Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Free No More? Charging at Level 3 AV Stations

Recently a fellow LEAFer from Portland, OR posted that he noticed the AV portal was billing a $2.50 charge to each session. I logged into mine and found that charge as been there since day one.  So guessing the charge I see is some sort of accounting placeholder for when real charges happen. Hopefully, that is all it is because...

Quick charging is quick...for about the first 8-12 minutes. After that, the rate drops off fast, but that is ok. In a LEAF, that is long enough to get to the next quick charge station 20-30 miles down the road so why stay longer?  Even if there is nothing to do or the desire to do anything, a 10 minute is bearable. Even better, a bathroom break or stop for drinks will eat up most if not all of that time.

But if AV goes forward with flat rate charging this could be a mistake.  This will encourage people to charge longer since it is possible in most cases to get a fuller charge and make it to the 2nd quick charge station down the road.  This opens up the very strong possibility that a backup can occur at a popular charging station.

Now it would not be so bad if the "80% in 30 minutes"  was enough to get you two stations down the road but unless you are very efficient, the weather is right and the route is friendly, its not going to happen for most of us.  In a new LEAF driving conservatively, an 80% charge should get us 60-64 miles which is just about how far the 2nd QC station will be but we dont want to run the SOC to that low of a level (plus not a good idea to cut it that close) if we can help it not to mention that most of us will be driving a LEAF with a least some range degradation.  So a 90% charge is probably where we need to be.

Unfortunately, that extra 10% is going to mean another 20 minutes charging so now we have gone from 15 minutes to 50 minutes.  or 4 cars getting enough to make it to the next station every hour to just one making it two stations away.

AV; take my advice.  I understand the flat rate. Easier on the books and all that but I think its a mistake. I'd rather see a connect charge then a charge per Kwh instead. That way, I will still want to get my 12 minutes and open up the station for the next guy!


  1. my biggest issue with the per session charge is the way the vehicles make decisions like starting at 49% charge will stop at 80%, but it it was 50% it would allow a full charge. so if you really wanted a full charge starting at 49% you would get dinged twice.

  2. Dave, just curious, have you ever seen a line at the L3 EVSE? I ask because I've only seen another Leaf on a L2 here once in 6 months but I know you have more cars up there.

  3. Tom; The Tumwater, WA QC is one of the busiest because its the only QC for 60+ miles which will soon change when that distance is halved with the Fife, WA QC.

    I have had to wait for someone to finish charging ( about a half dozen times. It has yet to cause a crimp in my plans and the Fife QC will greatly eliminate that problem.

    Having QC's 20-30 miles apart means you can get enough charge in 15 minutes. The thread referenced above is a perfect example. Here was a guy who needed enough to get to Seattle forcing him to charge for over an hour. In fact, he did L2 for 10 minutes after he let me QC just to insure that he would make it.