Speak EV - Electric Car Forums banner

1 - 15 of 15 Posts

·
2014 Smart ED with 22kW charger
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Is it just me or is it almost impossible to unplug Smart cars from Ecotricity AC chargers? On 6 April I went to the one at Moto Wetherby Services, and today I visited the one at Ikea Leeds. It's fantastic to have access to these chargers and I can't complain at the price (!) but in two out of two experiences I've found that the force required to unplug the connector from the car is nothing short of mind-boggling.

By that, I mean I'm exceeding the force that I'd expect something to break, probably by a factor of two. In desperation at Wetherby I phoned the helpline and a very polite chap answered the phone almost immediately and told me that essentially I had to just keep pulling. Eventually it "let go" and joy was upon me. He said that he'd come across this before and they were slowly changing the plugs to ones which worked better.

But then exactly the same thing today happened at Ikea Leeds, with a very newly-installed charger. I tried starting and stopping the charger two or three times, to no avail. As far as the car was concerned, the socket was unlocked. After around 10 minutes of seriously major pulling and rocking, the plug eventually came out.

I never have a problem with CYC / evolt chargers (although I'm using the Smart-supplied cable), nor the Smart-supplied 13A Intertek-Lear Level 1 Portable Charger, nor my Bosch wallbox.

Any other users' experience or advice would be very welcome to hear! Attached is a photo of one of Ecotricity's two spanky new chargers at Leeds today. Ikea's website says they're "still coming" but I assure you they're fully working, if you can unplug after charging! I was very happy to meet a friendly Leaf driver there too, who offered moral support.
 

Attachments

·
Former Innovation Specialist
Joined
·
160 Posts
Glenn
Have used the IKEA charger at Leeds a few weeks ago now (probably in its first week of going live) and had no problems with my Zoe other than the charge failing at 70% and having to re-start it. Certainly no problems with the type 2 plug - what a battle you had!:mad: It's great to have another fast charger in the area and it will surely be popular. An i3 was waiting to use it after me.
Ian
 
  • Like
Reactions: Glenn Garrett

·
2014 Smart ED with 22kW charger
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Ian - thanks for your reply and that's great to hear your Zoe charged up fine at Ikea Leeds although it's puzzling how it stopped part-way through.

I don't know whether the Zoe can provide updates to your mobile phone about state of charge, but my Smart wasn't able to do this unfortunately because the charging stations are underground, hence limited mobile signal I guess. It's no big deal since I know roughly how fast the car charges.

It sounds like the compatibility problem may be with the Smart rather than the Ecotricity charging plug so I'll mention it to my dealer next time I'm talking to him.

Eunicholas - yes I'm charging at 22kW - that's the maximum for the Smart Electric Drive with the optional Brusa charger which I have.

Maybe next time I should think about plugging the Ecotricity plug into my own cable and then my own (Bosch/Smart supplied) cable into the car, since I know that fits. The extra length makes me a little nervous though.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,777 Posts
Are you having trouble plugging in as well? is it stiff in and stiff out?
My only suggestion is are all the catches and levers released correctly?
 

·
2014 Smart ED with 22kW charger
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Thanks for the replies! Physically it feels like the connector is locked at the car, but the car says it's not, (i.e. the unlocked padlock light is illuminated). I terminate the charging by pressing the unlock button on the car key fob, which stops the charging and unlocks the connector. I can hear the unlock servo operating.

I did have some trouble starting the charge too (at Ikea Leeds but not at Moto Wetherby). At Ikea the plug wouldn't at first lock into the car and the light above on the car socket flashed quickly 20 times. I don't know what that means but it didn't seem too happy. I unplugged and replugged a few times and eventually it locked in properly.

One other part to the story is that I'd after I got a successful lock on the car connector when I plugged in, I must have misunderstood what was shown on the charger screen and actually I thought the car was charging when it wasn't. When I came back I found that the car hadn't charged because I hadn't pressed the button on the charger. I suppose it's possible that charging did start and then stopped while I was away; I don't know. So anyway I started / re-started it and waited for 20 minutes for a charge. Then all the trouble with unplugging the car started.

There aren't any catches or levers anywhere that I can see or know of. The Ecotricity connector did seem very slightly 'wonky' at the collar near the tip when I looked at it as I struggled to get it locked in, but I didn't think it was enough to worry about and it might have just been my imagination.

Maybe I just need to have another go and document the whole thing properly from start to finish. I'm just puzzled why it's only Ecotricity chargers that I seem to have trouble with. Maybe I'll try a third Ecotricity charger sometime and see how I get on. I suppose it's all part of the learning experience of being an EV 'Newbie' :)
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
3,715 Posts
@Glenn Garrett I suspect the locking pin in the car is activated.

Try pushing the connector in and out without starting a charge... if it takes a reasonable amount of force then the connectors are ok.

Try terminating the charge at both the charger and the car... if the charger is still live then the car should not release the lock... I suggest you stop the charger first then the car :)
 

·
Administrator
Joined
·
11,835 Posts
Thanks, I will remember to try that next time.
It's what I usually do in my LEAF, just for fear of getting the thing stuck to a charge point somewhere. Let us know how you get on.

If we don't hear from you again we'll assume you're stuck at a charger somewhere. :D ;)
 

·
2014 Smart ED with 22kW charger
Joined
·
10 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
Thanks; it's great to have such friendly replies! I'll certainly update this thread with any future experiences.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
I have also known type-2 connectors to get the pins stuck out (locking the plug) as they are rubbing on the edge of the locking hole in the plug. The solution to this is to push the plug in first, which allows the pin to free, then pull.
I too have experienced this using a Type 2 7kw Rolec branded outlet at a hotel in Devon. It just would not release the plug and I feared either ripping it off the wall by accident, or having to leave my cable hanging out of it !

Pushing it in a bit first worked :)
 
1 - 15 of 15 Posts
Top