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Discussion Starter #1
I’ve had my ZOE since October last year, it was a year old ex-demo (65 reg), its a great car to drive, and aside from the repairs and current charging issues, I’ve enjoyed having the vehicle. Earlier this year, I had to have the PEC unit replaced (thankfully under warranty – the cost of that unit (£5k for the part, total cost for the work ~£7k) makes me question owning one of these vehicles after the warranty runs out!).

For the past four weeks I’ve had the vehicle back at the dealers, as I’ve had a number of charging problems with CYC public charging posts. I went to three different charging points, on three different charging posts, at two different car parks, owned by two different councils, and was unable to charge at any of them; the first two posts were the same type of charge post – a socket on either side with a plastic flap covering them, the third was a single socket with a lockable metal door that unlocks when you swipe the CYC card. In all instances the vehicle drew a small amount of charge as part of the on-going checks / “Ready to charge” as it says on the post, but cut out after 5 – 10 seconds (Video showing what happens on YouTube). In the first two instances, the dashboard went blank, and the charge post reported that charging had stopped. The third post, which I have used successfully in the past, went red after a few seconds, with an error along the lines of “power limit exceeded”, and the vehicle had a red error on the dash stating (along the lines of) power had been cut (it wasn’t the Battery Charging Impossible error or anything like that). Between moving the car from the first to the second charge post, a (non-Zoe) EV plugged into the first one, and charged without issue (confirmed by speaking to the driver). I also called CYC to check there was no issue with my CYC account.

I had the vehicle recovered to the dealer, initially all they could find was the fault from the third charging attempt which according to them indicated the error was with the charge post; and the vehicle was charging at their charge point without issue. They took my vehicle and another ZOE to one of the other charge points, found my vehicle didn’t charge, but theirs did. According to my CYC logs, they also tried the vehicle on a fourth point on one of the same posts, and that didn’t work either. They tried a cable swap, and this made no difference. This allowed them to fault the vehicle, and replace (I believe) the charging port on the car. Just under three weeks later I took the car back.

The next day, I went back to those same three charge points, and exactly the same thing happened, so I took the vehicle back to the dealer. One minor difference, was I left the car plugged in for a longer period of time at one post, and every now and then it would keep retrying, and stopping again.

The dealer first tried the car on their charge post, and one other public charge post, and didn’t find any issue; after a few more days they were able to take my vehicle and their vehicle to two of the posts where I was having issues: neither vehicle would charge. I’ve spoken to CYC, and they confirmed the posts are working, communicating and even confirmed the last time they were used successfully for three of the four posts (the one which went red and reported an error, the last event they had was a start/stop event, so couldn’t confirm, but I’m waiting to hear more from them). They seemed quite alarmed that a Renault dealer was passing blame to their posts.

I am now in a situation where the dealer believes the fault is with the charge posts. As a consumer, I don’t accept this, because other vehicles are using those posts, and CYC are reporting they are working.

I’ve asked the dealer if there is a known issue with Renault ZOEs given neither my vehicle or theirs would work at these working charge posts, and they have said they will check with Renault UK. I’ve asked my Customer Service contact and Renault UK the same question, and they have advised they are not technical and that the dealer could answer that question.

I’ve asked how they were able to fault the vehicle a few weeks ago, yet are not able to fault it now (I am suspecting they might not have bothered taking their own vehicle to the charge post the first time, but have just claimed they did; given that this is the same post they now say their car won’t charge at either), but because they replaced a part and I took the vehicle back, this is now a ‘new case’, and previously they didn’t take much documentary evidence of their investigations.

I’ve asked why non-Zoe vehicles have charged, and they cannot answer that.

I’ve raised the issue with the finance company, who defer to their answers of a) we have 8 weeks to respond and b) we know the manufacturer are looking into this for you

I am now deeply worried that I’m going to be given a vehicle back which I cannot reliably use. Each charging post is going to be a roll of the dice as to if it will work, which means I either need to accept that the range is 50% of what it says, so I can always charge at home, or I need to continually look at using ZE assist to recover the vehicle. Despite really enjoying driving the car, I’m starting to think I should have looked at a different manufacturer if it won’t work at charge posts that are known to work.

Its only because I’ve had this issue three times in a row that I took the vehicle in, but looking back on my charging history, I’ve had this same situation happen before (but because it was a one off at a charge point I wouldn’t normally use, I wrote it off as the charger) and to see another car using the charge post shortly afterwards (I’ve obviously experienced issues where I know its the charge post – charge post displaying an error / red light / or the “Battery Charging Impossible” message).

Has anyone else experienced this issue of charging cutting out after a few seconds while its doing its on-going checks? The fact the third post (which was a different type of post) threw an error indicating that power limit had been exceeded, makes me think that the car is trying to draw too much power for some posts and the posts are cutting it off (and that the other posts just don’t display the error message). Also, does anyone have any tips for how to deal with being stuck in the middle of Dealer/Renault/RCI finance (and potentially CYC). Unfortunately I’ve had the vehicle for more than 6 months, so rejecting the vehicle seems to be out. I’m not sure how I can move this forward, and I’m not sure what to do with a vehicle where I don’t know if I can charge it at a public post.

Thanks,

Michael
 

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Some time ago we had a problem with Rolec chargers at a garden centre in Fleet. The issue it seems was down to the fact that the charge point could not handle the cars charger and tripped the fuse after going through the normal checks I brought this to the attention of the garden centre and Rolec and to their credit they fixed it. At the time they had few cars using their posts and had no reported problems but my guess this was from Leafs with 3.6kwh chargers. Just a thought. PS. Do you have a home charger and if so are you seeing problems there. Also have you tried other chargers and seen the same problem (you mainly mention CYC),
 

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It might be a coincidence, but that model of elektrobay charger shown in your youtube video is identical to one that I was unable to change my Peugeot Ion from.

The charge would start, and then after a short time it would abort with a flashing red charge light (error) in the car and the charge point claiming the car had ended the charge after the car had taken a small amount of power. I have not had problems from other models of charge point.

I'm sure I read somewhere that certain elektrobay chargers required a firmware update to work properly with i-Miev/C-Zero/Ion's, and I wonder if a similar issue could affect the Zoe with these, as it's known to be fussy about charge points.

It's not completely unknown for there to be compatibility issues (handshaking problems) between specific models of charge point and specific models of car, although it is relatively rare nowadays.

Do you have the brand/model or pictures of all the models of charge point that you have had problems with ? That might be useful.

Have you tried the AC plug on a triple head rapid charger, if you have one in your area ?
 

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Found this, maybe of use, although two years old now ?

Elektrobay charge point issue resolved - My Renault ZOE electric car

I have also seen mentions elsewhere of the order in which you connect your cable to an Elektrobay charger sometimes mattering.

Do you connect your cable to the charger end first or the car end first ? Try doing it the other way around as a test if you always do it one way...

Also do you connect the cable first then swipe your card, or swipe then connect the cable ?

To know if its your car the best thing to do might be to find a local Zoe owner preferably with the same model and bring them to the charge points you have trouble with and see if theirs works...and maybe take video of theirs working and yours not as evidence if theirs does work.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I've been able to charge (and the car apparently still does charge) at some other posts in that car park (they look the same but might be a different model). The other type of post (not in the video) I've used in the past, but can't use now; I don't have a note of the model though. It seems to be a complete hit and miss, but the number of incompatible posts is too high for my liking. Once I get the vehicle back, I'll be taking evidence of every attempt to charge thats for sure!

The dealer tried their Zoe a few weeks ago, and (apparently) were able to charge with theirs but not mine. But when I took the car back the day after getting it returned to me, they then were unable to get either vehicle to charge on those posts and so are blaming the posts. But other non-Zoe vehicles are charging without issue and CYC are reporting the posts are working.

@srichards the PEC unit was for a 'Danger Electrical Failure' / 'STOP' warning on the dash. I believe the rejection is only within the first 6 months, the dealer gets a chance to repair and if they fail it can be rejected. I'll do a bit more digging into that.

@TrevorH I've not used my home charger (its a rolec one) since the 3 failures in a row at public chargers, and since then (31st July) I've only had the vehicle for 1 day before I took it back. I pretty much exclusively use CYC posts or my home charger (I regularly park in Newcastle and there are quite a lot of points there). I'm expecting to get the car back soon with out them doing any further repairs, so I'm guessing I'll have to just play pot-luck and hope the charger I plug into is going to work with the Zoe or I'll have to assume the range is 50% to allow me to get back home in all cases.

@DBMandrake: Unfortunately the dealer didn't video their car working previously, and have only taken evidence since I took the vehicle back, and now their video shows their car failing to charge. I have tried another Zoe, and that has failed at some of the points too; but these are points that are working for other cars as confirmed by CYC. I swipe and then plugin (it authenticates with CYC then tells you to insert the card). Thanks for that link; I know the vehicle software was updated when they replaced the charge port, but I'll ask to see if all relevant software on the vehicle has been updated - I did read something else that implied there was a software update for the vehicle, but that tended to be when there was frequent 'Battery Charge Impossible' errors. I'll speak to CYC and see if there are any firmware updates due to go out to the posts.

Thanks for the advise so far; if it was just one charge point occasionally causing me trouble, I wouldn't care, but having the issue with 4 different sockets in a short period of time, and seeing other cars use them without problem is driving me mad!
 

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Fascinating.

A video of what happens on the Zoe screen would be much more useful than one of the chargepoint :)

This does sound a bit like the issue I've experienced with both my Zoes at home.

I'm unusual (for a Zoe owner at least) in that I have 22kW charging at home. When I plug my Zoe into the 22kW point charging starts, runs for "a little while" and then cuts out, with no obvious error at all. Then a little while later the charging restarts, the same thing happens, and after about 3 or 4 attempts at this it gives up.

I've never seen any kind of error on the Zoe, and the chargepoint is a boring Rolec point which lots of other cars have successfully used.

My theory (and it's only a theory) is that the car is getting upset because too much power is flowing, probably because the voltage at my house (and perhaps at these points you're using too) is very high.

I've never diagnosed this in detail; in the end I simply disconnected L2 and L3 from the chargepoint so that it became a 7kW single phase point, and now it works perfectly.

If possible I would get hold of a single phase type 2 cable, and see if you can charge successfully from these chargepoints using that cable.

That's not a solution of course - it will make charging 3x slower - but it would be diagnostically interesting.
 

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Would the zoe charger not control the amount of juice flowing so that if it was too much it would just ask for less? Seems a bit dumb to restart the charge repeatedly with the same parameters rather than restart at a lower rate.

I thought all EVs had some kind of BMS what would control the amount of energy flowing into a battery at any given point?
 

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I've never diagnosed this in detail; in the end I simply disconnected L2 and L3 from the chargepoint so that it became a 7kW single phase point, and now it works perfectly.

If possible I would get hold of a single phase type 2 cable, and see if you can charge successfully from these chargepoints using that cable.
Pretty sure that elektromotive charger depicted in the youtube video is 2x 7.2kW single phase sockets - at least the one in my area that looks identical is.

Still worth trying your test on other charge points perhaps, but if it does work I'm not sure that it helps prove whether the charge point or the Zoe is to blame, only that a problem exists, which is already known.

To be honest if other Zoe's are having problems on the same Elektromotive points I would chase that up a bit further with CYC - just because it works with cars other than Zoe's does not mean there isn't an issue with the handshake on the charge point.

I wish I could find the article/discussion I read about Elektromotive chargepoint problems with the i-Miev/C-Zero/Ion. I'll keep looking.

Based on what I saw it doing on my car I have a theory as well - if the battery is below about 30% on the Ion then sometimes it charges initially for a short time of only a couple of minutes, then drops right down to idle (under 20w measured by a kWh meter) for 20 minutes or so then resumes at full charge rate. During this time the dashboard reports the car is charging even when it is drawing less than 20w

I suspect it is doing "bottom balancing" of the cells before commencing the main charge cycle, as it only happens if you start a charge below about 30% on a Level 2 charger. I'm only aware of this because I can monitor the charging of my car with a kWh meter in the house and have noticed these idle periods when starting from a low charge.

My hunch is that even though it keeps the pilot signals alive to the charge point to say it is in use, the charge point has a heuristic that notices that almost no power has been drawn for quite a while and assumes something went wrong and ends the session, causing the car to think the charge was interrupted unexpectedly by the other end, and hence the flashing error light on the dashboard...

If that's what is happening it is the charge point to blame and I can see how a firmware update to the charge point could fix it - by making it adhere properly to the charging protocol instead of trying to be clever! ;)

Maybe the Zoe charging cycle has "idle" periods as well that confuse the non-compliant charge point.

@MichaelP: what percentage charge left do you have when you are having these issues ? Are you quite low or does it happen at any level of charge ?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
@mgboyes The screen on the Zoe for the first chargers did 'On going checks' then when I next looked, it was off completely. The other post (which is a different type, I might see if I can go and find the model later today) the Zoe had a red screen with a message along the lines of 'power had been cut'. Once I get the car back, I'll start videoing both the charger and the car.

@DBMandrake Varying levels: When I first noticed the issue it was 35% then 32% by the time I drove to the other car park. I also tried it at 58% when I got the car back for a day, and it was the same problem. Its a 7Kw charger according to CYC.

I'm hoping to get an update from the dealer on the issue today; as I've not heard from them since Thursday, and except for the 1 day I had the vehicle back for, its been with them for almost 5 weeks now...
 

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Pretty sure that elektromotive charger depicted in the youtube video is 2x 7.2kW single phase sockets - at least the one in my area that looks identical is.

Still worth trying your test on other charge points perhaps, but if it does work I'm not sure that it helps prove whether the charge point or the Zoe is to blame, only that a problem exists, which is already known.

To be honest if other Zoe's are having problems on the same Elektromotive points I would chase that up a bit further with CYC - just because it works with cars other than Zoe's does not mean there isn't an issue with the handshake on the charge point.

I wish I could find the article/discussion I read about Elektromotive chargepoint problems with the i-Miev/C-Zero/Ion. I'll keep looking.

Based on what I saw it doing on my car I have a theory as well - if the battery is below about 30% on the Ion then sometimes it charges initially for a short time of only a couple of minutes, then drops right down to idle (under 20w measured by a kWh meter) for 20 minutes or so then resumes at full charge rate. During this time the dashboard reports the car is charging even when it is drawing less than 20w

I suspect it is doing "bottom balancing" of the cells before commencing the main charge cycle, as it only happens if you start a charge below about 30% on a Level 2 charger. I'm only aware of this because I can monitor the charging of my car with a kWh meter in the house and have noticed these idle periods when starting from a low charge.

My hunch is that even though it keeps the pilot signals alive to the charge point to say it is in use, the charge point has a heuristic that notices that almost no power has been drawn for quite a while and assumes something went wrong and ends the session, causing the car to think the charge was interrupted unexpectedly by the other end, and hence the flashing error light on the dashboard...

If that's what is happening it is the charge point to blame and I can see how a firmware update to the charge point could fix it - by making it adhere properly to the charging protocol instead of trying to be clever! ;)

Maybe the Zoe charging cycle has "idle" periods as well that confuse the non-compliant charge point.

@MichaelP: what percentage charge left do you have when you are having these issues ? Are you quite low or does it happen at any level of charge ?
OK well if this is only a single phase chargepoint then my ideas are out the window, sadly...

Also I am pretty sure the Zoe only does top balancing - there's no reason it would ever want to do a "go slow" at the start of a charging session.
 

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Also I am pretty sure the Zoe only does top balancing - there's no reason it would ever want to do a "go slow" at the start of a charging session.
To be honest I don't understand why the Ion does both bottom balancing (what else could it be ?) and top balancing. Maybe it only chooses to do it if there is a significant imbalance at the start of the charge cycle.

But I have observed it on numerous occasions as the kWh meter that monitors charging is visible in the house when I walk past, and I have seen it drop to <20W for as long as 30 minutes only a few minutes after starting the charge, but only when the battery starts below about 30%.

Unless you were monitoring the Zoe the whole time with an external kWh meter of some sort I'm not sure that you'd even be aware that it was happening. My Ion certainly gives no indication on the dashboard or EVSE that it has effectively paused charging for 30 minutes before resuming...
 

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To be honest I don't understand why the Ion does both bottom balancing (what else could it be ?) and top balancing. Maybe it only chooses to do it if there is a significant imbalance at the start of the charge cycle.

But I have observed it on numerous occasions as the kWh meter that monitors charging is visible in the house when I walk past, and I have seen it drop to <20W for as long as 30 minutes only a few minutes after starting the charge, but only when the battery starts below about 30%.

Unless you were monitoring the Zoe the whole time with an external kWh meter of some sort I'm not sure that you'd even be aware that it was happening. My Ion certainly gives no indication on the dashboard or EVSE that it has effectively paused charging for 30 minutes before resuming...
It's easy to tell what the Zoe is doing - the volume of the high pitched screaming noise it makes while charging is roughly proportional to how much current it's drawing.

And my electricity meter is right by the car so you can also get a rough idea by looking at how fast it's flashing.
 

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It might be worth seeing if you can borrow a 16A cable to test. Maybe a Type 2 PHEV driver in the area could meet you there to test with theirs?

Again, not really a solution but might give more insight into the problem.
 

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Sorry, TL-DR.

But I did do a search on the page for 'impedance' and 'resistance' and doesn't seem to be mentioned yet..

My understanding of the situation.....

Zoe has been designed to look for a lower impedance to ground than other EVs, it seems. It wants >50 ohms others want >200.

So when it is damp and the ground is wet then it will detect a suitable ground impedance and off it goes. If it does not, then it flags a grounding error and leaves you stranded.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
@donald I had read about earthing related issues previously, though most of what I've read seems to imply: a) there is a software change to improve this (at least from reading this: Glasgow city parking change policy over Zoe parking), and according to the dealer they have upgraded all the firmware on the vehicle, mainly effected older vehicles, and would be more obvious (i.e. 'Battery Charging Impossible')?

I've specifically mentioned this to the dealer today; but as far as they are concerned Renault Technical have said there are no design issues with the Zoe, and no known issues with the Zoe and specific chargers.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Almost 5 weeks after taking the vehicle in, and after the dealer replacing the charge port on the vehicle, according to them: there is nothing wrong with the car, and there are no known issues with the Renault Zoe and public charge posts; so I collect it again tomorrow.

I guess I will have to have a longer conversation with CYC next time this happens, before calling ZE assist and getting the vehicle recovered. I seriously regret not getting a leaf now!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I spoke to the charger manufacturer this morning, who referred to the issue with the Renault Zoe, and the earth connection; does this error not result in the 'Battery Charging Impossible'? I'm just trying to work out if that is the problem, or if its something else. I asked if it was the earth issue, was this a charger fault, and they indicated that it wasn't, and it was down to the Zoe being manufactured to French standards and not UK.

I've got the vehicle back now, so I'll start documenting all of my charging attempts and video them to try and build up some evidence on this.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
A mixture of problems at different charge posts on Friday since getting the vehicle back.

1. Tripped one charge post when I plugged it in. Spotted a leaf charging the next day.
2. A few different chargers at different locations all refusing to charge. BCI flashing for a second, then "Check Charging Post", charging post telling me to check the car / cable (Tried multiple times).
3. Took three attempts to charge elsewhere, and after I stopped charging and removed the cable, the post flashed up a warning of 'power limit exceeded'.
4. That 'power limit exceeded' error is something which a) flashed up on another post before it cut out and told me charging had stopped (these four posts had other vehicles using them later that day) and b) stayed permanently on another post when I plugged in (until I removed the cable)

It sounds to me like the car is trying to draw more power than it should; and different posts are responding differently: one tripping, one flashing red with the exceeded error, others flashing with the exceeded error before telling me charging has stopped, and successful charges warning me afterwards that power limit was exceeded (In this case the post actually flashed with "Power limit exceede[d]105%"

I can accept that there are going to be broken charge posts (and encountered a number when trying to charge which were either turned off, flashing red before I even tried to plug in, or were unable to communicate), but seeing other cars charge without issue, and seeing other issues at seemingly working charge posts is very frustrating.
 
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