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1st EA charging experience

Discussion in 'Model 3: Battery & Charging' started by SWUtah, Oct 31, 2019.

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  1. SWUtah

    SWUtah Member

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2018
    Messages:
    96
    Location:
    Santa Clara, UT
    Well, we've got a new Electrify America station at the local Wallymart (Washington City, UT) & I wanted to give it a try. Not a pleasant or rewarding experience.

    The first time I went there a week ago, the one & only CHAdeMO plug was ICE'd by a big Ford SUV. No EV signage of any kind. This afternoon I managed to get parked at the charger before another ICE vehicle pulled up directly behind me, blocking one of my two exits. I hope no one blocks me in front. I will mention that I have charged successfully using my CHAdeMO adapter at several non-EA chargers in the recent past, and they were all good experiences.

    Here's how it all went down. Please excuse the length.

    * I pull in at 75% SOC.
    * the (liquid-cooled) CHAdeMO cable is FAT, heavy, and unwieldly. What I don't get is that this 50KW cable is probably twice the cross-section of the 150KW CCS cable at the same charger. It's a handful to get it all plugged in. Other 50KW CHAdeMO chargers I have used are so much thinner than this one.
    * The instructions are to plug in first. My CHAdeMO adapter mated pretty well with their plug & I plugged everything in.
    * The charger recognized that there is a connection.
    * It puts me in the $1 setup fee and $0.25 per minute, under 50KW payment bucket.
    * It offers me payment options. I swipe my Visa card.
    * The display goes into a "processing payment" mode and hangs up there for about 3-4 minutes.
    * I lose patience and start over. Same result.
    * I try a third time using Apple Pay. Same result.
    * I call the toll-free # on the charger, which is promptly answered by a friendly female voice. Nice lady.
    * We repeat the sequence two times more with the same result. She reboots the station between each try, which takes 1-2 minutes before it's ready again. She gives up on this method & reboots the station again.
    * This time she starts the charging session at her end using my (previously signed-up-for) EA account.
    * Electrons start to flow.This is supposed to be a 50KW charger, and I expect an actual rate in the low-mid 40KW range.
    * Charging ramps up from an initial 22KW to a whopping 23KW. OK, starting at 75% SOC, I was probably already past the charge rate knee.
    * I watch as the SOC ever so slowly creeps up and the charge-o-meter faithfully adds $0.25 every minute.
    * When I get to 80% SOC, I stop the charging session using the display.
    * I got 3.1KWH in 8:10, at a cost of $3.24, including the $1 setup fee and $0.19 sales tax. That's $1.04 per KWH. I realize that the unit cost per KWH will go down for longer charge times because of the setup fee.

    Takeaways:

    * EA CHAdeMO is at the bottom of my preferred charging methods. I'll only use it if there is nothing else available.
    * I hate paying per minute instead of per KWH. I recognize that some states also do this with superchargers. Not Utah
    * If I do HAVE to charge at EA, starting at a low SOC, the charging rate will -hopefully- go up into the 40's KW
    * There will be NO opportunity charging or topping up at an EA, ever.
    * EA telephone customer support seems to be pretty good. She did get me some electrons.
    * Supercharging is GREAT! Tesla destination chargers and J-1772 L2 chargers are (to me) preferable to EA.
    * EA is a good reason to not buy a Volkswagen EV!
     
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  2. miimura

    miimura Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2013
    Messages:
    5,749
    Location:
    Los Altos, CA
    1. The CHAdeMO cable is not cooled. It is rated for 200A which is why it's fatter than other CHAdeMO that you've used that are probably rated for 125A.
    2. The CCS cables are cooled, so they don't have to be so fat and some of them support 500A because they're cooled.
    3. Doing any DC Fast charging starting at 75% when you're paying by the minute is going to be a waste of money. Whether you should have gotten more than 23kW in your specific circumstances is an open question that depends on many factors.
    4. I agree that EA charging stations should be at the bottom of the list of possible charging options for Tesla owners. They're really not meant for you.
     
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  3. srs5694

    srs5694 Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2019
    Messages:
    1,024
    Location:
    Woonsocket, RI
    I've tried EA CHAdeMO chargers twice with my LR RWD Model 3. Once was on a road trip, at the Waterloo Premium Outlets in NY State. (On a lark, I was trying to do the trip on CHAdeMO only, at least one way.) This one was a no-go; the station kept reporting an error. I didn't bother calling EA, but I did report the problem via the EA app, then I drove on to the next Supercharger on my route.

    The second time was a test at a Providence Walmart. I pulled in with 69% SoC and I had no problems activating the charger. I charged to 85% in 19 minutes, for an average charge rate of 39kW. (It started out at 43kW.) I paid $2.85 for 12.33 kWh, and hence a price of $0.23/kWh. (I'm pretty sure it was actually billed by the minute.) That's actually pretty reasonable for Rhode Island, where residential electric rates are about $0.20/kWh, depending on the season.

    I heard somewhere that EA is using at least two suppliers for hardware for its stations, but I don't know if this is true, and if it is true, I don't know if the stations I tried use the same or different hardware. The Waterloo station has a rating of 7.6 on PlugShare, with problems reported from several brands of cars, both CCS and CHAdeMO. Its CHAdeMO port does work sometimes, though, including with Teslas, so I suspect I came across it when the station itself was down or flaky.

    Overall, my impression is that EA's stations aren't the most reliable CHAdeMO stations out there, and even the average CHAdeMO station is less reliable than the average Supercharger. Even so, I'm a little more confident with the CHAdeMO adapter in my trunk. In the unlikely event of a billing problem, cyber attack against Tesla, etc., I'll be able to travel on CHAdeMO chargers. Using them also broadens the scope of places I can stop for meals. It's probably not worth the $450 price tag, but I viewed it as being like insurance -- you don't need it most of the time, and considered as a gamble it's a bad bet; but when you do need it, you really need it.
     
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