Category Archives: EV

Easter road trip to Brisvegas

I took a road trip to Brisbane over the Easter holidays. It was a good chance to try out my new BYD Seal Premium.

I drove from the Mid North Coast to North Boambee Valley (near Coffs Harbour) and charged at the Chargefox there behind the Gloria Jeans shop.

It took a couple of goes to squeeze next to another car which was already charging and finding the best way to park so that the charge cable could reach my car, but I got there in the end (after 5-6 mins). I had to scan my Chargefox card about 6 times as it kept saying “Invalid card” and it got me to unplug the charger. I plugged it in again and scanned my card again and this time it worked! It started charging at about 122kWh which was acceptable. While it charged I grabbed a coffee and sat for a bit at the shop. When I got back to the car after about 25 mins there was a guy (Phil?) who had just pulled in with his BYD Atto car. There were no charging spots left so I had a quick chat with him and let him know I was just about done charging. He said he was doing the same as me. He had left Port Macquarie and stopped at Coffs to charge, then was going to charge at Byron Bay Wildlife Sanctuary which was also my next stop. Not that I had to charge there but I was taking a nice, easy drive and trying things out. I said goodbye and hit the road again.

I got Waze to take me to the Sanctuary. However, being Waze, it often does not get the address correct. I do not know why because Google Maps has the correct address every time and Google owns both apps. Waze took me past the Sanctuary exit, up the road a few kms and off the motorway, around and back down on the motorway going south again?? Then, when I got back to where I previously was it said “You have reached your destination” — in the middle of the motorway where there’s no turnoff. I kept going further south and followed the offramp to the Sanctuary with Google Maps this time.

I got to the Sanctuary and plugged my car into the Tesla Supercharger, opened the app and selected my charger. Nothing happened. I tried a few more times and tried unplugging and re-plugging the charger, but still nothing. Then I realised there was a button saying “Update billing information”. Hmm. I clicked it and it wanted me to type in my home address.

Now, I’ve had the Tesla app for a few years since I have a Tesla Powerwall battery and it has my home address in my Profile in this app, but it also wanted the address again in the Billing Information section. Well, the only problem with that is for some reason it had locked my Billing Region to New Zealand!! I could not change it. The dropdown box for the Country was set to NZ and greyed out. I tried several ways to try to get it to work, but it was no good. I ended up phoning Tesla Support and got through to a Support guy and explained the issue, but he wasn’t sure what to do even after looking at my account. He said he’d have to ring me back — after I’d been on hold a couple of times already.

I realised I didn’t have a lot of time to wait and did not know when he could be calling back so unplugged the charger and headed off for Byron Bay town to go to a slow (50 kWh) Chargefox charger. After about 8 mins driving the Tesla Support guy got back to me and I had to find a place to pull over the car to use my app. We found that you cannot change anything in the app but you have to log onto the Tesla website. So I did that, but could not find anywhere there to update anything. It turns out you have to type in accounts.tesla.com and go to that page and now you can change your Region to Australia! Woo! I did that and both the webpage and Support guy told me the change could take 1 hour to update. I thanked him for helping me and ended the call.

I opened the Tesla app and checked the Billing Info section and it now allowed me to set Australia for the region and enter my home address correctly. I drove back to the Sanctuary and plugged in then tapped Start Charge. There is very little cell tower signal even on Telstra at the Sanctuary but after a bit I got it to start, so I locked up the car and went into the cafe to have some lunch while I waited. It started at about 57 kWh and made it up to about 75 kWh at one stage. I only stayed for about 35 mins to charge to 80% and headed off again, happy things are now all working successfully.

Friday 29th April

I drove to Gasworks Plaza and plugged the car into the Evie charger and headed off to find breakfast. I had bacon and eggs and a coffee while I waited for the car to charge. I decided to give it a 1 hour charge which was up to about 97% and it delivered about 50 kW the whole time, which was nice.

We then went down to the Gold Coast and visited Skypoint for lunch. It was lovely to look at the Gold Coast from 77 stories above. After that, we headed to Game Over for some Go-Karting. I drove very aggressively and overtook everyone a couple of times to come out on top. I did 14 laps while the others only managed 12 or less in the same time!

From there we went back down the coast again to Infinity. It’s a fun visual spectacular experience. You put on shoe-socks to preserve the floors inside and white gloves — both shoes and gloves with glowing stripes. You walk through in the dark and there’s mirrored walls which makes you a bit disoriented as well as laser lights and claustrophobia-inducing dark rooms with bouncy rubber floors. It was so much fun and crazy inside. After that, we headed home and had some Pizza Capers pizza for dinner.

Saturday 30th March

I took the car to the Indooroopilly shopping centre to get charged up. I drove around, in and out of the car park half a dozen times before I found the Evie chargers. They also apparently have Tesla Superchargers there somewhere but I didn’t see them and Plugshare says they are for Teslas only but a few people with other cars have checked into them. I think perhaps they really used the Evie chargers and accidentally checked-in on the Tesla chargers section. I think the main reason I could not find the Tesla chargers is the app notes say to go straight ahead when you enter the car park but this was blocked off with a DETOUR sign so I could not follow the directions. At any rate, when I finally found the Evie chargers I was driving in a lane next to them and there were cars in all spots, but by the time I went out and back around the road to come in again one of them was now vacant. I plugged in and started my charge. Next to me was an ICE car taking up an Evie charger spot, preventing people who really needed it from using it. The shopping centre has a camera which scans your license plate when you enter so it knows how long you’ve been there. With all my going out and in again it popped up with a message saying “Returning to the car park counts as we accumulate your visits for a day to total up the amount of time you have been here”. I guess some people stay for the free 3 hours then drive out and back in again for another 3 or so.

I went into the shops and got my coffee and a chocolate eclair while I waited for the charging to be done. Once it was ready I drove up to the 4th floor to park and go to the cinema to see Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. I went to Gold Class and had ordered my food online so just had to get my seat. They brought so much food for the “Me time” bundle that I could not finish it all! Maybe 8-10 chicken wings (supposedly fire hot spicy but not even a little), fries, two mini beef sliders, a large popcorn, beer and a choc top icecream. I had to leave nearly all the popcorn and a coke I had ordered. The movie was okay but not as good as the previous one or the original two. After that I was heading back to the hotel and I got a call from my daughter to pick her and her friend up so I got them from the sushi place in Elizabeth St and headed back to the hotel. I was so full I didn’t have any dinner that night.

Sunday 31st March

I took this one easy since I’d been out so much. I didn’t go out of the hotel until around 12pm. I headed towards Ipswich where a friend lives (Hi Mr T!!) and grabbed some Oporto on the way. Sooo good! I spent a couple hours there and he also nicely tested my battery which he says is good. On the way home I popped into Mt Ommaney shops and got a new belt then headed back to the hotel. I bought a tub of Connoisseur Belgian icecream. Yummo!

Saturday 6th April

Took the car back to the Gasworks Plaza to charge up, ready for the trip home on Sunday.

Sunday 7th April

Drove the car from Spring Hill, QLD to Mt Gravatt Westfield for breakfast, then on to Coffs Harbour (technically North Boambee) and plugged into the Chargefox charger again. I decided to skip the Byron Bay stop as we had enough charge. Left it to charge for 40 minutes while I got some Red Rooster for a late lunch and grabbed a coffee at Gloria Jeans. There was a Volvo charging in the other charger. Left there with about 85% charged and headed home. Arrived home on the Mid North Coast with 41% left in the battery. So cool! Have plugged it into my home Zappi charger to get excess solar tomorrow while I work. A wonderful trip, in all.

BYD Seal FAQ

  • When you lock the car, the AC may seem to stay on while it vents heat from the battery.
  • If the Infotainment unit goes haywire or something isn’t working right, hold down the scrollwheel next to the gearstick until the unit reboots.
  • If the AC isn’t strong enough, enable Comfort setting. Some cars may need to be regassed. Owners recommend using the app to turn the AC on 15-20 minutes before driving the car.
  • Your email account should be activated in the BYD iPhone/Android app after up to 2 weeks.
  • Apple Carplay only works via a USB cable. Android Auto can work via a USB cable or wirelessly. If you wish to use Apple Carplay wirelessly you can purchase: https://carlinkitcarplay.com/
  • If you wish to use Android Auto while charging, it’s best to use a cable. If you use the QI wireless charging it may not charge the battery as fast as usage drains it.
  • The BYD Seal only has one reversing light. This is normal.
  • If the audio doesn’t sound great, enable Dynamic mode.
  • Badges can be removed with fishing line and a light scrub. YouTube has videos on how to do it.
  • You can download the Owner’s Manual: https://bydautomotive.com.au/seal
  • The car stores the Service Book information. You can access this from the Infotainment unit.
  • You can use the NFC card to lock and unlock the car by tapping on the driver’s side mirror. You can turn on the car after resting the NFC card on the marked section of the centre console lid.
  • The iPhone and Android apps will only work if both the car and your phone have good cell network coverage. If you are in an underground car park or other location where one or the other has low signal you will not be able to unlock or drive your vehicle. In Australia, the SIM is on the Telstra network.
  • To quickly access the AC controls, slide your finger up the Infotainment screen from the bottom and you should see AC controls. You can also press the HOME button and then AC, or press the gearstick scrollwheel once. This should turn the Infotainment screen to a lock-screen style view with the AC controls at the bottom. Press the scrollwheel again to turn the Infotainment unit back on.
  • You can swipe down from the top of the Infotainment unit screen to see customisable shortcuts, including a shortcut to open the AC control screen.
  • You can only charge with a single-phase wiring on your home charger up to 7kW (11kW in other countries). If you connect a three-phase charger only one will be used.
  • Use the Plugshare app to see if you can use individual Tesla charging stations. Not all are usable by non-Tesla vehicles.
  • It’s recommended to always carry a Type 2 charging cable in your vehicle as some charging stations do not have a cable.
  • Some countries have enabled adding the NFC card to smart phones. Definite devices include iPhones, Google Pixels and Samsungs.
  • To power a 3rd party dashcam, open the coinslot and there’s a fusebox inside. You can use the red cable on the footwell light fuse for power. It’s highly recommended to get a trained professional to do this.
  • You can unlock the doors using buttons on the driver’s side door armrest. You will need to do this to pop out the handle so passengers can open the doors.
  • Tyres should have 36PSI in the front and rear should be 42PSI.
  • The BYD Seal does not come with a dashcam. You can buy one from Ali-Express and install it yourself easily. There’s YouTube videos with instructions. The cable to plug into it and the mounting bracket exist in every vehicle.
  • The BYD Seal can be charged to 100% any time. It’s not limited to mostly 80% SOC as most EV cars. It’s recommended to let it drain to about 10-15% every few months to help calibrate the system.
  • To open the bonnet, pull the lever under the dash TWICE.
  • If you are sitting in the passenger seat of the car with it turned off and hear an alarm sounding the car thinks you have a child left in it. You can disable the alarm in the Infotainment unit settings.
  • If the front sensors do not warn you of getting close to an object while parking, place the car in reverse then back to drive.
  • If you’re having issues with the car SIM connection, try removing the SIM and putting it back in then rebooting the Infotainment unit.
  • The mobile SIM is located in a little slot under a flap in the centre console between the front seats.
  • If you are using the V2L (Vehicle to Load) to power home appliances, plug in a small lamp to keep the power on. If your appliance (eg fridge) turns off temporarily the V2L may switch off. The lamp will keep a small drain. The V2L will also be disabled if the car’s SOC drops below 15%.
  • Some charging stations will split the charge between two vehicles if they are plugged into the same charger. One may get 2x the charge of the other.
  • A Chinese developer is working on a side-loaded Sentry App (DiPlus App), coming soon to Seal. Features: 360 recording while the car is OFF – Recording triggered by motion.
  • BYD has a Smartwatch with digital car key built-in.
  • If your car accidentally gets stuck in “Transport Mode” press outside driver door button for 5 seconds – which gets the electrics going and you can start the car. Click on the Transport Mode button again and enter the pin (1111) to disable it. Otherwise, drive around until you have traveled 60km… and it will disappear altogether.
  • Charging a BYD Seal SR from 10% to 80% at a fast/rapid DC charging station can be done in as little as 34 minutes, providing 319km of range.
  • Charging a BYD Seal Extended Range / Performance from 10% to 80% at a fast/rapid DC charging station can be done in as little as 37 minutes, providing 401km of range.
  • If the parking sensors at the front do not activate, try putting the car briefly in Reverse, then Drive again.

BYD vehicles are shipped from China to Australia on the Don Juan ship: https://www.vesselfinder.com/vessels/details/9082934

Check out the BYD Seal Charging Guide.

Important things to do when you take possession of the vehicle.

  • Make sure Transport mode is disabled.
  • It is recommended to leave the car in ECO mode for the first 2,000km. Not necessary.
  • In Australia it is mandatory to have triangle EV tags installed on your licence plate.
  • Included accessories: V2L cable, ‘granny’ charging cable and roof sunshade. A repair kit should also be in the boot.
  • Test Apple Carplay/Android Auto.
  • When you get the vehicle it may take 2-4 weeks for the SIM to be activated.
  • In Australia, when your SIM is activated you get 500Mb of data for the first month and 2Gb per month for the next 2 years complimentary. You can then pay for this SIM or install your own. The SIM is used to connect to your APP to control your Seal remotely. You can get OTA updates via WiFi.
  • Check paint for scratches/swirls. Check charging door is painted correctly.

Charging times. These will depend on which model BYD Seal you have:

Home charger: Time (0->490 km)     9 hours – Charge Speed = 56 km/h

Fast charging: Time (49->392 km)  38 min – Fastcharge Speed = 540 km/h

You can charge your BYD SEAL in just 26 mins with DC capacity of 150kW (from SOC 30% to 80%).

The BYD SEAL has a maximum DC charging speed of 150kW on the Premium and Performance range, while the Dynamic has a DC charge of 110kW.

If you wish to link to this page you can use this shortlink: https://bit.ly/bydsealfaq

BYD Seal Premium

I have purchased an Arctic Blue BYD Seal Premium EV car. Example below:

Some BYD Seal Premium features:

  • Driving Range: 570km WLTP
  • Acceleration: 5.9-second 0-100km/h
  • Power: max power to 230kW and the max torque to 360Nm
  • Charging: 150kW DC CCS2 port
  • Dimensions: 1460mm height, 4800mm length and 1875mm width
  • Battery: 82.56kWh capacity

The BYD Seal is claimed to charge from 10 to 80 per cent in 37 minutes on the 150kW DC fast charger. A portable CCS2 charging cable is included, as is a vehicle-to-load (V2L) discharger adapter that allows you to use the BYD Seal’s battery to power devices and appliances.

Useful stuff:

Recommended apps:

Highly recommended apps include: Chargefox. This app lets you see what chargers are available, what the status of the chargers are (in-use, broken) and whether a Tesla charger is usable by non-Tesla owners. NeedToCharge – Register your vehicle’s Licence plate. If you are waiting to use a charging station you can mark yourself as waiting. You can also contact someone who is plugged into a charging station to let them know their car is fully charged and they can move it for you to use. Very handy.

Home charging: I went with the Zappi v2.1 with built-in hub. The hub allows me to connect to the charger via the myenergi app to monitor and schedule charging my car. It’s also solar-aware so can be set to only charge your car with excess solar energy (if your batteries are full) or charge with solar up to a point and use the grid to add more kWh or just use all-grid when you need fast charging. You can also schedule charging. For me, installation cost $3,800. This includes the Zappi charger. It may be cheaper for you if your fusebox is closer to your Zappi. My Zappi is in the garage which is on the opposite side of the house to my fusebox. High power cables are expensive and so added to the cost for me. The fusebox needed a few components upgraded which also added to the cost. My Zappi also has a tethered cable but you can get one without.

The Good Car Company supports communities by helping low income people buy affordable used EV cars.

Apps:

Download the iPhone BYD app: https://apps.apple.com/no/app/byd/id1492400299

Download the Android BYD app: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.byd.bydautolink

For more info, check out my BYD Seal FAQ.