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My first public fast charge

Posted: Thu, 27 Jun 2019, 21:52
by coulomb
Toombul first charge small.jpg
Toombul first charge small.jpg (65.94 KiB) Viewed 316 times

Please pardon the poor quality of my photos; my phone has a poor camera and is always getting foggy. My Leaf isn't actually green, it's just bathed in green light from the two Tritium 350 kW chargers to its right. It seems that all three of these chargers are new; they were still being installed on 9th May 2019 according to Plugshare photos. The ultra chargers are CCS/SAE, so I would need an adapter to use them. No need; 350 kW would blow my little leaf to smitherines, I think. I can't think how Tritium tested those things. Maybe they had to buy a Porsche Taycan with its 800 V battery that apparently can be charged at 350 kW.

But the charger I used is an ordinary Tritium 50 kW unit. It charged the Leaf from 3 bars to 10 bars in about half an hour; the charger said the car was at 90% after that (I selected MAX as opposed to 80% on the Tritium).

I thought I was all prepared with the ChargeFox app, but in fact I hadn't set up my credit card details. I had bad range anxiety of the bladder variety, much more so than the EV kind. So after I took care of that I sat down and entered my credit card details into the ChargeFox app. I then returned in the lift up to the roof again (shops are on level G; most parking is level 1; these chargers are on the roof, level 2). I foolishly plugged in the CHAdeMO connector before I was told to; that confused things, and I could not "open" the port. I've since learned of the 60 second time limit from plugging in to starting the charge. You have to find the charger on the app, click on it, find the correct port, and "open" it. It makes more sense when using the app. By the time I got to that point, it was greyed out. Sigh.

I fussed around for some time, and eventually something must have timed out and I was able to open the port again. I also had to enter my credit card details again. Maybe that was because it was too soon since I registered the card with the app. That was frustrating, because I had to juggle between two screens to copy the credit card info (my "internet" physical credit card stays at home). I think I had to juggle the connector a few more times, and eventually it got past that stage. I pressed the button for MAX (most times I'd stay with 80% I think), pressed start, and it started charging. The Tritium charger only displays minutes, SOC (which the Leaf doesn't, without LeafSpy, I'm still waiting for my OBD II Bluetooth dongle), and kWh sent so far. The Leaf doesn't show much more information than that, you just see the lights flashing and the bars increasing on the GOM (Guess-O-Meter). In the app, there is just a kWh total and a cancel button. I received some sort of notification on my phone when the charge terminated; I think it was an email with the invoice. Paypal isn't available for this app (the ChargePoint app gives the choice of PayPal or credit card). I could not restart the charge from the app, in case I wanted to force a fuller charge.

It cost $4.19 for 10.471 kWh (40c / kWh). I could have driven a little further to the Queensland government charger at Hamilton, which is free, but there isn't much to do there. I thought I'd find some sushi (one of the few things I can eat away from home on my present highly restrictive diet), but all the food outlets were closed at 5:30pm, apart from one Asian shop that had some leftovers, and none were vegetarian. I didn't even have time to walk back to the car before the charge was over. It was very convenient.

There are also two AC charge ports and 3 Tesla destination "chargers" (EVSEs) on level 1, under a bright sign saying "CHARGE HERE". So these are hard to miss. Access to the appropriate parking at Toombul shopping centre is via Grace street; there is a tiny piece of Union street you need to access Grace street.

The cable to the CAHdeMO plug is really heavy, it's about 30 mm thick, and tends to get caught on the concrete stoppers in the parking bays. It's all out in the rain; I think that's a less than ideal location for chargers. But I suppose they have to site them near where they have significant electrical infrastructure. They're right next to a utility building; the door happened to be open that afternoon. I had a peek inside, and sure enough there was an impressive orange cabinet with a large isolator on the front, one black and three orange cables at least 25 mm thick going into the top. I assume that they're 415 V three-phase, at many hundreds of amps. 350 kW is 415 V 3Φ at 486 A. Over 500 A at 400 V (230 V phase to neutral). There were many smaller cables running everywhere in neat cable trays, but the floor was littered with plastic pipes, reels of electrical cable, and boxes of technical junk. So this is a combined electrical and store room.

Building beside Toombul chargers sm.jpg
Building beside Toombul chargers sm.jpg (56.87 KiB) Viewed 316 times
I have no idea whether that's the cabinet that feeds the 3 Tritium chargers or not, but it seems plausible.

[ Edit: added Plugshare link. ]

Re: My first public fast charge

Posted: Fri, 28 Jun 2019, 12:21
by Paul9
Doesn't sound like "plug and play" coulomb?

Or is it something one would get used to quickly?

Re: My first public fast charge

Posted: Fri, 28 Jun 2019, 15:44
by coulomb
Paul9 wrote:
Fri, 28 Jun 2019, 12:21
Or is it something one would get used to quickly?
Yes, I'm sure it will all be routine soon.

Re: My first public fast charge

Posted: Sun, 30 Jun 2019, 18:00
by coulomb
Did I mention I'm new at this? :oops:

I didn't sign out of the Chargefox app after I finished charging. I figured it would just make it quicker to log in next time. But two days after my successful $4 charge, I received an invoice for a nearly $19 charge, and I wasn't near a charger the whole day! I got onto Plugshare, and found that user LuckyPete had been using the nearby ultracharger that day, at about the time on the invoice. I found I was able to message him (some internal thing built into the Plugshare app), and asked if perhaps he hadn't been invoiced for his session. He admitted that in fact he had not, but it was on a Friday night, and he thought maybe the invoice wouldn't happen till Monday.

I've sent messages and emails to ChargeFox. No reply as yet, but it's still weekend.

Meantime, the take-home message is: sign out of the ChargeFox app as soon as you are done charging, or it might send many invoices your way! [ Edit: this is not the case. See next post. ]

Re: My first public fast charge

Posted: Tue, 02 Jul 2019, 09:43
by coulomb
This has been resolved now; ChargeFox have issued a credit to my Visa card.

From Rob at Chargefox: "Be assured it's not necessary for you to sign out of the mobile phone app, this was an issue with our server's communication with the charger." I had forgotten that I pressed a few buttons on one of the ultrachargers, or maybe I unhooked the cable to look at the plug. I was curious how they worked, as I'm still learning all the various EV plugs and sockets. According to ChargeFox, they saw an attempted but failed charge from one of the ultrachargers the day I was there. Somehow, the system remembered me "connecting" to that ultracharger, so when the next user came along (two days later!), it somehow decided that it was me.

ChargeFox admit that they have a problem, and are keen to get it addressed. That's very reassuring.