But slow "fast" charging would always be a thing with the 40. The RapidGate software update did improve the situation but there was still the knee. The knee is when the current starts to drop during a quick charge event. Depending on the starting temperature of the pack, it could be anywhere from 47 to 62% SOC. With my NCTC coming to an end in a few months, I had to actually look at creating a "fuel allowance" Its been so long, I am not sure I remember how to do it!
But the thought of seeing the maximum charging speed drop with half a pack yet to fill AND per minute billing practices of most DCFC providers, I wasn't so sure I wanted to settle on a car rated at 50 KW maximum.
I have to think the vibes my brain was sending out was stronger than I thought. Sure enough, Ray called last week, said with a tweak here and there, he could get me into a Plus for the same payments I am paying now. After evaluating a few numbers, it was a bit more money on the back end with the higher residual but it wasn't too high and it was simply something I had to do!
So last Saturday, off to Everett I went. I got there, the car was already peeled, charged up and ready to roll. Hopped into the new S Plus with climate (of course) powered up and as they say "First impressions are the most important" and I can't argue with what I saw
So, I take off for a quick jag around the block and after half a mile...
Other things to note; If you don't know, NCTC (Nissan free 2 year charging promotion) ended in July.
**WARNING** PLEASE CHECK WITH YOUR CARDIOLOGIST TO INSURE YOU ARE HEALTHY ENOUGH TO READ THIS SECTION!!
I could write a book on the things Electrify America is not getting right. The "side saddle" layouts, the lack of parking queues, unfair billing, Chademo slights, etc. Well, lets add another to the list; Inconsistency. Armed with 100 KW charging, the first thing I did was seek out the station with the rep of being "The fastest Gun in the West!" Western WA that is.
This means I p...p...p..p..p.p.ppppppaid for a charge! 😲
But that is not always a bad thing. I do wish it was a "farther away from home" thing but I was able to pull 200 amps with the knee at 45% SOC. The charge rate did not drop below 125 amps until 68.8% SOC. FYI; that just exceeds the capacity of a new 40 kwh pack. (533 GIDs)
Less than one minute (charge timer in upper right corner at 47 seconds) into the charge, LEAF Spy is reporting 36% SOC. Car was reporting 25% SOC. Looks like the hidden reserve will be setting all time records here. I haven't been down that far to investigate (it's a looooong way to get there) but trust in the fact that if you want over 200 miles of range, you will either drive blind or get LEAF Spy.
The charge session lasted 22 minutes, 31 seconds (yes billing is prorated) and I received 23.3 kwh based on EA's receipt. a $4 monthly subscription would allow me to charge at 18 cents per min. With an average charge rate of 62.1 KW, this would save me a LOT of money over my 40 kwh average charge rate that had a rather large mostly downward range but was normally around 40 KW.
The car is heavier by 300 lbs and you can feel it. I did drive it around 5 days with tires at "dealer" settings but they are now back to 43 PSI. (I added air and simply reduced 2 of the 4 to the lowest figure. I am so lazy...)
The short time that I have had the car (just over 300 miles) hasn't really given me a lot of opportunity to evaluate performance. The weather has changed a bit to boot but I am getting a sense of maybe a .2 mile per kwh hit. I know part of it is simply having "too much range to burn" along with new car interior windows which fog up much faster. I will know more after the gassing of the interior materials has subsided and the Fog X treatments have been applied.
I do feel like the car is more stable at higher speeds. I did a cruise down the freeway to Centralia to check the charging knee at 124 amps. More on that later. Even at 80 mph (For all you LE people reading this, I am lying) the car felt rock solid.
My NCTC runs out Feb 15, 2020 so I plan to take advantage of the perks as much as I can. During that time I will be investigating methods to reduce my fees as much as possible while maintaining usability of the car.
Preliminary results have been very encouraging. I checked the knee at Centralia (it charges at 124 amps, one of the fastest Webastos in the region) and was happy to see the knee at 66.37% SOC. This was in spite of a cold pack where starting battery temperatures were in the low 50's. If you followed the link above, you know I blogged about the relationship between starting battery temperatures and the charging knee on my 40 kwh. The colder the pack, the lower the knee. Observed knee range varied from 47 to roughly 63% which best results happening when pack started at the mid 80's.
Now it would seem obvious that the larger pack would accept more charge and heat up less. That didn't quite work during the jump from 30 kwh to 40 kwh but the 62 kwh pack has been quite icy the entire time I have had it. Only charging over 73 KW brought the pack into the 90's.
I received 22.07 kwh in a 30 min session on EVGO @ 120 amps (for 26 mins) and batt temps went from 53º to 68º. That was SHOCKING in a very good way!
Needs, Wants and Desires
Sorry I don't have more details but I have only had the car 5 days. There will be much more to follow. Even after reading this blog, some of you will still be wondering why I took on so much additional financial responsibility for what many perceive as the same car with the same basic issues. I get that but no matter whether I bought the 40 at the end of the lease for an estimated (starting from today) $15,300 (based on $300 in fees) or this car for an estimated $29,400, I would still be in the market for a car 5 to 7 years from now.
The real question now becomes how do I get my additional $15,000 of value from the E Plus? Is that even possible? I think not. Cars are a depreciating asset so unless you have a Ferrari 625 (only two were ever built and the location of both is known so no 2 million dollar payday for you) you will lose money on your auto investment EVERY day. Now, you might not lose it at the rate of $10,000 a year like early Model S owners but it will still be a loss.
So the real question now becomes what is an acceptable loss? Early LEAFs dived in value quite quickly and anyone who did not fully expect that doesn't understand how emerging technology works. By far, my cheapest (and most reliable) LEAF was my S 30. Charged at full speed past 80% SOC, shrugged off high battery temps like Bezos faced with a +2 Billion NFL franchise price tag. $245 a month lease payments, $9100 residual, that was under $18,000! But the odds of buying it was zero. It didn't have "buyable" range when I got it and despite it having all its range when it was killed 29,413 miles later, it simply wouldn't work for me long term.
But the E Plus range promises to be quite viable 7 years from now and beyond. I am guessing I will see a similar degradation pattern so expect my one year review to be a deep dive into the mechanic of my first year 5% capacity loss (yep, bigger battery so slightly less loss 😉)
So the next time you see me cruising around town in my shorts and t-shirt navigating my E Plus thru the snow on the ground, wave. Seeing me at a charger might not be nearly as easy to do. A picture is worth 10,000 words so instead of explaining this paragraph, I present my drive home from Campbell Nissan. I think it says it all 😊