Day 3 — From Charger Woes to Charger Boon

My body still on East Coast time, I happened to wake up a bit before 6am today.  Remembering a story from Steve and Jesse, I decided that I should check in on the car to see how charging was going.  It was a good thing that I did, as it wasn’t.  Somewhere a few hours before the charger had decided to stop supplying power to the car :( .  A quick call to AeroVironment (who I must say was there to answer the phone again, this time the day after Christmas at 5 something AM) and they restarted a new charge session.  Perhaps there is a time limit on charge sessions?

In the end, the delay in charging was a secondary delay for the day.  A quick check of the weather ahead showed a snowstorm still raging in the mountain passes ahead and wouldn’t be lifting for a few hours, and with the Summer only performance tires still on the car, I decided it was time to go back to bed.

A number hours later, and a minor modification to my EVSE identified, which was easy to work through in the warmth of the hotel room, and we were packed and ready to go.  At this point we had been moving bags in and out of the S for three days, mostly in rain, and I have to give the designers of the rear hatch a shout out.  Every time I opened the hatch, the water covering it was perfectly funneled to the sides and off into channels below waiting to whisk it to the ground never onto my stuff below.

We made it through the passes easily, black pavement being cleared ahead of us by front loaders.  After making it through, and into California we found our next RV park, who were happy to have an EV charge there and didn’t mind us plugging into two 50A outlets.  This time the EVSE came up without issue and after a number of final checks I gave it the command to combine input sources and feed them to the S.  Almost instantly the relays clicked and the S ramped charging up to 80A at just over 240 Volts.  Charging was going by so quickly that we went ahead and charged all the way up to a full Range charge and determined that we should just be able to make it to the Superchargers at Folsom.  The drive was smooth, but as I’m still dialing in my ability to arrive at my destination with the margin I would like, the 10 miles margin I had calculated slowly slipped away.  I finally arrived at Folsom with 3 miles left, and somehow managed to bring it down to 1 as I slowly hunted for the Superchargers.

When we did find them, using them could not have been easier.  We pulled in similar to how you pull up to a gas pump, walk over to the cable is easier to handle than a gas pump handle, push the button on the handle which causes the battery door S to open, and you plug in the Supercharger cable to the S.  I took a video of this, but as it was taken in the middle of the night I’ll have to clean it up some before I post it.

Just about this time, the local security guard, who had apparently been watching a suspicious car slowly meander it’s way around the closed outlet center, came over to see why we were there.  He had never seen an S use the Superchargers before and by the time we finished showing him and with the follow-on discussion, the car had already charged up to 65 miles.  Charging progressed at almost 300 miles for quite a few minutes until it slowed it’s charge rate down (to protect the batteries).  We only charged to ~180 miles, as that was plenty to be able to make it over to Fremont, and onto Menlo Park.

Having filled up heartily we zipped over to a hotel that split the difference between Folsom and Fremont, and called it a night.

Today was quite a day.  We went from charging on the generally available J1772 Charger at 19 miles/hr to charging on my custom EVSE at 65 miles/hr to charging on a Supercharger at almost 300 miles/hr!  What a day!

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