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First DCFC charging experience......Not quite what I expected.

Made an overnight trip to PA and ended up doing some more local driving than initially planned, so I needed to hit a CCS station before heading home. Luckily there were 2 in the city I was in, so I headed for the closest one to me, an EVgo unit that I found out was a 100 amp one.

It was a streetside unit, which are very rare, but luckily it was open and so I parked, used my EVgo card and started charging.

HOWEVER, for the first 15 minutes or so the charge rate was limited to 18-24 kW and 60-80 amps. It was so slow I thought I had ended up with one of those 24 kW CCS stations.

It spent the first 10 minutes at 60 amps (350V), then slowly ramped up to about 80 amps the next 5 minutes, then after a couple minutes around 80 amps, it finally did a slow ramp to 100. I think the last 9-10 minutes I actually experienced 100 amp charging (~360V), with 35 kW as the highest observed charge rate.

Not sure why it took so long to ramp up to 100 amps (the station's max output)? My SOC was 16% when I started charging. Only charged 30 minutes because all EVgo stations cut off after 30. I ended at 33% SOC. Went from 32 to 65 rated miles in 30 minute.

I juuust had enough charge to make it home. Funny thing is the first few miles driving after charging on the way to the highway, my ranged actually INCREASED and inched up to 69 miles before ticking back down.

Temps were in the high 30s most of the day. My initial conclusion is that DCFC station just sucks?


 

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I have hit a few DC stations and the kw charging rate have been crazy. I sure would be nice if they all charged the same and you can budget your time and not wait and wait. Isn't it supposed to charge 80 miles worth in 30 minutes?
 

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I have hit a few DC stations and the kw charging rate have been crazy. I sure would be nice if they all charged the same and you can budget your time and not wait and wait. Isn't it supposed to charge 80 miles worth in 30 minutes?
GM keeps saying 90 miles in 30 minutes. However this is a hypothetical rate at an ideal charging station. The ones people currently have access to will never do this. I personally think GM should be a little more honest about this issue. Bro's experience is much more like what people will actually experience.
 

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The owners manual says that's on an 80 kW station, IIRC, and I've never seen such a thing in real life. 24 yes, 50 yes, 80 no (though there's that one 350 kW one being built in the California desert...)
 

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GM keeps saying 90 miles in 30 minutes. However this is a hypothetical rate at an ideal charging station. The ones people currently have access to will never do this. I personally think GM should be a little more honest about this issue. Bro's experience is much more like what people will actually experience.
Today's common 125A (nominally 50kW) charging stations WILL charge it 90 miles in 30 minutes. This was demonstrated a few weeks ago:

http://boltev.blogspot.com/2017/01/sf-to-la-eco-mode.html

50% SoC (119mi) gained in 39 minutes
 

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My first DCFC experience was yesterday also in and around Atlanta. Key points I learned: better to be deeper into the state of charge for more efficient charging, as they charge by the minute, not by KW received. Be prepared for non functioning machines. Cannot be in a hurry. Need to be adventuresome. Must have Internet access, a smartphone, and Plugshare app, or you will be in a lot of trouble. Not sure how much help the MyChevrolet app would have been at finding charging stations.

Charge Point affiliated with Georgia Power at a Chick Fila in Peachtree City: 50 kw machine, 38 minutes, 16.28 KW received, (about 60 miles range) $9.67. Highest rate seen 36 kw
Greenlots in Cobb County....machine broken, left and drove to another Charge Point.
Charge Point at Georgia Power office in Smyrna, GA: 50 kw machine. Leaf plugged into ChaDemo....CCS side would not seem to connect. Waited until the Leaf left, tried again, did not work. Called the number, and finally got someone to turn it on. 33 minutes, 15.18 kw received, $8.37. Mostly 25 kw rate.

So on my 270 mile round trip, I paid $18.04, over an hour total charging time, and received an additional 31.46 kw x 3.9 miles/kw = about 122 miles. Almost twice as expensive as gas if you get 30 miles per gallon, and much more time consuming. Was at over 50% SOC when started each session. My first session was not really needed, but I wanted to try out the location. Would have been less expensive if I had waited until was less than 50% SOC, and received more electrons/minute.

Going to Atlanta and back home again tomorrow, will see if I learned anything. Will try out some different fast chargers.
 

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It's really sounding like you should only use the DC fast charge stations in a pinch if you have to. If you want to travel cross country, use a gas car and otherwise charge at home. Public charging sounds like a tedious, slow, frustrating and relatively costly experience.
 

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A little confused, as you used a DCFC that is considerably SW of Atlanta, and one NW of Atlanta - but I guess that you are simply west of Atlanta...

Georgia Power seems to have pretty close to a monopoly of DCFCs in the area (except N or Atlanta, where there are quite a few EVgo fast chargers). IF you are in the N rea of Atlanta a lot *AND* plan on using DCFC a lot, it might be best to sign up for EVgo's more expensive subscription (which I hate to suggest, as I really dislike EVgo) as it may be the most cost-effective for you. $15/mo, but 10 cents/min for DCFC. It seems that the break-even point is 100 mins of DCFC per month. If you do 100 or less, no sense in signing up (unless those DCFCs are much more convenient). A lot more than 100 mins and it would be less expensive.

$0.25/min for charging seems expensive to me (Georgia Power). I generally pay 25 cents/kWh for DCFC, so the cost doesn't matter how fast it is. (Well, there are parking charges that tack on after 30 minutes - the first 30 mins of connection are free.) I also have access to a few DCFCs that charge *per session* with no other fee, and for a Bolt that would be very attractive ($4/session, and a 50 kW charger).

FYI - the DCFC at 4300 Paces Ferry Rd is FREE at the moment.

There's a very inexpensive DCFC (6 cents/min) in Marietta, if you drive by there.

There are a few FREE Greenlots DCFCs ringing Atlanta (well outside the city & I-285). Sign up (for free) and download the smartphone app!! (Probably not nice to regularly just 'vampire' off a business, but a 20 minute 'thank you so much!' emergency top-up every now and then would most likely be fine.)

Happy trails!!

(PS: **** spelling errors drive me UP THE WALL!!!)
 

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It's really sounding like you should only use the DC fast charge stations in a pinch if you have to. If you want to travel cross country, use a gas car and otherwise charge at home. Public charging sounds like a tedious, slow, frustrating and relatively costly experience.
For 'cross country' (meaning from East Cosast to West coast) - well, yeah. But I'd probably fly anyways.

Concerning just the longer 'overnight' trips - it really, REALLY depends on where you live and where you are going. From the SF Bay area, most 'overnighters' would be just fine. All the way down to San Diego or Los Angeles could be a pain in the arse (currently - by Sep/Oct, there should be multiple 80kW+ chargers along the I-5 N/S corridor). But up to Sacramento or Lake Tahoe or Reno, or up to the Indian casinos in N Sonoma or Napa or Lake counties - not a problem at all. There are DCFCs (50 kW ones) along the route every 20-40 miles until you get past Sacramento (or Napa, or Santa Rosa). Driving around between the different areas of So Cal is a similar experience - it's the 'get between LA and SF' that is a pain at the moment, as the DCFCs are not that common and many are currently 20-25 kW (except those installed by the EVgo mercenaries).

CA has already accepted bids to drastically improve the N/S main corridors in the state with DCFCs. Many new ones should be in place by the end of 2017, making in-state trips (or 'just over the border' to Las Vegas or Reno) super easy.

But true, in many areas of the country long-distance EV drivers are SOL. Many fly-over states have a pretty dense DCFC infrastructure around the large metro areas (like Kansas City) but then almost nothing once you get 100 miles away.

But a family really shouldn't have a problem - mine doesn't. Our *family* has an EV for everyday use, and an ICE for the longer trips (including day trips of 100-150 miles). And, honestly, the ICE is used a lot when we mostly drive on freeways (that's when the ICE itself is most efficient and least polluting). Now if 1/3rd of the families in the larger metro areas had one EV in their stable for the daily trips, gasoline consumption and pollution would drop drastically.
 

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Per PlugShare, looks like no problem at all to do LA-SF on 101. Assuming the King City station is working, that is; it's the only DCFC site without plenty of other DCFC options a short drive away. I wouldn't try making that trip on the 5 yet tho.
 

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Just to be clear. KW is a power. KW-hr is an amount of energy. For example, if you got 16.28 kW-Hr in 38 minutes you were charging at a rate of 25.7 kW. The Bolt is supposed to have a 60 kW-Hr capacity. The should charge you for the number of kW-Hr delivered. At 3.6kWHr energy required per mile 16.28 kW-Hr should give about 59 miles. Anyway, if I understand your numbers, fast charging is not cheap.
My first DCFC experience was yesterday also in and around Atlanta. Key points I learned: better to be deeper into the state of charge for more efficient charging, as they charge by the minute, not by KW received. Be prepared for non functioning machines. Cannot be in a hurry. Need to be adventuresome. Must have Internet access, a smartphone, and Plugshare app, or you will be in a lot of trouble. Not sure how much help the MyChevrolet app would have been at finding charging stations.

Charge Point affiliated with Georgia Power at a Chick Fila in Peachtree City: 50 kw machine, 38 minutes, 16.28 KW received, (about 60 miles range) $9.67. Highest rate seen 36 kw
Greenlots in Cobb County....machine broken, left and drove to another Charge Point.
Charge Point at Georgia Power office in Smyrna, GA: 50 kw machine. Leaf plugged into ChaDemo....CCS side would not seem to connect. Waited until the Leaf left, tried again, did not work. Called the number, and finally got someone to turn it on. 33 minutes, 15.18 kw received, $8.37. Mostly 25 kw rate.

So on my 270 mile round trip, I paid $18.04, over an hour total charging time, and received an additional 31.46 kw x 3.9 miles/kw = about 122 miles. Almost twice as expensive as gas if you get 30 miles per gallon, and much more time consuming. Was at over 50% SOC when started each session. My first session was not really needed, but I wanted to try out the location. Would have been less expensive if I had waited until was less than 50% SOC, and received more electrons/minute.

Going to Atlanta and back home again tomorrow, will see if I learned anything. Will try out some different fast chargers.
 

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Both US-101 and CA-99 are 'doable'... IF there aren't (m)any broken DCFCs, or they too aren't busy. And quite a few of the DCFCs are the slower 20-25 kW variety. Basically, still pretty much a pain in the arse. (until the new CA-sponsored DCFCs are rolled out on the N-S corridor this year)
 

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Just to be clear. KW is a power. KW-hr is an amount of energy. For example, if you got 16.28 kW-Hr in 38 minutes you were charging at a rate of 25.7 kW. The Bolt is supposed to have a 60 kW-Hr capacity. The should charge you for the number of kW-Hr delivered. At 3.6kWHr energy required per mile 16.28 kW-Hr should give about 59 miles. Anyway, if I understand your numbers, fast charging is not cheap.
Not cheap is right. BUT, on trip today to Marietta and back, about 260 miles total, mostly interstate driving, and going to be cool, so will need to use at least some cabin heat, probably will get about 190 miles on the charge. So, going to try to charge at only FREE locations. Will require not exactly the most direct route, and going to allow some extra time. Will see if can do it. Another adventure in Bolting to the Atlanta area.

Thanks for the clarification. It would be a lot better if the DCFC vendors would charge you by the kwh received, but instead, it is a time use charge. How expensive it becomes depends on how much kwh you can get in a particular time period. The way the Bolt and other EV's are designed, to protect the batteries, there is a higher charge rate at the lower SOC. So need to plan trips to charge when you are at a lower SOC. Problem with that is...chargers are sometimes occupied or NOT working. If you wait until you REALLY need the juice, you may be looking at a serious RANGE ANXIETY situation. But, that is the way to get more efficient energy. AND, even more efficient is FREE.

DCFC on I-85 northbound near West Point, GA, reported to be free. Going to hit that one, just to see. And most of the Kia dealerships in the Atlanta area are sporting free DCFC, just have to get there during business hours, and going to try to hit one of those today as well. There is also a free L2 charger at a Zaxby's about 2 miles from where I will be doing some baseball practice at a local D-Bat facility, and I may get one of my buddies to give me a lift, and leave it there while practicing. Would like to see the rate can get from L2 chargers in the Bolt...tried it in a Volt already. If can get 50 miles of range in 2 hours, that may just be enough.

Next major adventure through the south Georgia charging desert to Ft. Myers, FL in couple of weeks. That is more of a challenge, and going to take at least one overnight stay to get it done in a Bolt. If could just get Tesla Supercharger station in Tifton to let us charge. All we need is an adapter and a credit card...should not be that hard.

Stay tuned!
 

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Per PlugShare, looks like no problem at all to do LA-SF on 101. Assuming the King City station is working, that is; it's the only DCFC site without plenty of other DCFC options a short drive away. I wouldn't try making that trip on the 5 yet tho.
If you take CA-99 you can do LA-SF no problem. I would avoid the 101 since a lot of the chargepoint stations are 24kW while most of the evgo stations on CA-99 are 50kW. There are also a lot more so if the weather turns or your range estimates are off you have more options where to stop.
 

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HOWEVER, for the first 15 minutes or so the charge rate was limited to 18-24 kW and 60-80 amps. It was so slow I thought I had ended up with one of those 24 kW CCS stations.

It spent the first 10 minutes at 60 amps (350V), then slowly ramped up to about 80 amps the next 5 minutes, then after a couple minutes around 80 amps, it finally did a slow ramp to 100. I think the last 9-10 minutes I actually experienced 100 amp charging (~360V), with 35 kW as the highest observed charge rate.
It was probably slow to being with due to the cold ambient temperatures. I noticed once when charging at around 45-50F it started off only at 35kW before climbing to 45kW after around 5-10 minutes.
 

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Trip from Columbus, GA to Atlanta, and back again, 265.2 miles, 70.4 kWh used. Stopped to charge on I-85 near West Point, GA....a little out of the way, but it is a Georgia Welcome Center, and they have a Kia sponsored Greenlots charger, supported with a solar array. The attendant says it is not often used, and the solar array more than pays for what electricity is used. Only had gone 38 miles on my trip, but wanted to try it out, and worked great. Still took about 30 minutes to get those 38 miles back due to the high SOC. Nobody waiting to charge, so then on my way to baseball practice in Atlanta.

Finished practice, then went about 6 miles north to Cobb County Kia, and used another Greenlots charger. Still had about 60% SOC, so took about 40 minutes to get to around 90%. Again, nobody waiting to use the charger on a Sunday afternoon, and had plenty of charge to make it back home.

So this experience was much better. Rolled into garage with 85 miles of remaining range, 3.8 mi/kWh on the trip, and all charging was free thanks to Kia and Greenlots.
 

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Sounds like you had a fun, productive (learning) trip - congrats!!

FYI - the DCFC at 4300 Paces Ferry Rd is FREE at the moment.

There's a very inexpensive DCFC (6 cents/min) in Marietta, if you drive by there.

There are a few FREE Greenlots DCFCs ringing Atlanta (well outside the city & I-285). Sign up (for free) and download the smartphone app!! (Probably not nice to regularly just 'vampire' off a business, but a 20 minute 'thank you so much!' emergency top-up every now and then would most likely be fine.)

Happy trails!!
 

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I have hit a few DC stations and the kw charging rate have been crazy. I sure would be nice if they all charged the same and you can budget your time and not wait and wait. Isn't it supposed to charge 80 miles worth in 30 minutes?
I've spent a lots of time on PlugShare researching all the DCFC options in my area between work and home. Luckily, I found one near in downtown Riverside, CA that is a 50kW DCFC which is currently free (part of a 16 month analysis to determine utilization and possibly pricing). I found another 50kW ChargePoint DCFC at a 76 station near the Ontario Airport (ONT) that charges $.04/min. This one has a Jack in the Box nearby, so during my lunch, sometimes I will go and charge there to get a "top up". I've found that in both cases, I can easily get to about 80% charge within 30 minutes for < $2 a charge. Both of these are the cheapest options that I've found in the area.

You have to be careful in the area though, there are others that charge quite a bit more and provide quite a bit less. EVGO is one that seems to charge quite a bit. Even with the "pay per use" plan it's $4.95 a session to start then $.20/min of charge, and many of them aren't 50kW, but instead 20-25kW in terms of rate of charge. The BLINK network charges $.49/kWH. Doing some crude calculations with various scenarios, both of these would easily exceed the cost of a gallon of gas ($3-$5/gallon, depending on the MPG of your ICE vehicle).

I've gotten RFID cards for both networks in the rare case I may need charge and don't have enough to get home, but in most cases, I'll charge at home or use of the lower cost chargers. Charging at home with around $.16 kWH seems to be the best reasonable option.
 

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So reading over at the Tesla forum, it seems Teslas are limited to how fast they can charge at Superchargers based on the battery pack temps...under 55F, the charge rate is limited until the battery temp reaches 55F. I bet the Bolt has similar charging limitations.

Perhaps us Bolt owners in colder climates would benefit from flooring the Bolt a couple of times before reaching a DCFC station, so that the battery temperatures come up closer to optimal charging temps. As if we didn't need more reasons to put the pedal to the floor.


"Honey, sorry, but I'm gonna need to floor it a couple of times so that we spend less time at the fast charging station! Hang on!"
 

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Perhaps us Bolt owners in colder climates would benefit from flooring the Bolt a couple of times before reaching a DCFC station, so that the battery temperatures come up closer to optimal charging temps.
I have a feeling that the power you use up trying to warm the battery that way will require enough extra charging time to replenish that you won't really be done any sooner.
 
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