My experiences with the Zoe

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jonescg
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My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Tue, 04 Jun 2019, 09:12

https://thedriven.io/2019/08/09/from-pe ... EIoYeliysI

Here are a few photos from our trip to Esperance from Perth (700 km there and... 200 km back. More on that later)
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by dgh853 » Tue, 04 Jun 2019, 10:37

Battery charging impossible! That's not an error message you ever want to see.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Tue, 04 Jun 2019, 11:05

The sound of a TIG welder moments before the charge failure isn't ideal either...
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Tue, 04 Jun 2019, 11:16

So a couple of basic questions answered:

How far would it go on a charge? Well at 98 km/h (set the cruise control) I reckon 200 km was the hard limit. Hyden to Ravey was 195 km and we squeaked in with less than 5 km on the range remaining dial. Ravey to Esperance was 190 km, and we sat on 100 km/h for this and we squeaked in with -- km on the clock!

The economy at this pace was about 190-200 Wh/km (averaged about 195). Which I have to say was pretty heavy. We were fully expecting it to be at least 170 Wh/km, and when travelling at 70 or less that's certainly the case. So the aerodynamics of the chassis leave a lot to be desired.

How long did it take to charge at 32 A, 3-phase? When it charged, it predicted 2 hours 30 mins to go from empty to full, but it was probably a little quicker than this. We had several charge interruptions related to the above error screen which meant we could never really know. On 10 A it would take 20 hours.

Why the charge failure? No idea, but it did progressively get worse over the weekend. Whenever we were charging at 32 A, particularly after a long drive, it would fail some 20-30 mins in. After cooling for a while it appeared to work again. However by the time we got into Ravensthorpe on the way home, it refused to take a charge at 32 A. The 10 A charger worked, but we didn't have a spare 20 hours.

Melville Renault have been very good about it, and are arranging to have the car collected and brought back to Perth for inspection. No shade on them for being so accommodating, but unfortunately this car has a pretty serious problem which wouldn't have been obvious without taking it on a long trip. Hope it's a permanent repair...
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by adelaide-ev » Tue, 04 Jun 2019, 21:06

Geeeez, that economy is worse at speed than my little aerodynamic brick of an iMiev.
Shame about the charging issues.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by antiscab » Wed, 05 Jun 2019, 01:14

I wonder if the battery may have been faulty. Our Zoe didn't struggle to get past 200km on our trip, though not sure how much of the esperance run is up hill

Overseas BCI failures have had battery replacements
Matt
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1998 prius - needs Batt
1999 Prius - needs batt
2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Wed, 05 Jun 2019, 08:17

antiscab wrote:
Wed, 05 Jun 2019, 01:14
I wonder if the battery may have been faulty. Our Zoe didn't struggle to get past 200km on our trip, though not sure how much of the esperance run is up hill

Overseas BCI failures have had battery replacements
BCI error is a pretty general one - could be anything from the socket to the cells.
Kalamunda to Esperance is pretty darn flat, and there was almost no wind. Temperatures were between 10 and 25'C, so perfect EV driving weather.
If your recent long trip in the Zoe involved speeds less than 80 km/h I wouldn't be surprised, but these legs were all 110 zones from the moment you left the roadhouse.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by antiscab » Fri, 07 Jun 2019, 05:19

Come to think of it, I see a 30% range of efficiency from the EVs I have owned in the past for the same speed, just from changes in temperature, air pressure and wind direction.

On an unrelated note.
I tripped an rcd for the first time with our Zoe.
We're house sitting, and the zoe would trip the rcd (shared across all powerpoints in the house) just as it starts to draw power.

My original theory was there was already am earth leak somewhere reducing the margin to trip.

Weirdly, both the rcd at my house and the house I I'm house sitting trip at 25mA but not 20mA on my rcd tester. So maybe not.

I am able to charge if I turn off the breakers to half the powerpoints in the house, and turn them back on once charging has commenced.
Matt
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2007 vectrix - 156'000km
1998 prius - needs Batt
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2000 prius - has 200 x headway 38120 cells

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by antiscab » Fri, 07 Jun 2019, 05:26

That the rcd trips after the car starts drawing power throws me, as I would expect the earth and power on tests to have concluded by this stage.

I do have a theory, though. The zoe is not galv isolated battery to ac, uses the motor windings as an inductor and the mc to form a charger. Mains voltage has to be boosted to battery voltage. I suspect the earth spike may be when the battery contactor is closed after the mc caps get to voltage. I have no idea how to test this, without dismantling a car still under warranty
Matt
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2007 vectrix - 156'000km
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Fri, 07 Jun 2019, 08:20

Hmmm, yes the motor windings - inverter charger system certainly complicates things.
My theory as to why the Melville Zoe was failing to charge is that there is a problem with the power electronics. After a long drive, the system was warm, and charging at 32 A on three phases caused it to overheat to a point where the system shut down. Because charging at 32 A single phase resulted in a failure about 2 hours in, and 10 A overnight worked just fine. The more we drove and charged, the worse the problem got. Even in Ravensthorpe on Monday morning, the car would charge just fine on 10 A, but that rate was no use to us.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by TomZoe » Fri, 07 Jun 2019, 10:38

Thank you for this trip report.

I have driven Bendigo to both Geelong and Torquay and charged OK on arrival at destination. My favourite thing to charge from is a 32A 3 phase power point and use my portable charger - this is the quickest charging I've come across.

I've also driven to Melbourne and charged at the JetCharge office - it's via chargefox and you get a small bill to credit card.

At home I charge from 3 phase wall adaptor and once it "takes" it won't stop EXCEPT on a few occasions turning the heating on remotely has caused the charging to stop.

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by doggy » Wed, 12 Jun 2019, 11:59

Sad that the road trip was a bust.

I have been using 200km range at 110lm/hr on the flat and you can see my more detailed report on another thread ("1,000kms in 5 days").

https://forums.aeva.asn.au/viewtopic.php?f=57&t=5950

In general, I have found the Renault web calculator accurate. Low and high temperatures will reduce the range (hot weather- aircon cools the occupants and the battery. Cold weather battery has lower AH). So barely making 200km at 100km/hr is certainly lower than we get. It would be interesting to know the SOH of the battery or if this demo car has done a heap of kilometres (but it is unlikely to have done 100km!). Dealer should be able to tell you the car's SOH. Mine is 99% at the moment. Around Sydney with a big mix of speeds (50/60/70/80/90) and LOTS of traffic lights we always get over 300km on 40kW.

The Zoe battery is actually greater than 41kW. Several kW are reserved at the top and at the bottom. When it says 100%, regen can add more to it. When it says empty it is not actually empty. As a result, the battery is reasonably protected from misuse (like leaving it at 100% for prolonged periods)..

My preferred charging is a Tesla DC and with most of these I get 21 to 21.5kW into the battery itself. Also a three phase EVSE for Showgrounds. This also gives max charge rate.

Cheers,
Dave

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Wed, 12 Jun 2019, 13:08

Yeah if the days had been a little warmer I think 200 km at 100 km/h is a solid bet. This is a demo car which has had a bit over 8000 km on it (12.5 % of that was my trip to Esperance!). I wouldn't have thought that was a big deal, and it should effectively have 99% of it's rated capacity.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by doggy » Wed, 12 Jun 2019, 13:31

Yes, our car has the same kilometres. So not much.
What sort of EVSE was causing the charging problem- or was it all of them?
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Wed, 12 Jun 2019, 15:42

It wasn't the EVSE as such - it was the charge rate, exacerbated by (and resulting in) higher temperatures.
After a long drive, plugging into a 32 A 3-phase supply caused it to fail within 30 minutes. After not charging for 2 hours restarting the charge seemed to work.
Charging at 32 amps single phase caused it to fail after about 2 hours.
Charging at 10 amps overnight was never a problem, except the fact we didn't have a spare 3 days to get back to Perth.

We used a Juicebooster 2 for all socket charging (10, 20 and 32 A) and public Type 2 chargers / Tesla Destination chargers elsewhere.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Fri, 14 Jun 2019, 10:21

I had a chat with Shirwin from Melville Renault and he said the Zoe charged up on their charger no problem.
I explained that this was to be expected, considering the car had plenty of time to cool down, and the charger at the car yard is only a single phase 32 A charger. I covered our entire driving and charging experience and he came to appreciate the likely impact of heat and high currents.
My suggestion was to take it for a drive down the freeway for an hour, turn around and come back. Then plug into a 32 A 3-phase charger and hit it for 2.5 hours. Then repeat. If it doesn't trip out in the first charge it definitely will in the second. They will probably do this over the weekend and call back with some results early next week.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by T1 Terry » Sat, 15 Jun 2019, 12:31

I can see long drives and rapid recharging, then repeat, being a problem for all but the most sophisticated battery/motor/inverter/charger cooling systems. Even Tesla reportedly limit the rapid charging after a number of back to back fast recharges. Rather than just turning off, the Tesla apparently limits the charge rate.
The future of rapid charging will depend on the manufacturers ability to control the charge rate relating to component temperature and the possible effects on the battery itself.

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by doggy » Sat, 15 Jun 2019, 15:20

Zoe will also limit the charge rate if the cooling cannot keep the cells cool enough. However, I have at least once charged with 22kW after a long uphill run of 150km or so at 100/110km/hr and ambient air temp around 28deg. Not a problem and the fans/heat pump were not going flat out.

I think Chris's demo car definitely has a charging problem.

In the UK people frequently flog down the motorways with pitstops at 22kW and whereas I have read of reports that Nissan Leafs have had a problem with this (no thermal management on those) I have not seen any reports of Zoe problems.

When one can charge at 2 or 3C things might become a bit more problematic, particularly with heat. However Zoe is only a 0.5C charge rate or 1C if heavy regen where the regen kicks in at 43kW.

Cheers,
Dave

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by antiscab » Sat, 15 Jun 2019, 16:43

there's a fellow in Germany who regularly does road trips down the autobahn at 140kmh continuous, then fast charges. He's only had heat issues whilst actually driving (and then only recently)
Matt
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by doggy » Wed, 31 Jul 2019, 14:54

Hi Chris,
Any news on what went wrong on your demo car?

Regds,
Dave

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Wed, 31 Jul 2019, 16:06

No, the guys at Melville never took it for a good long drive followed by a 22 kW recharge. I'd be happy to do that test for them again, but then again, I don't thin they seem to care too much. It still functions as a metro car and since it would only be charged at 7 kW at the most, it would probably never trip.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by doggy » Wed, 31 Jul 2019, 16:34

Hm. This might be an issue when they finally sell their demo vehicle! However I guess it would be covered by warranty.
It's a pity they did not take you more seriously and thoroughly investigate.
Regds,
Dave

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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by jonescg » Fri, 09 Aug 2019, 13:07

https://thedriven.io/2019/08/09/from-pe ... EIoYeliysI

Finally published the story in the Driven.
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Re: My experiences with the Zoe

Post by doggy » Fri, 09 Aug 2019, 14:57

Hi Chris,
Entertaining and interesting reading.
A few comments specific to Zoe:
1. If the clock was not working, then the onboard SIM was not connecting to the 4G network. Over a year ago, our Zoe lost signal a couple of times and I had to restart one of the onboard computers by pulling a fuse. This got fixed by a software update about 9 months ago and has not happened since. So I suspect that demo Zoe had not had the software update. Also, you would not have received realtime traffic updates- not that this latter item was likely an issue for you.
2. There is no doubt that the Zoe is more of a City Car than a Country Car. Indeed it is advertised as a "City Car". However, despite that, we have regularly got better efficiency than your trip. In particular, at 110km/hr with the heating or aircon on, our real world range is 200km. Around Sydney it is around 315km.
3. The Renault Range Calculator accords well with reality and it shows 228km range at 20degC-100km/hr with no aircon/heating. At 15degC, you lose 2.5km and a further 2.5 at 10degC with the heating off. So, range at 10deg and 100km/hr should be 223. If you turn on the heater at 100km/hr and 10degC you get 218km. The heater uses a heat pump so it is about 4 times more efficient than a resistive heater.
4. Definitely sounds as if there was a disappointing fault with the Chameleon charger in your car. Whereas it is good the dealer towed the car it is poor they did not find out the root cause, fix it and let you know what had happened. Particularly as they knew you were writing a story.
5. Yes, it seems the 64kWhr battery in the Kona is great for rural travel. Certainly the increase from 40 to 50 kWhrs next year will benefit the Zoe. From what I see of the Tesla Model 3 it seems to be an excellent country car which excels in range at around the 110km/hr mark. We use the Zoe all the time around town and only use our ICE car for long trips but I can see the definite likelihood of replacing the ICE with a Model 3 provided I can get a tow bar and roof bars. That could be a 2020/2021 project.
Cheers,
Dave

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