Rapid charging rates

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This topic contains 33 replies, has 13 voices, and was last updated by  jit187 5 years, 4 months ago.

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    I’ve now used three different rapid chargers (in my brief couple of weeks of ZOE ownership) and I’m a bit underwhelmed by the speed of charging. All three were on the CYC network and are labelled on the likes of Zap-Map as 43kW. However, a quick calculation taken from the screen of the charger as it charges indicates around 18kW transfer rate. So, it seems the car or charger is throttling such that the rapid charger is operating more like a 22kW charger.

    I wish the car would show the charge rate on the dash screen (volts/amps).

    After looking at the CYC website I see they make no mention of 43kW charging, only 21kW AC charging.

    So, as this was all getting a bit confusing, and I need to use these rapid chargers fairly frequently, I gave CYC a call and one of the chaps I spoke to said he had heard a rumour that Renault have pulled back on the top charging rate for the Chameleon charger because of incompatibility issues with certain chargers.

    This is very frustrating if true, as one of the key selling points for me was the flexibility of that charger.

    Questions: What experience do you have? What charge rates are you getting with the “rapid” chargers? Is there a difference between earlier build and later build cars? Anyone else heard this rumour?


    Trevor Larkum

    I absolutely agree that the dashboard should show the charge rate (and ideally total energy/charge transferred).

    My recent experience is only with Ecotricity chargers. It is hard to judge, but I’m pretty sure all my recent charges have been at something like 22kW (or less) whereas in the past I’m sure I’ve achieved 43kW. I had presumed it was an issue with particular chargers, but now you have me wondering.



    Hmm, very interesting. From what the chap at CYC said, the throttling will be taking place at the car end (as it contains the charger) and will be negotiating a slower charge rate. Now, if Renault have made a wee change and I, with a newly delivered car, have that change I could understand it (not happy, though), but if your car, Trevor, is also negotiating at half the possible capacity, then have they sent out an update over the air?

    I will use one of the Ecotricity chargers at Ikea Glasgow this weekend, so I’ll be interested to see what it does. I haven’t used an Ecotricity one yet. Have my card ready!

    I’m going to ask when I am charging up at the Renault dealership tomorrow, but I suspect they will not know anything…

    I also need to ask about the R-Link as I idiotically plugged the SD card into the computer today and it told me it had a couple of updates to do, including a map update. Now I have the “No maps found!” message. Just before a weekend of around 400 miles of driving. Perfect. Aargh!



    I have noticed the same slower charging recently – having used several of the ecotricity fast chargers last week. In fact, on Tuesday, I was so surprised that the time to fully charge was now saying 1 hour or 1hr 15mins, that I later worked out the charge rate I’d been getting. I was charging from c40% upto 90+% and was getting charge rates that were never higher than 18-20 kw/hr.

    Even allowing for the fact that the charging would be expected to slow down around 80%, then again beyond 90%, the previously familiar very fast 40kw/hr charging for the first part of the cycle was definitely missing. I’m sure this change is quite recent.

    For me this is really disappointing – one of the celebrated advantaged of the car is the chameleon charger – which actually makes longer distance driving feasible). Without it we have a less useful car and one that isn’t doing what we were promised.

    Hopefully this is a temporary thing that Renault have done whilst they sort out whatever is causing the problem / incompatibility. So how do we find out the truth from Renault?



    I’ve noticed a couple of things that might explain some of the slow charging rates you’ve noticed.

    First, in cold weather my Zoe takes *way* longer to finish off the last 5% or so and I believe it keeps a track of how long it takes in order to predict the next charge duration. Because I charge overnight it has ‘learnt’ that conditioning the battery takes ages. However, if you charge from, say, 30% to 50% and then calculate the time taken it is still the same as it always was.

    Secondly, I’ve noticed that the chargers themselves throttle back based on available current. One example of this for me was at Ikea wembley (ecotricity standard 22kWh model) which was supposed to be 22kWh but had throttled back to 11kWh. Another example is the Temple Row charger in Birmingham (evolt) which will deliver 22kWh if you are the only user but which will scale back to 11kWh if both sockets are in use.

    I had no problems charging at the full 43kWh as recently as 2 weeks ago and regularly top up at 22kWh at hopwood services and at various chargers in the Birmingham city centre so I don’t believe there has been any sort of software update.

    Note, however, that the car will take into account the recent charge history and the temperature and the condition of the battery and how charged it already is before predicting the charge time and the charger will take into account what power it has available.



    That’s helpful farblue, it is cold up here in Aberdeen at the moment (0C) so that is no doubt playing some role. However, the rapid chargers I have used have never had other cars using them, or indeed at any of the other chargers near by, so I’d be surprised if it was scaling back itself because of current draw locally.

    I know the charging process slows down a lot at the end. But, for instance, a couple of days ago I plugged in to a 43kW rapid charger with 48% charge remaining and the dash told me it would be 1hr 40mins to charge. I left it for 30 minutes which got me to 82% with around 9kW/h of energy added according to the screen on the charger. So, I was not near the “conditioning” part of the charge process and still only getting 18kW/h.

    I’m having to recalculate my journey today (150 miles or so) to allow for around 4 hours of charging even at rapid chargers. That doesn’t seem right.



    ok so after reading this thread i decided to go test out my local rapid charger.

    here are my results

    So i arrived with 42%. upon plugging in my car tells me that it will take 1hr 20 mins to get to 100%. This is strange as usually the rapid chargers usually take 40-45 mins.

    then i stopped the car charging once it reached 80%.

    the time taken to get from 42% to 80% was 22 mins!

    so even if i take away from the original quoted time of 1hr 20, the 22 mins it did take, you can see from the second to last pic that the car only wanted another 15mins to get to 100%.



    An update after 200 miles yesterday and today. Rapid charger run by CYC in Dundee only gave me around 18kW/h. I found the 22kW charger at the Renault dealer I also used yesterday was faster, charging me from 50 to 99 in about 40 mins.

    Today, however, I used the Ecotricity rapid at IKEA Glasgow and, after a failed first connection, it did go fast. I went from 3% (I like to live on the edge) to 100% in about an hour. Brilliant!

    Except that when I started the car I then got the “Battery charging impossible” message and warning lights. Remembering some of your experiences, I found a 7kW charger after driving 5 miles or so and when plugged in it cleared the error and began charging fine.

    So, now I am even more confused.

    Oh, I spoke to a Renault customer services chap on the drive down yesterday and they are going to explore this issue and get back to me next week. (Also to resolve my R-Link no maps problem.)

    I did also find a rather irritating problem in Dundee. A lovely new BMW i3 was plugged into the rapid charger blocking me from using it for an hour or so. Next to the rapid charger were 2 7kW chargers. The BMW can only charge at 7kW on AC, so they had no gain from using the rapid charger instead of the standard, but blocked me from taking advantage of the faster charging. Grrr.

    Tomorrow, heading back to Aberdeen.



    This warning on the dash has been happening with one particular charge point near me since it was installed.I have never managed to get a charge at this point in the 9 months.The manufacturer EBG sent an Engineer over to N.Ireland from Munich and Ihe asked if I could meet him and plug the Zoe in.
    After much downloading etc into his lap top,he thanked me, said he was sorry,but would return in Jan,this was back in Nov.
    As I drove away ,another warning, “Check Cruise Control” appeared, and in fact the cruise control was inoperative.
    I believe it was a mistake to leave the car connected to the charger for about 30 mins with the warning on the dash,as he worked at it, and it took many hours for things to return to normal,in fact the following day, this “Impossible ” warning appeared at every charge point I tried,4 in all, meaning I could not charge the car.
    I heard no more from Munich and my Renault RTE never returned my call.



    @jit187 So if you charged for 22 mins from 42% to 80%, I make that about 23kw/hr, not the expected 43.

    Has anyone achieved 40kw/hr or more in recent days?

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