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Discussion Starter #1
Hi,

Whilst it's possible I was unlucky and got two faulty public charge points, I suspect I am probably being an idiot. I've had my Chevrolet Volt for 6 days now, and have successfully charged at home (via 13a socket) each night. I figured that sooner or later I need to work out how these public chargers work so I headed off to Ikea in Nottingham earlier today. I couldn't get it to work so I stopped off at Trowell Services on M1 and tried there with the same results. Can anyone see where I'm going wrong withh this;
I swiped the card when the charger told me to, selected AC 7 pin charging, connected the cable when asked to (charger end first then car end), then charger displayed 'waiting for charge initiation' (or something like that), at which point it sits there and eventually times out. There was no yellow or green light on the dashboard like I normally get.

It seems like quite a straightforward process that I can't really see where I went wrong. Am I missing some important step? Could my new cable be faulty or wired up to a different standard? Or am I just an idiot?
 

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Were you trying to use the Rapid chargers? I'm pretty sure the Volt can't use those, you need to find some of the smaller, more basic chargers (sometimes known as Fast chargers), rated at 3 or 7 kWh.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the prompt response.

Yeah, they are listed as Fast Chargers (43kw). I know the Volt can't charge at that rate, but do they not downrate themselves to whatever the car requests? Or am I expecting too much of them?

If that's the case, you've hit the nail on the head!

Spencer
 

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Having done a quick search, no they won't negotiate down. I don't know why, though!
There used to be the smaller chargers installed next to each Rapid but Ecotricity decided to stop doing that (for cost reasons I think).
 

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Take a look at zap map - there are plenty of fast chargers around Nottingham, they are the blue markers on the map.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Ah, ok, thanks for that. Looks like I was correct... I'm being an idiot :)

It was only by luck and the temptation of Swedish Meatballs that I picked those two charge points. It wasn't particularly that I _needed_ to charge, I just wanted to learn how to do it. I guess I've learned a lot from this one :)
 

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Nobody is going to criticise you for succumbing to the meatballs... :)
 

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Nobody is going to criticise you for succumbing to the meatballs... :)
Oh I dunno Dale might. or, perhaps the real reason the Ecotricity chargers are in Ikea is our man has a secret taste for the meatballs and their special sauce. Don't tell the veggie/vegans....
 

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It isn't that they won't down rate... they do down rate.

The issue is that you cannot use the type 2 tethered cable. It is not possible to plug in a type 2 to type 1 cable into the tethered cable of the rapid charger. They have made the car type 2 different to the charger type 2 so that we cannot connect cable to cable.

The Ampera and Volt cannot use the rapid chargers at all I am afraid. :(
 

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you cannot use the type 2 tethered cable. It is not possible to plug in a type 2 to type 1 cable into the tethered cable of the rapid charger. They have made the car type 2 different to the charger type 2 so that we cannot connect cable to cable.
Yeah! It sucks that it looks like it should yet does not.

Welcome to the wonderful world of EV motoring. Try to get yourself a Type 2 socketed unit installed at home and keep an eye on the non-rapids which abound.
 

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It isn't that they won't down rate... they do down rate.

The issue is that you cannot use the type 2 tethered cable. It is not possible to plug in a type 2 to type 1 cable into the tethered cable of the rapid charger. They have made the car type 2 different to the charger type 2 so that we cannot connect cable to cable.

The Ampera and Volt cannot use the rapid chargers at all I am afraid. :(
Some Roadster users on this forum are modding their Type 2-ended cables by sawing-off a bit of their Type 2 ends so that they fit the rapid-charger Type 2 connector. Apparently that works for them, and I suspect that it would work for a Volt/Ampera - however, I don't recommend it for multiple reasons:

1) There is no locking mechanism on that cable-to-cable connection. So, it's possible for anyone to just walk by and unplug you. Since the pilot pins disengage first there's unlikely to be any arcing, but it's probably not considered safe.

2) The Volt/Ampera can only charge at 16A. So the 63A capacity of the rapid charger is largely being wasted by the Volt/Ampera sitting in the spot and taking the charger. Charging from "empty" to "full" will take two hours. This is likely to upset other EV drivers in-queue and lead them to attempt #1.

3) The Volt/Ampera has a range extender. Yes, using petrol is not ideal, but the range extender is there for the purpose of enabling the driver to rely on destination and home charging only. En-route charging is not really the intention for the Volt/Ampera.
 

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Yes, I've seen pics of i3's using them and charging at a downrated speed (but the car has a type 2 socket).
The EV can draw whatever amperage it wants even up to tripping the charging station, entirely. The charging station merely solicits a maximum current capacity on the pilot pin of the cable, and the EV is expected to respect that. So you can have a 63A charging station and have an EV charging there at 6A.

That said, I suspect that rapid-charge capable EV drivers will become irritated by REx EV drivers who use rapid charging at [not so] fast charge speeds.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The issue is that you cannot use the type 2 tethered cable. It is not possible to plug in a type 2 to type 1 cable into the tethered cable of the rapid charger. They have made the car type 2 different to the charger type 2 so that we cannot connect cable to cable.:(
Thanks for the clarification. That does sound a bit unfair, but I guess they have their reasoning. Feels like the VHS/Betamax situation all over again :)
 

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Thanks for the clarification. That does sound a bit unfair, but I guess they have their reasoning. Feels like the VHS/Betamax situation all over again :)
IMO it isn't at all unfair. These are rapid chargers for use by cars that can rapid charge. An Ampera has a petrol engine and doesn't need to charge at all.

It isn't at all like VHS vs Betamax. They have simply made it impossible (without modding) to use an extension cable for safety reasons. Like @Lee Howard I recommend against modding connectors. This has been done for safety... not just to make it difficult for us :)
 

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I suspect that rapid-charge capable EV drivers will become irritated by REx EV drivers who use rapid charging at [not so] fast charge speeds.
No need to suspect that, plenty of evidence out there proving it already ;-)

Personally I haven't done this and probably never will.
 

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As someone who has both a Nissan Leaf and a Vauxhall Ampera I also get annoyed if cars that cannot use the rapid capability charge on a rapid charger. At the moment they have every right to do so but it won't go down well with cars that need the charging to get home.

Having said that... anyone that buys a EV with a range extender and then spends any time at all on public charging when they could have used their petrol engine must be totally potty :eek: You have the petrol engine... use it, don't waste your time. If you wanted to spend ages using public charging then why didn't you buy a 100% BEV?

Just a thought :)
 

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Yes, indeed but demonstrative that Type 2 tethered is evil. Type 2 socketed will support the whole community
Evil? That is a bit strong isn't it? It does serve a purpose because it does ensure that high-powered charging uses cables that are up to the job. 43KW requires a hefty cable and I don't think many people would want to buy one let alone carry it around with them all the time. So they do serve a purpose. :)
 
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