Nissan LEAFs in Paris Have Issues With Autolib Charging Points

JAN 31 2014 BY MARK KANE 10

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On the extremely interesting blog My E-Life Now !, we find out that charging the Nissan LEAF at Autolib charging points isn’t an easy task.

This is due to position of the charging inlet, charging point and cable length. Every spot has it’s own charging terminal, so you shouldn’t plug into the terminal designated for the other spot.

“Guess what, the J1772 Yazaki charge cable is too short to go all the way to the front of the LEAF to access the charge port …. bummer!”

“I actually knew this already – but here is a picture with my son showing the maximum length …”

“As you probably know, the charge port on a BlueCar is located at the rear of the car to the right, next to the charge station lid.”

Christophe Hubert from My E-Life Now! has finally found an afordable soulution – an extension cord plugged into a regular outlet (although power is then limited).

Sadly, someone unplugged him.

It's possible to charge if you have extension

It’s possible to charge if you have extension

“Strange thing: Somebody unplugged us while we were shopping … Not very cool … It is the first time we are unplugged in two years of using public charging stations “

It’s not easy to be green…

We recommend you check out the My E-Life Now! blog by following this link.

 

 

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10 Comments on "Nissan LEAFs in Paris Have Issues With Autolib Charging Points"

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Looks like they need something like this:

http://shop.quickchargepower.com/JLONG-40-Amp-20-foot-J1772-extension-cable-JLONG.htm

…a J1772 extension cable. Obviously this one is the US version, Type 1, but you get the idea.

Perhaps it”s time that charging protocols between EVs and EVSE be upgraded to digital communications vs. analog signaling. With digital communication a firmware update can be deployed over-the-air (to a vehicle, or charger), vs. field failure and need for hardware tweaks.

I believe CHAdeMO does communicate directly with the CAN bus. When researching the J1772 standard, I too thought it was odd to have a rather analog signaling method.

While CHAdeMO communication is digital over CANbus, the control signals remain analog. A diagram: http://www.chademo.com/wp/technology/details/ (control lines arenot used in charging progress, just signaling mating of cable connection)

A full digital system would only require the two CANbus connections in addition to two DC connections. The Tesla plug (US version) is a good example.

Ok, we’re getting way off topic here, but let’s get things right nonetheless.
What you call “analog” signals on CHAdeMO are on/off — qualifies as digital to me, even though, like a light-switch, not a whole lot of data is transfered on those lines.

While all the necessary bits could easily be transfered over CAN, if you follow the way some of those simpler signals are routed (the “charging sequence” lines form a “wired AND” logic with the car), they serve important safety purposes:
* No matter how badly the software or the electronics of either the car or the quick-charger malfunctions, the other one can always forcibly disconnect the battery.
* It is impossible for the car to energize its quick-charge port without a charger being properly connected: power from the charger is required to close the main contactor (that big relay to the battery). This also means that this contactor will spontaneously open should the QC connector be unseated, thus preventing or minimizing arcing at the connector.

Yes this design looks a little more complicated than it could ideally be (I don’t see much value in a dedicated “charge permission” signal, for example), but it’s inherently safer than the alternatives.

“A full digital system would only require the two CANbus connections in addition to two DC connections. The Tesla plug (US version) is a good example.”
The Tesla plug does not use a CANbus connection AFAIK. It uses the same signaling as J1772.

And Volt/Amperas drivers are just as screwed. Nice FAIL from Autolib there.

First, what’s with BollorĂ©’s idea of placing the charging inlet away from the driver, at the opposite/rear of the car? (Mitsubishi, I’m looking at you too)
Then what was Autolib thinking putting the station where they did, like between two parking spots, with a cord too short to reach the other end?

Hopefully there is enough room in the station’s “base” to put a little more cable, so Autolib could upgrade those without having to redesign, change or move the whole thing…

BollorĂ© designed the station so that people who aren’t familiar with electric cars can instantly use the Autolib car-sharing system.
The charging port is located at the same place a gas refueling door would be : at the rear and on the side of the walkway, (usually the passenger’s side).
The charging station is located as close to the charging port as possible.
The cord is short enough to make sure you can’t plug the car to the wrong station, even if you wanted to.

In my opinion, the problem is that electric car manufacturers only put one plug on their cars : it wan’t be perfect in all conditions.

In the mean time, if you want to charge at an Autolib station, a temporary solution I’ve found that Ampera drivers often do is to turn the car around and park opposite to the street flow. But it’s not always easy to do.

Ford’s Energis and Chevy Volts would almost be as bad, with their ports behind the drivers front wheel, I doubt the cable would run over the car to it either. Yeah, I’d take the one for the car in front of me if it wasn’t in use.

Hi all,

Problem solved đŸ™‚ with a cool J1772 Extension from the USA …
http://www.myelifenow.com/2014/02/lets-test-this-new-j1772-extension.html

Christophe
Chris75sf
http://www.myelifenow.com