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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
This week a friend on an EV road trip became stranded at the Herkimer NY EA DCFC when all four units failed to work. How can we all help each other to try to prevent this from happening again?

What can we do?

EA can’t fix what they do not know is broken, unlike a gas station the EA host locations have no vested interest in logging, reporting, and resolving any charging issues. EA is a tenant on site, the host collects the same rent if the station works or not, unlike a gas station where the clerk would note and resolve any issue with a pump.

If you attempt to charge at an EA charger and it fails to work please log the issue:

  • Check in on PlugShare with a “could not charge” with a detailed comment like “station 3 connectors 1 & 2 both failed to charge”
  • In the EA app, click report an issue and tell them the station number and that it is not working
If you are then successful at charging at a different station, check in on PlugShare with that as well, but if you tried three stations at the site, and none worked, and you then successfully charged at the fourth one please enter the three failed attempts and the one successful attempt on PlugShare. This will lower the PlugShare score and hopefully get EA’s attention. Also, please log all three issues on the EA app.

What Can EA do?

EA has said that they read every comment on PlugShare and that they “roll a truck within 24 hours” I have no idea if the first statement is true but I am confident that the second one is wishful thinking. Stations near me have been out of service for weeks. EA lets stations sit broken until the last unit at a site fails and an EV driver is stranded before they roll a truck. We can look back at comments on PlugShare to confirm this. Just look at Fredonia, Erie, Herkimer, and Waterloo.
"We cluster every single ticket into a category. In each category, it’s time and cost. We need to go on the site immediately and add a fix within 24 hours. "

EA can improve site monitoring and quickly resolve issues with chargers, maintaining charger redundancy at each site.

  • Going forward, EA please only use the most reliable manufactures of DCFC (see other post below)
  • Replace unreliable chargers with reliable units (see other post below)
What can PlugShare do?

Currently PlugShare has only “could not activate” or “all stations broken” for selections under a “could not charge check in. Folks tend not to use the “all stations are broken” when they are not, and many folks will put details in a check in comment. The comment is helpful but it fails to alter the PlugShare score. We can have locations like this with three of the four chargers broken and a PlugShare rating of 10. That is very misleading.

  • PlugShare can add a dropdown for the station number and connector on a check in so that we can report bad units that require repair and properly credit the working units with a successful check in
  • Plugshare can then alter the wording from “all stations broken” to “station broken”
I have emailed PlugShare requesting this, you can contact them at [email protected]

Screenshot_20200202-085624_LI.jpg Screenshot_20200202-085905_LI.jpg Screenshot_20200202-090418_LI.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
What am I getting myself into, which DCFC are reliable?

If you are headed on an EV road trip yourself what can you do to have the best odds of not being stranded at an EA site with all stations down?

Earlier this week I wondered the same thing, and did some digging, here are my recommendations.

  • Know the DCFC station manufacturer used at each EA site
  • Avoid unreliable DCFC station manufacturers when possible
  • Review the site score on PlugShare, pictures of the chargers, and comments
Unfortunately, Consumer Reports has not yet tested EV DCFC stations, however even if EA is unwilling to share experience and reliability data with specific manufacturers, an audit I did this week looking at PlugShare rankings and DCFC station pictures, allows us to build an educated opinion. I also used data posted by @Usain in this post to formulate my opinion.

Dividing the PlugShare posts into two different categories, and viewing images of the units, we can identify manufacturer and "issues". If the card reader failed, something we know from EA was a very pervasive issue, but could now be avoided by using the EA app, I categorized that as OK, if however the units failed to actually charge using the app or the charge abruptly stopped for no reason while charging, I categorized that as catastrophic.



EA appears to have used four different DCFC station manufacturers, EFACEC, ABB, Signet, and BTC.

  • EFACEC stations have the handles/connectors stored on the side of the station
  • ABB stations have the handles/connectors stored in front and the card reader between the connectors
  • Signet stations have the handles/connectors stored in front and the card reader above the buttons
  • BTC handles/connectors stored in front LEFT justified, cabinet lock to the right of the connectors, card reader below the buttons
Pictures attached below.

For the small sample of stations I looked at I was unable to draw any conclusion between ABB, Signet, and BTC, however it quickly became clear to me that where EA used EFACEC stations those locations have proven extremely unreliable.

Conclusion:

  • Avoid EFACEC stations wherever possible
BTC.jpg ABB.jpg efacec.jpg Signet.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
PlugShare and EA site ratings

If I filter PlugShare based on score, only show me stations with a 10 rating, I find stations like this EA location

It has a PlugShare rating of 10, but looking at the pictures we can see it has the unreliable EFACEC chargers, that doesn't compute. So we take a look at the comments and discover that of 4 chargers only one actually works, no driver has ever posted a negative check-in for all the failed charge attempts!

28299


So when the 257-01 charger goes down, we will have stranded EV drivers, not good, not good at all.

Looking at my options for a check in that would negatively impact the PlugShare score, I am limited to "could not activate" or "all stations broken", neither is typically correct.

Thus the reason I have suggested PlugShare alter the app.
 

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This is excellent! Please keep us posted if you get a response--of any kind. Also consider how you might promote this further by send it to EAA's Ron Freund for use in their newsletter or send it along to Plug in America.

These things have to work or we'll all be driving Teslas. ;)

Paul
 

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  • Avoid EFACEC stations wherever possible
Those seem to be the ones on I-75 in Florida and South Georgia. I shall take your advice and be cautious, although it’s not like we have other options along that corridor.

thank you for your efforts here. Great ideas!
we need reliability until we have redundancy throughout the country or Paulgipe is correct, we‘ll all have just buy a Tesla instead. Hear that Volkswagon?
 

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Discussion Starter #6
This is excellent! Please keep us posted if you get a response--of any kind. Also consider how you might promote this further by send it to EAA's Ron Freund for use in their newsletter or send it along to Plug in America.

These things have to work or we'll all be driving Teslas. ;)

Paul
I will do, good idea, thanks Paul

And in fairness to EA, I do understand that they built out a DCFC network extremely quickly and that the potential suppliers did not redialy have units designed, built, and tested that they could just drop in. Also, the rest of the road trip mentioned in the initial post apparently went well with EA chargers, link to the details in this other thread I started here
 

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  • Avoid EFACEC stations wherever possible
Those seem to be the ones on I-75 in Florida and South Georgia. I shall take your advice and be cautious, although it’s not like we have other options along that corridor.

thank you for your efforts here. Great ideas!
we need reliability until we have redundancy throughout the country or Paulgipe is correct, we‘ll all have just buy a Tesla instead. Hear that Volkswagon?
Don't be so pessimistic. ;)
If the manufacturers would up the charge rate on par with Tesla, and agree to contribute to the Supercharger Network, you can still drive non-Tesla's, just not the current ones. The Volkswagen line-up could probably qualify but since they've kind of sponsored the EA network, I can't see them approaching Tesla for membership.
It would be interesting to hear Reuss's explanation as to why they chose to buy back shares of GM stock rather than spend a fraction of the money on joining a proven, reliable, convenient, built-out, superior infrastructure.
It didn't have to be this way.
 

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Excellent post @wonderbolt. I've been doing exactly as you recommend ...recording a "could not charge" and then a "successful charge" at the same EA location when necessary. You should also make your post on EA's FB page. In fact, it would be best to post a link to this thread on their FB page. I'll do it for you if you want.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Excellent post @wonderbolt. I've been doing exactly as you recommend ...recording a "could not charge" and then a "successful charge" at the same EA location when necessary. You should also make your post on EA's FB page. In fact, it would be best to post a link to this thread on their FB page. I'll do it for you if you want.
@The Other Tom Thanks for the feedback, I am not on Facebook, Twitter, or instagram. Please do feel free to spread the word however you think might help. I could not email it to them, so I posted it here and used the "contact us form" to send them a link. Others have also suggested that FB or Twitter is a better way to reach out to them on social media, appreciate your help...
 

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Good helpful posts. I do not use L3 chargers often. However, maybe because of my 28 years of flying military and commercial jets, I always ask myself---What if the L3 charger does not work? I look for a nearby charger (hopefully a L3). PlugShare gives you this. If not then a L2. If the L2 option is not appealing, perhaps you need a larger reserve when you get to the first L3 charger.
 

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Are we talking about the failure to get past initialization after plugging in? I believe this is a known problem with the Bolt and many EA chargers. I've had this happen quite a bit and can sometimes work around it by lifting the charge handle during initialization so the mechanism will lock. I've never had the issue on the few ChargePoint chargers I've used.

I'll have to pay attention to the station type next time. A couple weeks ago, I could not get any station to work at the EA stop in Lincoln, Nebraska. I've been successful there before so I'm not sure what happened. It was pretty cold so maybe that had something to do with it. Luckily, I had enough charge to get home.

This issue has been the biggest worry for me as all the DCFC chargers along I-80 to the west and east are Electrify America.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Are we talking about the failure to get past initialization after plugging in?
Good point, I should have mentioned that, no we are very much aware of that issue and will lift the charge connector handle if it fails to initialize.
 

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What am I getting myself into, which DCFC are reliable?
Unfortunately, Consumer Reports has not yet tested EV DCFC stations, however even if EA is unwilling to share experience and reliability data with specific manufacturers, an audit I did this week looking at PlugShare rankings and DCFC station pictures, allows us to build an educated opinion. I also used data posted by @Usain in this post to formulate my opinion.
The generation that reads CR is circling the drain, on a morphine drip or all but dead. Even CR is on it's own morphine drip.
 

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Good point, I should have mentioned that, no we are very much aware of that issue and will lift the charge connector handle if it fails to initialize.
I can't even find the words that describe the epic engineering failure that requires someone to 'hold' the connector to initiate a charge. It is beyond pathetic that this is the 'norm'.
 

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This week a friend on an EV road trip became stranded at the Herkimer NY EA DCFC when all four units failed to work. How can we all help each other to try to prevent this from happening again?
What can we do?
EA can’t fix what they do not know is broken, unlike a gas station the EA host locations have no vested interest in logging, reporting, and resolving any charging issues.
.............
EA can improve site monitoring and quickly resolve issues with chargers, maintaining charger redundancy at each site.
I think EA knows they are broken. I 'choose' to believe that they have the necessary algorithms to identify locations in a failure state. If they find a single charger that hasn't been used in 30 days, they should look at the site to see it's health. A dashboard must exist in their system. They don't care. They could easily generate a report that could show stations not used in xx days. And then from there look at PlugShare though I am hesitant to even mention one of my favorite companies. Love you @PlugShare !!!!! PlugShare is a tool some of us use, they have absolutely ZERO responsibility to get into the sheet-show of DCFC charging issues with EA, especially with the Bolt .... a car that you have to 'hold the cable up'. How many PlugShare reports are on EA chargers saying they are inoperative when it's a perfectly good working charger but the Bolt owner didn't get the memo from Chevrolet (surprise surprise surprise) that there is a feature that you must run to the cable, hold it up, bend your knees slightly and have one shoe face north. I have read here, so many times my eyes have started to bleed, that anyone who travels with the Bolt, needs to always have Plan A, Plan B and Plan C for DCFC charging. And that is after they spent time reading all reports on charger worthiness.
 

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Nissan puts it best.

Men are used to having to hold the cable up, so are happy with charging EVs.
Women are not used to having to do that, so are unhappy with charging EVs.
;)
 

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Don't be so pessimistic. ;)
If the manufacturers would up the charge rate on par with Tesla, and agree to contribute to the Supercharger Network, you can still drive non-Tesla's, just not the current ones. The Volkswagen line-up could probably qualify but since they've kind of sponsored the EA network, I can't see them approaching Tesla for membership.
It would be interesting to hear Reuss's explanation as to why they chose to buy back shares of GM stock rather than spend a fraction of the money on joining a proven, reliable, convenient, built-out, superior infrastructure.
It didn't have to be this way.
A superior network where the majority of chargers struggle to provide 100 KW vs a small but growing coast to coast network with 320 KW capable units at every installation alongside 150 KW units for those of us less fortunate... I understand the growing pains with Electrify America... but most of the V3 superchargers don't work at all, and the older upgraded V1 units are warn out and provide sub-rated output. This is Teslas dirty little secret.

Keith
 

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Excellent post @wonderbolt. I've been doing exactly as you recommend ...recording a "could not charge" and then a "successful charge" at the same EA location when necessary. You should also make your post on EA's FB page. In fact, it would be best to post a link to this thread on their FB page. I'll do it for you if you want.
I have been doing this as well, but if I get lucky and the first unit I try works, there could be 3 faulty units sitting there that I didn't try. I don't try each unit to see if it actually works. I actually offered to do this on a periodic basis for EA on my local stations in exchange for free charging but I was rejected :)

If I SEE a dead unit, I check on the Electrify America app to see if it is out of service, and report it if it is not marked "Error" or marked "Unavailable". The problem with that is on the Electrify America app, it show "unavailable" for half of the broken stations... the same message as a working station that is in use... does EA think the broken units are in use? Or do they know they are broken? It is confusing. I am tempted to report all of the "unavailable" stations that are not in use...

Keith
 

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I can't even find the words that describe the epic engineering failure that requires someone to 'hold' the connector to initiate a charge. It is beyond pathetic that this is the 'norm'.
So is it an EA engineering failure or a Chevrolet failure? I haven't read many reports about other companies' chargers.
 

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So is it an EA engineering failure or a Chevrolet failure? I haven't read many reports about other companies' chargers.
I only here about the "sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't" problem with Bolt + EA where the Bolt owner is not aware of the "hold up the nozzle" solution... but I am on a Bolt centric forum... I have heard Spark drivers say that they can't charge on EA stations at all, but I haven't heard if they try the "hold up the nozzle" trick.

Keith
 
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