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Ingineer
Posts: 2741
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:09 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Jul 2011
Leaf Number: 6969
Location: Berkeley, California
Contact: Website

My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 8:43 am

Last Saturday I charged at the Vacaville (CA) DC Quick-Charge. From what I've been told, this unit was given to PG&E by TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company), who are the people that originally developed the CHAdeMO standard. It's a big unit!

Image

This station is publicly accessible right off I-80, however due to it's lack of UL listing (the Japanese don't typically use UL), some PG&E lawyer deemed it too much of a liability risk to allow the public to actually use it, and most of the time it's shut down. The unit conforms to CHAdeMO specification which is extremely safe and reliable, so it's lack of UL listing is a silly reason to shut it down. The Japanese have their own regulatory/testing system called JET, and I'm sure this unit is JET listed. Do you think TEPCO, also being a public power company, would put it's name on something unsafe? UL listing is not a requirement for equipment in almost all parts of the US, and it's an independent testing lab, that is not affiliated with any government agency.

PG&E submitted a proposal to the City of Vacaville to purchase a new UL listed charger, and if accepted, this unit would be replaced. But Vacaville must pay for it, as PG&E supposedly is forbidden to do this by some regulatory tenet.

The location also contains a decent assortment of other charger types, mainly J1772 Level 2, but some SPI's as well. The parking spaces are covered by a large solar array which provides a nice shade. I suspect this location generates way more power than is every used by EV's!

Ok, on to the fun part!

Image

The handle is physically easy to deal with, it's light and rugged, but admittedly not intuitive. There is a red lever and a big black handle that is very "gas-pumpish", and you have to release/lock the thing with the red lever and then engage the internal connectors using the big black handle. The effort is very low, once you get the order correct. Once charging, a solenoid locks the connector in the car, and will not allow release until you stop the charging. Seems to me, they could have replaced the solenoid with a small motor and then it would have been much simpler to use, and even less force required.

So, within a minute of connecting the handle and pressing start, the amperage shot up to 125a and pretty much stayed there for quite some time. (+/- 1 amp)

Image

The display shows real-time Volts, Amps, and SOC (State-of-Charge) as a percentage bar-graph. It also attempted (poorly) to estimate how long the charge would take. Note the date and time are also way off. I'm surprised it's set at all with the power being off most of the time. (It must have a battery)

The way CHAdeMO works, the QC (Quick Charger) receives commands from the LEAF via a CAN (Controller Area Network) connection every 100ms. These messages tell the QC how many volts/amps to deliver, and the charger just does what it's told. All charging decisions are ultimately made by the LEAF's on-board charger, as that is where the CAN messages originate. SOC is also sent from the car, so the QC could stop charging at a certain % if it wanted to. There is also an elaborate startup test to make sure the insulation and connector integrity are flawless before it will let you start charging.

I arrived with about 45% SOC, as you can see from the bar.

Image

(Excuse the blurry pic, the sun was bright and it was hard to see what I was doing) So here we are about 5 or 6 minutes in, and already up to about 72%, and the charge has already dropped to 78A (~30kW).

Image

So it's been about 22 minutes now, and we are at 88%, but the output is down to 28A (11kW). The display shows 2.9kWh used, but that's definitely not right! We've charged from 45% to 88%, or 43% of the LEAF's 24kWh pack. That should be reading at least 10kWh! It also pessimistically indicates about 32 minutes remaining.

It continued to taper, reading about 8A (~3kW) when at 98% SOC. It finished just under 30 minutes total, and indicated (erroneously) a total of 6.2kWh used. This may be an artifact of an incompatibility between the Japanese power system and ours. It's designed to accept 200v 3-phase, and I think it's running on 240v. (possibly 208 if wye connected) I was told that mid-day, when there is lots of sun, sometimes the charger will generate an overvolt error and will not want to start. Probably rise due to the large solar array pulling everything high when it's really cranking.

When I arrived I had 6 bars of battery temperature, and when I left it was reading 7. Not bad for how much energy I crammed into it in such a short time! This means my battery was over 98 degrees, but under 122. Not very much granularity, but this is what were used to with the LEAF. Next time I'll log the actual temperature.

Sadly this charger spends most of it's time collecting dust (and peanut butter), because of Lawyers. It would be nice if we could organize some sort of benefit for Vacaville to help it pay for the new unit, which they would make available to the public.

-Phil
Easily Learn Electricity HERE! - - - - Website: http://evseupgrade.com/[/size] - - - - Like us on Facebook: EVSE Upgrade

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Electric4Me
Posts: 533
Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 7:25 pm
Delivery Date: 08 Apr 2011
Leaf Number: 772
Location: Union City, CA

Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:03 am

Phil,
thank you for the write up! I assume that this wasn't your car, unless you've recently caved and bought a Leaf! :lol:

We should take up a collection and "buy" this charge unit so that it can be replaced, then relocated somewhere out of reach of PG&E's lawyers...

Bill
Bill Davis
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adric22
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Leaf Number: 000768
Location: Fort Worth, TX

Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:05 am

Thanks for the post. I don't have the QC port on my Leaf. But I can certainly see the advantage. You know, something a lot of people probably never consider is that you don't have to even wait the entire 30 minutes. Lets say you're getting really low and you know you're going to come up short 10 miles on where you need to be going, you might stop by a charger like this and just charge for 4 or 5 minutes. If there were plenty of these types of chargers around, that shouldn't be a problem.
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edatoakrun
Posts: 5222
Joined: Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:33 am
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Leaf Number: 2184
Location: Shasta County, North California

Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:06 am

Thanks for the report. I got a VERY good look at that charger, during the 4 hours I was parked next to it on the L2, on my 220 mile drive home from picking up my LEAF, back in May.

IMO, California BEV acceptance is being held back by it's public and private utilities, and the PUC which regulates the latter.

Somehow, the bureaucracy must come to realize that without PUBLIC fast charging, the great benefits of large numbers of BEVs to the California grid, by charging predominantly off-peak at low rates of charge, will not be realized.

The first step, would be to end "demand charges" for BEV charge points. There is no rational reason to apply demand charges to DC chargers, if each installation actually results in a decrease in the variation between peak and off-peak demand.
no condition is permanent

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TonyWilliams
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Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:07 am

Ingineer wrote:PG&E submitted a proposal to the City of Vacaville to purchase a new UL listed charger, and if accepted, this unit would be replaced. But Vacaville must pay for it, as PG&E supposedly is forbidden to do this by some regulatory tenet.
Phil, awesome write up. The California Public Utility Commission is the group responsible for the rule. San Diego Gas and Electric has petitioned the CPUC to allow them to own and operate chargers in places that don't have them. Of course, their self serving "demand charge" for commercial loads over 20kW pretty much guarantees that there won't be many high load DC chargers... and who can compete with the $1.8 billion dollar electric monopoly that certainly won't have to pay that fee (to themselves)?

So, within a minute of connecting the handle and pressing start, the amperage shot up to 125a and pretty much stayed there for quite some time. (+/- 1 amp)

So, right at the 48kW that is advertised (383v * 125a)

So here we are about 5 or 6 minutes in, and already up to about 72%, and the charge has already dropped to 78A (~30kW).

All the more reason that we don't want these DC chargers getting ramped up to 48kW, and therefore racking up a HUGE demand fee (in California), when it fairly quickly ramps down.

So it's been about 22 minutes now, and we are at 88%, but the output is down to 28A (11kW).

I wonder how long this total event would have taken place with a 19.8kW limit?

It continued to taper, reading about 8A (~3kW) when at 98% SOC. It finished just under 30 minutes total

When there's a line for the DC charger, we need to have L2's for the last bit of charging.
Last edited by TonyWilliams on Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:14 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Ingineer
Posts: 2741
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:09 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Jul 2011
Leaf Number: 6969
Location: Berkeley, California
Contact: Website

Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:08 am

Yes, I have a LEAF now. :D

I have too many cool ideas that all need testing and development, and not having one was slowing me down.

-Phil
Easily Learn Electricity HERE! - - - - Website: http://evseupgrade.com/[/size] - - - - Like us on Facebook: EVSE Upgrade

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richard
Posts: 348
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Delivery Date: 21 Apr 2011
Leaf Number: 1009
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Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:10 am

Ingineer wrote:..Do you think TEPCO, also being a public power company, would put it's name on something unsafe?..
You're joking, right?

Thanks for the writeup, Phil. Good to hear this station is running again, for now.

BTW, phpBB isn't rendering Phil's images for me. Here are links:
tepco-vacaville
tepco-handle
tepco1
tepco2
tepco3
Last edited by richard on Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
2011 Nissan LEAF, Glacier White, SL-QC, Reserved: 4/20/10, Ordered: 9/2/10, Delivered: 4/21/11, 33,000+ miles, 12 bars, EVSEUpgrade Rev1
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User avatar
Ingineer
Posts: 2741
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:09 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Jul 2011
Leaf Number: 6969
Location: Berkeley, California
Contact: Website

Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:12 am

TonyWilliams wrote:I wonder how long this total event would have taken place with a 19.8kW limit?
Well, a nearly depleted LEAF should only take about 50 minutes to hit 80%.

-Phil
Easily Learn Electricity HERE! - - - - Website: http://evseupgrade.com/[/size] - - - - Like us on Facebook: EVSE Upgrade

User avatar
Ingineer
Posts: 2741
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2010 1:09 pm
Delivery Date: 13 Jul 2011
Leaf Number: 6969
Location: Berkeley, California
Contact: Website

Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:15 am

richard wrote:
Ingineer wrote:..Do you think TEPCO, also being a public power company, would put it's name on something unsafe?..
You're joking, right?

Thanks for the writeup, Phil. Good to hear this station is running again, for now.
The only country more paranoid about electricity than the US, is Japan! While the rest of the world enjoys 240v from their standard residential outlets, here in the US, we only get half that. But in Japan, they only have 100v!

Note that the Vacaville station is NOT online. It was only turned on for a few hours on Saturday morning while a PG&E rep was present to make sure there were no spontaneous lawsuits.

-Phil
Easily Learn Electricity HERE! - - - - Website: http://evseupgrade.com/[/size] - - - - Like us on Facebook: EVSE Upgrade

oakwcj
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Re: My first DC Quick Charge

Fri Oct 28, 2011 9:16 am

Ingineer wrote: Do you think TEPCO, also being a public power company, would put it's name on something unsafe?
-Phil
I assume you're aware that TEPCO's name is on the Fukushima nuclear power plants.
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