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

kanundrum

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Some more charging data points and taper info on the Mach E

How Fast Can It Charge? | Mustang MachE

Watched this earlier as I sent it to a friend who is getting their Mach E this weekend. I haven't see any Mach E at peak 150kw charging yet as stated from Ford. I wonder if they will need a OTA updated to enable pre-conditioning etc.





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slawwach

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Rather than a comment here I have a question: Is the present state of the EA system such that you would have concerns with respect to a road trip in your Rivian?
I use EA quite regularly and I don't have any concerns. Yes, sometimes a plug won't work, but there is always at least 4 at the location.
 
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https://apple.news/AhG4W3ZC2S2K0Pgx-XuGEgQ


What’s Missing in the Electric-Vehicle Revolution: Enough Places to Plug In


As dozens of new battery-powered, plug-in car models come to market, roadtrippers who bought anything but a Tesla are discovering that America’s charging infrastructure isn’t ready for prime time


Bradley Wilkinson is the owner of a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, and the kind of electric-vehicle diehard who knows how to squeeze every last mile of range out of his vehicle.


Even so, during his most recent road trip, from Tampa, Fla., back home to Fort Carson, Colo., he spent about 58 hours on the road. In a gasoline-powered vehicle, on average, the 1,900-mile journey would take about 30. His relatively sluggish pace was due to his need to regularly power up the Bolt’s battery at a “fast” charger—so called because they’re many times faster than typical home chargers.


Less experienced EV owners report far bigger inconveniences than Mr. Wilkinson’s. Those include: too few charging stations, too much demand at the stations that are available, broken chargers, confusing payment systems, exorbitant electricity rates, and uncertainty over how long their cars need to charge.


W hile EVs can be powered up at home, industry analysts and academics believe that a fast-charging infrastructure is essential to getting beyond their current limited adoption. This next wave of slightly-less-early adopters is critical to a global automotive industry betting heavily on battery power.


Yet so far, only one carmaker has offered a reassuring pitch about conveniently and reliably recharging on the go: Tesla. And Tesla’s fast-charging technology doesn’t work on non-Tesla cars.


Building the requisite charging infrastructure for the rest of the EV universe will be expensive. The Biden administration has proposed building a network of 500,000 chargers in the next five years, which would cost billions. The fact that many believe such a government investment is required shows just how little faith many industry insiders have in the ability of private enterprise to solve this problem. One issue: Building out the nation’s charging infrastructure might not be profitable.


Say what you will about the fit and finish of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s EVs, or his over-the-top promises of imminent self-driving technology, the one thing his company got right from its early days is charging, says Hemant K. Bhargava, director of the Center for Analytics and Technology at UC Davis. Tesla built a nationwide fast-charging infrastructure for its vehicles even before its cars were widely adopted.


During the development and rollout of Tesla’s car-and-charger platform, the company offered to allow other companies to use the patents on its charging standards and equipment, but none took it up on the offer. While Tesla offered “open source” charging technology, using it meant signing off on terms the world’s biggest automakers were unwilling to accept.


The world’s automakers collectively adopted a competing standard in the U.S., making their vehicles incompatible with Tesla’s. (Notably, the reverse isn’t true: With an adapter, Teslas can charge at nearly all fast-charging stations.)


In the automobile’s earliest days, motorists couldn’t always be sure a fueling station would be available when they needed it. But we no longer think about fuel availability when we shop for conventional cars. In 2019, there were approximately 128,000 retail gas stations in the U.S. Adding up every kind of fast-charging station in the U.S., there are still only 4,890 of them, according to the Department of Energy.


Traditional car makers, with their sights set on a battery-only future, are aware of the charging problem. One effort to match Tesla’s superchargers has resulted in Electrify America, a nationwide network of fast-charging stations. Its creator, Volkswagen, agreed to invest $2 billion as part of the settlement with the U.S. government and California over its Dieselgate emissions-testing scandal. Other nationwide networks such as ChargePoint and EVGo, which primarily offer the slower sort of chargers, are now adding fast-charge technology. (The kind of charging that happens at home tops out at a maximum of 7.2 kw. Fast charging is 50kw and up.)


The result, for EV drivers who wish to take their vehicles on road trips—as well as the many city-dwelling EV owners who are unable to charge at home—is a patchwork of stations that many say is improving but still needs work.


In a survey of 3,500 EV drivers conducted in September and October 2020 by EV advocacy group Plug In America, more than half reported having problems with public charging. These problems were worse for respondents who drove non-Tesla vehicles; almost 60% of those reported issues. The most common complaint was a non-functional charger.


On a recent drive to Key West, Fla., from his home of Raleigh, N.C., Chris Maxwell found that out of 31 stops at fast chargers—all but one in the Electrify America network—one in five had problems, and were either completely inoperable or only charged at half their rated speed. (He was towing a heavy trailer, so he only got 120 miles per charge on his Audi e-tron SUV, hence all the stops.) Even with all the hiccups, the Electrify America network is far more reliable than it was even just a year ago, says Mr. Maxwell.


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A lso, charging stations, unlike gas stations, aren’t designed to accommodate cars with trailers. “The charging station at Charlotte in particular is kind of the bane of my existence,” he says. Because of its physical configuration, this station is a tricky place to charge a vehicle that has a trailer attached.


Think of Tesla, a vertically integrated platform in control of the technology in both its vehicles and chargers, like Apple, which controls everything from its microchips to its app store, says Prof. Bhargava. The rest of the automakers are like the many manufacturers of Android phones, he says.


Only in the current charging environment, there’s no Google to direct all those manufacturers. For starters, each EV model’s battery can have a different capacity and charge time. In addition, every automaker must interpret a set of open standards for the plug type, charging protocols and payment methods. Even when chargers are fully functional, issues can arise such as plugs becoming unseated, chargers rebooting, and cars and chargers having trouble communicating, all of which can interrupt a charging session or lead to longer charge times.


Robert Barrosa, senior director of sales and marketing at Electrify America, says his company registers every failed charging session initiated by a customer, and attempts to find patterns across different models of chargers and vehicles.


Many stakeholders—from automakers and charging companies to utilities and state and federal agencies—have an interest in a reliable national network of fast chargers, says Mark Wakefield, a managing director and automotive consultant at AlixPartners. But if the sole source of income for these charging stations is from dispensing electricity, he adds, it doesn’t appear they’re a viable business.


According to an analysis AlixPartners conducted last year, the average fast-charging station, charging market price for electricity, would take 20 to 25 years to pay off its initial investment. Part of the problem is that when in use, a single fast-charging stall can draw the equivalent of a whole neighborhood’s electricity needs. So it can be very expensive to connect a station with up to a dozen individual chargers to the local electrical grid, and secure enough energy supply.


Tesla offsets the cost of its fast-charging network through sales of vehicles and lucrative regulatory credits, and has only recently started turning a profit after years of losses. And Electrify America’s network was part of Volkswagen’s settlement. But these two means of paying for a fast-charging network aren’t the only ones, says Katherine Stainken, policy director at Plug In America.


An alternative is to use the federal grant money from the Biden administration to encourage private businesses to set up, and partially fund, their own charging stations. For example, a restaurant on an interstate or in an area with a high density of EVs could apply for funding, then chip in some of its own money, and perhaps also partner with a private fast-charging network company, in order to build a charging station. (The restaurant’s incentive would be that a fast charger could increase business while drivers wait.)


EVs currently make up around 2% of vehicles sold each year in the U.S., and the Department of Energy says more than 80% of EV charging happens at home. More than half of Americans live in single-family dwellings where, in theory, an EV could be charged, and 63% of all U.S. housing units of every kind have a garage or carport. But any EV owners planning a trip far from home, or who can’t charge at home, must rely on apps to plot an efficient route and ensure they don’t get stranded.


Chargeway, for instance, automatically calculates where drivers should stop on a given route in order to spend the least amount of time charging their vehicles. The company gathers detailed information about how fast chargers can “fuel” any given vehicle—which depends both on the type of vehicle and the capacity of the charger, says Chargeway Chief Executive Matt Teske, a veteran of the auto industry. Mr. Wilkinson, the Bolt driver, uses a similar, competing app, called A Better Route Planner.


The mindset required to make EV road trips, or even just drive an EV regularly if you can’t charge it at home, is markedly different from what Americans are used to. And that probably won’t change until we have a critical mass of charging stations.


“A gas-powered Mustang might get 350 miles to a tank,” says Mr. Teske, “but nobody talks about range anxiety in that vehicle.”


—For more WSJ Technology analysis, reviews, advice and headlines, sign up for our weekly newsletter.


Write to Christopher Mims at [email protected]


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W hile EVs can be powered up at home, industry analysts and academics believe that a fast-charging infrastructure is essential to getting beyond their current limited adoption. This next wave of slightly-less-early adopters is critical to a global automotive industry betting heavily on battery power.


Y et so far, only one carmaker has offered a reassuring pitch about conveniently and reliably recharging on the go: Tesla. And Tesla’s fast-charging technology doesn’t work on non-Tesla cars.


Building the requisite charging infrastructure for the rest of the EV universe will be expensive. The Biden administration has proposed building a network of 500,000 chargers in the next five years, which would cost billions. The fact that many believe such a government investment is required shows just how little faith many industry insiders have in the ability of private enterprise to solve this problem. One issue: Building out the nation’s charging infrastructure might not be profitable.


Say what you will about the fit and finish of Tesla CEO Elon Musk’s EVs, or his over-the-top promises of imminent self-driving technology, the one thing his company got right from its early days is charging, says Hemant K. Bhargava, director of the Center for Analytics and Technology at UC Davis. Tesla built a nationwide fast-charging infrastructure for its vehicles even before its cars were widely adopted.
 

sheydon

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Not really. Anyone who owns a boat or airplane is familiar with 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.
As a EV newbie here - does Tesla or anyone crowdsource 'user experience' at individual charging stations to inform future potential users? Could Rivian do that?

So, in this story, the fact that this user wasn't receiving a super-fast charge - that should be knowable by Rivian - and thus they could use that information to better inform / equip other users looking at that station.

Is that happening today by anyone?
 

Gshenderson

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As a EV newbie here - does Tesla or anyone crowdsource 'user experience' at individual charging stations to inform future potential users? Could Rivian do that?

So, in this story, the fact that this user wasn't receiving a super-fast charge - that should be knowable by Rivian - and thus they could use that information to better inform / equip other users looking at that station.

Is that happening today by anyone?
Download the PlugShare app. It allows you to enter comments about each station you use which get shared with other users. A Better Route Planner is another app that may support that, but I’ve not used it.
 

DucRider

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As a EV newbie here - does Tesla or anyone crowdsource 'user experience' at individual charging stations to inform future potential users? Could Rivian do that?

So, in this story, the fact that this user wasn't receiving a super-fast charge - that should be knowable by Rivian - and thus they could use that information to better inform / equip other users looking at that station.

Is that happening today by anyone?
Plugshare is a crowdsourced app and a staple for EV drivers on station status, reliability, accessibility, etc.

Your reference to not receiving a super fast charge could have been referencing either the Bolt or the Audi with the trailer.

The Bolt is not capable of anything above 55 kW, and then only briefly. This is not a charging network issue but a vehicle/design issue. Unfortunately, the newly refreshed Bolt (and new Bolt EUV) have the same charging speed limitation. As a comparison, the Model 3 can do ~5x that at 250 kW.

The story doesn't have nearly enough information to even guess at the reduced speed the Audi driver was reporting. If done in the winter, charging rate is often drastically reduced (low battery temps dictate slower charging speeds) Vehicles BMS system will curtail charging rates under these circumstances and some provision for heating the batteries is required. Tesla has a system/software that heats the batteries while you are driving to provide optimal battery temps when you get to the Supercharger (if you put the Supercharger in the nav destination). The recent Rivian video on Rivians charge at well below zero temps at very high amperages shows that they are addressing this issue as well ("more details loser to launch" of course).

While it is certain that part of the issues are with the charging equipment, vehicle design and user knowledge play a significant part as well. As an example, Bolts are know to have issues with EA equipment due to a charge port design that will not allow a charging session to be initiated. The liquid cooled cables are heavy and require users to hold the nozzle/cable "just so" to relieve some of the tension. Once the session is initiated, it generally is not a problem (you don't have to stand there holding it the entire time).

Rivian seems to be doing extensive real world testing. Only time will tell what users will experience. A few dozen test vehicles can never replicate the variety of circumstances that thousands of users will experience. But they seem to be diligent about getting it right.
 

Rivian-WI

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Plugshare observation.
I was checking out Plugshare online in my local area. I noticed there was an entry for the Gander Mtn store. It said there was a 'wall' outlet in the parking lot on a light pole. I am guessing that unless there is sign there that says you can use it, it would be consider theft to plug-in there.

Makes me wonder just how accurate some of those sites (wall and Nema 14-50) are and how legal they are.
 

CommodoreAmiga

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Plugshare observation.
I was checking out Plugshare online in my local area. I noticed there was an entry for the Gander Mtn store. It said there was a 'wall' outlet in the parking lot on a light pole. I am guessing that unless there is sign there that says you can use it, it would be consider theft to plug-in there.

Makes me wonder just how accurate some of those sites (wall and Nema 14-50) are and how legal they are.
Yea that’s an observation I’ve also had. Some EV owners — especially early adopters — can be a little pushy and take a “better to beg forgiveness than ask permission” approach.
 

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Plugshare observation.
I was checking out Plugshare online in my local area. I noticed there was an entry for the Gander Mtn store. It said there was a 'wall' outlet in the parking lot on a light pole. I am guessing that unless there is sign there that says you can use it, it would be consider theft to plug-in there.

Makes me wonder just how accurate some of those sites (wall and Nema 14-50) are and how legal they are.
I always have the filter setup to not show wall chargers. They are pretty much useless unless it’s at a hotel you plan to spend a couple of days at. You only get 2-3 miles of charge per hour from a wall charger. I do the same with NEMA 14-50 and home chargers, and only turn those on if there are no other options.

Bottom line is the filtering tool in PlugShare is really useful, as you can also filter on connector type, kW capacity, etc.
 

Mark K

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Plugshare observation.
I was checking out Plugshare online in my local area. I noticed there was an entry for the Gander Mtn store. It said there was a 'wall' outlet in the parking lot on a light pole. I am guessing that unless there is sign there that says you can use it, it would be consider theft to plug-in there.

Makes me wonder just how accurate some of those sites (wall and Nema 14-50) are and how legal they are.
The Home Depot near me has an outlet on a light pole in the parking lot but the current to the outlet can be switched off from inside. When I wanted to use it for a power tool, I had to ask someone inside to turn it on. Obviously it wouldn't be available for anyone to plug in for car charging.
 

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I think gas stations/stops are going to have to subsidize them a bit to widen the reach. On the Taycan cannonball run it wasn't too bad, they just had an issue with it being warmed up and requesting over 270kw
 

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