siai47
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:54 pm

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Sun Aug 21, 2016 5:50 pm

The Zoe has a kind of unique internal charger. The I-MiEV and most EV's have a inverter to convert DC to three Phase AC to drive the propulsion motor. They also have a battery charger to convert single phase AC to DC to charge the battery pack. However, an inverter can be made to be bi-directional, that is AC in gives DC out or DC in gives AC out. The old Aeroviroment inverters (the people that brought you the "Impact" prototype GM-EV1, EVSE's and all kinds of neat military stuff) worked this way. It's a natural way to do it. It eliminates the weight, cost and space for the onboard charger. This is the type of system that is used in the Zoe. The problem for us, not the rest of the world, is that most electric service in this country is single phase which would prevent it's use except where three phase power could be found. The other neat thing is that everything is "onboard" in the vehicle---no expensive high voltage DC charger or connecters for QC--- its all done with AC. Heck, if we can make Bruce Jenner AC-DC and DC-AC it should be easy with an EV :lol: !

Phximiev
Posts: 1094
Joined: Thu Jan 15, 2015 7:25 pm
Location: Phoenix

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:37 pm

LOL
2012 iMIEV ES
2014 Chevy Volt

PV1
Site Moderator
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Location: Pittsburgh, PA
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Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Mon Aug 22, 2016 5:16 am

How much power can it take with 3-phase? If it can meet or exceed our current DCQC, that makes a compelling reason for US EVs to switch to 3-phase AC quick charging and have the charger on-board vs. having expensive, failure-prone stationary units. It would also standardize the Mennekes connector across both US and Europe. I would also think they could take single phase power and just use part of the converter. Isn't that what our on-board charger does when using 120 volts vs. 240 volts?

Having both functions in one unit (drive and charging) does simplify vehicle manufacturing and saves a few pounds, but it does become a single point of failure, not that our separate charger can take the car out of commission anyways :roll: .
"Bear" - 2012 Diamond White Pearl ES with QC - 2/21/2013
Solar-powered since 10/10/2013

"Koorz" - 2012 Cool Silver Metallic ES with QC - 1/5/2015

2017 Bolt EV LT in Orange with QC - 7/31/2017

Driving electric since 2-21-2013.

siai47
Posts: 351
Joined: Fri Jun 14, 2013 5:54 pm

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Mon Aug 22, 2016 8:08 pm

Bi-directional inverters can usually flow the same amount of power in either direction. If you have an inverter that can convert DC to AC to drive a 200 KW motor then, instead of connecting the output to the motor, it can be connected to a three phase source, changing the direction of power flow and put 200 KW back into the battery. I would say the failure path is less with this system then the way it is currently being done with US EV's. First, if the drive inverter is functional, then the charging inverter (same unit) is also functional. If the drive inverter is broken, then you never had a chance to drive somewhere in the first place to find out your onboard charger isn't working. Or you could find that your puny onboard charger is working but the level 3 QC charger you want to use is having problems and strands you there looking for a plug somewhere to charge for a day or so. Finally, the QC infrastructure is simple---Three phase outlet, that's it, nothing more or nothing less. I am sure someone would come up with a three phase EVSE to plug into the outlet and then plug that into the car to make everybody happy about plugging in plugs. And, we would need a standards committee to argue about who makes to coolest plug. Of course there would be two competing standards but I digress. The old Aerovironment system was really neat, compact and simple. It even used the coils in the drive motor as part of the inverter circuit! They produced them for a number of years (maybe they still do) for conversions. Someone on this forum must know a little more about them.

Dani
Posts: 42
Joined: Mon Mar 28, 2016 3:17 pm

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Wed Aug 24, 2016 5:51 pm

siai47 wrote:The old Aerovironment system was really neat, compact and simple. It even used the coils in the drive motor as part of the inverter circuit! They produced them for a number of years (maybe they still do) for conversions. Someone on this forum must know a little more about them.


Hi guys.
Sorry to interrupt your excitement about this one. We've got plenty of the "old" models of the Zoe driving around over here and they have caused a lot of trouble for users and owners when charging.
This technology of charging requires the resistance to ground to be relatively low and in our case considered extremely low. Below 150 Ohms. Most installations here having a TT grounding system meaning a separat ground, are up to 1600 Ohm. So a far away from 150 Ohm. Actually Renault suggest a level of 100 Ohm to ensure the Zoe will charge.
Same goes for quickcharge stations where I recently heard from a family how they were unable to charge from some quickcharge stations and had to locate a nearby AC charging point and wait for hours.
I've spoken to ABB staff servicing some of the quickcharge stations here and heard how they struggle adjusting the settings in the DC chargers so they also accommodate this version of Zoe.

In my work I've made several charging installations for Zoe's and almost everytime this has required improvement of grounding. On the first version of Zoe Renault required the installations being equipt/protected using rcd's capable of the AC/DC type also known as type B around here. Those are 10-20 times more expensive than Type A (regular) ones.
In average this has cost Zoe owners somewhere between €1.000-€2.000 more than a setup for a similar 3-phase charging ev, such as Tesla.
The lastest version of Zoe has another inverter using similar technology as other 3-phase inverters.

The first version of Zoe is also known to be sensitive to electrical distortion and only a few weeks ago I was helping a Zoe owner to identify why his Zoe wouldnt charge during sunny weather. We found how it was sensitivity towards distortion from grid connected solar inverters which was connected in their house and their neighbours grid connected solar inverters.
The inverters used are from SMA a recognized brand worldwide. Our perspective started by trying to prove to the manifacture how the inverters was posing a problem and distorting the electricity for the car to fail in charging. We asked the utility company to assist us in make tests on the grid as they have the equipment to do this stuff.
We started out datalogging the quality on the grid on a sunny day. Then tried to charge the Zoe, which stopped seconds after due to charging error as had happened before.
Then we had agreed with the nearby neighbours having solar inverters to get access to the power boards and solar inverters and started by turning off all connected circuits/appliances and only having the solar inverters online. This way to remove any potential pollutive devices connected.
We used a couple of instruments to measure and one was a Fluke 435 which measures distortion according to international standards to which manifactures of electrical appliances need to live up to.
Next we tried to charge the car once again while only having the solar inverters online. This gave the same resulte of failing to charge.
Next we disconnected all solar inverters (some 25 or so) and tried to charge the car which was now able to charge without interruption.

Measurements from the instruments showed how the distortion rate by the solar inverters was within the limits of the standards. Interestingly the Fluke instrument showed how when charging the Zoe, and everything else being off, the distortion rate exceeded the international standards. I recall how the engineer from the utility company was astonnished to see this and informed the owner of the Zoe to have the car checked.

We informed Renault about the findings and borrowed another Zoe to check about whether this one would charge. Sadly the same thing happend to a same version Zoe. Charge failur. Unable to charge when solar inverters was connected. I asked the customer as to whether this issue was isolated to only sunny days and the response was how the car was also unable to charge during cloudy days as well and how they were only able to charge the car when the sun was down.

Out of curiosity and wanting to support of a fellow ev owner I asked Renault to try their latest version of Zoe with the other inverter. This one is limited to max 22kW charge, still without DC charge option. This particular version was fully able to charge when the solar inverters was connected to the grid.

Another aspect when people consider getting an ev here and consider the Zoe is how Renault only allow rental of the batteries. Which means people get a price on the car whether new or used, and then in additional cost comes rental of the battery. Something which deters most of those I have spoken to around here which otherwise enjoy the design and comfort of the car.

rmay635703
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:23 pm

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Thu Aug 25, 2016 10:28 am

Perhaps we need to say F U to safety, just ground per the standard and setup our cars to be more ignorant and accepting of grounding issues.

My old EVs, you just plugged them into normal cable, no ground fault and it the thing charged fine without any problems.

Benjamin Nead
Posts: 126
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:21 am
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Contact: Website

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:16 am

I suppose I can take the blame in suggesting that the Zoe could be rebranded and made into a replacement for the existing i-MiEV for the US. It's probably not going to happen, but here are some things to consider, even if it was . . .

Why is it automatically assumed that the charging electronics in the European market car absolutely has to be part of a proposed North American product? Or the ownership model with leased battery absolutely has to be part of it as well? That's like saying that if all Zoes sold in Luxembourg were painted purple with pink spots, all North American Zoes (or the rebranded whatever you want to call it) are going to have to be painted exactly the same way.

The car is molded sheet metal and plastic. Nissan/Renault/Mitsubishi can paint it any color they want for whatever market they want. They can remove metal badges and other trim decorations and even rename it.

Likewise, they can install any sort of charger they want to match the requirements and expectations of a particular market. Those are metal boxes with electronics, attached with nuts, bolts and wire terminations. And . . . they can set up any sort purchase model regarding the battery they would want for a particular market.

Again . . . cars start off as shells: molded sheet metal and plastic, waiting to have all the other stuff bolted onto it. The stuff that gets bolted onto the shell is open for change, depending upon where the vehicle is destined to be sold. Please grasp that reality first before assuming the rest.
Benjamin Nead / Tucson, Arizona, USA
Secretary: Tucson Electric Vehicle Association (EAA chapter)

North American 2012 i-MiEV SE / Pearl White /CHAdeMO
Aka: "The Vanilla Jellybean"
Purchased used in Nov. 2015 @ ~18,000 miles

phb10186
Posts: 237
Joined: Fri May 13, 2016 12:58 am
Location: North London suburbs, UK

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Thu Aug 25, 2016 3:34 pm

^ yup... that's true they could sling most of the electrics and specify what works for a USDM...

It's about time that all of us used the same technology... but that would require the US to go to 240v ac... which would cost a bomb, but it would be really useful for the future.
2012 I-MIEV Keiko Silver 11K
2010 Insight ES-T 43K
2001 Accord Type-V (F23 manual)
2009 Hornet CB600F
2008 SH300

rmay635703
Posts: 51
Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2014 5:23 pm

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:23 am

phb10186 wrote:^ yup... that's true they could sling most of the electrics and specify what works for a USDM...

It's about time that all of us used the same technology... but that would require the US to go to 240v ac... which would cost a bomb, but it would be really useful for the future.

Since we are split phase anyway, I always thought that instead of the 240v "duplex" receptacle (which is dimensionally the same as 120v but with a different key)

We should have one that is physically compatible with a 120v outlet but then include an upper keyed pin so it would be future proofed and compatible with 240v split phase appliances, which could be coffee makers, microwaves, big copying machines and really all manner of other crapola.

If such a standard would just start to be installed in new homes, your installed base of homes would eventually reach critical mass forcing some standardization of 240 vac devices.

Where as today its an act of congress to have something be 240vac because oh, its not always the same, oh its got to be hardwired, oh very complicated, need an electrician.

phb10186
Posts: 237
Joined: Fri May 13, 2016 12:58 am
Location: North London suburbs, UK

Re: New I-MiEV's --- Maybe, maybe not

Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:50 am

rmay635703 wrote:
phb10186 wrote:^ yup... that's true they could sling most of the electrics and specify what works for a USDM...

It's about time that all of us used the same technology... but that would require the US to go to 240v ac... which would cost a bomb, but it would be really useful for the future.

Since we are split phase anyway, I always thought that instead of the 240v "duplex" receptacle (which is dimensionally the same as 120v but with a different key)

We should have one that is physically compatible with a 120v outlet but then include an upper keyed pin so it would be future proofed and compatible with 240v split phase appliances, which could be coffee makers, microwaves, big copying machines and really all manner of other crapola.

If such a standard would just start to be installed in new homes, your installed base of homes would eventually reach critical mass forcing some standardization of 240 vac devices.

Where as today its an act of congress to have something be 240vac because oh, its not always the same, oh its got to be hardwired, oh very complicated, need an electrician.


Don't worry I'm used to that kind of regulatory approach here too... it all filters to a bunch of fools who write documents, but can't even change a light bulb, all of them ruled by an even bigger idiot at the top.
2012 I-MIEV Keiko Silver 11K
2010 Insight ES-T 43K
2001 Accord Type-V (F23 manual)
2009 Hornet CB600F
2008 SH300

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