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Author Topic: EV ,,No No ,, No Tow  (Read 1938 times)
biff
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« on: February 24, 2020, 07:01:07 PM »

 I have just been reading about EV stopping suddenly on the Motorway and becoming a danger to other motorists.
90% of EVs  lock up and are unable to be moved. According  to recent reports from the breakdown recovery people, EVs pose a genuine headache to the recovery men.
  This is rather badly thought out and must be corrected as early as possible. It is presently being discussed in Parliament. Apparently  the Minister of Transport is very surprised by this news and she will probably insist on an immediate cure.
       Biff
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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2020, 08:21:01 PM »

I have not heard of EVs suddendly stopping on motorways but have heard plenty of stories of ICEs stopping in the fast lane.

EVs tend to lock up when their batteries are completely dead.  But most have a recovery mode which allows them to be towed, at least on to car transporter.  This video compares EVs range by driving until they die and discusses recovery modes.  I recall that one only worked in recovery mode if someone was sat in the driver's seat.

Recovery crews will soon learn what to do.

https:// www.youtube.com /watch?v=ZH7V2tU3iFc

4 wheel drive vehicles can suffer the same and generally recovery trucks drag them up onto the load bed.  At least that is what they did when my brake drum seized.

John
« Last Edit: February 24, 2020, 08:45:03 PM by JohnS » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2020, 08:43:15 PM »

The only reason why they are designed to be locked, when the battery is dead, is, I think, to prevent them being towed and destroying some component parts.  Remember, the motor acts as a generator when being driven by the wheels, rather than driving them.
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« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2020, 09:07:50 PM »

The only reason why they are designed to be locked, when the battery is dead, is, I think, to prevent them being towed and destroying some component parts.  Remember, the motor acts as a generator when being driven by the wheels, rather than driving them.

It's more generalized than that. For the motor to operate safely as a generator most of the car's systems have to be operating correctly - battery, cooling, management system and the management system needs the ability to move between motor based generation and using the brakes. A car that needs towing is likely to be having a problem with one or more of these systems and the ignition is unlikely to be on to enable what working systems there are.

It's perfect timing - the UK rolls out so-called 'smart' motorways that are designed around the idea that a broken down car can be moved to a safe location quickly while cars on the road are more dependent on low loaders than ever before. It's not just EVs that can not be flat towed (2 or 4 wheels on the road) a larger number of ICE cars can not and hybrid also have issues due to energy recovery solutions that work much like EVs. The days of just dropping a car into neutral are long gone with things like continuously variable transmission and pump driven lubrication systems.
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« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2020, 10:13:53 PM »

I am not trying to attack EVs,
            I am merely pointing out a massive oversight  that will no doubt have fatal consequences if not rectified  before it is too late. It is indeed an oversight. There is no other way to describe it. EVs are set to become more popular but such a built in design error will definitely turn people off.
 I know it is not what we want to hear but it has to be faced up to. Meanwhile it may be possible to design some kind of mobile fast charge that could be attached to the back of an EV in the form of a trailer with towing hitch. The idea being that the trailer could provide the power to get EVs with run down batteries  off the Motorways or any road. Possible dialed up through a network of such charging trailers suppliers. Now that the problem has been identified and pointed out, It should be dealt with.
 It is not much comfort pointing out ICEs That cannot be moved to someone whose family had been wiped out because their EV ran out of power on a not so smart motorway.
     Biff
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« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2020, 11:47:37 PM »

It comes down to not driving like a (banned word) in such a nonsensical, battery depleting manner that you don't know what the course of action is to ensure depleted battery protocols do not hinder the recovery operator.

For instance if you drive a leaf, & need roadside assistance for being a terry "....wit" & ignoring repeated requests from say 25% downwards alerts from your vehicle, get stuck, ring em up, they'll run you through operations to get it on the truck without being dragged via non rolling tyres (bald spots).

Don't blame the car so much as "user error" (he said generously), pretty damned sure it will be covered in the handbook (wot I did read, as you do / should).

Humans eh!?
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« Reply #6 on: February 25, 2020, 12:14:49 AM »

Unfortunately Gus,
         It is not that simple. It seems to have become a genuine serious issue within the past 24 hours at Government  level. Minister of Transport level.
        Biff
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« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2020, 01:06:06 AM »

There are plenty or warnings of the battery depleting. I pulled into a services in France on Saturday afternoon with 88km of range left. 1/2 the chargers were full and the other half were in another car park to the front of the services.  For whatever reason I made a wrong turn and got on the slip back onto the motorway. Quick look on the sat nav and the next charger is 70km away so set navigation to that destination. I turned down the cruise control so I ended up doing 80-90 kMh tucked in behind the HGV's but got to the next charger with 4% to spare. My point is, there is so much info on screen, you can click up and down on the CC so you have as much range as you want to get to the chargers. There is no need to run out if you pay attention. This works the opposite way as well. I started a long run on the same journey and as soon as I pulled away the car comes up with message "stay below 120 kMh to reach destination". Fair enough, I set the CC to 119 kMh and after a shot while I see the battery capacity at destination (the next charger) climb up to 7, 8,9% so I turn up the CC to 125, 130, 135 kMh so I get there quicker but maintain 5% at arrival at the next charger. There is not alot else to do in an EV than watch range. No temp or oil pressure gauge to watch etc. I played similar games 5 years ago in my leaf along the M4. Twiddle with the CC to reach the charger with 15 miles range remaining. It is not rocket science.

Back to the article. Many ICE can stop immediately such as an auto with a cam belt failure, locked brake caliper, transmission fail etc and there are more of them on the road than EV's but this danger does not appear to have been reported.

I have driven up the M20 yesterday which is currently being converted to smart status. There lies the main problem. Is it 38 deaths so far and they have only converted part of the network. Im all for cost cutting where practical but then need to put in a hard shoulder of some sort on the smart motorways already and currently being converted. Even if it is 8ft of gravel / hogging down the side of the road, it will give some slightly safer areas to disembark the family to the embankment.

Final point, French / European motorway surfaces (and services) are several leagues above the UK. Why can we not make this seemingly straightforward infrastructure to the standard of the Europeans ?
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2020, 01:47:45 AM »

A bit more context would be good biff, as it's supposition thus far on our part(s) assuming that it is " freak" stoppage compared to the likely "ran out of power"

If that is the case, then a minority of dumb"terry" 's will be effecting the knee jerk reaction that meant cold & flu remedies could only be sold in tiny amounts to protect the terry's of this world to the detriment of the sensible folk.

(Terry was / is a viz character, & *very* dumb).

Haven't seen the papers screaming about bev's shutting down, so is it battery depletion or something else?I

Cheers
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« Reply #9 on: February 25, 2020, 07:43:30 AM »

Please don't shoot the messenger Gus,
     We live in rather uncertain times and according to the WH, times set to get even more uncertain. This new virus that has US all terrified is showing up much more frequently as the weeks pass by
      We are now seeing access to towns and cities in Europe being restricted or denied and because this is something that is playing out as I type, it will mean that charging points will be less available in the very bear future. With EVs you just cannot decide to swing left rather than swing right, you have to know where your charging points are based.
 I am just making a very valid point and again, I stress that just because some rather fandangaled car manufacturers build ICEs that cannot be towed when they break down  does not mean that the manufacturers of EVs should do the same. EVs don't  roll to a stop when they run out of juice, they very quickly grind to a halt before they can coast into the hard shoulder.
  Don't  be annoyed please, rather , take the attitude of somehow lobbying for change, immediate change. Surely there must be some thing that can be done that can make live less complicated than it is.
    Biff
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« Reply #10 on: February 25, 2020, 07:48:39 AM »

Maybe the transport police could carry some kind of lightweight  high powered charger that could inject a quick 30% charge into the EV , enough to get it off the Motorway and out of harm's way.
        Biff
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« Reply #11 on: February 25, 2020, 08:11:48 AM »

Looks like a non story from the Telegraph.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics/2020/02/22/electric-cars-hazard-motorways-government-admits/?li_source=LI&li_medium=liftigniter

"Baroness Vere, a transport minister, said she was "astonished" to discover that electric vehicles tend to "stop very suddenly" when they cease to function, rather than coasting like conventional cars, and that they can take longer to be removed from motorways."

Most EV's will on low battery will enter a low speed mode for a mile or so before properly conking out with plenty of warning. They usually have a seperate battery (12 Volt) for the control functions as well as the traction battery. They are way ahead on reliability as well. So probably less likely to suffer a catastophic failure.

Looks like Baroness Vere - a transport minister has no knowledge of all the specifications for cars and the testing they have to go through before they can be sold. Maybe we should have a quality control system for ministers as well.
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« Reply #12 on: February 25, 2020, 08:45:50 AM »

I did not see that article until now Richard,
    But I did watch the program where they lined up all the current EV models in London and drove North up the motorway to see if the milage quoted in the sales brochure was genuine or not. Mercedes came out of it quite badly  Tesla won and reached Newcastle , Kia were second. Interesting things happened along the way. All the different drivers were in touch with the team leader.
   I want EVs to succeed but they have to be user friendly and take into consideration eventual breakdowns and make it easier for the owners to deal with it.
 Not everybody will follow the instructions.
         Biff
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« Reply #13 on: February 25, 2020, 09:40:41 AM »

The story, and the review, is completely backwards.
SMART Motorways are currently being reviewed more widely at a Ministerial level, and a temporary pause has been put on roll-out of planning for new Smart Motorways, as the figures are showing that with national deployment, the rates of near misses, and accidents involving stranded vehicles, are significantly higher on Smart Motorways with all lane running than "normal" motorways.   Most vehicles are still ICE vehicles, and most drivers don't know how to coast or use limp-home mode in ICE vehicles.  With no hard shoulder, vehicles are just stopping and being abandoned in any one of the live running lanes.   Also, review of driver behaviour shows that most drivers disregard the closed lane signs as most drivers simply don't believe the signs, or don't believe there's a risk. This again increases the accident potential.  Lastly, unlike the smart motorway trial on the M42 where refuge areas were every 400-600m, so one was always visible, they're now being deployed every 2 miles - so drivers who are in a breaking down vehicle simply don't know or think they can make it to one, so they stop and abandon.

The FUD that is now being spread on top of all of that is to imply that the stranding risk applies only to EVs, which is clearly bull.   All EVs have a neutral gear mode, so they can coast. All EVs provide ample warning of low battery scenarios.  And most of the emergency recovery from Smart Motorways is done on a flatbed to get the vehicle out of the way ASAP, so even if it were "locked", it can be moved as quickly as a stranded ICE vehicle.

To summarise - Smart Motorways are the problem here and the way they've been designed, rolled out, and the education for drivers around them.
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« Reply #14 on: February 25, 2020, 10:16:11 AM »

- and they did have a 4x4 following them with a generator in the back....

Having had a diesel engine stop dead on me at 70mph (honest officer) in the outside lane of the M40 I was glad that I could declutch and cruise to a halt on the hard shoulder. I had great difficulty finding gaps to pull across each lane and I seem to remember thinking at the time I was glad I wasn't driving an automatic which would have decreased my speed much quicker.

Perhaps Baroness Vere needs to be told the whole story.
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