EV Charging

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Charging Information

See also Zero Aftermarket Chargers

Start with David Herron's article What charging networks exist? ChargePoint? Plugshare? and the Wikipedia article on Charging Networks

Finding Stations
Benswing Rich has a lot of experience with finding charging at RV parks- see his videos on Youtube about his rides across the USA.
With regards to finding reliable J1772 "J-Plug" stations, he says:
ChargePoint is definitely my favorite. In large part because I can track charging via their app. That way I know when my charge is done or has been interrupted.
I rely on PlugShare reviews to inform me which stations are unreliable and that has worked well for me.
I also like ClipperCreek, Inc. chargers and SemaCharge because they sometimes are higher powered (7.2kW).
Problem stations (for Elcons) were old style GE Wattstations (the new ones work fine) and Eaton. But I think both work with the Supercharger v2.
Blink stations have a 50% success rate over 4 years of long distance journeys, so I avoid them like the plague. Also, they are underpowered even when they work.
Chargepoint, Volta, and Semaconnect are networks that show you whether a station is in use or available before you get there.
Semacharge/Semaconnect: https://network.semaconnect.com/mobile/#map
Volta does not show status on the web, just the app.
Chargepoint shows its own, Blink, SemaConnect, and eVgo stations https://na.chargepoint.com/charge_point

ChargePoint RFID tags are worth having; they let you activate free non-networked stations (many owners decline to renew with chargepoint) https://na.chargepoint.com/register

E-Touring meta-map

Togo has started a Google MyMaps collaborative with links to plugshare. The goal is to include the best 2-3 locations in each area. Unless they are the only stations in town, omit the car dealers, the onesie stations, the poorly maintained ones, the limited hour locations. Contact via EMF for collaborator status to add the stations in the areas you know.

PlugShare

PlugShare (US/Canada) is an information-sharing service/website/app for EV owners, EV Networks, and those making their home EV chargers available to the public or on a request basis.

Their service is very good for cross-service discoverability and a certain amount of basic route/travel planning.

The filter feature is good at pulling out the good vs the bad, for example, showing just the J-plugs (if you have rapid charging) or just the Wall outlets (if you are have slow charging and are looking for a destination to be a while).

A particularly useful feature of PlugShare is its ability to Check-In and to see whether other EVs have had success or failure charging recently.

ChargeMap

ChargeMap is a service similar to ChargePoint for finding stations on various charging networks, especially in Europe.

Their service is very good for cross-service discoverability and a certain amount of basic route/travel planning and their Pass which does payment for several charging networks.

EV-Charging

EV-Charging is a site and an app focusing on Europe. It shows very few stations in some countries, like Italy and Greece.

RV Parks and Campgrounds

Various apps exist (for the US), such as RV Parky.

Fee Rate Problems
RV park owners are accustomed to renting their spaces to large vehicles for days at a time with high but variable power demands.
  • Typically, they'll charge between $15 and $25 USD for an overnight stay.
  • Most owners approach the EV charging question as a variation on this fee schedule.
If you walk into an RV park office and ask to charge, they'll quote a figure like $10 or higher.
  • For an electric motorcycle, this is an absurd figure, a markup of usually 1000% over the cost of electricity.
Negotiating Problem
The RV park community is generally not aware of some basic facts we live with:
  1. Electric motorcycles exist.
  2. How small the battery is compared to any electric car.
  3. You'll be able to charge in less than an hour.
Explaining all of this wastes precious charging time and might irritate them.
Suggested Approach
  • Don't call ahead unless absolutely necessary; this allows them to frame the discussion in terms of their by-the-book rates.
  • When walking up to the owner or employee, the only phrase out of your mouth should refer only be:
    I'd like to plug in for less than an hour and use maybe 8-10kWh of electricity.
  • Pause to let that sink in and let them look at your vehicle while they grasp how small the request is, and how they aren't risking losing a larger customer.
  • This sidesteps a lot of negotiation and let's them feel like they're being generous by asking for a smaller fee or waiving it entirely.

Charging Networks

ChargePoint (US)

ChargePoint is a large EV charging network with good reliability, and particularly an excellent software service for knowing whether a station is working and taken before you arrive, queuing to use a station, and for monitoring a charge remotely while your EV is using a station.

ChargePoint stations are often found in rows at major shopping centers, which is convenient for those who have dual-J-plug rapid-charging capability.

Prices for ChargePoint stations are set by location, and vary widely, and may be priced per hour, per KWh, or both.

SemaConnect

SemaConnect seems to be common in smaller towns, such as Watsonville, Seaside, Carmel Valley. Prices for electricity are often as much as 3X the retail price (e.g. Gilroy) but are sometimes free (downtown Watsonville).

EVgo (US)

NRG EVgo highlights their DC fast charging which is inaccessible to Zero owners for now. Their AC charging is relatively reliable, but as a second tier service, it does not get the attention that the DC charging gets, so your experience may vary. Usually the AC charging stations are at opposite ends of the row, making Dub-J charging difficult.

Blink (US)

Blink is an early EV charging network startup company that had reliability and rollout troubles. Their chargers often work serviceably but with low power capacity in the 3kW range with a mis-calibrated J1772 signal.

SunCountry Highway

Southern Canada coast to coast, and scattered high-amp J-plugs and T-plugs in other places.

Primary website does not seem to have a station locator, but mobile site does: [[1]]

Greenlots

Mostly remote towns, e.g. [Fortuna]. Can activate by swiping a credit card, or get an account. There's an app too.

Regional Networks

coastal Oregon and Washington: West Coast Electric Highway aka Aerovironment aka AV aka evsolutions-

$19.99/month gives you unlimited charging, or you can pay $4/session.

https://www.evsolutions.com/Upload/Evnetwork/WCEH_Map.pdf

Mobile Apps

Cellular Access Notes
  • Cellular connections on the road can be poor, and cell batteries run down rapidly in poor-connectivity areas.
  • It is wise to locate and mark potential charging sites before you depart, while you have a good connection, and to carry phone-charging equipment along, such as 12V SAE-to-USB or SAE-to-cigarette-lighter-to-USB adapters.
  • Charging on the motorcycle uses very little power in comparison to riding: charging a phone will hurt your range much much less than other factors such as speed, riding position, and tire pressure
Offline Maps
  • Google Maps
    Allows rectangular areas of your choice to be downloaded in advance of the trip, and allows .
  • HERE WeGo
    Allows pre-downloads for offline use by whole states or countries.
    Has offline routing capability if the map has been preloaded.
Planning Apps
Apps that tell you if a station is in use before you get there:

Apps that find stations on various networks with some or no indication of availability:

  • PlugShare (shows availability for a very few networks) (also offers activation and payment for some networks)
  • PlugSurfing (Europe)
  • ChargePoint shows their own stations, but also Blink, SemaCharge, eVgo, and AV stations

In addition to the apps mentioned above, please see David Herron's excellent article on the subject.

Etiquette

Overview
David Herron's Charging Etiquette covers a great deal of the issues involved with EV charging as a social problem.

Charging Tags

Take Charge And Go Hangers
"Take Charge and Go EV Charging Hangers are an excellent way to indicate to other Electric Vehicle drivers know how long you will be charging and to share proper etiquette. Simply plug your car in with the hanger on the charging port or dashboard of your car and let others know when you can share the spot."
Take Charge And Go Etsy shop with bundled packs of tags
EV Frisbee
Put this on your "dash" to give contact info and basic charging estimates for others to notice.
EV-Frisbee etiquette website
EV Etiquette Kit
evEtiquette Etsy shop

Equipment

Review various EVSEs by manufacturer and model...

Troubleshooting

Typical EVSE safeguards include RCD and GFCI.

A typical J1772 station will trigger a fault at 30mA of imbalance between L1/L2. Sometimes this applies to a ChargePoint-built station with a level-1 charging outlet when connecting both the level 1 and level 2 outlets to the same EV, but this is an EVSE implementation problem with the wiring, not inherent to such designs.

References
Re: Parallelling two J-plug for 7kW+ SINGLE charger

Other EVs

EV Charging Status Field Guide

Charging Indicators
Manufacturer Model L2 Charging Rate (kW) Location Appearance In Progress Not Charging Notes
BMW ActiveE 6.6 (governed to 5.5) Bottom of center rear-view mirror Blue light Blinking Off
i3 3.3-7.7 Inside the charge port flap Colored lights Blue flashing
Green on
charging complete
White on
charging cable can be disconnected
Lamp white
charging cable can be connected or removed.
Lamp flashes yellow
charging process is being initialized.
Lamp blue
charging process is started at a set time.
Lamp flashes blue
charging process active.
Lamp flashes red
fault in the charging process.
Lamp green
charging process completed.
When the vehicle is locked
the indicator lamp goes out after some time.
When the vehicle is unlocked
the blue indicator lamp flashes continuously.
i8
Chevy Spark 3.3 Dashboard Green light Solid Blinking
Volt Gen1 3.0 Dashboard Green light
Solid
3kw
Blinking
slowing to completion
Off
Long flashing light
delayed charging
This should never be used in a public charging spot when others may be waiting.
Volt Gen2 and 3 3.3 Dashboard Green light Solid Blinking
Number of blinks (1-5) show which 20% of charge range
Long flashing light
delayed charging
This should never be used in a public charging spot when others may be waiting.
Bolt 6.6 Dashboard Green light Flashing Green Solid Green
Long Flashing Green
delayed charging
This should never be used in a public charging spot when others may be waiting.
Solid Yellow
either starting charge or fault detected.
Fisker Karma 3.4 Instrument cluster On Off
The charge level indicator is on the instrument cluster.
It will reach maximum and the charge indicator will turn off.
Ford C-Max Energi 3.3 Around charge port Blue ring Lights up in four blue quartered segments Off
Focus Electric 6.6
TH!NK Dashboard Two green lights Both on and linked Only one on
Fiat 500e 6.6 Dashboard Row of LEDs Single LED flashing Off
2 outer LEDs flashing
Pending
2 outer LEDs flashing rapidly
Error
Solid LEDs
charge level (5 total)
Honda Fit EV 6.6 Next to the charge port Green LED On Off
Flashing
the charging rate has been reduced because of a problem.
Mercedes E-Class 10 None Must check station
B-Class
Mitsubishi i-MiEV 3.3 Dashboard Red electric plug symbol On Off
Nissan Leaf 3.3-6.6 Dashboard Three blue lights Any flashing All on or all off
One flashing light
0-33%
One solid, one flashing
33% to 66%
Two solid, one flashing
66% to 100%
Three solid, or all off
100%
Smart Fortwo ED 3.3 None The only indication is on the Tesla UMC
Tesla Roadster Inside of charge port Lighting around Flashes amber Solid green
Model S 10 (20 with dual charger) Around the charge port Multicolored light Pulses green Solid green If the vehicle is locked during charging, the charge port light does not illuminate but the vehicle continues to charge. ref
Model X
Model 3
Toyota Plug-in Prius 3.3 Next to the charge port Amber electric plug icon Off
RAV4 EV 10 At the bottom of the back side window above the charge port on the driver's side of the car Two amber lights Both solid or off
Victory Empulse 3.6 Instrument cluster LCD display Time, kW, amps Off or shows full
Zero S,SR,DS,DSR 1.3 (3.8 or more with a tank J plug) Bottom of instrument cluster Green light Blinking Solid or off
Usually only level 1 charging.
LCD display shows time remaining to full.
Sometimes found with an accessory charger of varying power level.
There may be cables leading into the underside of the bike or a tank plug.
FX,FXS 0.7