Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner
81 - 100 of 104 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter · #81 ·
Homeward bound.

First leg, Windsor to Banbury Instavolt. Started at 94% having not-very-rapid charged at the shell the night before. As I found on Wednesday, it used waay more energy than on the way down. Rolled into Instavolt at 5%. (Same leg in the other direction only used 70%!) Only one empty bay, hooked up and it was only charging at 25kw... Nipped to Costa and came back, still at 25kw. But now another unit was free so I swapped over and got 47kw. Bit odd. Was also disappointed to see several EVs hogging the spots.
Next to me was an i3, sitting at 95%, with the screen showing only 10 miles range added... At least one other car was still there when I left 45mins later too.

Next leg to chestnut tree was much better, no doubt helped by roadworks and a stretch of 50 cameras but arrived with 30%. Almost exactly the same distance as the first leg too. Arrived just as an etron was leaving so that was handy.

Instead of sandbach I decided to stretch it to knutsford. Again arrived with plenty of charge, 22% I think. Streight on the charger no probs, but there was a ipace sitting on the other post the whole time I was there at 100%. Again disappointing. Didn't actually affect me but it would have been annoying to have turned up and found that if the other one was occupied.

Arrived at Preston with 25%. Luckily the hotel chargers are free so will be at 100% to set off tomorrow.

Relatively hassle free day!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter · #83 ·
Day 2 was again fine. Did Tebay, Gretna, Abington and then a small blip at livingston to get home. As before first leg was poor, arriving at Tebay with low teens on the guage. Tebay to Gretna was very good think we arrived with over 30%, and infact we'd have skipped it and gone on to the next one, but luckily we'd seen on zapmap that the gridserve unit at the next services was broken, and there was no alternative. Gretna to Abington really smashed the battery for some reason. It was very hilly and started to drizzle, but despite having charged up to 90, we arrived with under 10%. Battery temp again ended up at 11 bars after the last charge, with the car limiting full power for most of the last leg between abington and livingston. Its all back-roads, which are very hilly, so you end up either powering up hills or regenning down them. I guess that means the battery doesnt really cool off. Initally i had two bubbles missing, then got one back, and over the next 30miles it kept jumping between 1 and no bubbles missing.

Chargers were hassle free again, however we happened across a bunch of less pleased folks, and it makes it somewhat obvious that the whole infrastructure really isnt there. On quite a few occasions we'd managed to turn up and get on the charger just before some other cars.

First guy at Tebay, turned up just after we did, and plugged in his Taycan to the post next to me, which was already charging (a Kia i think). I pointed out that as far as i was aware Gridserve didnt yet support dual charging, so while it had a free cable, unless he was especially lucky he may find it wouldnt actually work. He sighed and said yeah, apparently luck is very important with trying to charge these electric cars.

Second stop at Gretna, a couple turned up with an ID3 and started connecting it to the AC side of the chademo-only unit i was using. The other machine was in use by an ipace (somehow the ipace seemed to be the worst culprit for blocked chargers over the trip, and this guy was no exception, it was there when i arrived and was still there when i left having charged the LEAF up to 90%). I popped out and let them know a) it wouldnt actually charge while i was using it, and b) the AC cable wasnt what they needed. They said they'd had a proper nightmare of a trip with lots of broken chargers and this was just more of the same. I let them know there was an ionity bay over by the petrol station and they went over there instead.

Moments after they left, a Kona arrived and repeated the same thing. Tried to use my AC, i let them know they needed CCS, which was only available on the other machine or at ionity, and that they'd only charge one car at a time. They said it was a work vehicle and they'd never tried charging before, and went off for a coffee leaving it parked in the bay.

ID3 couple came back at this point and said there was a queue at ionity, and seeing the Kona was now there as well they were going to try elsewhere. I suggested they could try one of the pair in Gretna village itself and they drove off. However when we left we noticed they were now on a free ionity post so at least they'd managed to get on the charger.

I imagine all three folks came away from the experience rather differently than i did. Gridserve has certainly improved things, but they need to get more units rolled out. Single chademo, and non-functional dual-charging needs sorted. I've no idea why they dont just set the units to 60kw each. It seems to me that its FAR better to have 4 60kw plugs, rather than 2 plugs that can do 120 and 2 that cant be used at all. Because when someone dumps their car on the one functional lead, you're now getting 0kw. Its also problematic that some of these services have a joint area for both carriageways. Which means instead of two chargers for north and two for southbound, you've now got two covering both directions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter · #84 ·
I'll bet that second leg was better due to the extra heat in the battery helping it be more energy efficient. It really did seem to make a differenc
to me in winter.
Yeah it certainly felt like it was being more efficient once it got hot. Its probably not only the battery but transmission and bearings and things all warming up and becoming less draggy
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
147 Posts
Glad you had a good trip.

I've no idea why they dont just set the units to 60kw each. It seems to me that its FAR better to have 4 60kw plugs, rather than 2 plugs that can do 120 and 2 that cant be used at all. Because when someone dumps their car on the one functional lead, you're now getting 0kw. Its also problematic that some of these services have a joint area for both carriageways. Which means instead of two chargers for north and two for southbound, you've now got two covering both directions.
The units Gridserve use currently don't support "dual DC charging" - in fact I don't know if any that do. The 2 cables are so they can support both protocols. However there is a promised software upgrade coming that should allow this - although it's been coming since the summer...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,504 Posts
I moved to off msa Instavolt when they started to appear, have tried Gridserve and they are excellent, good price but simply swampt by motorway users, so off site Instavolt are still my priority in planning journeys.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter · #87 ·
The units Gridserve use currently don't support "dual DC charging" - in fact I don't know if any that do. The 2 cables are so they can support both protocols. However there is a promised software upgrade coming that should allow this - although it's been coming since the summer...
They have many chargers with two CCS plugs and nothing else, so its not about protocols... The only reason those machines would be manufactured in the first place is if they could do dual DC. Their blog suggests the reason its not enabled is that it cant do power sharing/load balancing, and they're awaiting a software update to get that working. They could enable it now with a fixed split, and they absolutely should.

Quoting their blog:

Our utilisation data is currently telling us that we are able to provide a better customer experience by charging each vehicle as fast as possible, rather than reducing the maximum power available from either charging cable, hence why we have configured the chargers in the way we have.

Essentially, they're saying they've somehow figured that one 120kw charger is better than two 60kw units.

Unfortunately, in my eyes that doesnt work. In an ideal world, where someone plugs in, charges and leaves immediately, sure. But in the real world folk plug in and go in for a coffee/burger/toilet break, and the car ends up sitting there for longer than it actually needs to charge. I'd much rather plug in, and get 40kw now while i go and get stuff done, than sit waiting about for a guy to leave, then plug in, then go inside and do whatever i need to do! Furthermore, the vast majority of cars cant actually use 120kw anyway, and even the ones that do, not many of those can sustain it for a whole charge cycle. Thus it wouldnt be THAT much slower just running at 60 all the time.

And like you say, the proper software has been due for months too. So at this point theres not really an excuse, they just need to get it sorted. If they cant load-balance, get them both running at 50kw instead until the software is ready.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter · #88 ·
I moved to off msa Instavolt when they started to appear, have tried Gridserve and they are excellent, good price but simply swampt by motorway users, so off site Instavolt are still my priority in planning journeys.
Well i tried to find alternatives, but in a car with such short range, its just not possible a lot of the time, certainly in the north. Trying to do the northern leg only using Instavolt and Osprey results in a number of short hops, then detour off the motorway to Dumfries, then a 70mile leg that would need to be driven at about 50mph and would be super sketchy.

The southern leg i did indeed use osprey and instavolt for 2 of the 3 charges, but as i mentioned above, the instavolt site was actually REALLY busy despite having 8 stations, and the Osprey site i picked only had one charger despite them normally being in pairs. The Plugshare data is also incorrect for that site, and lists two chargers when infact there is only one.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,637 Posts
Yeah it certainly felt like it was being more efficient once it got hot. Its probably not only the battery but transmission and bearings and things all warming up and becoming less draggy
It all really helps, I used to when possible try and time the overnight charging to finish an hour or so before I needed the car and then have the interior start warming at that time too. The interior warming thru really helped dry it out with the AC and make a tiny bit of difference to the battery as well.

When I couldn't I would just sit at the speed limit for the first leg and make it shorter.
 

·
Registered
Kia e-Niro 2 LR, Seat Mii
Joined
·
615 Posts
the instavolt site was actually REALLY busy despite having 8 stations
This is worrying. If the networks like Gridserve and Instavolt went round all the msa's in the country and installed 16 chargers at each one over the next year, it would be good but I suspect it still wouldn't be enough, and it certainly wouldn't be enough for very long.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
494 Posts
They have many chargers with two CCS plugs and nothing else, so its not about protocols... The only reason those machines would be manufactured in the first place is if they could do dual DC. Their blog suggests the reason its not enabled is that it cant do power sharing/load balancing, and they're awaiting a software update to get that working. They could enable it now with a fixed split, and they absolutely should.

Quoting their blog:

Our utilisation data is currently telling us that we are able to provide a better customer experience by charging each vehicle as fast as possible, rather than reducing the maximum power available from either charging cable, hence why we have configured the chargers in the way we have.

Essentially, they're saying they've somehow figured that one 120kw charger is better than two 60kw units.

Unfortunately, in my eyes that doesnt work. In an ideal world, where someone plugs in, charges and leaves immediately, sure. But in the real world folk plug in and go in for a coffee/burger/toilet break, and the car ends up sitting there for longer than it actually needs to charge. I'd much rather plug in, and get 40kw now while i go and get stuff done, than sit waiting about for a guy to leave, then plug in, then go inside and do whatever i need to do! Furthermore, the vast majority of cars cant actually use 120kw anyway, and even the ones that do, not many of those can sustain it for a whole charge cycle. Thus it wouldnt be THAT much slower just running at 60 all the time.

And like you say, the proper software has been due for months too. So at this point theres not really an excuse, they just need to get it sorted. If they cant load-balance, get them both running at 50kw instead until the software is ready.
What I've suggested before is that, instead of a fixed 50/50 split, or the completely dynamic demand sharing that they are struggling to deliver, they should provide a 'third way' solution that would be simpler to implement:

1. One car connected: gets it all.
2. Two cars connected: 50/50.

This just relies on some processing during the connection & disconnection events that the charger software already has to detect and respond to.

Some people don't like this idea, because they think that the first car to connect should get some extra advantage, even after the second car connects. I kind of see where they are coming from, and have no objection if it can be delivered very soon, but I think at this stage, after waiting so long, we (or rather Gridserve and ABB) should say 'shipping is a feature'.

For the higher powered chargers, 50/50 is still saturating a lot of cars' charging interfaces, so is like doubling the number of chargers. That's a big advantage over the current (!) situation. In general, we can say that: the higher the charger power, the less of a problem the simpler sharing approaches are.

Kind regards
- Garry
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
11,660 Posts
Great to see @Aragorn made that epic journey in the Leaf and was "lucky" with charging.

IMO charging is bad out there at present because sales of EVs are rising quicker than the deployment of rapids. Also it seems some new owners do not care much for fellow EV drivers - charging unnecessarily to 100%, not returning when full or even (most shocking) not actually plugging in!

We now live quite near Rugby MSA and have used the Tesla SuC there quite a bit. On our visits it is amazing how often all or nearly all the 12 Gridserve units are occupied :oops: Based on reports I read, I am now being a lot more circumspect whom I encourage to buy a BEV as it probably won't get better for a while - or am I being too pessimistic?

Incidentally, if anyone is thinking of renting an ICE for a long journey don't forget that you can see exact cars on peer-to-peer sites like Turo, Getaround, etc and can be a lot cheaper at popular rental times.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,637 Posts
What I've suggested before is that, instead of a fixed 50/50 split, or the completely dynamic demand sharing that they are struggling to deliver, they should provide a 'third way' solution that would be simpler to implement:

1. One car connected: gets it all.
2. Two cars connected: 50/50.

This just relies on some processing during the connection & disconnection events that the charger software already has to detect and respond to.

Some people don't like this idea, because they think that the first car to connect should get some extra advantage, even after the second car connects. I kind of see where they are coming from, and have no objection if it can be delivered very soon, but I think at this stage, after waiting so long, we (or rather Gridserve and ABB) should say 'shipping is a feature'.

For the higher powered chargers, 50/50 is still saturating a lot of cars' charging interfaces, so is like doubling the number of chargers. That's a big advantage over the current (!) situation. In general, we can say that: the higher the charger power, the less of a problem the simpler sharing approaches are.

Kind regards
- Garry
Bad idea entirely.

Load sharing is much much better.
You rock up to a charger in your 24kwh leaf and your proposal then means that the 150kw unit can only deliver 75kw to the other vehicle at best. How's that fair?
First vehicle rocks up and gets the lion's share so it charges faster. After 20mins it will start tapering down already. 2nd car rocks up and starts getting 10kw portions of the free power as it comes available. After another 20mins the other vehicle is either nearly full or full and lots more is available...
First come first served..
You restrict people's charge rate sooner and everyone suffers.

As a company you want the chargers fuller and used more often. Load sharing on 50/50 locked is ridiculous and slows everyone down.


All this is moot as the gridserv units still do shared charging anyway.
 

·
Registered
BMW i3
Joined
·
485 Posts
Bad idea entirely.

Load sharing is much much better.
You rock up to a charger in your 24kwh leaf and your proposal then means that the 150kw unit can only deliver 75kw to the other vehicle at best. How's that fair?
First vehicle rocks up and gets the lion's share so it charges faster. After 20mins it will start tapering down already. 2nd car rocks up and starts getting 10kw portions of the free power as it comes available. After another 20mins the other vehicle is either nearly full or full and lots more is available...
First come first served..
You restrict people's charge rate sooner and everyone suffers.

As a company you want the chargers fuller and used more often. Load sharing on 50/50 locked is ridiculous and slows everyone down.


All this is moot as the gridserv units still do shared charging anyway.
Gridserve don’t do shared charging yet tho’? It’s winner takes all. (unless someone else plugs in and nabs your charge, as happened to me!).

So the suggestion was that rather than wait for ABB to come up with this s/w patch for dynamic, shared charging they could change it to fixed, shared charging for now. (or 100% if one car connected)

Makes much more sense to me, as mentioned the majority of cars probably can’t take more than 50kW anyhow.
 

·
Registered
GOLF GTE PHEV
Joined
·
3,982 Posts
I used a triple head Swarco E-volt charger yesterday labelled 160kw at Wallyford in East Lothian.
The charger advertised 80kw per connector but delivered a disappointing 47kw max via chademo.
A Volvo rolled up and used the CCS cable with no effect on my charge rate.
So no variable sharing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter · #99 ·
Was one unit broken, one not accepting payment, another just refusing to start a charge for some reason and the fourth one had a Tesla charging to 100%? :)
Nah all four were in use with a fifth car waiting when i drove in. When i left, there were two cars charging, the mentioned couple and an empty spot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,627 Posts
Discussion Starter · #100 ·
Bad idea entirely.

Load sharing is much much better.
You rock up to a charger in your 24kwh leaf and your proposal then means that the 150kw unit can only deliver 75kw to the other vehicle at best. How's that fair?
First vehicle rocks up and gets the lion's share so it charges faster. After 20mins it will start tapering down already. 2nd car rocks up and starts getting 10kw portions of the free power as it comes available. After another 20mins the other vehicle is either nearly full or full and lots more is available...
First come first served..
You restrict people's charge rate sooner and everyone suffers.

As a company you want the chargers fuller and used more often. Load sharing on 50/50 locked is ridiculous and slows everyone down.


All this is moot as the gridserv units still do shared charging anyway.
Load sharing is clearly optimal, however given thats currently unavailable the question is what you do instead.

A single 120kw charger is imo worse than two 60kw chargers.

Previously these sites were ecotricity units that would charge one car at 40kw. They've now got ABB machines that will do 120kw on one connector. If that was split 60:60 across both connectors until they got the dynamic balancing working, its still an improvement on what was there before, and actually means you've got double the number of chargers operating, which is an improvement all round. With it in single car mode, your guaranteeing your going to be stuck waiting on the guy in front finishing, and if that car in front happens to be a LEAF with 11 bars battery temp, barely sustaining 30kw, and the driver needs 85% to get to the next working charger, your going to be hanging about for 45mins.

I guess it depends on your view. I'd rather be connected and charging at 60, than sitting waiting for someone before i can start the charge at all. Even if i'm in something capable of doing 120kw, 30mins of 60 is better than 30mins of 0 waiting about for the other guy to finish, because i can use that time for something else.

We got lucky and didnt have to wait (other than a minute or two on two occasions), but we certainly saw folk waiting about much longer than that.

And ofcourse, more plugs is certainly better as soon as you introduce anyone hogging a charger or wanting to charge to very high SOC's


As it happens, i presume "proper" load sharing is what was going on at the 8 bay instavolt we used on the way home, and actually it was quite frustrating sitting there dribbling power at 25kw because the Mach-E beside us was there first and was taking the lions share. If it was capable of pulling 125kw, should we have got 0 instead? Oddly enough, when i moved the car, i noticed the screen on his unit was showing 75kw, and yet it was only offering 25 to us. Swapped to the other unit and our charge jumped straight to 47kw. Perhaps the units should load share but offer a minimum of say 40 to any charging car.
 
81 - 100 of 104 Posts
Top