s all very understandable. I know I don’t want to be stranded at the side of the road because my car has thrown a drivetrain malfunction and won’t start. It’s all software related and sometimes it just needs a re-boot but other times it needs a tow to the nearest dealer. Fingers and toes crossed I haven’t been stranded but, I know too many that have.

What is hard to understand is why some of the current Electric Cars rolling off the production line still have these software issues? Aren’t these cars thoroughly tested before they leave the factory? And, if they are, why will it not go into Park? Why does it think it can’t charge?

I do have to say that (fingers and toes crossed again – I’ll fall over soon!!!) the i-MiEV that we have is the one car that just works. No issues, no faults, nothing – it just does what it is supposed to do. If Mitsubishi can make a working Electric Car then what are the other manufacturers doing wrong? Surely the other manufacturers shouldn’t be producing cars with all these issues, maybe they should make a phone call to Mitsubishi.

We tested the ActiveE and the MINI E for over 4 years for BMW, so why is the i3 still producing these errors? 4 years – these faults should have been solved in that time frame surely. It’s problematic for sure and I have heard of people being without their cars for weeks due to a software issue of some sort or another. In a full production car – not acceptable.

The Ford Focus EV also showed a ‘Stop safely now’ error, similar to the drivetrain malfunction of the ActiveE and now the i3. We never had the issue ourselves but, friends have had and have been left stranded and confused. Now, Ford are new to the EV market and this is their first full production EV, that they aren’t really all that fussed about, but even so, it shouldn’t have happened. However, they did come out with a software fix within a few months that did cure the problem once and for all.

So BMW why haven’t you fixed yours?

How can I go out and preach to the world that they should be driving Electric Cars when I know that there are potential issues out there. I am prepared to take my chances that all will be okay – I like driving Electric and wouldn’t go back to smelly old petrol cars. However, I am reading one too many stories of people being stranded, being without their cars for long periods of time and some even giving them back because they just don’t work. This is a shame and something that needs fixing quickly before we lose our momentum that we have spent the last 5 years building.

Teetering on the edge with my fingers and toes crossed… Please don’t let me fall over as I remain ever hopeful that these problems will be fixed sooner rather than later.


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