Edison Apartments in Gallatin TN add EV charging station

Edison Apartments Gallatin TN

One of the best parts of EV ownership is waking up each morning with a “full tank” and never having to visit a gas station ever again. If you don’t own a home with a garage, charging where you live may not be possible. This is often cited as a reason why EV ownership will remain a niche. What are apartment dwellers supposed to do?

Edison Apartments have installed a ChargePoint charging station.

One option is to charge at work. Increasingly, progressive employers and office buildings are installing EV charging equipment. Often without a fee for use. You get half your fuel paid.

Charging my Model 3 at Edison Apartments, Gallatin TN

Apartment dwellers at Edison apartments in Gallatin TN now have a new option. The apartment complex has installed a ChargePoint EV charging station with the ability to charge two vehicles at the same time. The best part is that there is no fee to use the station. From a financial perspective Edison Apartment dwellers are better off than a home owner such as myself. The apartments shouldered the cost of buying and installing the charging station, will maintain it and also cover the cost of the fuel. Someone living at Edison apartments could have no fuel cost at all for their car. The convenience of plugging in in your own home can’t be beat IMHO, the apartment complex is quite big and one may have to walk quite a distance from the car back to your apartment. If however you live in block K at these apartments it couldn’t be more convenient.

The charging station is adjacent to the car wash and vacuum facilities. This is smart, electricity is already present in the maintenance building which will have reduced the installation cost significantly. One issue I see with the site is the closest parking spaces are not identified as being for an EV. When I was parked at the charging station, both spaces either side of my vehicle were occupied by gasoline vehicles. The second charging cord while not is use could not be used without an open parking space. My guess is the gasoline car owners didn’t know this, they did leave the space open directly in line with the charging station. There is a need for better signage.

The apartments are close to Vietnam Veterans Blvd and State Route 31E, so a commute to Nashville would be both convenient and free.

Posted in ChargePoint, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

Can the Electrify America network be relied upon?

Lightly used charging site. Guess which port I needed?

The short answer is no. For the long answer read on…

I decided to take a trip to the nearest Electrify America charging site to train myself in the use of these stations before I really need one and also to see what charge rate I would get.

I checked the Willowbrook Commons site in Nashville on the Electrify America app and it showed all ports as operational and available. No one was there apparently. The journey took 30 minutes. When I arrived I was greeted with an almost empty charging site. Only one vehicle was there. Good I thought I have plenty of choice, until I realized the car was a Tesla. There is only one Tesla compatible outlet (CHAdeMO) per Electrify America site. All other ports are CCS only. This is an unfortunate design decision. In other countries such as Norway most charging stations each have three outlets. CHAdeMO, CCS and high-speed AC. Electrify America is funded by Volkswagen as part of their Diesel-gate settlement and the sites favor their own electrical vehicles which use CCS. Nissan and Tesla utilize CHAdeMO and are under represented at these sites.

Charging had stopped and a grace period was in effect before the car would be levied idle charges.

I hung around to take photos of the site. I was interested in the charge rate so took a photo of the screen associated with the Tesla. It showed the session had finished and informed me that the grace idle period would expire in 6 minutes. I thought the owner may return soon. He did. He was slow to return to his vehicle and was having a conversation on his phone. He had empty shopping bags which told me he came out of Publix. Eventually he unplugged his car and started walking back to the store. I got out of my car to ask if he could move his vehicle. He ended his call and informed me that he was talking with Electrify America. The station wasn’t working properly, it had aborted after only five minutes. After remote troubleshooting and restart of the unit EA advised him not to rely upon this station for a charge. The entire site had been out of order the previous week apparently, maybe an issue remains unresolved.

Twisted CHAdeMO pigtail at Electrify America

The other Tesla owner went onto tell me he had been successful on other occasions, this was the first issue he had encountered. I noticed that the CHAdeMO adapter had a twist in the adapter pigtail. This was the same as I experienced the previous day at Nissan.

Summary of Issues.

Only one CHAdeMO outlet per site means there is no redundancy in case of charger issues or another vehicle is charging when you arrive. Both of these scenarios were true for me on my first trip to Electrify America.

VW are clearly favoring their own electric vehicles, the dieselgate money is not being used impartially. VW clearly intend to profit from the mandated investment in infrastructure. Its a shame a foreign automaker is given the freedom to discriminate despite being bad stewards of the environment in the recent past.

With the vast majority of electric cars on Americas roads today being made by Nissan and Tesla the choice to restrict CHAdeMO in this fashion is disappointing. Electrify America is not a viable alternative to Nissan’s CHAdeMO network or Tesla’s supercharger network. EA sites cannot be relied upon for a trip. I saw no Level 2 J1772 outlets at this site either. If you were low on charge you would not get any relief here.

Electrify America charging station.

 

 

 

Posted in CCS, CHAdeMO, Electrify America, Level 2 EV Charger, Level 3 EV Charger, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

Twisted CHAdeMO charging session

Half twist in adapter pigtail.

I tested my CHAdeMO adapter at Newton Nissan of Gallatin TN. Due to the charging station configuration the CHAdeMO cable put a half twist into the Tesla CHAdeMO adapter pigtail.

The adapter returned to normal after the session was complete, so no harm done. One wonders what stress it put on the charging port. The car charged when I got home, so no harm done.

I have seen other owners using straps attached to the tailgate in order to reduce stress on the charge port. I assume the port and adapter are designed with most common scenarios in mind. I’ve added some additional photos below to show how this ended up being the way it is.

Nissan CHAdeMO plug resting nicely on ground, but puts a twist into Tesla CHAdeMO adapter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

142 Miles/Hr charge rate which is 35 kW. Thanks for the juice Nissan!!

Charging station is turned at 90 degrees to the kerb, which is unusual.

Posted in CHAdeMO, Electric Car, Level 3 EV Charger, Newton Nissan, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

Rare sighting of BMW i8

BMW i8 with temporary tags

The BMW i8 plug-in hybrid is very rare on the roads. It’s expensive and therefore sells in small quantities. Prices start at $147,000, with a typical selling price of $175,000 once options are added. As of  August 2019 only 6,448 BMW i8’s have been sold in the US since deliveries began five years ago in August 2014. Given its high price the i8 doesn’t perform particularly well. With a 0-60 of 4.5 seconds I can do better in my Tesla Model 3 AWD. The electric range is just 15 miles as rated by the EPA.

I spotted one at Whole Foods in Franklin TN with temporary tags. It was sold by Gravity Auto an upscale second hand car dealer that sells Lamborghini’s and Rolls Royce’s.

BMW i8 Side profile.

Posted in BMW i8, Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger, Tesla Model 3 | Leave a comment

Tesla CHAdeMO adapter charges Model 3 at 31kW at Nissan HQ

CHAdeMO adapter connected to Model 3

The Model 3 has just gained the ability to use a Tesla to CHAdeMO adapter through a recent firmware update. I have yet to receive firmware version 2019.24.4 that enables the adapter, however a work colleague got the update on his Performance Model 3  and we drove over the Nissan HQ in Franklin TN to test it out.

107A @ 354V

The adapter is rated for a 50 kW charge rate. At Nissan HQ the charge rate was limited to 31 kW due to the 107 amp limit on the CHAdeMO station. The CHAdeMO station reported 107 amps at 354 Volts, which equates to almost 38 kW. Either the car is under reporting the charge rate or there is a 7 kW loss. A 20% loss sounds high, maybe the car under reports the charge rate. 10% SOC was added in 15 minutes of charging, which is about the 30 kW charge rate the car reported.

It will be interesting to see if the full 50 kW charge rate can be achieved at Electrify America charging locations which have modern charging equipment capable of much higher charge rates. Some Model 3 owners have reported that Electrify America stations do not work with the Model 3, whereas EVgo stations do.

The good news is that the CHAdeMO adapter is identical to those used on Model S and X vehicles, the interchangeability is very welcome.

What everyone is really waiting for is the CCS adapter for North America, which should be capable of speeds up to 120 kW and be priced more affordably than the huge CHAdeMO adapter.

Posted in CHAdeMO, Electric Car, eVgo, Tesla Model 3, Tesla Model S, Tesla Model X | Leave a comment

Sheryl Crow broke my Tesla

Back on April 3rd Sheryl Crow tweeted Elon Musk to complain she was stuck in a parking lot with a black screen. It turned out the screen brightness at night was turned down too low to see.

Sheryl Crow tweet to Elon Musk

Elon promised a software fix for this issue.

Elon”s response to Sheryl Crow

Last night I got the 2019.20.2.1 (Sheryl Crow) update. When I got into my car this evening I could barely make out what was on the screen and reversing was guesswork; the rear-view monitor was so dark. I couldn’t make out street names. I took the screen setting off automatic and set the brightness myself. The car worked just fine on automatic before the Sheryl Crow update. Automatic now turns the screen down to 12% which is way too dark, 40% is more like it. Now I need to tweek my screen brightness as it gets light or dark outside, the automatic feature is no longer of use to me.

Hey Elon can we have a Sheryl Crow button. I’d like to turn that off so my car works as it used to when I bought it back in October 2018. I don’t mind Sheryl having a special little snowflake button just for her, just give me the same screen automatic brightness feature I bought back in October 2018.

Posted in Electric Car | 2 Comments

Rare sighting of (Original) Plug-in Prius.

PiP charging at Whole Foods.

Toyota’s Prius is a popular Hybrid vehicle. In March 2012 Toyota started selling the Plug-in Prius, affectionately called the PiP. After April 2014, (much to the frustration of potential buyers) Toyota began restricting manufacturing volume of the vehicle and the last PiP was sold in September 2016. In total 42,344 PiP’s were sold in the US.

This is the first time I have seen the PiP in the wild. Here it is charging at the Whole Foods Market in Franklin TN.

PiP from the rear

Toyota now make another plug-in Prius they call the Prius Prime. Sales began in November 2016 and in just over two years the sales have eclipsed the original PiP and currently stand at 56,500 as of April 2019. The PiP must have been a limited pilot program and the Prime is being sold at  an average rate of 2,000 units per month.

The all electric range of the PiP and Prime are very meager. The PiP can only manage about 11 miles on a full charge. The Prime can travel about 25 miles on a charge, which is not quite enough to cover the average commute distance of 32 miles return in the US.

The Prime also charges at the rear passenger side of the vehicle just like the PiP. I have never been comfortable with a rear charging port. This is one of things that I dislike about my Model 3, straight parking spaces are easy enough to back into, but space that are at a slanted angle are setup for pull in not reverse in and its very awkward reversing into a slanted space.

Prius Prime rear charge port is awkward.

 

 

 

Posted in Electric Car, Level 2 EV Charger | Tagged , , | Leave a comment