Electrify America charging issues - More RAN stations because I don't want to deal with this nonsense.

RivianXpress

Active Member
Joined
Nov 17, 2020
Messages
41
Reaction score
47
Location
West Coast
Vehicles
Model 3, Sprinter, KTM TPI, BMW R1250GS
Occupation
Retired
https://apple.news/AU6nHW-lpSIydYQqeRIK1BA


"..... First: Unlike with Tesla’s vast Supercharger network, only a tiny fraction of FordPass’ purported 35,000 plugs support DC fast charging. The vast majority remain 240-volt Level 2 chargers -- ideal for overnight home charging, but nearly useless in my book for public fill-ups, unless you’re actually spending six or eight hours on interstate bathroom breaks or shopping at Whole Foods. Secondly, where many Tesla owners continue to receive a year of Supercharging (and previously, “unlimited” free charging) as a perk and incentive to buy, Ford is offering only 250 kilowatts of free DC juice, enough for three to five fill-ups.

I would have been thrilled to pay anything for a fast top-off when I pulled the Mustang Mach-E Premium AWD — with 60 miles of remaining range — into a Target store in Clifton, N.J., on a miserable, rainy night in December. It’s one of nearly a dozen Electrify America (EA) stations in New Jersey, as the Volkswagen-owned EA expands a DC network whose chargers range from 50 kilowatts to a mighty 350 kilowatts. I drove miles out of my way just to check out one of EA’s 150-kilowatt machines, eager to see if the ‘Stang SUV (with an official 270-mile range) could really add 47 miles of range in just 10 minutes on the plug. Ford claims a Mach-E in rear-drive, 300-mile-range form will juice even faster, adding 61 miles in 10 minutes.

The reality at this Target was so wildly off-target that I might as well have gone inside to load up shopping carts with housewares and snacks. Pulling up, I was met with one of the most impressive-looking (non-Tesla) charging arrays I’ve seen in America: Six tall, Electrify America chargers stood sentry, each brandishing two plug-in arms, for a total of 12 DC outlets. (One was out of commission, so make that 10 outlets). Their user-friendly touchscreens flashed ads for Ewan MacGregor’s latest motorcycling adventure. I stuck the charger’s heavy, bulky cord into the Mach-E’s fender-mounted port. The station instantly recognized a “Ford owner” with FordPass, and the charge initiated automatically, without me having to futz with a thing. My phone’s FordPass app began tracking the charge. This is going to be great, I thought: Child’s play, just like charging a Tesla.

If only. Working on my laptop in the driver’s seat, I looked up after 10 minutes, and realized (according to both the app and the Mach-E’s driver’s display) that I’d only added nine miles of range to its 88 kWh, 376-cell lithium-ion battery — nowhere near the 47 miles in 10 minutes that Ford is touting via these 150-kilowatt, Supercharger-style stations.

Hopping from the driver’s seat, I saw the charger screen insisting electricity was being delivered at 74.2 kilowatts. That was only about half the 150-kilowatt rate touted on the machine’s placard, and I would have happily taken it. The actual trickle of juice going into the Ford was 20 kilowatts at best; a fraction of the expected rate, and only about twice as fast as a piddling, 11-kilowatt Level 2 home charger. Ambient temps were in the 40s, and there are always some transmission losses from electrical resistance and heat (typically on the order of 10 to 20 percent) but this was ridiculous.

I plugged into another outlet. Then I moved the Mach-E to another charger further down the row. Next, I called EA’s customer service, where a rep named Justine — working out of Auburn Hills, Mich., the former site of VW’s North American HQ — couldn’t have been more helpful. Justine even rebooted one of the chargers to see if we could pick up the glacial pace. But no dice, fuzzy or otherwise. Justine couldn’t offer any real explanation on what was up, instead promising to get the tech department on the case.

My reporter’s curiosity piqued, I eventually plugged the Mach-E into five of the 10 working outlets, hopping back-and-forth from the driver’s seat into a steady rain, and becoming steadily more frustrated. No matter which plug I tried, the alleged “fast charger” delivered the same weak stream, adding about one mile of range for every minute on the plug. The convenience-factored price of 43 cents per kWh was stiff as well, more than three times the national-average rate of 13.2 cents per kWh for home electricity. If I had hung around long enough, adding 220 miles to the Ford’s “tank” would have cost about $30, more than the price of unleaded gasoline in an SUV that slurps at 20 mpg.

Ultimately, I cut my losses after more than 90 minutes (including time wasted switching plugs), five outlets and a pathetic 76 miles of added range, barely enough to drive for an hour on the highway. I pulled out of Target with the Ford’s battery boosted by 40 percent, showing 136 miles of range — plenty for my trip home to Brooklyn, but again, nowhere near Ford’s claim of a charge from 10% to 80% in 45 minutes.

Of course, one driver’s experience at one bank of chargers isn’t an indictment of the entire network that Ford has partnered with, rather than going the Tesla route and building one of their own. But while I’ve had good experiences at both ChargePoint and EA chargers, I’ve encountered a distressing number of their chargers that are out of service, unable to initiate a charge, or underperforming in charging rates. In contrast, though I’m hardly a regular user, I’ve never plugged into a Tesla Supercharger that didn’t work, first time, every time.

As I wrote in my review, the Mustang Mach-E is one impressive EV, one that stands tall against the Tesla Model Y in most competitive measures. But Tesla’s foresight and investment in its own proprietary network remains a key competitive advantage, right up there with its edge in electric efficiency and range.

While I was standing in the rain at Target, twiddling my thumbs, I had ample time to mull that over — and realize that Ford and the rest still have some catching up to do.





Advertisement

 

MurryR1T

New Member
First Name
Marvin
Joined
Feb 26, 2019
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
Location
Dallas
First Name
Marvin
Vehicles
2017 BMW 740i 2010 Chevrolet Camaro
I saw another report that the eMustang is underperforming with it‘s listed charging. Not sure if that article has all of the details.
 

azbill

Well-Known Member
First Name
Bill
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
320
Reaction score
230
Location
Arizona
First Name
Bill
Vehicles
GMC Sierra, Bolt, Sky
Occupation
Engineer
In this case it is most likely the car, since he used many different dispensers. But I will say that there have been cases where EA was doing maintenance and had to throttle back some sites to 50KW maximum for several weeks. They posted this info on Plugshare for everyone with that App to see. It can also be the case with CCS, that if the cable cooling system is down, that can cause the power to be throttled back by the dispenser.

A couple of other points about issues with this write-up. Even though each dispenser has two cables, only one vehicle can be charged at a time. EA uses two cables to accomodate different charging port locations more easily. So there were actually 6 chargers at this site, not 12.

secondly, I have charged with EA many times, and the power indicated on the charger screen always matches what I see in the car within 1KW, that is basically the display precision. I do know that my car, a Bolt, seems to charge at lower power in cooler temperatures. In the hot Phoenix summers of 100+, I laways see 55-56KW charging when below 50% SOC. But two times recently with temperatures in the 50s, I was only getting 40-45KW, under the same SOC conditions.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
First Name
A. J.
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
583
Location
Virginia/Quebec
First Name
A. J.
Vehicles
Tesla X Extended Range Plus 2019, Lexus, Landcruiser, SR5
Occupation
EE Retired
This same article is referenced in another thread here. I pointed out there that this writer does not seem to know what he is talking about. For example suggesting 10 - 20% loss in a DC fast charger is absurd. So while I don't doubt that EA still has problems I wouldn't take anything this particular article says too seriously.

It seems that a lot of these writers are unaware of the necessity for taper. That is one thing that causes lower than the sticker advertised charging rates. And/or the owner/operator of the station may be dealing with something like a peak utilization rate billing structure from the utility (typically a HUGE surcharge if the peak 30 minute average utilization exceeds some threshold) which causes him to limit the charge the station dispenses to any car if the station is full or it is the wrong time of day. Etc.

The Tesla drivers among us need to be prepared for some level of disappointment with regards to charging our Rivians but I don't think it will be too bad especially keeping in mind that most charging is done at home. Besides which the probability of Rivian joining the Tesla network seems to be rising above the solid 0% we have been assuming for the past couple of years.
 
Last edited:

MadMac

Member
Joined
Aug 17, 2020
Messages
15
Reaction score
23
Location
Washington, D.C.
Vehicles
Jeep Grand Cherokee, Tesla Model 3
As a Tesla owner, I can also report that there are times (temperature, charge level, no preconditioning etc) when Tesla superchargers haven’t given me the level I was hoping for either. And I found myself jumping between stalls hoping to find better...and not. Sometimes the car’s BMS or the station or both just have their reasons. That’s also not to mention the inevitable taper...
 

jimrichard

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2020
Messages
53
Reaction score
40
Location
Colorado/USA
Vehicles
2003 Toyota Tundra, 2017 Infiniti Q50
Occupation
Self
I appreciate this article and I do take it seriously. Real world experience as opposed to lots of theories and calculations from people that like do math. It seems electric vehicles and their charging networks have some work to do. Best to go into the market knowing the pluses and minuses.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
First Name
A. J.
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
583
Location
Virginia/Quebec
First Name
A. J.
Vehicles
Tesla X Extended Range Plus 2019, Lexus, Landcruiser, SR5
Occupation
EE Retired
I wouldn't. What I would do is go to PlugShare and set the filter for CCS > 70 kW. Pick a station and go to the View More tab under Checkins. There you will see what sort of problems people have encountered at the particular station. Then do the same for a Tesla station. You will see that there are indeed problems with the EA network but there are problems, though fewer, with the Tesla network too. As I said in no. 5 if you are coming from Tesla I think you must be prepared for some level of frustration until EA gets up to the Tesla level. A year or two?
 

DucRider

Well-Known Member
First Name
Gary
Joined
Oct 21, 2019
Messages
625
Reaction score
712
Location
rRegon
First Name
Gary
Vehicles
Clarity Electric
Anyone getting their first EV and expecting the fueling of it to be the same as an ICE vehicle will not have those expectations met. The usage pattern and logistics are very different between the two technologies. The concept of not waiting until the "tank" needs filling and then stopping at a public fueling station is very foreign (and difficult to grasp for some). My wife was a skeptic but seven years ago decided she would never want an ICE as a daily driver ever again.

In many ways fueling an EV is easier and more convenient (home charging drives this benefit). Charging away from home generally requires more planning than with an ICE, and indeed the availability, speed, and ease of use of the public charging networks is still somewhat in the "growing pains" phase. Tesla had a sizeable head start and has more of the issues sorted, but the other networks have shown consistent improvement and I expect that will continue.

The charging networks have improved to the point we are completely comfortable ditching our ICE (hybrid) and becoming an all electric household (at least for our 4 wheeled vehicles).
 
Last edited:

Kickaha

Well-Known Member
First Name
Jon
Joined
Dec 27, 2019
Messages
54
Reaction score
58
Location
Seattle
First Name
Jon
Vehicles
2016 Tesla Model X
The concept of not waiting until the "tank" needs filling and then stopping at a public fueling station is very foreign (and difficult to grasp for some).
I cannot stress this enough - even after owning an EV for 4 years, my wife has trouble with this sometimes. New EV owners need to understand this in order for the right expectations to meet reality. As many have said before - planning, planning, planning.

Longer range EVs will help but not eliminate this basic EV ownership fact.
 

manitou202

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
59
Location
Colorado
Vehicles
Taycan Turbo S, Audi E-tron, R1S Launch Edition Reservation
I've charged across multiple EA sites (5 in total) in Colorado, with both my E-tron and my Taycan. Only once have I not been able to achieve a reasonable charging speed. In that specific situation it was during the EA upgrade across the country so my guess is the site was under some sort of maintenance.

In the situation above, this sounds like an issue with the Mach-E. If it was cold and the battery was not pre-heated, it very well could have charged at a low rate. I've had my Model X only trickle around 30-40kW in really cold temperatures in Colorado. This was after the car sat outside all day in freezing temperatures.

Ford probably has some charging gremlins to work out. Unfortunately my guess is so will Rivian. Being an early adopter of an EV startup will require some patience. If you aren't willing to take on some risk then I would hold off until the bugs are worked out.

Charging infrastructure will go through growing pains over the next 3-5 years. Buying any EV will come with some challenges including a Tesla. Driving my Tesla cross-country several times I ran into issues as well. I was always able to charge, but sometimes very slow, or needed to wait for a charger to become available.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
First Name
A. J.
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
583
Location
Virginia/Quebec
First Name
A. J.
Vehicles
Tesla X Extended Range Plus 2019, Lexus, Landcruiser, SR5
Occupation
EE Retired
The concept of not waiting until the "tank" needs filling and then stopping at a public fueling station is very foreign
Not really. Anyone who owns a boat or airplane is familiar with it.

(and difficult to grasp for some).al
That is true. Some people (my wfe for example) simply cannot grasp any thing technical (not that this is really technical). She loves the Tesla but says that she will sell it the day after my number finally gets called.


In many ways fueling an EV is easier and more convenient (home charging drives this benefit).
And as 85% of charging is done at home fueling a BEV is indeed much more convenitent that fueling an ICEer.

Charging away from home generally requires more planning than with an ICE, and indeed the availability, speed, and ease of use of the public charging networks is still somewhat in the "growing pains" phase.
True but let's not scare the people. It really isn't that big a thing unless you are one of those few with a technical block and people with a technical block should not own BEV. Eventually I think the OEMs will be able to dumb them down to the point where anyone can operate them but for now there are people who probably shouldn't.

Tesla had a sizeable head start and has more of the issues sorted...
Tesla, for the moment, represents the Gold Standard. Every new BEV will be compared to what Tesla have done. Road trips with a Tesla aren't really that much different than road trips in an ICE car particularly if the trip is one you make on a regular basis. In either you know where the convenient places to refuel are, what amenities at those places, where alternates are located should you prefer an amenity at one over those at another or should weather or towing require an extra fuel stop. There is a difference in the BEV. It has much more sophisticated displays of ones "fuel condition" (as pilots call it) than the ICE vehicles do. Thus a familiar road trip really doesn't require any planning at all. Check the weather, check the charge (may drivers charge normally to 70% at home because that's plenty for most commuting and around town driving but will top up to 90% or even above for a road trip) and go.

A road trip to a new destination takes a bit more planning. But it is only necessary to acquire the same sort of information that the driver of a familiar route would have as listed above and there are many ways to acquire this information. The often recommended ABRP augmented with PlugShare is probably the most convenient. If you are a pilot there is nothing new here. For the rest it's going to be a little different that what you are used to so get used to it. Now! You can't drive your R1T or R1S but planning some of the trips you will take with it are the next big thing.

The Tesla drivers here can assure you that this isn't nearly the big thing that the FUD merchants have (and still do, to some extent) try to make it out to be. So the real question here is as to how close Rivian will come to the gold stardard Tesla has implemented. There are really two parts to comfortable fuel management during a road trip. The first, of course, is confidence that fuel is out there and the second is that the vehicle's tools for communication of fuel availability and fuel condition to the driver are accurate. The first part of this completely depends on EA (and other operators). We already know that the other networks don't match Tesla's but it seems they are pretty close. The second part depends mostly on Rivian but to some extent on EA, etc. as well. In the Tesla there is a display that shows in real time what your fuel consumption from departure to destination was estimated to be when you departed, what it has actually been up to where you are at the moment and what it is projected to be at the destination. This display is the driver's best friend. He keeps going as long as he is comfortable with the destination margin number. If that goes uncomfortably low he pushes a button on his map display and every Supercharger on it lights up showing the number of available stalls. He taps one of those and an route is laid in to it.

Observation: That utilization graph might, as far as the SO is concerned, just as well be a Feynman diagram. It means nothing to her. She is not alone.
Question 1: Will Rivian have an equivalently useful energy management display?
Answer: I expect they will.
Question 2: Will Rivian have the ability to show all nearby chargers and the avaiable stalls?
Answer 2: Not so sure about that as it depends on getting the info from the station operator. That information is out there from EA but I dont' really know whether Rivian will be able to integrate it in useful form and I don't know about EvGo, Circuit Electrique....

We do know that the EA network does not quite match up to the SC network and so appreciate that things won't be quite as convenient. But i really don't feel that we will have nettlesome problems charging our Rivians. Don't let people scare you.
 

ajdelange

Well-Known Member
First Name
A. J.
Joined
Aug 1, 2019
Messages
1,169
Reaction score
583
Location
Virginia/Quebec
First Name
A. J.
Vehicles
Tesla X Extended Range Plus 2019, Lexus, Landcruiser, SR5
Occupation
EE Retired
I've had my Model X only trickle around 30-40kW in really cold temperatures in Colorado. This was after the car sat outside all day in freezing temperatures.
That is by design and for the protection of the battery. You would also have noted that regen was fully or partially restricted. Had you kept monitoring (or used TeslaFi) you would have seen the charge rate increase as the battery was warmed during the charge. Had you asked the car to navigate to the SC it would have automatically prewarmed the battery to the point that it was ready to accept a higher charging rate upon arrival at the SC. You would also have noticed the charge rate tapering as the battery got into higher SoC. This is also done in order to maximize battery life.

Once again the pertinent question here is as to whether Rivian has equally sophisticated BMS algorithms and once again the answer is that we do not know but rather expect that they do.
 

manitou202

Member
Joined
Nov 21, 2020
Messages
17
Reaction score
59
Location
Colorado
Vehicles
Taycan Turbo S, Audi E-tron, R1S Launch Edition Reservation
That is by design and for the protection of the battery. You would also have noted that regen was fully or partially restricted. Had you kept monitoring (or used TeslaFi) you would have seen the charge rate increase as the battery was warmed during the charge. Had you asked the car to navigate to the SC it would have automatically prewarmed the battery to the point that it was ready to accept a higher charging rate upon arrival at the SC. You would also have noticed the charge rate tapering as the battery got into higher SoC. This is also done in order to maximize battery life.

Once again the pertinent question here is as to whether Rivian has equally sophisticated BMS algorithms and once again the answer is that we do not know but rather expect that they do.
Understood. But not everyone has time to pre-warm the battery prior to supercharging. An EV sitting in freezing temperatures for 10+ hrs while skiing and then driving 20 minutes to a Supercharger will not be warm. It happens.
 

azbill

Well-Known Member
First Name
Bill
Joined
Jun 8, 2020
Messages
320
Reaction score
230
Location
Arizona
First Name
Bill
Vehicles
GMC Sierra, Bolt, Sky
Occupation
Engineer
Question 2: Will Rivian have the ability to show all nearby chargers and the avaiable stalls?
Answer 2: Not so sure about that as it depends on getting the info from the station operator. That information is out there from EA but I dont' really know whether Rivian will be able to integrate it in useful form and I don't know about EvGo, Circuit Electrique....
I have the EA, EVGO and ChargePoint Apps on my phone, they all show charger availability on them. In fact ChargePoint and EVGO have integrated their networks with this info, including starting a charge and payment. ChargePoint works with Apple Carplay so I can display it on my screen in the car, but EA has not integrated with Carplay. GM navigation can show all stations, but only ChargePoint and EVGO have availability indicated, since they have worked with GM on that feature. Although using the display on the phone is less convienient, the data is all available on my phone today.

This is another plug for enabling Carplay for Rivian.
 

Advertisement





 


Advertisement
Top