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Problems with fast chargers.

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 8:28 am
by JejuSoul
I live on Jeju, an island off the south coast of South Korea. In the last few weeks the number of EV's on the island doubled to about 3000. (Soul fans will be glad to know that more than 1000 of those are Souls). Every car has its own L2 Smart Grid connected charger and there is a also a fairly substantial network of L3 Public chargers. (For example there are more than 20 within 10km of my house)

The problem with the Public chargers really only began this week. (The first week of holiday season). Every charger is busy. There are cars waiting at each spot. Each time I charged this week has been eventful.

1. I went to get a coffee while plugged in. I got a phone call to come back to the car because charging had finished and a newly arrived car couldn't charge until I moved.

2. I parked alongside a car that was charging. The owner had gone. I unplugged their car and plugged in mine.

3. In a spot with two adjacent L3 chargers. I plugged in to one and began chatting to the owner plugged in next to me. As we chatted 3 other EV's arrived. 1 waited 2 left.

4. In the same spot as above. One of the L3 chargers is out of service. "Database error while loading updates", the other is busy. So I wait. It is 10pm. The temperature is 27 C. After ten minutes of charging my car the charger fails with an overheating error. I unplug and check my car. It is fine. I assume the overheating is because the charger has been busy in the heat for hours on end. I replug the charger and second time it finishes successfully.

My solution to this overcrowding on the chargers is fairly simple. I will stop doing the extra mileage and just charge at home. This car is such fun to drive that we have both been driving it way more than normal. But the overall problem remains. A huge network of super reliable chargers is necessary if EV's are going to step out of a very small niche market.

Re: Problems with fast chargers.

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2015 12:11 pm
by jcallan
Yes, I agree we will need a lot of chargers - although the longer range EVs coming out in the next couple of years will help, more journeys will be doable on a single charge. Do your local rapid chargers cost money to use? That would help reinforce the idea that people should charge at home!

I had this idea for a charger which I hope someone will implement one day: A rapid charging station which can provide power to charge (say) 2 cars at once, but has cables and parking spaces for (say) 6 cars.

You drive into a spare parking space and plug in, and the system either charges you right away, if possible, or puts you in a queue. The system tells you how many minutes you can expect to wait until your charging finishes.

I am assuming the expensive parts of the charging station are the AC-DC electronics & control, plus the incoming 3-phase supply. Once you have added the extra cables and some simple switchgear the rest is software. The efficiency advantage is that the charging hardware can be constantly used with no breaks for changing over cars, calling the drivers on mobiles, etc. The advantage for the driver is you know how long you will have to wait, and you probably don't have to move your car.

Another idea would be to type your mobile number into the charger (or get it from your account details) so it could text you when your car was a few minutes away from being fully charged "you car will be charged in 2 minutes, please come and move it, people are queueing".

Re: Problems with fast chargers.

Posted: Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:23 pm
by JejuSoul
jcallan wrote:I had this idea for a charger which I hope someone will implement one day: A rapid charging station which can provide power to charge (say) 2 cars at once, but has cables and parking spaces for (say) 6 cars.

This concept is not for the future, I actually have one of these chargers at home.


My version is for single use but these chargers normally charge up to 3 cars simultaneously. All communication is done via an app on the mobile phone.

Re: Problems with fast chargers.

Posted: Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:20 am
by jcallan
So, 3 cars plug in, and 2 get charged simultaneously? Nice!

Re: Problems with fast chargers.

Posted: Sun Sep 13, 2015 5:17 am
by JejuSoul
Back to the original topic - busy fast chargers.
Today was a bright, sunny, warm Sunday.
Perfect for a family day out.
Many EV owners felt the same way.
By the afternoon every L3 fast charger we passed was busy with one or two cars waiting.
We only needed a partial charge to get home so decided to use the L2 normal charger instead.
Interestingly nobody was using the L2 chargers. People just used the L2 spaces as waiting zones for the L3.
We found an empty L2 and hooked up while we went inside a restaurant for lunch.
Stupid mistake made - the timer was set for 11pm, so no charging started.
The timer has no effect on L3 charging, so forgot to reset it.
Worked fine once that was done.
A rough count of the EV's seen today - Soul 12, SM3 5, i3 3, Ray 3, Leaf 1.

Re: Problems with fast chargers.

Posted: Mon Sep 14, 2015 10:20 pm
by JejuSoul
I came across this video today of two gentleman from England attempting a long range trip only to find the EVSE not functioning in multiple locations.
A new dilemma I haven't experienced yet, that these unfortunate drivers found is their own charger cable not being released from an L2 charger after use.

What happens when you attempt a UK road trip in an electric car

Re: Problems with fast chargers.

Posted: Thu Jun 15, 2017 8:26 pm
by JejuSoul
For the last 18 months I haven't been using the public fast chargers. We now have many hundreds of them on the island. But the number of EVs has also gone up above 10,000. I charge the Soul EV at home at night.

But I now have two EVs and only one charger at home. Unless I go outside in the middle of the night I cannot charge both.
I will never be upgrading the eCarPlug L2 charger to a two car version. It is a brand I don't recommend.

So a few days ago the Soul EV needed to charge at night, leaving my Ray EV just enough charge to get me to work tomorrow morning. No worries there are plenty of chargers on that short 10 km journey.

At the first stop 4 slow chargers I normally use have been removed.
At the next stop 2 fast chargers out of 3 at the stadium were broken. 2 cars were waiting for the remaining working charger.
At the last stop (I had turtled!). City Hall - first charger - the chademo nozzle is broken.
The second charger was blocked by a tourist rental car. A titanium Soul EV. The tourists had gone. Didn't answer their phone.
Fortunately an sm3 driver helped me by moving his car so I could park diagonally next to the titanium Soul EV.
An hour wasted to charge for a couple of minutes to get me the 10 km home.