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I charged up at the local IKEA / ecotricity rapid charger. We were in for an hour or so, and when we returned, despite setting the charge target at 100%, the car and charger said we were only at 90% charge?

I will be going back soon, but thought I'd share this. It's interesting as elsewhere I've seen a lot of cuffuffle over LEAF only rapid charging to 80%, while this clearly isn't my experience, 60 minutes for 90% doesn't seem that "rapid"?

Before and after photos attached...

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I probably managed about 85% charge (from 20%) in about 35-40 minutes the two times I've used it so far.

I did notice in one of your pictures that your starting battery was below 20% charge. I understand that charging from 0 - 20% takes considerably longer than the charging from 20%-80%. Charging from 80%-90% slows down again, and the charge from 90%-100% takes forever.

My sweet spot was about 85%, as at this point the charging current was about 30A, slightly less than I could achieve at home, but free of course!

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Well, I have done about 180 rapid charges now at locations all over the country and I have yet to find any rapid charger behave any differently to all the rest. I am not saying that there aren't any that are different just that in 2.5 yrs and 180 charges, a lot of them recently and on the new DBT chargers installed by Ecotricity, I have yet to find one that behaves differently.

I am looking hard though. When I hear of a report that a charger won't charge past 80% (90% on the charger) I jump in the car, visit it myself (if at all possible) and check it out. I have checked out reports of not charging above 80% at Waterlooville and Fleet and so far, they have all behaved as I expected them to behave. If I hear of anyone that follows the "Double Charge" procedure below and still feels that the charge won't allow a full (or as full as it can go) charge then providing I dont have to pay for accomodation I will check it out myself.

There might be some differences in behaviour if you try to set the charge capacity between the newer ones and the older though but as I never set charge capacity or time I haven't been checking that.

There are a few points about these rapid chargers that are important to know... This is my take on the rapid chargers:

  • Make sure your car is powered off before starting charge. You will get an error if it is powered on and if you do then simply power off the car and try again
  • Don't charge in a thunderstorm. I did once and the charger got an earthing error. It could have been coincidence but the warning sign on the charger warns against charging in an electrical storm so best not to IMO
  • Don't set the time or charge level. Always use standard charge.
  • If you car is below 50% when you start the charge then a standard charge will stop at about 80% on the car, 90% on the charger.
  • If your car is above 50% when you start the charge then the charge will continue until the charge current drops below about 5A. This will equate to about 98%
  • So, if you are starting below 50% to get a near full charge you will need to charge once to 80% (90% on the charger) then again to 98%... both standard charges
  • The chargers over-report the charge level as it approaches 100%. Yesterday I found that the charger at Exeter was accurate with the car at about 20% but by the time it was at 80% it was over 10% out.
  • Once the charge current drops below about 10A it is then adding range so slowly that I generally manually stop at that point. If I was very tight on range for my next leg I have been known to continue until it stops and then even start it again until it stops almost immediately. I probably doesn't add more than an extra mile or so but I have been that tight on range on ocasions to need to do that. Most of the time I will never charge past that second charge to get to about 98%
The first charge is always 30-40 mins. The second charge (to full) can take about a further 40 mins but generally completes inside 30 mins. If I am needing to charge to 80% (90% on the charger) I generally allow 30 mins and to full then I generally allow an hour but it could be less.

By following these rules I have never had any issues charging at a rapid charger. However, my car is a Mk1 and so there may be some issues I can't tect for with Mk2 Leafs although I have not heard of any myself.

Here is a report on Transport Evolved on the topic

Here is a video from Grant Thomas doing a standard rapid charge to 80% then to max (Thanks Grant :) )
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