Monday, April 2, 2018

March 2018 Drive Report; 100% Electric!

As mentioned in an earlier blog, the Corolla's role has been shrinking in direct correlation with the increasing range of the LEAF.  With the 30 kwh LEAF, the Corolla's contribution dipped below 4,000 miles a year with probably a quarter to a third of that usage simply to keep the car from sitting too long.

Well, this month I gassed it ZERO miles.  The Corolla is now being used daily by someone who needed it and simply could not afford to buy a car and maintain the expenses. My original plan to give it to a co-worker, a single mother, didn't work out as she realized the additional expense of insurance simply wasn't in her budget.  The thought she would be able to work more and make more money simply was not clear enough to her but I had another co-worker in the same boat who has a work ethic beyond anyone I have ever known.

He was also without a car in a job where 100% of the work is done at client locations so the efforts he put in to making meet times at the office or directly to the store's location was simply awe inspiring! So off the Corolla went!

So for the month the LEAF solo'd it  for 2527.2 miles costing $15.73 in combined home charging and public charging fees or .6 cents per mile.  NCTC contributed "a bit" at  478.185 kwh which at  "home" market rates would have put my cost at $60.20 or 2.34 cents per mile, still a very good way to travel!  But that is "home" rates. Even with EVGO's new reduced rates, the cost would have been a "bit" higher.  Thank you Nissan for that wonderful program!  (Now if you could get that AV situation squared away...)


LEAF Spy STATS

Since the weather is still cool enough, I am ok with full charges overnight at home but still don't have a lot of them but the ones I do have are not consistent. The randomness is getting a bit better though


Looks like a likely baseline would be GID count in the mid 490's,  kwh available somewhat above 38 with SOC in the 97% range.  Still a bit high for my liking.  Its ok now while garage is still in the 50º range...

As mentioned several times before, my ahr and SOH continue their downwards trend while my HX has apparently not hit its ceiling posting a new high this morning of 115.75%  Again, no alarms yet as the drop in stats is hardly steep or alarming as of yet.  If I were to extrapolate my SOH loss over the 44 days I'd had the LEAF, I would be losing 3.85 % a year. I guess the big question becomes is my loss faster on a new pack or would it slow down? My previous packs sat at full stats anywhere from 8 months to 1½ years before showing any decline.  The diverging SOH/Hx issue is also a bit strange.  Stay tuned.

Aerovironment  AV
As mentioned, the AV QC is not compatible with the 2018 LEAFs... well, sort of.  We now have confirmed reports that Lincoln City, OR,  Bellingham, WA and Castle Rock, WA do work! So does this mean AV has started the fix?  Probably not.  It would appear that the AV network is simply inconsistent.  So this means we need a call to arms!  We need volunteers to go to each AV QC on the network and test their 2018 LEAFs and report back here and on Plugshare!

Quick Charging


Lots of talk over "QC Gate" where the LEAF is slowing its fast charge rate way way down as temps rise.  We even have one in Arizona already seeing 22 KW charging speeds on her first QC stop and its only April!  This Summer will not be good for her!  As for me; temps seem likely to play a part and determining the effective range of the LEAF with public charging come this July should be interesting. I am guessing 250 miles with one fairly decent QC.  I did a QC on Friday starting with batt temps at 105º and got a respectable 109 amps (of 124) and over 20 kwh in 30 mins. That is something I could easily live with.   My bigger concern is the early ramp down.  I only got 20 kwh due to very low starting SOC.  On LEAF it was "_ _ _"  but LEAF Spy said 8%...

Yesterday, I hit the QC and started at a full charge of 124 amps and got 22.4 Kwh but still saw the ramp down at the end of the session for the last 3 mins. Not the end of the World but with my pack at 112º, I needed a few hours of parking time to be able to get another QC at a decent speed.  Now the pack does seem to cool off when its real hot but the cooling rates drops off considerably in the mid 100º range.  This makes it a 50-50 chance of another decent QC.

This will add another level of trip planning to the mix. Now, estimated battery temps along with SOC will be critical if a tight schedule is needed.  I don't do trips IN ANY CAR with a strict time schedule. Traffic is simply too unpredictable here. So yeah, I arrive an hour or two early..."sometimes" but I am ok with that.  Being on time has been a lifetime priority for me.

I have started collecting data on QCs for another blog entry.  I am waiting on a chance to do more of a continuous run.  Right now,  my driving pattern is mostly drive 40-90 miles, park it to work, then return.  Too much time to cool off in all that.  I have a trip I do to Salem OR area every year and the extra range of the LEAF means I can ignore AV and just do Blink and EVGO for the trip quite easily. I think I am going to wait for a warmer Sunny day for that. I hope to do that trip within the next few weeks though.

Random Observations
Anyone notice Blinks are working?  Guessing most of you don't since you wrote them off a few years ago like I did.  Then Blink changed their name... again.  Kinda wrote that off as well.  But things started happening.  The Hoyt Road Walgreens QC, broken OVER 2 YEARS...maybe 3, was fixed!  In fact, nearly every Blink QC is working now.  Well, I happened to run into Rick and Julie from Durst Energy at Tahoma Market last weekend. They are the people hired by Blink (and other public charging companies) to maintenance the stations.   They said the calls from Blink are on the uptick!  This couldn't have happened at a better time.

EVs are quickly moving up to a newer and wider level of acceptance which means competition for that plug is set to get intense!  Our planned QC buildout is slow, underwhelming and is already insufficient to handle what I see as a banner year for EVs in WA.  The VW settlement is looking to be too late and too little when it does get here to matter.  We need someone to step up big.  One or two stations is not going to work here anymore. We will soon be way beyond that.

Its Baseball Season again and did you see that catch Ichiro made to steal that home run? It ended up being the game winning play!   Now the reason I mention it is because my previous LEAFs when quick charging, created too much interference on AM radio. But now I can charge and listen to the game!! Life is good.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Fast Charge Test; Part Two.




On my 2nd charge on March 26th,  started charge at 35.97% SOC,  B temps, 93.8/91.0/84.0, starting 120 amps.  OAT  50.9º

110 amps;  63.77 % SOC,  B temps 111.5/109.7/98.4
100 amps;  66.64% SOC   B temps  112.7/111.2/9934
90 amps  ;  70.41%  SOC B temps  114.3/112.5/100.4
80 amps  ;  74.09 % SOC  B temps 115.3/113.5/101.3
76.9 amps; 75.43 % SOC  B temps 115.6/133.8/101.8


3rd charge;  started 69.89 % SOC,  B temps 114.0/110.7/99.2, OAT 49.4º

     SOC       KW            volts          amps      Batt temps
698879 21.687 372.67 -58.196 114 110.7 99.2
720557 21.617 376.99 -57.342 114.3 110.9 99.2
825470 21.674391.1 -55.419 115.1 111.7 99.2
851834 21.376 394.18 -54.229 115.1 111.7 99.2
891454 20.553398.98 -51.513 115.6 112 99.4

The above was the first part of my data collection to add to my first blog about charge speed.  Well, you can ignore all that.  Its not valid.  The data is real enough but its not what we need to concern ourselves with.  That is the conclusion. Now for the rest. 

Ideology

Previously my concern with lease miles and the multitudes of opportunities to drive a lot for work controlled my experimental parameters.  But after several multi QC days, I started seeing a pattern. One I had to confirm and the only way to do it was to do a trip like other people do trips.  

In my work day, I would charge once in the morning, drive 30 to 100+ miles, work, then drive a bit, stop and charge and go home. This is not how people travel and I also noticed that charging speed was not dependent solely on SOC OR battery temperatures.  So I could post 5X more of the above to show the inconsistencies or not. 

So I decided to hit the Outlet mall in Woodburn OR. I  generally go there 1-2 times a year. I always plan to do it on a good weather day since its a long drive and I need to stretch my legs which I do while the car is charging and I'd rather stay dry if possible.  So this would be a 155 mile trip one way with layover of less than 2 hours (one hour and 12 mins actually) with an immediate return to Olympia.  IOW, a trip driven like "you" would drive it.   Now we could look at it as a 300+ mile trip which is near the length many would drive in a day in an EV anyway.  I would aim for 400 but didn't have a reason to go farther South or I would have done that too. 

Start

The goal was being both realistic and consistent so whenever possible, I set cruise control to 65 mph. To make the timer realistic, I decided to let the car run all the time while charging other than the brief periods I have to shut it off while initiating the charge.  I was also going to test AV stations in Ridgefield and Woodburn and you know how lllllooooonnng it takes for them to start up so I added 10 mins of idle time to the clock. Despite my best efforts to record everything, I somehow missed a few pix... lost somewhere or sent to wrong place? I will add them when I find them.  But I also recorded the data so info is still provided. 


Notice the 173 mile estimate? Well, We shall see. I set LEAF Spy to 4.0 miles per kwh
and it says 158.6 miles and no, Kwh available  multiplied does not correlate. 

This  was my first full charge in several days so I was not expecting a good pack read and LEAF Spy did not disappoint.  From log;  488 GIDs, 37.8 kwh available, 96.57% SOC.  Temps 70.9/65.5/63.6  anbient 57.2.  Previous QC;  4/5/18 end 2 PM. Unlike my 30 kwh LEAF which cooled to ambient in 12-14 hours , this one has "carryover" heat!  

GOM Verses LEAF Spy!

Ok, so this was going to be a LOOONG trip. I expected to average 50 mph driving which means 6+ hours with traffic, stops, etc. along with 3 planned QCs of 30 mins each but the reality it would be mostly sitting there driving... Boring!  So I had to combine experiments to keep my awake!

As you can see above, the GOM is stating 173 miles and as we now know, there is a rather large reserve as well so does that mean 173 miles plus reserve?? Well, no because the "173" is actually "151" in disguise so its 151 plus reserve.  Anyway, its my contention that no matter what the miles/kwh meter on the GOM says, my static 4.0 miles/kwh to 1% on the LEAF Spy customizable range estimator will be more accurate but both will end up in the same place taking a different route... I guess. 

So off we go! and the GOM holds out well at first. Obviously this pix was taken with the utmost goal of complete safety.  Unfortunately, conditions weren't always conducive to picture taking. FYI; I am not holding phone. Its holder is long enough to bend to this position.  


So as you can see, the GOM starts out well but... 

@ lower SOC, miles traveled/GOM/LS estimate   Batt temps, ambient

90% 18.8 152 141 73 63 65.8 53.8
80% 33.8 137 125 74.5 71 67.3 54.5
70% 45 114 110 77 73 69.6 52.7
60% 61.5 101 97.4 78.3 75 70.5 56.3
50% 76 86 84.4 79.9 76 72.1 56.3
40% 89.3 68 71.3 80.8 77 73.2 55.4
30% 98.6 52 61.1 82.4 79 74.5 57.2
Ahh!!! looks like GOM "lost its lead"  I took the liberty of snapping a shot (about 3 in fact but none really turned out too well but at least you can see most of this one) of the moment LEAF Spy took the lead! 


Anyway, that was a fun little side trip!  I did record batt temps so it wasn't a completely frivolous journey!  It seems every day, I find something different about the 2018. Here I am coasting in neutral about 65-70 mph.  The amount of power shown is... well shocking!  My S 30 would show anywhere from 200-500 watts... 



AV Testing

Well, this was easy. Tried Ridgefield and Woodburn and neither one worked!  So had to sweat it out to Vancouver to charge on Blink at Fred Meyer.  I just barely made it...


Charge Curve # 1

And, as we shall soon see. It will be the ONLY curve of the day. 

Vancouver arrival. Ok, so maybe I had a bit extra range...FYI; LEAF Spy range
estimator jumped. (I probably tapped it by accident) but still showed 
same range estimate as it did at mile ZERO


The only curve of the day!

So plugged in to the Blink and as you know, Blink is the ONLY NCTC provider where you can incur additional charges after your free 30 mins. Blink does not provide a timer and it starts billing at 30:01.  So naturally, I was dinged for 6 cents. 

Charge started at 119.71 amps 34.70% SOC,  finishing at 70.31 amps and 80.61% SOC. 20.31 kwh.  Notice the rather predictable rate of charge verses SOC.  There are two distinct slope changes but the remainder above 75% SOC is rather static.   On this charge, the ramp down started at 63.91% which is about the norm. 


Vancouver Departure



So on to Woodburn with high hopes... (see above for results!)  So naturally now the pack is hot and any hopes of a decent charging speed is all but gone.  So the plan is hit the outlet mall first then charge on way out of town. This is best anyway. Last thing we want to do is boost the SOC, heat the pack then park it!   But!!!

            Woodburn; AV stop (failed) / Outlet 

In the time I was shopping, the temps dropped to "near" the range where I could expect to get a decent charging speed!  It was my hope that maybe I could drop it a few more degrees and the reasons will be discussed later.   But was not to be.  Despite temps dropping to 102º,  the charge at Woodburn failed so I decided to hit Woodland on the way home instead. My objective was to show a "curve" with warm batts but SOC had to be similar and I also wanted to beat Portland traffic (didn't work).  The drive ended up being a lot of stop and go and sprints. Not a good way to cool off the pack plus we had full Sun with temps hitting 70º in Oregon. 



Woodland Arrival 

Not Part 2; Symptom 2!

As predicted in previous blogs, it appeared that a charge rate of 30-35 KW was possible when batt temps were at or just below 100º.   Woodland EVGO did not disappoint.  started at 80 amps dropping to 77 amps which meant a rather static charge with increasing voltage of the higher SOC.  Charge gained 13.87 kwh.  That is 6.44 kwh less than Vancouver but important to note this charger max'es at 100 amps while the Blink did 120 amps so there would have been less charge under any circumstances. 


The Revelation




First thing that should jump out is that despite rising temperatures and rising SOC, charge rate is flat.  This verifies SEVERAL observations I have had where charge rate is controlled by two factors;

Beginning SOC;  This is the obvious one. This is also VERY much unlike my S 30 where the charge rate always started at the full rate of the charger. In cases where the SOC was high, the ramp down started quickly but in most all cases, I was getting full speed for at least a few minutes.  Using the charge curve from Vancouver, its easy to predict the charge rates at various SOCs, right? 

Beginning battery temperature; As we now know, battery temps are also creating their own ramp down curve but it now appears that is ONLY based on battery temperatures at the beginning of the charge.  After the initial charge rate is set, the SOC takes over controlling the remaining charge, hence the flat charging rate. 

To prove the latter, another charge was required.  To maintain temps, my trip to Castle Rock averaged 70-75 mph.  


I arrived at Castle Rock with temps still above 110º but not high enough to trigger a 22 KW charging speed which generally needs to be 114-115º.   SOC 20.82%, 74 amps charge rate increasing to 77 amps finishing at 73 amps. 34 min charge time,  14.23 kwh gained. 


As we can see, again no charge rate curve despite very high temps. It was my plan to charge to 90% since AV does not have a timer but another LEAF showed up so I decided to unplug so they could charge (they only had 24 kwh pack).  At 90%, the charge rate should drop below 20 KW.  (See below) Previously my other multi QC days did not get me over 115º even when doing 2 30 min QCs within a few mins of each other.  This time, I smashed thru that number! 


Temp rolled to 123.1 about 2 seconds after I took this...SomeMurphy" thing I think... 

Now, it was on to home. I mulled the idea of going to Tacoma but realized the 30 min time limit of EVGO would not allow me to see the curve I wanted to see. 

And finally, HOME!!




Back at home we know understand why the car was on for all of the charging. Because now we have a true sense of the time it would "really" take while driving on a 300 mile trip.  If we take out the 94 mins of charging, we averaged about 51 mph which is not really that bad. I have taken several trips in the Prius on longer distance trips and averaged the same so in the absence of pee bottles and recklessness, My trip was in all matter, "normal" for an EV.... 

Conclusions

Well first off, can't make conclusions because we need to do a Summer trip!  Its my hope that the AVE compatibility issue will be resolved so we can do a 700 mile two day trip down the Oregon Coast and across to Roseville to the Safari and then home up I-5.   Its my guess, it will be a VERY long first day...



But this test created almost as many questions as it answered.  We now know that starting temperature is the key factor in the starting charge rates but rising temperatures do not play a part.  Below is a chart of a charge (actually there is a few here) starting with "cool" pack temps low 90's at 75% SOC. Here you see several slopes at 78% SOC gradually dropping to 90% SOC where the slope gets steeper while charging at roughly 22 KW.  Notice the pack temps just getting to the major slow down stage at just over 100º?  But this graph is more dependent on the battery temps and not SOC so again, its taking the most beneficial of the two ramp down slopes (although BOTH suck...) as shown by the short but steep ramp down at the beginning of the charge. 

The big test now becomes monopolizing a station for over an hour to charge from a low SOC below 20% to 90% starting with a pack cool enough to get the full amperage from the charger.  Here we need to record the differences in the knee from 120-125 amp chargers and 100 amp chargers as I suspect there will be no difference.  This leads to the conclusion that the ramp down is determined by percentage of the maximum amperage available and not necessarily the starting amperage. 


Now what does this mean for travelers?  Knowing the maximum charging speed would be key.  Also using a station that doesn't automatically cut off at 30 mins would be another.  You would be better off to charge to a higher SOC since you are likely to charge as much as 5 KW faster than if you were to move farther down the road to another charger.  Even with the lower SOC, if your pack is hot enough, it won't matter. You will be doing 20-22 KW if your pack is above the 115º range. 


So what is the sweet spot?  Well, low SOC and room temperature!  But the reality is what did the slow charging cost me as far as time? Well, in this case, not a lot.  The length of the trip would have required several stops and the reality quickly hit me that the longer range was outdistancing my bladder so each stop was VERY welcomed!  In truth, I also stopped two other times without charging.  But if looking just at real time.  I did this trip in my S30 and it required more but shorter charging stops mostly because I didn't stop at rest stops on the freeway to pee. I stopped where I could plug in and pee.  So it didn't really save me any time when charging faster. But there is an obvious advantage to being able to charge full speed at low SOC no matter how hot the battery as my S30 did. Check my blog from last March. I charged full speed in Centralia at 125 amps with batt temps over 125º.  So Nissan has simply got it wrong. Their concern is high battery temps while my concern is high SOC AT ANY TEMPERATURE.  So we have a double whammy; slower fast charging and a one option 100% overnight charge... 



Grand Theft Auto; A TCO Win!


By now we are all familiar with my S30 and her heartrending sacrifice to save me from harm.  But not only did she sacrifice herself, she ultimately became one of my greatest purchase options ever.

Now, this is not the first car success story I have had.  Another accident in 2006 in my 2004 Prius also turned out to a very wise financial investment.  My 2004 Prius was a base model that after sales tax (the ONLY one of the 3  Priuses I owned that I paid sales tax on BTW...) was just over $22,000 and was a cash purchase.  I drove it 30,000 miles in 26 months until one day when a truck turned in front of me.  I swerved to avoid her but she creased the entire driver's side of the car.  IOW, not much damage at all.

But the timing couldn't have been worse...or better... Well, I guess it all depends on how you look at it.  The Prius was still a highly prized vehicle and Toyota had not been able to cover the queue of buyers. This pushed the value of the car up considerably.  Random reports of Priuses selling for $5,000 over sticker were shocking but true.

A very tight market means a very expensive repair market.  Despite what I considered to be very minor damage, it was  still damage across an entire side and the vehicle to my surprise was totaled.

Despite the other driver making a recorded statement to my insurance company less than 30 minutes after the accident, it took over 2 months for her insurance company to pay and the reason was the market valuation of the car was nearly $4,000 higher than the original sticker price of the car!

This meant the settlement had to be kicked to a department that normally only works on classic car claims and other "valuable" insurance claims.  After searching several markets for a lower price, they finally gave up issuing me a check for $23,800 PLUS tax... which strangely came in a separate check almost 2 weeks earlier...

So now we come to Nov 10th, 2016 and a visit to Ray Ishak at Campbell-Nelson in Everett. I got a VERY rare 2016 S trim with a 30 kwh battery. A trim that was only built for a month.  Not only was it a zero down lease, I also received a check later for $148.75 for "overpayment" on license fees.

I made 14 payments of $245.99 or a total of  $3443.86 minus the refund which on the surface made it a very cheap ride considering I drove it 29,413 miles or 11.2 cents per mile.

Now, I had a choice of letting the responsible party's insurance company handle the claim but wasn't sure how they would handle the lease end so I elected to have my insurance company handle the claim than go after the responsible party.   Doing this allowed me to stop lease payments as my settlement to NMAC happened in just over 2 weeks but I was still responsible for the $1000 deductible but the payment to NMAC left enough money that I was still able to get a check that more than covered the deductible so before the claim was settled, I wasn't only whole, I was in the black!

Well, today I received a deposit into my account for the $1000 deductible with another deposit expected in "5-7 business days" for my out of pocket for car rental.

The Math
Payments;  14 @ $245.99 = $3443.86

The Checks;   $148.75 for overpayment of fees.  Balance  $3295.11
Insurance payout   $1526.69      Balance    $1768.42



But then again, there was fuel costs which includes roughly 4934 kwh courtesy of NCTC along with $320.42 of my electricity and public charging fees.   Balance  2088.84   or  7.1 cents per mile.

There is also insurance costs which varies from model to model and year to year but enough to make significant differences in the types of cars I would be buying or leasing.

This drops my cost of ownership to $149.20 a month.  Not bad.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

2018 Fast Charge Rates; Regen = Fast Charge... NOT! Part One

Well, hoped to have more data than I do but I am having issues keeping LEAF Spy focused when car is off. I am guessing its combination of phone (Galaxy 4) and Dongle (V 1.5) so have ordered the new fangled $35 version that has yet to arrive (Amazon's way of forcing me to get prime for  free 2 day delivery...which BTW, will NEVER happen!)

But a lot of people (all European) have posted several bits of data about their charging experiences so have to wonder; "Are all LEAFs created equally?"  cause up till now, that has not been the case.  There have always been minor differences from country to country.  One guy who charged and logged extensively posted a chart which is a "bit" lower than what I have seen.  His youtube vblog details what and how he came about these conclusions.

He made a good chart but suspect SOC played a part in some of his data??


Ok, I will admit the extra range has made it a rare day so far that I would need to charge more than once a day so I had to "generate" situations to make it happen. The easiest way was to leave home on a 200 mile day with 30% SOC!   But on the days I have done two QC's I have yet to do the charge to drive to charge back to back on a hard day other than maybe one time.

Either way, I have scattered, somewhat incomplete data so here is some observations I have up to this point.   SOC is formatted to have 4 significant digits starting at 1/10 of one percent.  So the first data line, SOC is 74.3339%.   KW is Volts * amps and is NOT the true measure of charging speed due to overhead that is deducted from this.  On 2018 LEAF Spy logs,  OBC output is not working so power the car is using takes a bit away from this when its on which is most of the time.  2016 had "some" focus issues but they were minor.

Speaking of which, I posted a sample of my 2016 and the charging profile I used to enjoy.  There is a significant difference.

2016 LEAF  AV Charge  Mar 2017
SOC         Volts            amps    KW       
743339 390.72 -126.749    49.475 
765774 391.87 -120.036    47.038
802357 393.41 -110.457    43.454
836190 394.75 -101.745    40.162
846726 394.94 -94.897      37.478
865690 395.04 -83.337      32.921
885260 395.14 -70.867      28.002
939476 395.42 -42.886      16.957 


2018 LEAF  EVGO Charge (displayed 119 amps) 3/22
SOC        Volts       Amps         KW       Pack Temperatures
89401    339.84  -117.393 39.894     69.6    68      63.4
578176 376.51   -117.301 44.165   101.8   101.5   93
595356 377.09   -109.458 38.803   102.9   102.7   94
     2nd Charge
275267    346.66 -87.676 30.393     101.5 99     86.2 
542876    366.43 -82.244 30.136     111.2 108.1   94.4
637635    374.3 -81.389 30.463     114.8 112     97.5

     2018 LEAF EVGO 2nd Charge   3/3/18
556532 364.42 -83.709   30.505    102     101.1   92.8
768545 387.36 -77.575   30.049    110.7  109.7   99.6
835595 393.98 -65.307   25.729    112.5  111.2   100.8
879584 396.77 -57.433   22.787    113.3  111.7   101.3

Later this week, I will post a 3 charge day with higher temps  but one thing to take away from this; My first charge on 3/22 ended  over 40 KW which is not as good as my 2016 (See above where it was charging just under 50 KW at 74%?)  The session at the slower (120 verses the AV running at 126 amps)  EVGO station still netted me 22.3 Kwh  or  85 miles of travel at 3.8 miles per kwh which would be the middle low range for Winter.  Since heat seems to play a part, I will hold judgment on Summer range until Summer time.

Still charging at 40 KW. Easy to do if starting SOC is low! 
Notice charge rate at 35ºC is significantly higher than
vblogger's chart? 


Have NO idea why this happened but here we see the ramp down happening at 60% SOC. Highest I have seen and this is with warmer pack so temp "can be" a good thing?? 

Now I think we were all spoiled a bit by the 30 kwh's ability to go full speed to a very high SOC but the reality is, it was receiving the same amount of charge.  My highest ever charge received was on the 2016 where 4 times I received over 23 kwh in a 30 min session but I also did it on the 2018 March 3 at the EVGO (the faster one which runs at 124 amps....no all chargers are NOT created equally)  Granted, the 2018 has be pretty low to get that much, but even when charging at a "normal" SOC  in the 20% range, I am still pulling 20-21 kwh.

Now I do not have good data on how much range can be gained on the 2nd charge because I have yet to do a 2nd charge with a significant amount of driving between charges. The best I can tell you about is the 2nd charge on the 22nd where I drove from North Bend to Tacoma.  Now the drive started slowly as it took FOREVER  to exit I-90 to Highway 18. But as soon as it went two lanes, It was 75 + nearly all the way to Tacoma (It was after 8 PM when I hit EVGO) So SOC was still pretty high but it was 45 miles of reasonably spirited driving where I gained 16.2 kwh or  62 miles of range.   But my 75 mph run (realize a 3rd of it was coasting downhill while applying some major regen at 167 amps!)  failed to add some heat to the pack so the 2nd session started warm and stayed that way.  The reality was the slog to Highway 18 dropped the pack temps about 7 º showing the pack has a good heat shedding ability and the high speed regen did help to gain a tiny bit back but was only a tiny bit.

So ok, the charging speed is less, that is obvious so the big question becomes  "when" is the additional range of the 40 kwh LEAF hampered by slow charging better than the 30 kwh LEAF  with its balls to the wall charging?

That question is valid here IF and when  AV fixes the compatibility issue with the 2018's.   For many, its simply going to be 40 kwh due to its range.  But for me, its a different question simply because we have enough chargers around here that 30 kwh works 95% of the time.  So best idea of a drive in 30 kwh LEAF was my 300 mile trip last March.   Here was 4 QC stops totaling  81 mns of charge time that collected about   60 kwh.   Now there is time to add for each stop as its a detour off the route and a few are considerable. Castle Rock is not a super quick detour by any means.

On my 2018 LEAF, the best I have done was 238 miles and... well that was only a one charge day... But lets extrapolate a day where I spend 90 minutes charging.   First off I would start off with 150 miles of range. With reserve, and a properly placed station, I may actually be able to go more than 150 miles before stopping to charge.   But say I only go 148 miles (as in the above 238 mile day. FYI; had an estimated 20 miles left but the charger was a convenient one and I had to pee!)  So, I stop, collect my 85 miles of charge and head off back down the road.
Now I stop 75 miles later. Trip meter; 223 miles.   Using previous data on the North Bend trip, I am likely to start charging at 100 amps as opposed to 120 and will drop to 85ish in less than 10 minutes.  result;  62 miles gained.   Now if doing a 300.5 mile trip, I likely have enough to get home but saying I don't and this time I go 65 miles,  Trip meter; 287.  By rights, I only get to charge 21 mins to match plug time on my 2016 but the 2016 did 4 stops and I am only doing 3 which means I can probably get away with doing a 30 min charge because of the time saved by doing 3 stops over 4.

But this is "breaking even."   I thought I was getting more with my 40 kwh LEAF?  I don't want to break even!

BUT....

I have to consider this although I felt like the 30 kwh LEAF "issues" were manageable but if this tweak in the BMS means my LEAF's battery pack will last a lot longer, than I have to say I am ok with the change.  The reality is that I rarely need to go much more than 100-200 miles and on the times I do go farther, I am simply not in that much of a hurry. I generally fly for anything longer. 

But the hard facts are that the 40 kwh LEAF now covers 100% of my normal driving needs where the 30 kwh LEAF only covered about 95%.  What is that 5% worth?  About $1000 a year.  That is what the Corolla cost me in gas, insurance and licensing for the roughly 3,000 annual miles it contributed to my life.

I guess now the conversation goes back to "Does my car have to work for every situation "perfectly" and if it doesn't, what level of compromise is acceptable?"

Well,  now the conversation will go back to tax liability, disappearing credits, and deals that are no longer available.  Right now the internet is rife with people touting deals on other EVs that are not now nor have they EVER been available to me.   So everything I say below is applicable to me.  If you have tax liabilities, etc that makes a purchase a viable one, then you need to do the math for your self.

2016 LEAF
I only had it 14 months and just under 30,000 miles but it did EVERYTHING  I asked of her and more. I might have had 2-3% degradation so the "issue of the day" simply did not apply to me in anyway.  Some will say, its climate which would be NOT TRUE.  There is a growing handful in my area who are seeing the degradation issue.

Some would say, "Didn't have it long enough"   NOT TRUE.  Several, also in my area saw noticeable degradation within the first year.

I guess one thing no one will say is I didn't drive it or charge it hard enough.  Uber drivers probably top me but betting few others will. I had nearly 300 QCs and saw batt temps over 110º daily from May to September last year.

Now initially I, along with everyone else thought the accident was THE perfect thing to happen to me.  It was a zero down lease with 14 payments of $245 a month of which $1500 was refunded back to me from the insurance claim. For 29,413 miles and nearly nothing in "fuel" costs, that works out to a TCO that would be tough to beat with any car.

So for few dollars more, I am starting with new car, new mileage lease clock, etc.  Everything was golden!   Then the "QC Charge" issue emerged.

2018 LEAF
Ok, so is this where I talk about deals that are not available to anyone else but me?  I don't think so. I am still seeing people taking home their LEAFs with prices similar to mine.

My first thought was putting a down payment on the car to reduce my rent charge but the way the lease it set up, it wouldn't have had much of a reduction so I just went with the zero down thing again.  Unlike my 2016,  Car dealers are smarter. They now realize (like I did 4 years ago) that new EVs do not pay the $150 EV tab fee. Its only tab "renewals" that pay that.  So instead of getting a $148.75 refund like I did with my 2016 LEAF, I had to pay this time because they underestimated my fees by like... uh... don't remember. I think it was around $50.   But my payments went up to $382.94 from $245.99 or  $136.95 a month or  $1643.40 a year.  Full lease terms

Well, that is a BIG jump in anyone's book, right?   Well, maybe...

1999 Corolla
Originally I bought the car for my Son who ended up never driving it. This also coincided with my expanding work role and now I needed a car that could do what my 2011 LEAF could not.  In the early days, the TCO was not too bad as I was doing 7,000 miles a year on it.  It was old so had a bearing disintegrate driving to Bellingham one day which was aggravated by the fact that I knew something had happened but didn't understand the gravity of the situation until I received a phone call which required me to turn off the radio which allowed me to hear the racket my car was making. This happened as I was passing Du Pont on my way home! 

When my 2013 LEAF came along, despite the sameness, it simply did a better job of getting places so the role of the Corolla was reduced ever so slightly. A growing public charging network helped.

But then the 2016 came along and I quickly saw it was only a matter of time. The first year of 30 kwh, saw the Corolla's role drop to 3791 miles.  Probably half those miles were times I simply drove it because it had sat too long. Most were 45 mile round trips to the office and back.  The accident happened so I drove a rental for  12 days  (max estimate for time the other insurance company would pay was 2 weeks) then the Corolla the rest of the time. This resulted in the Corolla's final year netting 5089.7 miles.  Take off the "accident" miles and it would not have made 3500 miles.

Needless to say, the Corolla will no longer be part of my monthly drive report. She is now with someone who needs and appreciates her.

2018 LEAF  Part Two
Back to the  $1643.40 additional expense of the 2018.  Well, first off,  the Corolla cost me  $501.36 in insurance last year,  $374.22 in gas, $68.75 in tabs, plus a random amount of maintenance that added up to just under $100.  Besides oil changes, my bulbs decided to go on strike enmasse.  Now that does not add up to $1643  but then we throw in the $1526.69 the insurance company refunded me and  that DOES take care of my additional expense this year along with pretty hefty chunk of next years!


**EDIT**
Brian Henderson loaned me his dongle and the first prelim data capture it would appear that the focus issue may be solved.  Only was able to log 2nd charge with his dongle but the prelim results are very promising!


As we can now see, the rate drops in steps. Notice how the temperature rise flattens out?  Hope to have a much better picture soon!

Regen verses Charging Speed
Ok, so they do the same thing but aren't the same, right?  Regen is short bursts of electrons to the pack while charging is an extended continuous flow.  So regen should be higher or is it simply the LEAF has the ability to charge faster and its software limited?  I am thinking the latter!

As mentioned, I was doing the coasting to build up speed to 80 mph and shifting to B mode to slow it down to 65ish and repeating on my trip home from North Bend and guess what?

I was seeing 167 amps to the pack resulting in a regen rate of 60 KW!!  All these events happened with batt temps over 100º F.  Granted these regen stints were only 30-90 seconds at a time but still.... It is POSSIBLE!!

Finally;  I saw a Bolt charging at 130 amps at EVGO EV2 at Tacoma Mall and was impressed until it hit about 55% and the rate dropped to 60 amps or about  22 KW...

Sunday, March 18, 2018

2018 LEAF; One Month!

Yesterday was a very strange day.  First my weekend plans were canceled at the last second so I decided it was time to see if my new EVSE worked. I had actually not even looked at it yet.  So I grabbed the bag, took it out, removed the plastic and noticed it is heavier than previous versions so apparently Nissan beefed it up to handle 240 volts maybe?

So I started browsing Plugshare and first time I realized; There are hardly any 14-50 plugs around outside of campgrounds.  Most campgrounds were closed or charge a hefty fee for entry.

So after driving around the neighborhood including Pacific Raceway which was supposed to have several, I couldn't find any and couldn't figure out how to get behind the grandstand so not sure the right gate was open?? Oh well, another day.

So I got a coupon for a restaurant at Tacoma Mall so I figured I would go there to charge and eat so I get there and its its usual busy Saturday afternoon with several dozen jockeying for parking so I get to chargers and we have 3 campers; 2 LEAFs and a Volt that is parked blocking a DCFC.

 Luckily there was a space on the other side next to the Gray LEAF so I was able to charge.  Later a Facebooker reported that DC1 (facing pix) was inoperable which I confirmed

The button is stuck which means it will not lock into place when plugged in. Unlike the older AV plugs which could be fooled by holding them in place, these won't work.  I tried to loosen the plug and it simply did not work. Something internally is stuck or broken...

So as I was leaving, I was either delayed or witnessed (while not moving) a half dozen traffic issues caused by people who did not realize that nearly all of the lanes between parking spaces at Tacoma Mall are one way and most do not have enough space for two cars to pass... 

One would think the angle in parking would be enough to determine which way you should go but apparently not.  But then again, signs that say  "Electric Vehicle Charging ONLY"  were ineffective so guessing spending money on One Way signs would be money best spent elsewhere...


Charge Timer

Ever wonder if your car will be charged on those days when you have to leave much earlier than normal? Here is one way to tell.  Now I am guessing the car is using standard 6.6 KW charging to calculate the time and I am only using 5.76 KW  EVSE so... I will say that at 3:30 AM when I did leave the charge was done!

Automatic Emergency Braking

I had thought about how I could test the Automatic Emergency Braking System.  Waaaaay back in the day when I was a die hard Prius fan,  Someone tested the AEB system by putting a bunch of cardboard boxes on the road and driving towards them.  The funeral for the boxes was a few days later... 😏 

Now since I already have missing paint from the from a "hit and run" parking lot incident FIVE days after delivery, I decided not to risk any more paint.  But one thing I did notice is that in any case where the AEB senses that E Pedal is not decelerating fast enough, it will at least give a 3 beep warning.  Now will it do the braking too?  Don't know. Since I don't drink, its hard to get up the courage to test it...


Range Test

Again??  Well, the first time I posted my test, I had someone who claimed LEAF Spy estimated range was not to be trusted. I simply could not let that go so I tried it and found out that...

GOM is what cannot be trusted but this time it has a HUGE  hidden reserve at the bottom.  So naturally I had to update the post!  Read more here


DCFC Charging

As reported earlier, my hoped for advantage over the Bolt concerning DCFC charging was simply not happening. Don't get me wrong. The LEAF still charges faster but nowhere near the HUGE  advantage my 30 kwh LEAF had. 

But I did see a tiny sliver of hope!  The other day during our MUCH warmer than normal weather (Seattle smashed its all time high for the MONTH by 3º!)  the charge started its ramp down around 60% which is a significant jump over the 52-55% I had seen so far.  Does this mean back to a 75-80% full speed charge come Summer?... Probably not, but still nice to hope. Hope is good!



Batteries/BMS

Jim, our LEAF Spy developer updated the formula that determines SOH because some were reporting a greater than 100% SOH and that caused my SOH to drop 2½% overnight!  As I had mentioned before, both my ahr and SOH have steadily declined.  Also,  the usual tricks to bolster the numbers are not working.  Drive a lot, cycle deeply, QC frequently, etc.  Nothing is working! 

Now the thought that my driving need is no longer enough to overwhelm the pack like the old days did cross my mind so may have to wait for a 700 mile week to make a real determination but even that is seeming unlikely. 

But I only post this for informational purposes only. The reality is the drop is hardly alarming.  Extrapolated, the rate is just at 3% a year.  Now, Jim has decided to go back to the "regular" method of determining SOH (Don't ask me, I have no idea how he does it)

BUT the drop has not affected my range in anyway whatsoever. I am still EASILY getting 150 miles of range in "real life" driving and yeah, that includes slowdowns for traffic but also includes 70 mph jaunts in the very early morning when traffic is "lighter" 

But the BMS is still not behaving like I want it to.  The other day, I charged from a low state about 10% finishing at 4:00 AM. I know this because that was my planned departure time. Since it was only a 125 mile day, I didn't really care if the charge cycle completed or not, I would have enough 😎

Anyway,  taking off in the morning requires a few trips to the garage to load up and I saw the car still charging at 3:50ish but it was done at 4:06 when I left (I get paid for travel so yeah, the time is not approximate)

Again, LEAF Spy readings confirmed an "overcharge"


So now, I guess I need to define "overcharge"  and despite 30 days of ownership, I still can't do that.  I fear my only option is to charge to full every night for 5 days and average the results or see if any consistency shows up. But the damage that full charging can do especially with a rogue BMS scares me a bit... But...will probably do it since I don't see any real way around it.

BUT,,, its not all doom and gloom.  My Hx is is reputed to be a measure of internal resistance where the higher number means lower resistance which is the characteristic of a healthy pack. So....


LOL!!! 

FYI; This was Friday. I am now almost to 114%  How high can it go??


Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 4, 2018

2018 VERY Casual Range Test; Why LEAF Spy Is Still Vital! **EDITED**

Ok, so I drive a lot.  I hear about others who think they drive a lot but then they faint when they see how much I drive so "again" I got a 15,000 mile annual lease (drove OVER 26,000 miles last year) and my dealer happily complied with my request while crying... BUT

My plan is to change jobs this year.  I  am aiming to find something that has much less driving involved. Not sure where but the reality is I am far from being well paid now so getting something else probably won't be too tough... Hopefully. Besides, I have over 8 years experience at the current job including the last 5½ years so its simply time for a change!

Because nothing is settled, just driving around for the sake of science is not something I can afford to do but Friday, I was left with a great opportunity when I realized that I had enough range to make it home easily so I felt this was a great opportunity to do two tests at once!

Test One;

Range test. I did a full charge Friday morning and then spent 115.5 miles trying to wear out the battery. The battery won.  I was doing a medical clinic run of 10 at 8 different locations.  So a lot of street speeds mixed in with 70 MPH freeway sprints for all but about a 6 mile stretch on the 167 to 512 where it was closer to a 45 mile jog.  There was occasional rain but by and large, mild with only short stints of defrost to clear the windows.   When I said I had enough range to make it home, this was without the help of LEAF Spy since I pulled into the garage with 42 on the GOM.

Naturally, the I-5 slog past the Tacoma Dome was moving at its normal speed...


Any way to get to my 151 mile EPA rated "gotta stop now" situation, I needed to get to 35.5 miles.  So I planned out a route that was roughly 146 miles because I didn't want to cut it too close and then not be near a fast charger.  But the weather was a LOT nicer than I expected. It was clear, Sunny and in less than 10 minutes on the road, seat and steering wheel heaters were off and the windows were cracked. It was THAT warm!


With it being so sunny, I had enough extra range so detoured to get car washed. In my previous blog I mentioned that on day 6 or 7 of ownership, someone hit my car at either the Everett Speedway or the Dash Point (Federal Way) Walgreens parking lot.   Since the parking lot was all ice, I suspect Everett but because of that, I have been hesitant to wash the car because the dirt hid the scratch fairly well...




Less than a mile from the car wash,  Low Battery Warning! I should have had LEAF Spy trip meter set but... oh well.  Notice estimated range on GOM.



Just like clockwork, warning comes on right at 87 GIDs just like the other day.  I now realize that I have waaaay too much range left so despite the warmth, sunshine AND the rolled down windows, I am now using heat and defrost as "Turtle Bait".    Traffic is not agreeing with me but then again  we are approaching the Tacoma Dome and the reality is... all is normal which means slowing to 20 mph.  I now realize that I have to go the full (or nearly) 151 miles...  

Thanks to Defrost!,  VLBW comes on at 4 % (just as I predicted!) Notice  estimated range of 17.1 miles to 1% (now set unlike pix above) that matches estimated GOM range at LBW?  



Very Low Battery Warning

So now, I am racing up and down Pacific Highway in front of the Emerald Queen to get to my 151 miles and finally got tired of it... and stopped at 1%   


FYI; Blinking bar on GOM has been on for like 8 miles now so I should be on "fumes", right? Well, at 3.8 miles per kwh to 1% SOC, I actually had 13 miles left!  I could literally have been driving blind for over 21 miles!


End of range test;

Miles driven;  150.6 
Miles left;  13.3 (estimated but realize I trust LEAF Spy just a TEENY TINY SCOOSH more than the GOM)
Total range Estimated;  163.9

Conclusion; Yeah shoulda driven around more but go back to Paragraph one for an explanation.

Thoughts; Why did Nissan hide so much capacity at the bottom? Is there something they know that no one else knows? The general consensus as I understand it is very low SOC is ok and very high SOC is not.  So why is Nissan allowing a High SOC and doing what they can to prevent us from visiting very low SOCs?

Hmmmm...  

Test Two

As mentioned in my Feb 2018 Driving log, my batt stats have not been consistent. Both my ahr and SOH have steadily declined since day one while my Hx has gone thru the roof.  Full charges have been anywhere from 95.5% to 99.5%!  Below is list of full charges. Keep in mind; my log lists driving from the day before with LEAF Spy readings, the morning of.  For example; 

On 2/22/2018, I drove 183.9 miles and stopped and QC'd twice but the LEAF Spy readings were taken the morning of 2/23/2018 at the start of my day. 



datemilesmiles/kwSOHahrHxmphGIDskwh availSOCnotes
2/17/201842.54.399.66115.0599.861849138.196.52
2/19/201881.44.499.65115.0499.873450639.399.51
2/20/2018128.74.199.63115.01101.983748637.795.69
2/22/2018183.93.999.60114.98104.243649738.597.792 QC
2/23/201878.43.699.60114.98104.952749738.597.81no drive 2/24
2/26/201861.74.399.57114.94105.324549338.297.08
2/28/201824.64.599.54114.91106.952149338.297.05
3/1/201899.94.499.53114.90107.913649438.397.27


Now previously, my stats were boosted by doing a lot of QC's, sometimes as much as 5 a day.  But with the longer range, it simply wasn't necessary to stop. I simply didn't see the need when I realized I would be getting home with 40-50 miles of range left.   But now I am seeing what a lot of LEAFers are seeing; a slow steady decline in battery stats.  Now, SOH and Hx do not concern me. They move a LOT but it was over 20,000 miles before my 2016 S30's ahr dropped from the max ONE TIME!

Right now, I am not even sure what the max Ahr is so I decided I am doing nothing but QC's for the next several days to see if I can find out!  So plugged into the Blink at Tahoma Market.  Charged 29 mins finishing at about 60% (interestingly, the car is almost the same now...) 



I then left there going straight to Tacoma Mall to plug into the EVGO and started at 100 amps instead of 120 but it dropped to 80 amps within a minute or so.  Unfortunately,  LEAF Spy lost focus when the car was turned off so graphing is not smooth here. Still ended with a decent charge rate





Heat wasn't as bad as expected.  Sooooo,  after all that; any results?
Sadly, not yet.  This morning, stats were down again;  ahr; 114.86, SOH 99.50%  but Hx continued its amazing upward trend to 109.22% 

I am running LEAF Spy on two phones but both are having issues.  Could be the dongle I am using which was an "original" given to me like 5 years ago or so.  It might need to be updated.  

As you can see on the graph, the blue line is not working. My odometer reading is not updating either although it did move a few miles yesterday for the first time in over a week. Very strange but the 2018 is still very new and I have full faith that Jim the LEAF Spy developer will get it figured out. 

Its only day one of the experiment so we shall see where we are at next weekend. As luck would have it, I have 2 local and one very near job so piling on the mileage this week will be a bit of a challenge. Add to the difficulty that AV is currently still not compatible with the 2018's and Olympia Nissan's QC is down (Again!) so no local watering holes for me!  But EVGO at Tacoma Mall is a mile from my office so I will probably be stopping by there a bit this week so stay tuned!!


**EDIT**

I am back!  Ok, test two failed.  I was not able to raise the ahr or SOH. They both continue to drop and worse; LEAF Spyers were reporting greater than 100% SOH (Lucky Dogs!) so the developer reconfigured the formula and I instantly lost 2½ %!

But I also fell into a good test of the range again and this was prompted by a comment below stating that Turtle would have been reached by me shortly afterwards on my test above had I not stopped to charge. 

Well, didn't believe that for a second! So had to find out!

The scenario; Fully charged (not very full actually but close enough!) and drove to Bremerton WA for a ships tour.  Trip home slightly slower with a lot of road at 55 mph but the additional range of the LEAF meant not having to take the Tacoma Narrows Bridge home and paying a $6 toll!

Here is end of day one.  The average MPH is misleading since its based on all on time and we did sit in parking lot in Bremerton eating for about 30 mins before actually getting out of the car.  



Like the previous GOM, we do not get a countdown to one so its important to note the trip mileage, GOM and odometer which I have left up for all screens (unlike Test one above...) 


So here we are at VLBW 25 of 28 miles down the road.  Now part of this is when I hit LBW, I changed from errand running to driving around between charging stations in case Turtle did pop up unexpectedly.   So now we are at 50 GIDs which should be good for about  3-4 GIDs per mile minus say 4-10 on the bottom for buffer or about  12-14 miles.


So above we had VLBW which was clearly at 1788 miles on the odo but then at 1793 miles we get the "_ _ _" on the % meter so this is "VLBW 2" or was the above  "LBW 2?"   Interesting...\

So now we should be on the cusp of walking... right?  Ok, we'll see...


Remember the Legacy LEAF?  It had a power meter that consisted of 9 power circles and 4 regen circles? Double walled circles meant that they were available?  Well, my LEAF has segments; 36 power segments and 18 regen segments.  So like the Legacy LEAF, I figured the disappearing power capabilities would be the best way to go for monitoring my LEAF's progress to Turtledom.  And initially this was true.  Soon, segments started fading...well, at least a few anyway.  

Take note of the fact that we are now 12 miles beyond our normally optimistic GOM prediction  😏




So now I am basically circling a half mile route (farthest I dare go from the plug...)  thinking any minute now, the segments will start dropping like flies. I spent most of the time on the power screen and... WELL THIS IS BORING!!.  Where is that damn Turtle!...  So I picked another route that lessen the regen (I actually added a segment back because of regen!) 

Finally I get this! But also lost 18 segments all at once!  So much for the Turtle doing his polite entrance!


So I plugged in after spending EONs getting to this point because I got the waylaid impression that LEAF Spy was not accurate... 




But it would appear AGAIN, that GOM is BS (on the good side this time...) and LEAF Spy is the one if you really want to know what your range is.  Below its interesting that LEAF Spy shows .6 kwh remaining. I am pretty sure (and since I won't try it) that I did not have a mile plus left to drive.  But my lack of top end balancing makes me think my pack is not all that balanced (which in itself is not a bad thing... well, unless you are trying for 175 miles!)  which might have lended to this.