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Honest John's Motoring Agony Column 18-05-2019 Part 1

Published 17 May 2019

Answers about Skoda brakes, Fiesta gearshifts, Golf carts, Mercedes SLKs, and in part 2: automatic ‘accidents’, Volvo preservation, service scams, Peugeot 3008s, BMW Z3s and a lot more.

As usual, emails to Honest John should be addressed to: letters@honestjohn.co.uk  Please try to keep them as short as possible.

Skoda Octavia V RS F34 White)

Unbrakable

I took delivery of a 2015 Skoda Octavia vRS last week and love it, but a brake warning light came as it was delivered and has appeared intermittently over the last week. It has been on permanently for the last day or so, so I took the car to Skoda this morning to get it checked out and the verdict is that the front discs are badly heat scored and lipped and need to be replaced. The pads are 80% worn and I know that both of these are consumable items, but the supplying dealer, assured me that any rust would clear after a good drive (it did) and that the pre-delivery RAC inspection would pick up any issues. The upshot is that I stand to be out of pocket to the tune of £500 and feel a bit aggrieved at this. Am I entitled to recompense from the supplying dealer for the new discs? There should be no doubt that this level of wear could not have been as a result of my ownership given I have covered less than 100 miles.

MH, via email

You bet. If the dealer does not replace the discs and pads FoC take it to Small Claims. See: /faq/consumer-rights/ Any argy-bargy take it to Small Claims: https://www.gov.uk/make-court-claim-for-money

Ford Fiesta 2018 3-door Side

Flawed Fiesta

A few months ago I bought a low-mileage, 9-month old, new model Fiesta 1.1 Zetec from the Ford franchise in Bolton. On driving the car from the showroom, after about 2 miles, it developed a serious gear-shift fault that meant I could not change gears. This happened on a busy A road out of Bolton, but I was eventually able to being the car to a stuttering halt at the entrance to The Britannia Hotel, partially blocking the entrance, but the safest place to halt on that busy main road. The car was then recovered by the AA, returned to the showroom and I demanded rejection of the car and an immediate refund, which I eventually got in full. I was subsequently informed by the Ford dealer that this was, apparently, an occasional problem on the new Fiesta, so I lodged a complaint directly with Ford on the basis that it had supplied to the market a vehicle "not fit for purpose, and possibly life endangering". Imagine if this fault had happened in the fast lane of a motorway. Ford Customer Relations has shown little/no interest in this case, even arguing that "as the vehicle is no longer registered to me, there is nothing that they are prepared to do" and denying any inherent gearbox fault on this model. In a recent telephone conversation they suggested that I contacted the Motor Ombudsman if I felt that I needed to, but, as far as they are concerned, "the matter is closed". I am currently awaiting a response from the Ombudsman. Do you have any suggestions, please?

GH, Bolton

We logged this and subsequently received a 2nd complaint of the same thing: /carbycar/ford/fiesta-2017/good/ The Motor Ombudsman only acts on transgressions of the SMMT code of conduct. If you regard it as a safety fault, then you need to report it to the DVSA. See: https://www.gov.uk/vehicle-recalls-and-faults/report-a-serious-safety-defect /

Honda HR-V LT Load 1 (1)

Club class

It's time to change my car. I've been driving Volvo S40s for over 20 years and, much as I like Volvo, boot space in the V40 is totally inadequate, but I don't want a bigger car. I'm retired well over 10 years and still play golf 2 to 3 times a week, so I'm looking for a new or (nearly new) car with a good-sized boot. I don't want to have to fold down any back seats to accommodate my golf clubs and trolley. I'm quite impressed by both the Honda HR-V SE and Nissan Qashqai Acenta Premium. My annual mileage is 6,000 – 7,000. I've always driven cars with manual transmission but "thinking ahead" suggests I seriously consider an automatic transmission this time. I'd appreciate any guidance you can offer. Why do car reviews never seem to consider "boot space" v "golfer’s requirements"?

DA, via email

We try to give the width of the golf bag space behind the rear wheel arches in our road tests. Definitely, the Honda HR-V and if you want one with a bit more performance there's now a 182HP turbo Sport: /road-tests/honda/honda-hr-v-sport-2019-road-test/ Qashqai CVT not reliable, but its CVT has now been replaced by Renault's EDC, tested in the similar Kadjar here: /road-tests/renault/renault-kadjar-ii-2019-range-road-tes/

MB SLK R174 Side Roof Opening

Late life crisis

Having reached 60 and driven sensible company cars, I feel I would like to buy a used sports car for occasional and weekend use, possibly spending up to £10,000. I know that the Mazda MX-5 is probably the best of the bunch, but as a result there are a lot of them about and I would like something different. I would be grateful for your advice on the Mercedes SLK? I like the idea of the retractable hard top, giving the option of open top driving and a more secure roof when closed. Ideally, I would like petrol and manual gear box but welcome your advice as to which engine size and transmission type is best.

JR, via email

An R174 Mercedes SLK isn't really a 'sports car'. More a 2-seater roadster. But it livens up considerably with one of the V6 engines. Vital to buy one on reasonable profile rear tyres or the ride quality is so bad it sets off the SRS airbag warning on speed humps. More here including two links to road tests: /carbycar/mercedes-benz/slk-r171-2004/

KIA Picanto 2017 F34

The best and the rest

I would value your advice on options to consider for a low-mileage small automatic up to 3 years old with no more than 20,000 miles, a rough idea of target prices, and also models to avoid?

RB, via email

The best very small are the KIA Picanto 1.2 4-speed torque converter auto and the Hyundai i10 1.2 4-speed torque converter auto. From about £8,500 for a 2017. A bit bigger, the Suzuki Swift 1.0T 6-speed torque converter auto. From about £13,000 for a 2018. Suzuki Baleno 1.0T 6-speed torque converter auto. From about £9,400 for a 2016. Mazda 2 1.5 6-speed torque converter auto. From about £9,700 for a 2015. Ford has now ditched its disastrous dry clutch Powershift DCTs in favour of 6-speed torque converter in the Fiesta and 8-speed torque converter in the Focus. One reader says he managed to buy a new Fiesta 1.0T EcoBoost 100 6-speed auto for £15k. Avoid anything automated manual such as Citroen C1, Peugeot 108, Toyota Aygo, VW Up, Skoda Citigo and SEAT MII. And avoid 1.2/1.4 litre VWs, Audis, SEATs or Skodas with DQ200 7-speed dry clutch DSG transmissions, though we are not hearing of problems with the DQ200 when mated to the 1.0TSI engine.

 

Gardener’s question time

We have 2001 Jaguar XK8 Convertible with 90,000 miles that has been standing in the garden since it arrived home from its last MoT in May 2014. The gearbox seized after the two-mile journey home after a very expensive MoT. Obviously, the car is not in a very good state, but must be of some use to somebody, especially as we have a spare set of four good wheels with tyres and a spare convertible roof stored inside that could go with the car. It will have to be trailered and we live on the Isle of Wight. Any suggestions of where to advertise or who to contact that may be interested? 

YY, Newport, Isle of Wight

Try the Jaguar Drivers Club. http://www.jaguardriver.co.uk/html/

Citroen Berlingo Multispace 2008 F34 

This week’s van mail

My daughter and son in law have a small business and need a full-sized van to transport goods. They have a limited budget of £6,000. What  would be the best approach for them to get a reasonably reliable machine ?

JM, via email

There are big LCV auctions, every Thursday at BCA Blackbushe. Or maybe look for an ex police van at West Oxfordshire Motor Auctions, Witney or Brightwells of Leominster. Remember when bidding, that auction commission is added to the winning bid, then 20% VAT. (If they are VAT registered, they can claim that back as VAT input tax.) It might actually make more sense to skip vans and go for a utility MPV like a Citroen Berlingo Multispace, Peugeot Partner Tepee, FIAT Doblo Family, VW Caddy Life, etc. Usually cheaper to insure than vans because the underwriting risk is lower.

 

The Nissan link

I understand the constraints that are imposed on you. However HJ does tell us to avoid certain CVT gear boxes and actually states the manufacturer, vehicle model and engine, etc. to avoid. Does HJ get slapped wrists for this ? I hope not.

JT, via email

I’m not the only one to criticise Nissan. Check out what Carlos Ghosn had to say on the BBC News feed. Actually, Nissan has replaced the CVT in its Qashqai with Renault’s EDC and now has a much improved CVT in its latest Micra (they invited me on the launch so I’m not blackballed): /road-tests/nissan/nissan-micra-10-ig-t-100-and-dig-t-117-2019-road-test/

Porsche Cayman S 2012 Side Green

Job centre

In December 2019, my 2012 Porsche Cayman passed its annual MoT, with no advisories (at ProTyres, Exeter, a trusted tyre and MoT specialist which I understand is used by many local franchised dealers). In late January, a scheduled minor service was completed on the car (at a local Porsche specialist). At the end of the service I was informed that the handbrake needed adjustment and that the exhaust bolts were corroded and needed replacement. The price for these two tasks was estimated at between £300-£500, plus VAT, depending on how many hours it needed for the bolt removal. This raises some questions in my mind, but mainly that if these issues weren't raised in the MoT, do they really need to be undertaken, or is it a case of the specialist 'drumming up' business? Secondly, do you think that the estimated charge is reasonable for such work?

RH, via email

Without crawling around under the car it's impossible to judge whether the work and the charges are justified. Presumably this is an independent Porsche specialist. These guys live and breathe by being cheaper and doing a better job than Porsche dealers. As soon as they start ripping people off they lose the reason why customers go to them.

Suzuki Vitara 2019 Side Blue

In-diesel exposure

We have a Toyota RAV-4 4-door that we want to replace as it is nearing the end of its economic life. We really like the easy access seating and high-up view and want to replace it with something similar. We are looking to spend about £15k (no point in spending much more at our age) and would go for another RAV-4 but those in our price range all appear to be diesel, which looks to be going out of favour everywhere. Is there another option with similar seating etc., or do we just go for the diesel and accept the slowly extending restrictions and general disapproval on its use?

BW, via email

Suzuki Vitara S 1.4T Boosterjet AllGrip. Choose 6-speed manual or 6-speed torque converter auto: /road-tests/suzuki/suzuki-vitara-10t-allgrip-2019-road-test/

 

Hoister catcher

We have to choose a Motability Scheme car to carry a hoist  
for my wife's battery powered Scooter. The size of vehicle needed. and Motability permitted features, has led us to consider: A SEAT Alhambra SEL 2.0 diesel or a Ford Grand Tourneo Connect Titanium 1.5 diesel. We are concerned as we are led to believe that diesel engines are being banned from city centres. Is this the case and if so which cars could you recommend as an alternative to the above?

MH, Kidwelly

You can get both of these with petrol engines: the Alhambra with a 1.4/1.5TSI engine and DQ381 or DQ500 7-speed wet clutch DSG. The Ford with a 1.5 EcoBoost engine and 6-speed or 8-speed torque converter auto. You will need to remove the rearmost seats of the Grand Tourneo Connect because, with the seats folded. it has a high load deck.

BMW 3  Series GT Side Silverjpg

Fast lady 

My wife does about 14k miles a year likes fairly sporty performance and covets a moderately prestige brand. She also wants AWD and a hatch or estate, although not excluding an SUV. Her current car is a September 2016 BMW 330d GT xDrive, and previously an AUDI S4 avant. She liked both cars but doesn’t like the local BMW dealership. In view of the diesel “outcry”, should she be looking at petrol only or hold off changing to await new hybrids coming to the market. All electric isn’t a feasible option. Advice on petrol, diesel or hybrid would be appreciated as well as suggestions of cars to consider.

RB, via email 

Audi has just announced a 347HP/700Nm diesel mild hybrid SQ5. I didn't see any prices. You can have optional air suspension and a 'Vorsprung' version. But I'd be inclined to stick with the excellent 330d GT xDrive until there is a better choice of petrol self-charging hybrids. Currently, the new Honda CV-V hybrid is the best of them, but is obviously nothing like as powerful as a 330d: /road-tests/honda/honda-cr-v-hybrid-2019-road-test/

 

Cherish the thought

I have a personal plate on my diesel car which I intend to change for a new petrol car in the coming months. I want to transfer my personal plate to a new car at the time of purchase. Depending the offer, I may part-exchange it at the garage where I buy the new car, or maybe try to sell it privately. Could you please advise the best way to deal with the personal number plate transfer from one car to another, perhaps ‘on-line’ or by post? 

MH, Bristol

The best thing to do is take the plate off your present car and put it onto a retention certificate. (Means buying a set of date-related plates for your present car before you part-exchange it.) Then, once the new car is in your possession, transfer the cherished reg to it. There is a transfer cost involved, but this is the safest way. Do not trust a dealer to do it for you because if they get anything wrong, you (not them) are liable for the consequences. You might even lose the right to use the reg. See: https://www.gov.uk/personalised-vehicle-registration-numbers / And: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/application-to-transfer-or-retain-a-vehicle-registration-number /

Nissan Leaf 2016 Side Red 

Leafed standing

We have been driving a Nissan Leaf for over 3 years. We do around 12,000 miles a year and the majority of the time we charge the car at home. At most, we use public chargers once every fortnight. However, these are very unreliable. 11-12-2018 and 19-1-2019: Sainsbury's Car Park, Godalming. Charging stopped after a couple of minutes, may have overcharged car according to Nissan. I was unable to select forward or reverse on both occasions. Reported problem to Pod Point twice. 27-12-2018: Gunwharf Quays Car Park, Portsmouth. Unable to stop the charger. Called Polar who re-booted charger and we could then disconnect from the charger. 24-2-2019: Car Park, Billingshurst. Phone app not working. I called Charge Your Car and was told the app was broken and they were unable to communicate with the charger as it was also broken.

NM, via email

Unfortunately, electric cars are not meeting their promise for some people. One Telegraph reader was quoted an outrageous £7,800 for a new 30kWh battery for a Leaf (which is more than the standard £180 / kWh rate). And, as George Fowler appositely wrote in The Daily Star on 15th February: "The desperate plight of people who go electric because it's the right thing to do is made worse by the fact that there are only 13,000 charge points in the whole of the UK, of which 2,100 are in London. The remaining 84% of us have to make do with 10,900 single car chargers That means if the remaining 35 million odd people who run cars in the rest of the UK each went electric they'd have a 4,000-1 chance of charging up their car after they left home." He had found Diesel Range Rovers parked in his local electric car charging bays, and the range of a Jaguar iPace reduced from 250+ miles to just 154 miles in cold winter conditions.

 

Unfolding story 

The offside door mirror of my 2014 Honda Jazz will not retract. It goes part-way, then stops. Do you have any ideas what might be the cause? Recently, I had a Honda recall for passenger air bag. Since then the door mirror has not worked. Can it be connected?

SR, via email

Seems ridiculous, but it might be a mirror spider's nest partially jamming the works inside the mirror pod. Spiders like door mirrors because they can hide safely inside the pods and spin their webs between the pods and the door frame.

Renault Kadjar Side Blue (1)

Gremlinned 

I have a 2017 Renault Kadjar petrol automatic with 3,700 miles. Twice in the past 250 miles, whilst at speed in heavy traffic, it has suffered two serious engine management failures. On the first occasion the Spanner, Stop and Toxic Fume warnings came on, quickly followed by the ESP warning. On the second occasion, the same sequence of warnings, plus the Engine Failure Hazard. Each time, all power was lost and, although the engine continued to run, it would not respond to the accelerator. On switching the engine off and then back on, the fault appeared to have cleared. The car has been with two Renault service agents, who carried out diagnostic tests, but offer no explanation for the issue, or any assurance it will not reoccur. Renault’s response is to keep using the car until it happens again, or pay for further diagnostic tests at a cost of £150 per hour. The car was not purchased from a Renault dealer. I consider the car unsafe to drive. Have you any knowledge of similar problems, or any suggestions how I might pursue the matter.

FvH, via email

Is this a 1.2TCe EDC? The 1.2TCe engine has been having some piston oil ring problems. If too much oil got through, then that might have promoted the first incident. Is the engine using oil? You write, "the car was not purchased from a Renault dealer." Yet you also write it has only 3,700 miles. The combination of these circumstances might mean it is not Renault's responsibility, but if it was purchased within 6 months then it is the legal responsibility of the dealer who sold it to you. See: /faq/consumer-rights/

 

All torque

I want to buy a car with a torque converter automatic transmission. I heard that this type is better for long life than a DSG, DCT, EDC, CVT, etc. Then I looked for TQ auto cars, which are Hyundai i20 1.4 MPI 4 speed auto, Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost 6-speed auto. And I don't know if a Honda Jazz has CVT or TQ automatic. These cars are new for the second hand, and year 2016-2018 model. But, in this case, these cars are a little bit small. If I want to take a 2013-2015 years C-Class car (a little bit large) for similar prices, which cars can you suggest to me with full auto transmission?  

EE, Turkey

All Mazda automatics are 6-speed torque converter. Most Citroens and Peugeots have been EAT6 or EAT8 torque converter automatic for the past few years. All BMWs except for the latest 2-Series Active Tourer are torque converter. All Mercedes from C-Class up are torque converter (A Class and B Class are DCT). The new Ford Focus is 8-speed torque converter. The current Fiesta from late 2017 is 6-speed torque converter. The Suzuki Vitara, Swift, Baleno and latest SX4 S-Cross are 6-speed torque converter.

Click to Honest John’s Motoring Agony Column 18-05-2019 Part 2

Comments

glidermania    on 17 May 2019

Dear lord, HJ once again propogating the myth against EVs.

Please tell us the exact, full and verified circumstances of this Leaf owner who was quoted over 7 grand for a replacement battery because as far as Im aware, Nissan along with other EV manufacturers warrants replacement of the drive battery if the capacity falls below 75%.

I can only presume this 'owner' wanted his battery replaced when well above the minimum warranted capacity or wanted to upgrade to a higher capacity pack.

Dorset123    on 17 May 2019

NM with his Nissan Leaf is surprised that car chargers are giving him problems. We are being told by certain people that the electric car is the thing to go for but they are not a suitable replacement for a petrol car as yet. I have worked in a dealer that sold an electric model which cost over £30000 when new but lost nearly £24000 in 3 years ! and the battery loose 50% of there range in 6 years on some cars. Remember the people that are tell everyone to buy an electric car, a number of years ago told us to buy a diesel car !

mmmmm    on 18 May 2019

NM with his Nissan Leaf is surprised that car chargers are giving him problems. We are being told by certain people that the electric car is the thing to go for but they are not a suitable replacement for a petrol car as yet. I have worked in a dealer that sold an electric model which cost over £30000 when new but lost nearly £24000 in 3 years ! and the battery loose 50% of there range in 6 years on some cars. Remember the people that are tell everyone to buy an electric car, a number of years ago told us to buy a diesel car !

Your final sentence promotes a quite ludicrous point...the only thing common to both situations...is that people told everyone!. Surely you are independent of mind enough to make a decision on your own and if not, then follow the herd and suffer the resulting problems.

TQ    on 18 May 2019

I don't know...some issues are too difficult for the layperson to analyse and make a reasoned decision. This is not an excuse for not thinking through things but how does one get 100% impartial advice about EVs ? My car is old and I could do with a newer one but pointless buying another ICE car so I will wait another 3-4 years and see how the EV show goes.

Mark Wittler    on 19 May 2019

I set up a company to offer exactly this service (independent advice on EV's). If i'm allowed to post it here it's www.drivetherevolution.co.uk i'm totally independent and happy to offer realistic advice. EV's will work for far more people than the myths being banded around imply. But you need to be pre-informed of the limitations and initial costs. The depreciation nonsense on here is laughable - the 24kw Leaf has risen in value consistently for more than 2 years and same goes for most other cars. I've owned almost every brand of EV myself and covered many thousands of miles. Happy to offer free initial advice too. Regards Mark

Dorset123    on 20 May 2019

I am very independant of mind thats why I haven't brought a diesel car or an electric car.

I have a petrol engine car because that is the best we have at the moment. It might change in the future but who knows. The problem with electric cars is that they are changing so fast there have been 4 battery types on the Nissan Leaf so why would anyone buy the first model that is why they have lost so much money. In the future that may change but we will need to see. Battery life and condition is affected how the batteries are charged using rapid chargers all the time will reduce there life. Charging the car up only at home will make the battery last longer but then the range is much worse. I have worked in a dealer that sells new cars including an electric model and this is fact.

mmmmm    on 18 May 2019

NM with his Nissan Leaf is surprised that car chargers are giving him problems. We are being told by certain people that the electric car is the thing to go for but they are not a suitable replacement for a petrol car as yet. I have worked in a dealer that sold an electric model which cost over £30000 when new but lost nearly £24000 in 3 years ! and the battery loose 50% of there range in 6 years on some cars. Remember the people that are tell everyone to buy an electric car, a number of years ago told us to buy a diesel car !

Your final sentence promotes a quite ludicrous point...the only thing common to both situations...is that people told everyone!. Surely you are independent of mind enough to make a decision on your own and if not, then follow the herd and suffer the resulting problems.

R40    on 18 May 2019

Oh goodness me! This campaign against ev cars is so full of untruths and rubbish, but this one takes the biscuit, and the prize for untrue spin! So please tell us, which Dealer did you work for that sold a brand new ev which cost £30k plus but lost £24k in depreciation in three years?

While you're at it could you also tell us which ev car loses 50% of range over 6 years? The answer is of course none, but you already know that eh you rascal:)

Looking forward to reading your reply

MP98    on 18 May 2019

That's £8k per year - not exactly a ridiculous amount for today. Plus it would no doubt be higher in year 1 than year 3. Guess what, even lower in year 4 which would reduce the average further. EV's will depreciate just like every other car, but some EV buyers think their own virtue converts into improved residuals.

R40    on 18 May 2019

So a car bought for £30k is, 3 years later is worth £6k because it depreciates at average of £8k per year? Not at all true, ICE or ev. Go on, name that car. But you can't, because it doesnt exist. Why ICE owners think they can make such claims but not provide evidence is strange, unless it is virtue signalling?

MP98    on 18 May 2019

What are you gibbering about? I said £8k a year isn’t unthinkable in depreciation, especially in the early years. It’s irrrelevant whether it’s a petrol, diesel, hybrid or plug-in.

I’ve owned an A4 that lost £9k in 11 months, an XC60 that lost £17k in 26 months, a 5 series that lost £2k in 6 months and a Capri that gained £100 in 12 months. But not sure what evidence is required in a comments section of a website for a non-entity who gets angry at people having a different opinion to himself. Go plug yourself in and get a boost to the brain.

Honestjohn    on 18 May 2019

How do glidermania and R40 answer most of my reply? "And, as George Fowler appositely wrote in The Daily Star on 15th February: "The desperate plight of people who go electric because it's the right thing to do is made worse by the fact that there are only 13,000 charge points in the whole of the UK, of which 2,100 are in London. The remaining 84% of us have to make do with 10,900 single car chargers That means if the remaining 35 million odd people who run cars in the rest of the UK each went electric they'd have a 4,000-1 chance of charging up their car after they left home." He had found Diesel Range Rovers parked in his local electric car charging bays, and the range of a Jaguar iPace reduced from 250+ miles to just 154 miles in cold winter conditions."

HJ

R40    on 18 May 2019

HJ, the answer is in two parts; firstly that real data shows the vast majority of uk car journeys today are circa 100 miles so home charging provides for them. For longer journeys then finding a charger is still an issue but every month hundreds of new chargers are being installed. ev is a relatively new industry so its not perfect, but each day the numbers increase. Surely we should be supporting this, not only criticising?

Theophilus    on 18 May 2019

Re: Unfolding Story

I certainly concur that spiders seem to find mirror housings their preferred habitat ... but can HJ or others suggest an effective way of dealing with them?

I've tried aerosol insecticide sprays squirted around the sides of the mirrors - but seemingly without effect.

21Twinkle    on 23 May 2019

Re: Unfolding Story I certainly concur that spiders seem to find mirror housings their preferred habitat ... but can HJ or others suggest an effective way of dealing with them? I've tried aerosol insecticide sprays squirted around the sides of the mirrors - but seemingly without effect.

I use a water jet - from a hosepipe or ocassionally a pressure washer to rid my mirrors of spiders !!

Engineer Andy    on 18 May 2019

Toyota only warrant their hybrid batteries (the same type as full EV batteries but less of them) for 5 years/100k miles, the same as the rest of the car. They have a policy which can extend the warranty for that battery system per year up until it's 15 years old (with an annual mileage stipulation), but I suspect that only covers actual failures, not a general loss of performance (charging capcity) due to how old the batteries are.

Nissan's 75% battery capacity warranty is for 8 years or 100k miles, whichever occurs first. The rest of the EV system is only warranted for 5 years/60k miles, whichever comes first.

That means that, for an older car, the battery capacity could drop off the proverbial cliff, and the new owner who probably paid only a few Grand for the car now has to fork out £7k+ for a new set, which means either they were stupid to pay that much for a car that could require them to part with a huge amount of cash (that they may not have) to keep it on the road, or accept having to charge it up at very small distance intervals and waste their time doing so. What a great incentive to buy an older one!

The problem with EVs, unlike with ICE enged cars, is that they are more reliable and require less maintenance in the first 5 years of so of their lives, then require a huge amount of investment to keep them viable in a short time - whilst the total might be less than an ICE car during its life, the bills are spread over that time and don't come in big chunks.

I think that's why EVs depreciate far more than ICE vehicles because people reaslise some unlucky person will have to foot the (very hefty) bill for a new battery pack and/or motor set, and thus they aren't prepared to pay much for the car once it is within a couple of years or the end or out of warranty - the value drops like a stone, just like expensive perforamce luxury saloons and sportscars. Many people find out the hard way that these can be veritable money pits (and terminal ones) should an expensive major component fail and need a replacement.

The problem is that, to make them economically viable from new, you have to do a LOT of mileage, which means the warranty gets used up far quicker. Not so bad for a hybrid because the ICE engine is there, but still will be a disadvantage because its using engine power to lug around the extra weight of the batteries and motor that may only give a very limited (marginal) benefit when they get older.

A well designed and looked after ICE car will not require a new engine in its lifetime.

Lee Power    on 18 May 2019

A 3 phase AC drive motor isn't going to require much maintenance over its life time, apart from bearings wearing out there very little to actually go wrong with one.

We use 3 phase AC traction motors at work in forklifts, blowing the dust out of them during service & replacement bearings at around 5 to 6 years old is all we seem to need to do to them maintenance wise, I've yet to replace an AC traction motor for an actual failure in 13 years of working with them.

Engineer Andy    on 19 May 2019

A 3 phase AC drive motor isn't going to require much maintenance over its life time, apart from bearings wearing out there very little to actually go wrong with one.

We use 3 phase AC traction motors at work in forklifts, blowing the dust out of them during service & replacement bearings at around 5 to 6 years old is all we seem to need to do to them maintenance wise, I've yet to replace an AC traction motor for an actual failure in 13 years of working with them.

Its not the motor necessarily I would be worried about - it's all the other parts on a high mileage (well-used) car: suspension, A/C, batteries, etc. Besides, forklifts aren't the same as cars and lead a far different life, as well as being more robust in design and cost a LOT more as a result.

Vitesse6    on 19 May 2019

Let's clear up the errors of fact in the above statement.

According to the Toyota warranty conditions the hybrid battery is warranted for up to 15 years as long as the car is serviced by toyota or a toyota hybrid specialist. There is no other charge or insurance policy needed. The only stipulation is that the car is serviced every 10000 miles.

The hybrid batteries are nickel metal hydride, not lithium. Fully electric cars use lithium.

Engineer Andy    on 19 May 2019

Let's clear up the errors of fact in the above statement.

According to the Toyota warranty conditions the hybrid battery is warranted for up to 15 years as long as the car is serviced by toyota or a toyota hybrid specialist. There is no other charge or insurance policy needed. The only stipulation is that the car is serviced every 10000 miles.

The hybrid batteries are nickel metal hydride, not lithium. Fully electric cars use lithium.

Not quite on the warranty - as I read it, you can extend the warranty by a year each year as long as the car is serviced within that mileage maximum (whatever comes first). That's not the same as them guaranteeing that the battery will keep X% of its charge (likely general wear and tear in their document) - it's that the unit works at all.

And of course, this extension costs money, probably not that cheap either, and likely to rise by more than inflation each year as the likelihood of component failure rises with age. The problem is that all owners throughout the car's life would presumably have to take it out (and to have it checked every year/10k miles tops) for it to be an option for the latest owner.

Mark Wittler    on 20 May 2019

Actually the batteries performance does not 'drop off a proverbial cliff'. In fact other than a few unique models of car to avoid (exclusively the very early models) battery performance is so good it blows ICE cars out of the water in terms of residual value and long term maintenance costs. Firstly lets get something clear. EV's in general are holding their value infinitely better on average than ANY mass produced ICE car at the moment. Many are going up in value or simply not loosing value whatsoever. This is a fact and if you dispute it - you are clearly not involved in the sector and getting your 'facts' from a magazine. The reason for this besides the whole concept catching on and the advent of EV's that are simply better than any ICE car could hope to be; is that the batteries do not degrade to affect usability within the useful lifetime of the car. This is way in excess of 5 years for almost any EV. There are forums online where owners post their battery health stating the age and miles, Tesla owners have been electronically compiling data for years producing a graphs of this. Unless you follow the facts on the ground and have owned and tested for degradation using OBD readers and software on taxi EV's (with very high mileage) multiple times as I have, then you are simply sprouting fake news. Besides for this I am not aware of ANY EV needing motor replacement other than very early Tesla cars under warranty (and the issues were designed out of replacements). The technology is far superior and simpler than ICE engines.

An ICE engine and associated components will on average be far more impacted by 100k+ miles use than any EV drive-train components. Battery degradation when it does start to occur affects absolutely nothing of the cars performance or features (only a little range). If an ICE turbo (or intercooler, or timing belt, etc etc) fails, the engine is in (big) trouble, if a battery pack degrades by the average 5-10% for 100k miles then nothing whatsoever is affected besides for a couple miles reduced range. Already specialists can easily swap out degraded battery modules on certain cars - without replacing an entire pack - for a reasonable fee, thus restoring full pack performance. Such easy and low cost maintenance will kill the existing dealership model, and THIS IS THE REAL REASON for the misinformation and lack of investment that is so apparent.

Edited by Mark Wittler on 20/05/2019 at 11:24

Engineer Andy    on 20 May 2019

If that's so, why won't these makes warrant their EVs (apart from the battery) for more than 5 years or so? If they are THAT reliable, they'd be falling over themselves to offer long warranties for the entire drivetrain.

I never said that batteries' performance will fall off a cliff, I'm saying what happens if they do start to degrade significantly - they don't keep going at 100% for 20 years. Also bear in mind that prices of second hand EVs drop much faster when they get nearer to the end of their warranty period (ICE cars don't), especially the battery warranty period.

EVs are still heavily subsidised by the government, so a new one costing £25k actually costs £28k+. I just checked Nissan Leafs for sale via HJ's Cars For Sale page and they do depreciate quite a bit, and seemingly more so after 4-5 years. They only look like they are more epxnesive than similar sized/specced ICE cars because their original list price was far higher (never mind they don't attract anywhere near as much discounts when new as ICE engined cars).

I also noticed that Toyota do not warranty their hybrids as much if they are used as taxis, even if they are well maintained, probably because they know that a high mileage car will eventually wear out far quicker - not necessarily the motor, but the batteries and the non-EV components.

I also recall (if memory serves) that Tesla does not want to maintain their own cars after 10 years (?) / X miles, which leaves owners high and dry as there aren't any indies because I believe Tesla only allow training for their own repair outlets. Admitedly I found this out via a You Tube video from an ex-customer in the US, so I'd be grateful if anyone could either verify this or put me right (with proof either way). Needless to say, the video seemed authentic.

My point generally was that most ICE cars, luxury and sports cars aside, have a realtively defined life of expenditure required to keep them viable, but rarely all coming in a year or two, as long as it's been well maintained generally throughout its life. With EVs, they have much lower maintenance for a number of years, then something REALLY expensive, possibly two items will need replacing when the car is not worth much, well out of warranty, being owned by someone who cannot afford to pay for said replacements.

They are either stupid for buying such a car at a relatively high price, or if sensible, will insist on paying next to nothing because the risk of a major (and vital) component failure is now high if the car is older. If the battery life is so poor that they only get 100 miles or a lot less out of them, it may mean they cannot afford to run it for the usage required. I've read enough accounts of Tesla and other EV cars suffering from major failures and costing a small fortune to repair - yes, quite often that is during its warranty period, but that isn't great as Tesla is currently (still) losing a fortune making them, but I've also seen people buying older/higher mileage cars and having to scrap them soon after because they can't afford to repair/replace a major component that wore out or failed.

Most ICE cars will rust before their engine gives out if they've been well design - not all have, but many have. I'm sure that EVs cost less to maintain and run over their lifetime, but crutially, because they can incur very large costs on critical components well out of warranty when the car is worth very little, they often become scrap because they uneconomic to fix.

They only way that could be overcome is for car manufacturers to ensure that parts for specific EVs are made for decades (at least 2) after general production is finished and people rent the cars, meaning the manufacturer would be liable to replace the motor, battery etc, even in old age, but then charge 'owners' a higher sum pa to run them as an insurance policy to pay for the ineviatble expensive component replacement. Even so, the other technical issues to do with infrastructure remain to be solve.

Mark Wittler    on 20 May 2019

I think all current EV batteries are warrantied for a minimum of 8 years - I think it's 10 years in some US states.

Not sure their values are so high simply because of the high list price, I've seen well priced cars sell very fast indeed. People want them!

Toyota hybrids use NiMh batteries which are different (older) tech, that said I've been in a Prius taxi with circa 300k miles which had had a replacement engine due to a water or oil pump failure but was working fine on original battery/motor.

It seems from my experience that heavy use can actually benefit EV batteries as it keeps them in their healthy state of charge range. Indeed some studies into Vehicle 2 Grid tech have found the same thing. So high mileage will not necessarily be cause for battery replacement.

I accept if an EV battery required replacing in full that is a large single expense, but so is a replacement car engine from a main dealer (and many engines DO fail after 5 years - HJ has been warning about the VAG timing chain fiasco for years). And a scrapyard that is trained to remove an EV battery can just as easily fit it to a new car. So it's not like even today you need to look only at brand new dealer replacements - not that replacements are generally required in a cars lifetime as discussed.

At the end of the day there are many, many times more components subject to wear and tear on an ICE car than an EV so whilst a replacement pack is expensive - the car should be good for another 15 years (rust, etc not withstanding) after replacement. Whereas on an ICE the number of drive-train components are that many more engine replacement is rarely justified on an older car.

No doubt PAYG cars (or TaaS/MaaS - transport/mobility as a service) will grow in popularity but again I feel that's because of the simplicity of EV's!

Finally I absolutely agree more needs to be done about the infrastructure - particularly the fact the Ecotricity seem to be leaving UK motorway services with max 50kw charging facilities for the foreseeable future - this is NOT acceptable and someone needs to do something about it and the infrastructure in general. At least Tesco/VAG are planning to install chargers at supermarket car-parks which can solve the charging issue for those without off-street charging until charging speeds improve to circa 5 min.

Lee Power    on 18 May 2019

Just checked - there are 20 accessible electric car chargers in a 10 mile radius of me 3 of them are in my work car park.

I cant see the council allowing a charger install in to one of there rented garages which I currently use so charging an electric car at home is out the question for me.

Parking at work to use a charger would in 3 weeks out of 4 involve a 10 minute walk through one building & then across the yard to the other building where I'm based for 3/4 of the month.

Still not seeing any benefit to owning an EV where you have to plan on where you can go to recharge the thing before it runs out of battery power & leaves you stranded, for now I'm sticking to petrol power.

Hydrogen fuel cell is the true alternative to the internal combustion engine.

EV's are just a stop gap to satisfy environmentalists & one that isn't suitable for a lot of drivers due to lack of range & inconvenience of having to charge the thing back up.

sammy1    on 18 May 2019

All this nonsense about EVs battery life and saving the planet and there is THEOPHILOUS using insecticide to KILL spiders in his wing mirrors! I feel a bit guilty just going too fast and making them homeless.

Theophilus    on 18 May 2019

All this nonsense about EVs battery life and saving the planet and there is THEOPHILOUS using insecticide to KILL spiders in his wing mirrors! I feel a bit guilty just going too fast and making them homeless.

It's called extinction rebellion I believe.

groaver    on 18 May 2019

All this nonsense about EVs battery life and saving the planet and there is THEOPHILOUS using insecticide to KILL spiders in his wing mirrors! I feel a bit guilty just going too fast and making them homeless.

Why? Are you driving in reverse?!

Or...do you have open mirrors?

GerryS    on 19 May 2019

I wonder if they had a similar debate ~120 years ago when the first cars were replacing horses? There was an established infrastructure of stables, inns, sources of feed, etc., and very, very little for cars with engines. Demand always makes things happen, so I don't see the slightest issue with EV charging infrastructure - it'll happen. Just think back 10 years and how many USB charge points you saw for mobile phones and tablets - hardly any, and if there were any, they were seen as a complete novelty. I've just been on a work trip and every airport and plane had USB charge points available - purely because people now expect it.

Technology advances will make charging much quicker (it's already happening), so you'll need to spend much less time at a charge station. Likewise, the oil and Gas companies aren't stupid - Shell have set up Shell Recharge and bought NewMotion a couple of years ago (a large European EV charging company). It's only a matter of time before most current fuel stations also have charge points.

Engineer Andy    on 20 May 2019

The difference was that before USB charging of mobile phones and tablets were introduced into cars, the tech was ALREADY WIDELY AVAILABLE, and so car manufacturers just needed to 'introduce it' (hardly a big draw on power or require much tech).

Reliable, universal and widespread (enough for everyone to use) EV charging tech will take decades to roll out because rapid charging still takes 5-10 times as long as filling up a car with fuel, and the infrastrutcure (including local distribution) will take a LOT of work and requires a HUGE investment to pay for it: not everyone has several £0000s to pay for a charging point, especially higher security/robust ones needed for people living in flats or terraced housing - plus they will have to pay upkeep and insurance as there's a decent likelihood of them being vandalised, given where they'd be.

It's all well and good having filling stations with EV charging points, but until a FULL charge (and for a mileage all year than can rival that of ICE engined cars and on a budget that people can afford [buying the car]) can be achieved in 5 mins or less, they won't be practical. We'd just be getting queueing at filling stations like in the 1970s and the 2000 fuel strike, but for EVs.

This will happen, but a LOT slower than you think. Doing so by 2030 is unrealistic and financially ruinous. It'll continue to be for the more well-off only for some time to come.

gordonbennet    on 20 May 2019

Wonder how enthusiastic EV owners will be when recharging (home smart meters) gets its share of ''fuel duty'' added or they bring in gps based road pricing.

Mark Wittler    on 20 May 2019

All the more reason to be an early adopter and enjoy the benefits before they are withdrawn. By that time we may be forced into EV's anyway - so might as well enjoy being an early adopter and enjoy the savings before the tax comes!

ColB    on 22 May 2019

What happens when we've all got electric cars? Coming home from work and putting them on charge? The National Grid will go into meltdown even if the street cabling can handle the current (which it can't).
This country doesn't have the generating capacity to meet such demands and solar/wind power isn't the answer either. There are many winter days when the output from these sources will be close to nil just when electric cars will need maximum recharging.

Mark Wittler    on 23 May 2019

What happens when we've all got electric cars? Coming home from work and putting them on charge? The National Grid will go into meltdown even if the street cabling can handle the current (which it can't). This country doesn't have the generating capacity to meet such demands and solar/wind power isn't the answer either. There are many winter days when the output from these sources will be close to nil just when electric cars will need maximum recharging.

Luckily your not the first one to worry about this! You'd be surprised to hear people in charge of the relevant organisations have thought about this long ago. Plenty forecasts and technology has already been run/developed. To cut a long story (various industry and scientific reports) the good news is nothing is likely to go into meltdown. No doubt the people who've invested months in these efforts will be amused at the number of people spewing these fears based on negligible techincal analysis. Some upgrades will be required obviously but likely very localised for a good time ahead.

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