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Newbie simple question about infrastructure

Discussion in 'North America' started by Boatguy, Feb 28, 2016.

  1. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    I have a BMW i3 BEV and a Mercedes E350 Bluetec (diesel). The i3 does 90% of our local trips, the Mercedes all of our long distance travel. I'd love to replace the Mercedes with a Tesla, but I don't like planning my trips based on the location of Superchargers.

    I believe electric cars will continue to take market share and that we're fast approaching the hockey stick growth point where the virtuous cycle of EV purchases and infrastructure deployment come together. But as far as I can tell, there is no bridge between the fast DC charger systems that will be deployed for all other EVs and Tesla's products.

    Today, Tesla reminds me of the early Macintosh that used a processor and different standard for every I/O function compared to a PC. Eventually Apple saw the light (helped by Intel finally developing some decent processors and I/O technology) and dumped the unique standards and enjoyed the benefits of commodity I/O interfaces.

    My point is that the Superchargers were probably necessary to get things started, but what about 5yrs from now? Will Tesla owners still be beholden to Tesla Motors when they need a fast charge? Or will Tesla owners be able to share high current chargers with the rest of the EV universe?

    No trolling here, just trying to figure out if there is a Tesla in my future or not.
     
  2. S'toon

    S'toon Knows where his towel is

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    Currently Tesla has the fastest charging system out. The CCS and CHADEMO consortium have both made noises about faster systems, but have come about with nothing concrete. Tesla has offered to allow the other manufacturers to use their Superchargers, but no one has taken them up yet. You can get an adapter for CHADEMO for your Tesla, and Musk said something recently about making one for CCS.

    So currently you're not completely beholden to the Supercharger network. You can use the CHADEMO as well, and supposedly soon the CCS as well. However, charging with CHADEMO or CCS will be slower.

    If I recall correctly with the CHADEMO there's a problem with heat over the long charging time of a Tesla. The CHADEMO stations will balk after half an hour or so I think. Kman said something about it in one of his videos.
     
  3. cman8

    cman8 Member

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    I think the advantages you have now is that tesla has the better of the infastructures. But the one thing i see is that you can also buy adapters to use all others. I mean no other fast charging co. That I have seen offer free charging which is one of the reasons i chose tesla above others. Aside from helping go green somewhat, i also was looking at how some of these chademo stations charge for service which for me is a turn off. Hope more and more companies go towards the tesla model of free charging (lets face it we pay for it on the premium price of the vehicle and am glad to pay for it upfront)
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Well, Apple computers are still tied to particular specific hardware.

    Right now there is nothing comparable to the Supercharger network for any other protocol. There are currently only slower, isolated DC chargers. Tesla already has a CHAdeMO adapter that's capable of a higher rate that the vast majority of CHAdeMO chargers can provide, and it's expected that it'd be much easier to make a CCS adapter. So, while you'd still have to pay Tesla the fast-charging fee, I'd expect that you'd eventually be able to use any alternative network that emerges.
     
  5. TexasEV

    TexasEV Active Member

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    Two thoughts--
    1. What's wrong with planning trips based on the location of superchargers?
    2. Tesla owners already can share other "high current chargers" with the CHAdeMO adapter but they are vastly inferior to Tesla superchargers. The fastest of the other DC charging stations charge at less than half the speed of Tesla superchargers, are infinitely less reliable, and are generally found as onesies and twosies so you may be waiting a long time if you're depending on it for a charge.
     
  6. CSFTN

    CSFTN Member

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    The history of this situation is quite interesting, and explains they why. There are better sources than I, but I will give my understanding as a summary.
    1. GM is designing EV-1 and VW (maybe others) are considering competition. GM proposes that a committee get together to standardize charging options. Smart. They go thru the Society of American Engineers, and set up a committee. Other companies, like golf cart companies, are also on the committee. The EV-1 'fails' but the committee remains intact.
    2. Years later Tesla is about to bring out the Roadster. They send a representative, restart the talks, hit lots of resistance, and make their own standard based largely on the committee's previous work. Roadster is out < 1 year when the president of GM, Bob Lutz, reams out his engineers who have assured him a 200 mile EV is technically impossible. He sends them off to make the Volt, in response to the Roadster (and the Prius). The committee meets, some disagreement and some agreement, and expand the previous standard to include "Level 2" and "Level 3" charging, wherein Level 2 is higher power AC and Level 3 is "DC fast". Tesla is part of the committee and abandons their previous charging mechanism and adopts that of the committee (which btw they call J1772).
    3. They work out lots of details of Level 2 but almost all members of the committee see no viable future for high power EVs, so don't actually agree on standards for DC Fast. This frustrates the Japanese members of the committee, as well as the David that is Tesla Motors, who plan on 300+ mile EVs in the near future.
    4. Tesla also has a design personality much like Apple Computers/Steve Jobs, wherein they believe form should be more than just function. The committee decides the actual 'plug' for an EV should fit in the same place as a gasoline nozzle, so that they don't need to change any of their design and manufacturing techniques. Tesla goes their own way and designs a light, beautiful, well functioning 'plug' instead, but other than cosmetics, is the same as the committee's plug. As Tesla is finishing their 2nd generation car soon to be called the Model S, they decide that for it to achieve widespread success 200-300 miles on a charge isn't enough- it needs a way to be refilled (relatively) rapidly while in the field. They decide to incorporate DC-Fast into their protocol, by using a switch in the outlet so that it can change from AC to DC. The committee feels that rather than allowing a point of failure in the switch, instead there should be 2 separate circuits, one for AC and one for DC. The Japanese agree and make 2 separate plugs, 1 for AC (using the J1772 design) and an entry separate plug for DC, which they call "go have some tea" in Japanese, which roughly condenses and translates into ChaDeMo. Tesla feels that they can safely make one plug for both AC and DC-Fast, and design it lighter and better than ChaDeMo. They do so. Again, GM is embarrassed that tesla proves them wrong, starts designing the 2nd generation Volt and the Bolt, brings the committee back together, includes VW, BMW, and Mercedes; the committee makes the "Combined Charging System" or CCS that's very much a physical merger of 2 separate plugs(1 J1772 AC and another DC), no switch but in 1 big, bulky, heavy 'plug' kind of shaped like a number 8.

    Tesla's way is better in all ways, with the possible exception of the switch failing. Tesla makes their design available to all, free of charge, but the other guys are too proud to adopt it. Tesla then starts building their DC-Fast charging network, call it a Supercharger, and announce the any other manufacturer can use it, so long as they follow a couple of basic rules. Those rules include not charging the end user at point of sale, proportionally paying for it, and making a vehicle that charges at a rate equivalent with the ability of the charger. (i.e. your car can't be sitting in this fast charger for 4 hours, taking 1/4 the Supercharger's capability, and has to be able to achieve a full charge within 60-70 minutes.)

    That's my summary, and all is from memory so some of the facts my be imprecise.
     
  7. N4HHE

    N4HHE Member

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    Really? Nobody liked the 8088, everybody who actually wrote code lusted for the 68000. PC's had no networking when Apple had AppleTalk over LocalTalk simple twisted pair with a $25 transformer back when an ethernet card cost more than an IBM PC clone. Not to mention how this simple network fueled the laser printer revolution in the office.

    Apple is a founding member of the PCI committee. Apple did 3.5" floppies first (by a long time). Apple did USB first (by a long time). And then with MacOS X Apple became Unix. When 68k ran out of steam Apple migrated to PowerPC with little pain and few compatibility issues. Then when PowerPC ran out of steam Apple once again migrated with little pain to Intel. No other manufacturer has ever pulled off such a stunt, much less twice. Quite frankly the computer market moved to Apple, not the other way around.

    The automobile market will come to Tesla, not the other way around.
     
  8. SpiceWare

    SpiceWare Member

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    3.5" floppy spec was established in 82, drives that used it shipped in 83. Apple standardized on it in 84 for the Mac, followed in 85 by Atari and Commodore for the ST and Amiga. So not really a long time.

    I used to build my own PCs as I ran OS/2 and didn't care to pay the Microsoft Tax on a prebuilt system. PC motherboards supported USB long before Apple adopted it for the iMac. However, they also had all those other legacy ports so the peripheral makers didn't have any incentive to make USB devices - in fact it was actually a detriment for them to do so as the devices wouldn't work with PCs that predated USB. Apple forced the issue when they adopted USB for the iMac because they dropped all the legacy ports.
     
  9. cpa

    cpa Member

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    Boatguy, (trying to get back on point):

    Right now Tesla has two significant advantages when it comes to DC fast charging:

    The first advantage is the speed of charging from the Superchargers. Someone else can correct my fuzzy memory about CHAdeMO, but that is limited to 50A, while the Superchargers start out well in excess of 300A when the battery is low.

    The second advantage is that with the exception of Madison, Wisconsin, every Supercharger location has at least four stalls, with as many as twelve. I have not run the numbers, but I would guess that the mode is somewhere around six or eight. Tesla is also exceptional in responding to repair and maintenance needs of their sites, so that down time is minimal. A recent software update is supposed to have a notification on the touchscreen to inform a driver that there are problems at location Z.

    In general, the other sorts of DC fast charging locations have one or two charging stalls. Many are maintained by third parties, and their track records of maintaining their properties are not half as good as Tesla.

    Five years from now is anybody's guess. But corporate America is loath to spend unnecessary capital if they are not convinced that there will be a decent rate of return. I do think that there will be another DC fast charging standard available for the other manufacturers' vehicles. But I am not convinced that the locations will have 4-10 charging stalls and that their speeds will approach 110-118 kW at initial plug-in.
     
  10. tga

    tga Active Member

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    Most of the Chademo's top out at 50kW, not 50A. The spec goes to 500V/125A (62.5kW), if I remember correctly. Superchargers can top out at 135kw on a nearly dead battery.

    It's better to focus on kW, not amps. kW measures the direct power delivery to the battery, whereas amps will drop as the battery charges and voltage rises, even if the power delivery to the battery in kW doesn't change.
     
  11. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    We also have a BMW i3 BEV that serves as a commuter car and we DC fast charge it fairly regularly (both because the charging is free until later this year and we got in the habit before we had a proper 240 V outlet installed in our garage). The experience is night-and-day from the experience with our Model S. There are actually more CCS chargers than superchargers close to where we live, but all the locations have only a single CCS plug and we frequently have to wait to use it. They also go down for repair frequently. Due to this, my wife refuses to take the i3 on any trips that require DC fast charging.

    In contrast, we almost never have to wait to use a Tesla supercharger since there are multiple plugs at each location. In well over 100 supercharger sessions we've only been unable to use a supercharger once because they were repaving the parking lot at the Salt Lake City location (luckily there was another supercharger nearby in Tooele Utah and we were heading that direction). And when there was a power issue at Harris Ranch, Tesla first had a tow truck waiting to take people to the next supercharger on their route, then they brought in multiple huge diesel generators to power the superchargers until the power issue was fixed and had three brand new superchargers in crates for good measure ( Harris Ranch is not working 11/18/14 - Page 8 ). Every time one of our nearby CCS chargers breaks it just sits there for a week or so until NRG/EVgo gets around to fixing it. So even if someone installs a nation-wide network of CCS or CHAdeMO chargers with multiple plugs per location it still won't be as good as the existing supercharging network unless someone commits to maintaining it as well as Tesla maintains their superchargers.

    Finally, I have both the J1772 and CHAdeMO adapters for our Model S. As long as I bring my UMC (Tesla's name for their EVSE) and the proper adapters, I can use every electric outlet or public charging location that I've encountered on road trips (all CCS chargers I've encountered were ABB units with both CCS plugs and CHAdeMO plugs). If locations with only CCS plugs (or some new standard) become popular, I imagine Tesla will make another adapter to take advantage of it. Other than our portable EVSE, I'm not aware of any adapters available for our i3.
     
  12. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    First, this is certainly a lively forum! Clearly Tesla owners are passionately engaged!

    I'm going to avoid hijacking my own thread and ignore the various discussions of Apple technology. But let me just say that I was there for 7yrs and at the executive level for the last four of those years. I am well versed in both the technology and product transitions. But we should not digress.

    Second, someone questioned my reluctance to plan my trip from charger to charger. Simply put, I don't go on a road trip to visit charging stations. Maybe National Parks, a vacation destination or far flung friends, but not charging stations.

    Third, please keep in mind that I'm trying to replace a Mercedes E350 diesel which is a very comfortable vehicle with good handling, plenty of cargo volume, tons of torque (mountains are a non-issue) and a comfortable cruising range of about 650 miles. It's a very good road trip car. With an 80% charge, a Model S has an effective cruising range of about 200 miles, before allowing for cold weather or mountains (at least the uphill portion of the mountain!). But the Mercedes is an ICE and I would prefer EV.

    I'm expecting EVs to evolve to have smaller, lighter batteries with higher energy density, a very virtuous cycle since lighter batteries which reduce weight also improve range (though on road trips drag is probably the bigger issue). Materials improvements will also help lighten the cars (the i3 has a carbon fiber body and weighs in at 2,600lbs). In any case, the Model S is a very heavy car that should only get lighter and with denser batteries its range should improve.

    My takeaway from all the posts is this:

    - CHAdeMO and DC Fast are effectively 50kw charging stations. The standards support more, but that's de facto was is installed and being installed.

    - Tesla's superchargers are more like 100kw - 135kw, essentially 2 - 2.25x as fast to 80%. That said, the bottom line with the supercharger network is that you'll get 180-200 miles for your 40-50 minute stop (charge time plus overhead). So as I've read elsewhere, on road trips you might as well drive slower because you're just trading road time for charger time by driving faster.

    - Tesla is very good about maintaining the supercharger network. The CHAdeMO and CCS compatible networks are not as reliable or well maintained (also my experience with the i3).

    - A CHAdeMO or CCS adapter is available for Tesla vehicles. This is pretty key since while it may be slower, 50kw is still a good charge rate in a pinch, and more than adequate for a full overnight charge if the destination has one. And of course there are also destinations with Tesla chargers (I was at one two weeks ago), so both the adapters and the destination superchargers effectively expand the network.

    On balance, I'm getting comfortable with the idea of replacing the diesel with a Tesla. There will be some compromises, but they are probably acceptable as a tradeoff for an EV driving experience. The fuel savings argument is nonsense when spending $100K for a car, but the environmental savings is important to me.

    Now what to buy? This is a digression from the original post, but my sense is that the Model S is due for a styling refresh and battery technology upgrade sometime in the next 1-2yrs. The Model S was introduced in 2012 and even Mercedes updates the body style every four years. Battery technology is also moving forward, though Tesla is not going to pre-announce anything on that subject since it would delay sales.

    Your posts have made me comfortable with the idea of using the Tesla as a road trip vehicle, now I'll see how patient I am for Tesla to update the Model S!

    Thank you!
     
  13. pvogel

    pvogel Member

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    Model S got a battery upgrade early last year with the release of the 90kWh battery and ludicrous mode.
     
  14. Cottonwood

    Cottonwood Roadster#433, Model S#S37

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    Let me address a few points:

    I've done many Supercharger trips. The reality is that by planning to arrive at the Supercharger with reasonable charge margin, and only charging enough to do that again at the next Supercharger, I typically drive 100-130 miles between Superchargers and charge for 15-30 minutes. Often, by the time I stretch my legs, get a snack, and get some coffee, I have more charge than I need to get to the next Supercharger.

    Traveling at that pace, it is a rare segment where slowing down my driving between Superchargers results in less total travel time.

    The CHAdeMO adapter is available, but not a CCS. This is not a problem because most sites that support CCS, also have a CHAdeMO plug. I carry the CHAdeMO adapter, and have tested it. I only came close to using it once, in Santa Fe, NM. My travel plans ended up such that Santa Fe was a good overnight, and I just stayed at a hotel with an HPWC. Still, I consider the CHAdeMO a good safety belt, and I always carry it on all trips.

    As a last comment, while the pace of driving the Tesla is a little slower, when I arrive after a day of driving the Supercharger pace, I find that I am much more rested and happy.

    Good Luck!
     
  15. Rocky_H

    Rocky_H Member

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    Pretty good analysis. I think there is a factor that is missing in your considerations about how longer trips work in a Tesla, just because you haven’t done it yet. I wondered how noticeable or cumbersome the charging stops would be at Superchargers when I went on my first trip. That trip was from Boise to Portland Oregon, about 7 hours’ drive. Funny side note story was that my wife had gone on the trip with some friends a little while before in a gas vehicle, and she sent me pictures where they had accidentally found all three of the Supercharger stations on the way when they weren’t even looking for them because they were at the obvious stops in Baker City, Pendleton, and The Dalles about every two hours apart, when they were stopping anyway for food or bathroom breaks.

    Anyway, here is how this usually works. You have this mental picture of having to stand around and wait for 40-50 minutes at every stop. It doesn’t work out that way if you do it right. The stops are usually around two hours apart. So what most Tesla owners do for their travel is alternate short and long stops. So on every other stop, at 4 hours apart, make that a meal stop. You’re still waiting for your food or eating when the car is “ready to go”, so by the time you are done, the car has charged up way extra. Your time waiting for the car was 0 minutes, rather than 40-50 minutes, because you were busy doing something else, not waiting. On the in between stops, two hours from your meal breaks, the car had a lot extra from the meal stop, so you don’t need to refill as much. Those end up being more like 15 to 20 minutes. That is how that worked on our trip to Portland, except we made it long, short, short. We left after work, and when we got to Baker City, we were really hungry for dinner anyway. The car charged up way more than needed while we ate. So our next two stops were about 10-15 minutes, which weren’t really noticeable, as we went in to use the bathroom and walk around from being a little cooped up in the car.
     
  16. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Let me expand on what Cottonwood wrote:
    - driving faster is less efficient, so you use more charge
    - but that means when you arrive at the next Supercharger your battery has less charge in it
    - when the battery has less charge in it (except at the very bottom) the battery can add charge at a higher rate
    - at a charging power of 120kW, if you're driving using a high level of power like 0.5kWh/mi, that would be an effective charging rate of _240mph_
    - for a good proportion of the battery capacity, the rate on an 85kWh+ would be above 90kW, or _180mph at a high level of 0.5kWh/mi
    - therefore extra charge used by driving faster would almost certainly be replaced faster than you can use it
    - therefore driving faster will save time, although you would lose some to extra charging
    - but every Supercharger stop adds a diversion, which adds a time overhead
    - some Superchargers have greater diversions than others
    - also, at a busy Supercharger you might end up as the 2nd car in a pair of Supercharger stalls, limiting your charging rate
    - so you might gain by driving at a lower speed if it allows you to avoid a Supercharger stop
    - but the basic rule is: just drive it
     
  17. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    If you're worried about the tedium of planning out all the supercharger stops along a route then you can automate this with either the nav system in the car or evtripplanner.com (the route planning in the car had some issues when it first came out, but I think most of the issues have been fixed with software updates). I also prefer supercharger-powered road trips to road trips in conventional cars because the charging stops help break the driving up into more manageable chunks. But that is just a personal preference.

    Of course having to go out of your way, plan an overnight stop at a hotel before you would normally want to stop, or even stop at an RV park for a few hours because there aren't superchargers along your preferred route is a much bigger issue. If you take lots of trips in areas not currently covered by superchargers then you might want to wait until you see some progress in those areas here: supercharge.info


    The optimal driving speed to minimize trip time depends a lot on how far apart superchargers are due to how the charging power ramps down as the battery fills up. Here is a thread about this: Optimum Supercharger driving speed

    When Edmunds did a cross country trip, they averaged 38 minutes per stop: 2013 Tesla Model S Coast-to-Coast Road Trip | Edmunds.com Although as Rocky_H points out, if you like to eat at sit-down restaurants on road trips (and can find an acceptable restaurant near a supercharger) then the car usually gets more range than needed before you're finished with your meal so you get into a long stop / short stop rhythm where the short stop is a bathroom break and coffee break with the car once again ready to go when you're done.
     
  18. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    On our trip from DFW to Seattle last July our stops were mostly fifteen minutes or less (not counting lunch or overnight). In winter they'd be longer. This was no different than the ICE, except the driving experience was more relaxing.
     
  19. mkjayakumar

    mkjayakumar Active Member

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    The single most misunderstood aspect of driving an electric car, especially a Tesla, is the time spent on charging. It is very difficult to make someone who has not owned an EV understand that charging is really a non-issue.

    For short-range BEVs like the Leaf, you simply don't take it for long distance drives. Period. For daily driving you always start with a full charge anyway. Public charging should not even be in your planning at all. Charge at home, charge at office (if you have one) and thats it. You would love your Leaf.

    For a Tesla, it goes without saying that for daily driving and commutes, there is no need to do any public charging and you always start with 200+ miles range every day morning. For long distance driving, Superchargers make it a non-issue. After driving 250 miles for 4 hours non-stop, taking a 45 minute break at a Super charger is a non-issue. There is a good chance you will end up spending that much time on bio and food breaks anyway. Most of the time the car will be full (or nearly full) even before you are ready to drive the next leg.

    I found out that this is one issue, that how ever hard you try to explain, it is very difficult to grasp this unless you own a Tesla and experience it for yourself a few times.
     
  20. Boatguy

    Boatguy Member

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    I completely agree. The first question I always get about the i3 is "How long does it take to charge?".


    Yes, this is exactly my usage experience with the i3.

    Agreed. The larger questions I was trying to answer was:

    a) convergence/intersection of Supercharger network with general EV charging infrastructure over the next five years. Would I be driving a Macintosh in a PC world?

    The answer is there will not be convergence, though there is some compatibility through adapters. And yes because the Supercharger network will still be far superior to the general EV charging infrastructure five years from now.


    b) the feasibility of replacing a car with a 650 mile range with a car with a 200-250mile range when traveling in the less frequented parts of the U.S. (e.g., Cottonwood, AZ to Mt. Pleasant UT or San Francisco to Bend, OR via Mendocino, or San Francisco to Portland, OR via Bandon, OR.

    The answer I've gleaned from this thread, and other threads, is a qualified yes. There are some compromises which are the tradeoff for an EV driving experience. In the less traveled/populated areas of the U.S., diesel is readily available for my E350, but EV charging stations are not. A diversion off the main highways (my wife likes spontaneous side trips) may mean not having enough charge to reach the next supercharger. That brings into play destination superchargers, CHAdeMO chargers and RV parks.
     

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