Bjørn Nyland shared his thoughts in a video on his YouTube channel that auto writers are making EVs look bad. I have also read articles from auto writers who are either biased against Tesla or are biased against EVs. Who hasn’t?
In the case of Tesla, many hype up the competition — the “Tesla killers,” as they were long called, several of which turned out to be complete or partial failures, and certainly didn’t kill Tesla.
In his video, Nylan examines an article with the headline “The electric car went well — the charging network was completely behind target.” The author of that piece went on a road trip. The first thing Nyland thought was, “where did they go?” The author tested the new Peugeot e-2008 and went from Drammen to Bryne — two cities in Norway. Nyland noted that the author had previously published another article claiming that it was 6 times more expensive to drive an electric vehicle than it was to drive a diesel car. That article noted that you could be “skinned by external charging.”
Nyland pointed out that it was proven that the wrong type of charging was used. “You guys may remember that case. They slow-charged,” he said, while adding that the author made all of the mistakes one could possibly make charging an electric vehicle. One mistake was using SMS to pay, which is expensive, Nyland explained. The author also charged with a cold battery. The service the author used to charge, Fortum, also charged by the minute, and they slow charged instead of fast charged.
Nyland stated that, in his opinion, the journalist who reviewed the car and came up with these claims was horribly wrong. “Many people own EVs,” he said. They know better.
Surely, the journalist could research and figure things out much better than he did, right? If I was reviewing a product and needed information about an aspect of that product, I’d reach out to customers with my questions. To me, that just makes sense. Nyland emphasized, though, that the same writer wrote these two review articles and thus wanted to point out the importance of the fact that this writer is familiar with EVs. He must have known better.
Refuting The Charging Network Claims
Nyland refocused on the first article and the claim that the charging network is behind target, and he easily debunks this claim.
The first thing he did was plan the same trip the author did. Using the app A Better Routeplanner, Nyland easily adjusts the settings to show the trip for the same type of car the author drove. In these settings, Nyland could even input the percentage that the battery was charged when the trip started (96%). The only things that Nyland couldn’t input were the day and the exact speed the author used. For the speed, Nyland estimated that the author drove at the speed limit. The day actually does matter because the app will use the weather to help determine how long the car can drive.
When the author arrived at Høydalsmo, he said that he had a range of 90 km and that one CCS charging column was free. After 53 minutes, the car’s battery was charged to 97% and it had an estimated 290 km range. Høydalsmo has the Ionity network, Nyland pointed out, and noted that e-2008 ‘s charging rate can peak at 100 kW until 75% and then slows to 75 kW.
However, the author didn’t use Ionity, but instead used CCS charging, which had a slower charging speed. Nyland also figured out who owned that particular charger. “It’s actually one of the old ones from Circle K, I believe.” He did say that he wasn’t for sure but he checked all of his charging information. The question Nyland wanted to know was why did the author charge there when he could have used the Ionity network? Why did the author keep charging past 75% — assuming that he knew it would charge at a much slower rate once it reached 75%?
EV owners don’t charge the car up to 97% when they know that the charging rate slows down a lot after 75%. Also, the app, A Better RoutePlanner, will suggest that you not charge to 100%. The app also suggests that you stop at Burger King in Notodden to charge, since it has 150 kW fast chargers — you can top up in just 10 minutes there, Nyland pointed out.
Another issue in the author’s trip was that he went to Sinnes, where he had a bit of a bad experience. It was dark, rainy, and there wasn’t a gas station or cafe nearby. He waited for over half of an hour until the battery was charged to 76% and had 170 km to drive on. The author also noted that the charging system he used, BKK, didn’t want anyone who wasn’t a registered user to pay with SMS.
Nyland goes back to the map in the app and points out where Sinnes is. Considering that the author said he took the shortest route, Nyland notes that the app suggests a different charging spot than Sinnes. Nyland also points out that Sinnes is pretty much a no man’s land — there’s nothing there. Nyland also points out (again) that paying with SMS for charging is expensive and that BKK is pretty well known. “Not having any preparations for BKK is a little bit ‘noobish’,” Nyland said. By preparation, he means downloading and paying through the app or having a pay plan (for how to pay) in place. Not being prepared left the author in the rain setting this up.
As with the previous stop, Nyland found a better, alternative route that would have saved the author time on his trip and would have easily prevented him from being stuck in the rain trying to charge his car. One could argue that the writer didn’t know about the app, but if you are writing about EVs and are planning a trip, one would think that you would explore all routes and apps that would make the trip easier. I mean, it just makes sense.
The writer said that the charging network was “completely behind target,” but Nyland notes: “His claim is actually a direct lie that it’s bad. It requires a little bit more planning, but the way he did it was like it was almost like he was purposely trying to make it as slow as possible — charge way, way more than you need for no reason.”
What Would A Writer Stand To Gain From Making EVs Look Bad?
It does seem like the author Nyland reviewed either intentionally set himself up to fail or just didn’t know what he was doing. Personally, I want to believe this was an honest mistake — the author could have been new to EVs and made some errors in planning. But he does know his way around EVs and covers that topic.
Also, negativity sells. It’s just a fact. People love drama and get a rush off of the pain of others — it energizes them and makes them feel a sense of egotistical satisfaction that, yes, you are better than them. But there is no doubt that this hurts EVs. I am not claiming that this writer Nyland reviewed had ill intentions, but I am agreeing with him that it is very odd that his trip had a lot of inconveniences that were easily preventable. In Norway, where nearly 80% of new auto sales are plugin vehicle sales.
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