Podcast ep. 10 – Charging gone wrong 3 consecutive times 300 kms away from home

Hello and welcome to the Electric Vehicle Experience

In the previous episode, I talked about a report that confirmed a generalized idea, that the Tesla Supercharger network is the most reliable.

I also talked about my experience using it and also with the non-Tesla networks.

Today I want to briefly talk about a situation that on its own can be quite a pain for someone who isn’t confident with public charging, especially if it’s one of your first experiences charging.

As the title says, I tried to charge 3 times and all of them had their issues. In fact, on two of them, the charging didn’t even start.

I couldn’t even charge.

This was more than a year ago but it shows a situation which is quite unpleasant. I had 28% and I wanted to charge a bit before going to sleep.

That was kind of ok and what happened wasn’t too bad.

Here you can see a photo of the car at the time when it started charging.

And then the print screen of my phone while getting 45 kW. This was at 22:56 minutes.

I was planning to be away from the car for about 10 minutes but I was expecting 100kW.

By the time the car had charged 2 kWh, it was getting only 36kW.

This photo was taken at 22h59, 3 minutes later.

If I remember correctly, at this point I interrupted the charging and then started over.

After 1 minute and 9 seconds (at 23:02:59). I was now getting 46 kW again but still far from what I was expecting.

I only needed to go to the supermarket fast so I just let the car charge like that for a few minutes.

These chargers deliver 100kW and being in a shopping center is very convenient. They also have 22kW chargers. I charged for a bit and then I moved on.

So, on the next day, I went to the exact same shopping center and I was only expecting to charge without any issue.

I was wrong.

The charging process didn’t even start.

I’ve charged on these chargers quite a few times and they generally work flawlessly. But in a matter of a few hours, it was not delivering the optimal speed at first and then it didn’t even start.

I knew there was a Lidl supermarket nearby which had a charger. Although I could only get 50kW, at the time I just wanted to get the car charging so I could plan my trip home. And I went there.

Guess what? Again, the charging process didn’t start. I remember the charger recognized my cards, I tried with two different ones a few times, but it just failed to start.

Now, let’s take a look at what had just happened.

Here I was with the car at 30%, with the air conditioning running because it was a hot day and I wanted to get home, which was 300 kms away.

Imagine when this happens to someone new to public charging

Again, I opened Miio, a Portuguese app that shows you chargers in Portugal and more recently, Spain and France, too, and I searched for a nearby charger.

The area I was in had quite a few of them, luckily.

I found another one very close by and I went there. Again, 50 kW.

By 14h48 minutes I started charging, and it worked, in a few seconds, I was getting about 43-44 kW.

About 15 minutes later the battery had gone from 31% to 44%.

I set my destination to Santarém’s highway service station where I had a 150kW charger. Just a few minutes from there is a Supercharger station so if I had any of these issues again I’d just go to the Supercharger.

In the image, you can see that if I left at that moment I’d get to the service station with 10% (on the right of the screen). When I started charging I was supposed to get there with 1% or something like that. It was possible to do it but something I wouldn’t recommend.

5 minutes later I had 49% and I was supposed to get to that highway service station with 14%. By that time I had enough safety buffer and I got going.

Here you can see a photo of the trip planner during the trip. The estimation was that if I went to the Supercharger I’d get there with 15% but that highway station was a bit before that, and I’d get there with 25%.

By the time I got there, I had to wait because 2 cars were charging.

One of them was a Kia eNiro. By the time the driver got there, we talked a bit and it was his first time on a public charger, so he was waiting for the car to reach 100%.

I told him that on long trips it was best to charge to around 70-80% depending on a few circumstances, like where he was going and the charger availability on that route.

He was thankful because all of that was new to him.

A few minutes later you can see that my car was already charging and a Porsche was waiting nearby. He was coming from another country and got there with 3%.

By this time I was about 240 kms away from home and charging here also went well, getting around 70kW, not super fast but it was ok.


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