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First Public charging experience - a bit of a let down

Discussion in 'Model S: Battery & Charging' started by jsaccio, Mar 8, 2015.

  1. jsaccio

    jsaccio Member

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    My MS is only a few days old and I have been charging at home with HPWC. Today I went to a local grocery store (Whole Foods) that had two chargers listed. The first one I found in their underground parking was occupied by a Leaf. The other unit outside had a ICE Volvo parked in it's space. Okay I was pissed then realized this is probably going to happen a lot. I was ready to confront the person driving the Volvo when she returned, but my wife stopped me.

    So, happy to finally try a J1772, I plugged in and was disappointed to see only 20amp charging at 12mi/hr.

    Is this family normal and should I start expecting this?
     
  2. beegee

    beegee Member

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    Normally you can expect 30A and ~21mph of charge on most public chargers. That is also true of most Chargepoint chargers.
     
  3. bluenation

    bluenation Member

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    unfortunately, yes.

    this is why for the ppl who are unable to charge at home (ie. most of the world, except the wealthy... or suburban north americans), an EV involves very important sacrifices because of relative lack of infrastructure. (ie. hardware)

    also keep in mind, EV sales is still a trickle, not a flood. and the whole 'culture' of EVs is super new. Don't expect this culture to change overnight, it's gonna take at least a decade, like more (ie. software)

    just gotta give it time.
     
  4. dirkhh

    dirkhh Middle-aged Member

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    "confronting" may not be the best thing to do. When I see people ice charging spots I usually try to start a conversation with them. Much more along the lines of "hey, btw, did you see this sign?". In my experience that is much more likely to get people to see that they shouldn't have parked there...
    I frequently find disappointing 208V/30A for just over 6kW or about 20mi/hr. Getting just 20A is fairly unusual. If you are a regular of that Whole Paycheck store I'd ask the manager what's up with that. It would be rather unusual for them to have a 25A breaker - but maybe they have no dedicated circuit and the load calculation resulted in the decision that that was the save amount of current to pull - a condo complex that a friend of mine lives in has one 50A circuit that serves two 1772 chargers that are each limited to 20A continuous draw. When she asked she was told that the rationale was that it would be better to have two charging spots and (back when this was installed) not all Leafs could draw 6.6kW anyway and this way they could have two charge in parallel. She has a Model S with (to add insult to injury) dual chargers :-/
     
  5. Gizmotoy

    Gizmotoy Active Member

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    Just wanted to echo everyone else: ICE'd chargers? Better get used to that. Chargers and EV-only spots are constantly blocked, even here in the Bay Area where EVs are common enough that pretty much everyone should know better.

    20A on a Chargepoint (presumably, that's what Whole Foods usually uses)? That's atypical. You'll most commonly see 208V/30A, good for about 20mi/hr. Sometimes old multi-port Chargers split their current funny even if only one car is charging, but that doesn't sound like the case here.

    Confrontation isn't likely to do any good. Worst case they get angry and always park there in the future. Best case you spend who knows how much of your time explaining what it is and why they shouldn't park there, *maybe* convincing them to park somewhere else in the future... only to have the spot taken by another unknowing driver in the future. And people don't like to be told they're wrong. Situations approaching that worst case are far more likely than the best case.
     
  6. mibaro2

    mibaro2 Member

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    You can look at it on the bright side... at least Whole Foods put a charging unit in. It's a very slow one, but better than nothing.
    I see other stores like Home Depot promoting EV's, but have yet to see a charger at any of their stores that the public can use.

    +1 to all other comments so far.
     
  7. AmpedRealtor

    AmpedRealtor Active Member

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    Those L2 chargers are designed for low mileage EVs like the Leaf. One of the bonuses for driving a long-range EV like the Model S is that you don't need to charge at these types of locations. A Leaf needs the charge or he may not be able to get home.
     
  8. dirkhh

    dirkhh Middle-aged Member

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    I want to slightly challenge this... I think those low power L2 chargers make no sense at retail locations.
    How much time do you spend at Home Depot or Whole Paycheck or Fred Meyer? 10-20 minute tops, right? So on a 30A/208V or 20A/240V charger you get between 1 and 2 kWh. That makes no sense regardless of the car you drive. If you cut it this close with your Leaf maybe you own the wrong car.
    I can see these chargers making some sense for hotels or maybe malls and movie theaters and office locations. If you are there for 2+ hours then you can get 10+ kWh and this is beginning to make a difference.
    But for supermarkets and other "single retail" locations? It's a gesture. It's making a point (and I'm OK with that).
     
  9. stevej119

    stevej119 Member

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    Good point. Makes me wonder if Leaf owners will be complaining in their forums about "TESLAing" at the Chargers they desperately need just to get home!
     
  10. mibaro2

    mibaro2 Member

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    Good point. My work finally put a charger in, and it is an L2. But since I am at work for 8hrs, it is fine.
    I was hoping that only 60 amp or higher chargers would be made now.
     
  11. essaunders

    essaunders Member

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    I'd argue this is exactly why public charging should have a cost that is higher than residential charging. the LEAF owner can opt to pay (to get home) and the EVSE is kept clear by the Model S driver that doesn't need the charge to get home. This also makes the PiP drivers think twice.

    Having a different 'cost' (towing?) for non-plug ins is useful (to plug in drivers)
     
  12. dirkhh

    dirkhh Middle-aged Member

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    Stores a loath to tow cars of customers... Tesla usually refuses to have cars towed that block supercharger stalls.
    An RV was blocking two stalls at Woodburn yesterday - I called it in and got a very non-committal response...
     
  13. Twiglett

    Twiglett Single pedal driver

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    I drive a Leaf but don't see that I have more "right" to an L2 plug than any other EV.
    I can't tell the state of charge of your <insert EV brand here> - so how can one brand need the charge more?
    Sadly we are not at the point of being able to rely on getting power on trips.
    My experience of places like Whole Foods chargers is that 8-10 visits have yielded one (1) charge. The rest or the attempts were 90% ICE-ed or 10% other EVs in the spaces.
    The only bright spot is one of our local movie theaters has several J1772 plugs which have usually been empty, so great for a movie and a fill up ;)
     
  14. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Although not normal, it shouldn't affect you as you charge at home so you wouldn't have a reason to charge your Tesla at a public charging station in your city. When you're out of town, even the usual 30A J1772 charging is pretty much useless unless you're plugging in overnight.
     
  15. CHG-ON

    CHG-ON Still in love after all these miles

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    Aside from adding much better signage that sounds more forceful, such as "NO PARKING-Electric vehicles" only, the only other option I see is this: start a new business with electric tow trucks that drag those inconsiderate's cars off to a dystopian electric-only world of fuel resources that are only retrievable with the slowest moving staff imaginable, where it takes forever and a day to get their car out and then make them breathe in the fumes they are spilling into our delicate atmosphere. Then...give them a coupon to go buy an EV!! Ha!

    It's like those that park in handicapped spaces. I simply do not get why they think it is appropriate.

    Oh, and if we could convince local jurisdictions to ticket them, that could motivate them. A lot of communities have invested in these charging stations. I'm sure they aren't happy about it either.
     
  16. ecarfan

    ecarfan Well-Known Member

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    The beauty of owning a long range quality EV like a Tesla (and there are no alternative choices) is that for road trips you can use Tesla Superchargers (which are becoming increasingly prevalent) and for all other charging you do it at home. Public chargers are often unreliable and slow. I have yet to need them. Of course I am fortunate to live where I do, in a region well served by Superchargers. But over time more and more Tesla owners will be able to rely on Superchargers for their long distance needs.

    And to the OP I would ask; did you need to charge at that Whole Foods store, or were you just curious to see how it might work?

    Be glad you don't have a short range EV like a Leaf that needs public chargers.
     
  17. Dbitter1

    Dbitter1 Journeyman Member

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    Just to share the opposite experience... not sure if you've tried a supercharger yet? Yesterday, I was out in the first day with temperatures above 50F since I took delivery, and a battery a decent way depleted... plugged into a SC and *BAM* 115KW. I sprung for dual chargers, but even then, this is almost 10x the power. And a welcoming nod from other Tesla owners at the SC rounds it off for a good experience.

    Your original question was "is this normal" ... yeah, but as others have said, try not to dwell on it. Seeing that SC rate would probably make the "other" EV's head explode. Or their battery. Maybe both. I hope you are close enough to the one in Charlotte to make good use of it.
     
  18. jsaccio

    jsaccio Member

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    Thanks everyone for input. And to answer the question above, yes, this was just to test a public charger. I definitely do not need to charge locally.

    However, this experience does help me keep expectations at bay. Living in Charlotte, the out of town places we go are Atlanta, Charleston and Asheville. There are no Superchargers between these locations so I will have to plan and use public chargers to make these trips.
     

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