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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

My 2013 Zoe has just had a brand new Battery pack fitted around 600 miles ago, and with my lovely new +20 miles of range, we thought now might be the time to visit family in the far north of England, 350 miles away.

Our journey started well, my wife's lead food still left us with 30% charge 65 miles into our journey and our first stop at a Ecotricity rapid charger. 30 mins later we are moving again, and another 65 miles we stop and charge again, this time only 25 mins.

Now this is where things start to get fruity.

The next stop, 165 miles into our journey resulted in "Battery Charge Impossible", with much trying (almost 1 hour), and lots of clunking from the charger we got another rapid into the car, but 40 miles later needed to stop again.

The next charger the same thing, 40 mins of attempting to get the car to charge, and then maybe 40-50 miles of range before needing to stop again.

The next stop we brought forward, thinking that maybe charging from 10% was a bad move. No difference.

In total, to get 325 miles from Liss to Newcastle, we rapid charged 9 times. By the end stopping every 25-45 miles, and spending hours getting the car to accept a charge in 3-4 second intervals until finally it relents and accepts a charge without disconnecting.

Now, we are up in newcastle the car steadfastly refuses in any way to Rapid charge, or Fast Charge. I am sat here at a Genie Point (best CP provider I have ever used), their charger is providing me juice at 7KW, despite being a 22kw unit. I phoned their helpline, which is staffed by people with great technical knowledge (as they provide all the CP's around my home area), they looked into the logs and confirm that the Zoe asked for only 7kw, they are going to look in detail at my problem and get back to me next week having pulled the log from my charge session. And that seems to be the same story at countless other CP's in the city, but I am unable to leave the car at any of them for more than a couple of hours, then I burn % getting to another one and to the family we were supposed to be visiting.

My question for the community is, does driving 320+ miles and using rapids destroy the cars ability to accept a fast charge? Am I just unlucky? Does anyone know of any "trick" using only things found in either a baby's changing bag or a Holiday Inn that can be performed to get the car to think it can take, even 22kw again (I won't be greedy)? Anyone else had this?

Things that have been tried:
4x different brands of CP's. Some 3,7,22 & 43 versions.
Running pretty much entirely flat (not by choice)
Charging for 2 hours @ 7kw
Charging for 2 hours @ 2.3kw (3 pin charger at Holiday Inn until it blew a fuse in their outside lights!)
 

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I've never heard of such a limit on Zoes - people with 22kW home/work charging push them pretty hard.

I'd get it recovered to the dealer that did the pack swap.
 

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Co-author of CanZE. Q210 nov 2013
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Before going into speculation mode, let me first say there is every chance there is a problem in the car and booking it sounds like a good plan. The diagnostics codes will tell a story. Having said that.....

1) The trip is not in any way outrageous. A mate of mine drove his Q210 2000 miles in 3 days more or less non stop driving/charging and reaching battery temperatures of over 45 degrees C.

2) The car doesn't "ask" for a power level. It is told what it can take (based on what the chargepoint is telling, cable gauge and battery state). I know this is nitpicking. I think he's simply confirming what you said, the car just taking a low power level. There is no way the chargepoint can know why a car took less than allowed, which in itself is perfectly normal, i.e. tapering off when almost full. So don't expect anything to come from those logs.

3) Clunking from the chargepoint (main relay coming on and off) is basically following the car's instructions.

4) Don't rule out a broken cable. It doesn't happen often but it sure has happened before.

5) So...... anything can be broken. The only "normal" circumstance I can come up with is an overheated battery, but you would need CanZE (SSP) to see the battery module temperatures. Unlikely as ZOE has a pretty decent battery cooler. It has been said battery cooling kicks in later when the car is in ECO. Was it?
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Hi, thank you for taking the time to reply to my post.

Having just gotten off the phone to Renault Assistance, they have told me that they will not recover me as technically I have not run out of charge and the car will charge, albeit at what seems like a maximum of 7kw. And simply will not charge at all on any of the 43kw Rapid chargers on the motorway we would take.

Having plotted the route using 7kw chargers it would take us approximately just under 5 days to return home, sleeping whilst charging which is obviously less than ideal.

But getting BCI on any charger except a Genie Point or 7kw Pod Point is not a failure in their eyes. One point of our journey there is an 78 mile gap between the closest two so that would be pretty bum clenching.

I am going to call them back and insist that they do recover me as technically something has failed somewhere.

To just respond to your points:

2) . I appreciate what you are saying, and i'm sure the technician was dumbing it down for me a bit. But they were going to look to see if there was much variance, or whether the rate started high and tapered or was increasing etc.. At this point the battery was only 11% charged, so I would normally expect that to be full rate.

4) . These were all tethered cables, and my own one at the local charger. I think the odds are remote for 17 from 21 cables being faulty. Mine could well be, but I would have to test it at a later point.

The car was in Normal mode for the first 87.4 miles (2 x Rapid Chargers), and then ECO for the rest of the journey.
 

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If you're getting 7kW maximum on a car that should be able to do 22kW that sounds like you're only charging on a single phase instead of 3 phase charging. As it is happening on multiple rapid chargers it's probably the car that is at fault. I know nothing about Zoe internals but I would guess there are separate charging circuits for each phase and at least one of those has died.

If so, trying to use single phase slow posts would probably at least give you a reliable charge rather than rapids that are trying to use a faulty charger.

Sent from my Pixel C using Tapatalk
 
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Discussion Starter #6
It's actually a 43kw version, which is why we figured it was reasonable to expect to be able to do a long journey in it with a handful of stops on the way.
 

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Zoes when they're not faulty can rapid charge as many times as you want. Yours is faulty.

Call ZE assist again and tell them to pick it up as it is in the best interests not to have a zoe owner take days to get home and tweet/make a youtubes about how unhelpful they are when yet again another EV fails to actually work as a car. It's been in for repair so there's a good chance that the garage that did the repair made a mistake so they need to do the right thing and pick it up and sort out getting you home and a loaner car.

It's not running out of charge, it is faulty and needs repair so they should pick it up and give you a loaner.

Keep on at them. Don't accept being fobbed off. It's faulty.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Sadly, I called them back and they steadfastly refuse to recover us. Because it will technically charge their terms and conditions clearly state that there is no fault. I of course will disagree, my point when I call them for a third time will be very much along the lines of:

Are you willing to become liable if I drive it home and more damage is done?
Or if my family (very young baby) is left in a dangerous situation by the side of a motorway every 40 or so miles?

I also have RAC cover, they will be here soon. I'll see if they can be more helpful. If they say it's broken, then I guess they know better than me and Renault Assist will have to take a professional organisations opinion on the matter.

Although, that car is not covered, so I will have to pay for the inspection.
 

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Disgusting attitude from ZE Assist there. The car is clearly faulty.

I'd see if anyone from Renault CS is able to intervene.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I'm a bit stuffed as it's a bank holiday so everything is shut. If I end up paying to be recovered all the way home, I will be making a claim against them for damages. I'm not furious, but their interpretation does not meet the common path approach to reading conditions. I mean, a car with a puncture could technically still be driven after all, sparks and everything!
 

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Discussion Starter #11
But thanks everyone for your input, we drifted slightly off point and onto customer service issues. But I think we established it's not a normal issue and not something that is likely fixed with some battery levelling or disconnecting the 12v or wot not.
 

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Unfortunately this seems pretty typical of Renault's customer service - it's absolutely appalling. The assistance people have a fundamental lack of understanding of electric cars and what they are needed to do, and that goes to the dealer network & seemingly everyone in-between as well so can't tell you there is light at the end of the tunnel!

I hope you get recovered home soon, it will be a struggle but continue to insist Renault fix the problem and in a couple of months you may have a solution.

I has similar experience with Renault & would certainly never buy Renault or go near the Zoe with a barge pole again, not that it helps you right now but hopefully steers others away in the future!
 

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The next stop, 165 miles into our journey resulted in "Battery Charge Impossible", with much trying (almost 1 hour), and lots of clunking from the charger we got another rapid into the car, but 40 miles later needed to stop again.
Where did this happen? It's helpful to the community to know.(y) It could happen to someone else.(n)
 

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Were you hearing the cooling fans blasting when you were previously charging successfully after the first two motorway runs ?
 

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Co-author of CanZE. Q210 nov 2013
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You should not need to self-diagnose the car, let's be clear about that, but some of us simply like to know. A broken wire (internally) of one of the phases is not unthinkable. A blown up circuit is less likely as that would most certainly disable charging totally. Wouldn't have been the first time either: the other day I received a set of pictures where inside the charger a feeding wire from one of the phases was not crimped. Evidence of nasty sparking and heat (n):(

I don't know the maximum power intake on single phase. In theory it could do 64 amps (13-ish kW) but I would not be surprised if it was limited to 32 amps so 7 kW indeed. Half the amps, one third of the phases: no fun. CanZE (again, shameless self plug) could have told you it was seeing one phase only, but again, doing diagnostics is fully optional.

Sorry to hear they are dodging the bullet. I disagree with @zapdos though. CS usually is good and consistent. Dealers is far more "YMMV". But there are of course always botched cases and it seems you're in the midde of it :(
 

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Zoe ZE50 GT-Line R135 Rapid Charge in Flame Red 😀
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I don't normally advocate being "economical with the truth". However, I think the circumstances justify it here. Call ZE Assist and tell them you've got an error on the dash ("Battery charge impossible" or "STOP electrical failure DANGER"). It's common for these messages to clear themselves for short periods. Recently had my Zoe recovered with the STOP-.... DANGER" message which sometimes cleared itself. I told recovery that the message may not be present when they turned up and they replied that they are well used to that happening.

There's obviously something significantly wrong with your Zoe and it is very reasonable to get home in reasonable time. Hope it works. Good luck.
 

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I don't normally advocate being "economical with the truth". However, I think the circumstances justify it here. Call ZE Assist and tell them you've got an error on the dash ("Battery charge impossible" or "STOP electrical failure DANGER"). It's common for these messages to clear themselves for short periods. Recently had my Zoe recovered with the STOP-.... DANGER" message which sometimes cleared itself. I told recovery that the message may not be present when they turned up and they replied that they are well used to that happening.

There's obviously something significantly wrong with your Zoe and it is very reasonable to get home in reasonable time. Hope it works. Good luck.
Hear hear. Sometimes, you have to say things to make things happen. I also know from experience.
 

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Zoe ZE50 GT-Line R135 Rapid Charge in Flame Red 😀
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Are you on battery lease? If so could you drive it in a “safe” area until it runs out if charge. Then get recovered. This will be to a charge point but get the recovery to wait while you start charging. It probably won’t straight away so then you have a valid breakdown for recovery Home I think. If not on battery lease I’m not sure what to suggest next.
 

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Hi, this started at the Trowell service station on the M1 (Northbound)
One to add to your BCI avoid list is Charnock Richard on the M6 unless you have your cable and an Ecotricity RFID card. You can then use the small grey 22 kWh posts near the rapids (for free).
 
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