bradleydavidgood777
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am

Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Tue Jan 02, 2018 6:21 pm

Hi all,

This is my first winter in my 2017 i-Miev and I am trying to figure out a charging plan for my commute and making observations and have some questions, looking for input from those who have more experience. And others may learn some realistic numbers (those thinking of purchasing one or newbies like me).

My commute is about 22 miles each way. Sometimes I stop at the grocery store on the way home which probably adds another 4 miles or so coming home so that would be about 26 miles.

It has been extremely cold for at least 2 weeks here near Philadelphia. Lows of 5 F and highs of 20 F or less. This is not normal. It usually is probably 10-15 degrees warmer. So I should not have to deal with this most winters.

I charge at home with the standard level 1 and 120V. All thru the warmer months I was fine and didn't have any issues with the range. I charge in the city 2 blocks from work where I pay for parking monthly and a Blink charger is free. So each day I get to top off which gives me about 55 miles when I get into the car after work. Then after driving home I plug in and have never had a problem getting back to work the next day. I can't tell you how many miles were usually left on the car when I got there but it was never really close enough to be a concern.

But now it is and I am having to think about it and am keeping track of miles each day and learning how much I can put back on the car by the next morning.

So far, because of holidays and working from home due to a knee issue, I have not had to go into town 2 days in a row. So I have always had at least a night, then a day and another night to charge...except for maybe a close errand in between.

I have to say I have been really shocked about how much the heater/defrost drains the batteries. I knew there would be some significant impact but didn't think it would be this much. Wow. And the car truly is cold if you keep the heat low. But I am used to being outside in the cold and have good gear so it is not that bad, and really good for the circulation and immune system I am sure. I have found myself thinking about the old days when people had buggies and no heat at all, or the Amish today.

So I had the car plugged in for days before today and when I got in this morning I turned everything down, fan off, control to cold, to check the miles. There were 65. Then I went inside and used the remote to turn on the defrost mode and left that on for at least 20 minutes while finishing getting ready to go. I wanted to see if I would lose miles or if it just uses the power from the cord only. When I got back in I noticed it was a little warmer and I think the miles said 63.

Do I lose miles using the defrost while plugged in?

I drove to work being kind of middle of the road eco wise, not going too fast but sometimes going over 70 mph, maybe 75 for a little bit. Mostly around 65 or so and keeping the pedal from going down too far. But I figured I had a full charge so this was the day I would stay medium - I used the defrost/foot option on the selector, and probably had it on full high temp in the beginning and then probably turned the fan down to half at some point. I watched the miles left drop very rapidly. It was really cold this morning, maybe around 6-8 F.

Does it really matter if you are in D, E or B or is it all dependent on your foot? I was driving in E all the time a while back but got used to looking ahead and thought it was just as good to be in D and not have so much engine braking going on, just by making it smoother by keeping a distance and looking ahead and slow on the pedals up and down, or very little braking at all. Would like your opinions on this. Seems like driving in E or B just did too much engine braking and then made me have to press the gas pedal more instead of pre-planning/looking ahead and being smoother all around.

When I got to the parking lot in town I had 17 miles left. So 63-17 = 46 used. This was for a 22 mile drive. So more than double. Unless I lost miles with the pre-defrost and the car didn't re-calculate until later. This is my suspicion.

I plugged in and charged all the way up while at work. When I got in after work, I had everything off and the car read 53 miles instead of its usual 55. I thought that was strange but thought that maybe it was just calculating in the cold temp - it only got to maybe 25 degrees F today and was probably 22 at that point. So I decided that I would take it easy on the way home, drove in eco and kept it under 65 mph, was careful up hills, etc. I also kept the heat lower and the fan lower. I stopped at the store so the drive home was more like 26 miles. When I got home I had 22 miles left.

So 53-22 = 31 used. This was for a 26 mile drive. Quite different than the morning numbers.

I have a Mitsu dealer sort of on the way home and 3 miles from my store. So I can get off the highway earlier, go to the Mitsu dealer, fast charge for free, go to the store directly on the way home 3 miles later, then 3 more miles to home. The only other time I got a fast charge at another charger (EVGO), it got a reading of 47 miles on the car. So I am guessing that I would get around that at this dealer charger, or maybe at least 45 or so. Then I'm going to use about 6 getting home. So that would leave me with 39. Then I would plug in 120V overnight. I am not sure yet what that will give me in the morning. I think it charges slower in the cold due to having to heat the batteries overnight or whatever.

I work from home tomorrow but I am going to check around 6AM to see how many more were added overnight from the 22 that were there when I plugged in at around 530PM.

I also have a level 2 charger a half mile from home (easy walk) in town here in Media, PA and I checked it on the way home and it was empty. I have hardly ever seen a car in there.

So I think I could try the dealer fast charger on the way home sometime and see how that goes combined with the 120V at home here.

Then another time I could just charge at the level 2 charger overnight and end up with around 55 miles in the morning. Or I could plug in level 2 around 530PM and then go back about 3-4 hours later and bring her home and put her on 120V thru the night.

The days I am concerned about is when i have to go back into town the next day, which is not every day. Usually I work in town Mon/Tues, then work from home Wed, then back in town Thurs/Fri. But every other Friday I have off due to flex hours and doing an extra hour each day of working. I also tend to take paid time off on Fridays so that helps to.

And I really don't remember having such a long cold snap - usually only 2-3 days at a time. So this is very unique. But in a way good that it is challenging the limits and I have to figure out other plans.

I can also take public transit and request additional work from home days if necessary. But I really don't like the train and it is a hike with a knee that doesn't want to do it. But it is an option once the knee improves.

It is not easy for me to hook up 240V. Sometimes i need to charge in front of the house and sometimes in the rear. I solved this with 120V by just keeping 2 cords in place - one is from the shed to the back lot and 50'. The other is from the rear of the house (closest outlet to the front) and is 100 foot. They are both 10 gauge. For 240V I bought the amazing-e thinking I could hook it up to my dryer plug, but it comes with 4 prong dryer type and I have 3 prong old style dryer plug. So there is that conversion/upgrade, plus then I need to convert that to a 240V extension RV type cord probably. Or get a second box installed as Don mentioned earlier with fuses in it that is RV type, then an RV cord and an adapter from RV back to 4 prong dryer type on the amazing e. I have searched for that type of adapter and have not found it. And I have not found how to make it or the parts. Also, I think a new 4 wire wire would need to be run from the basement to the RV box, so more expense there....I just really can't figure out what to do about that - especially the whole thing about two more wires in the yard. Oh, and I would need to get an RV plug installed on the outside of the house also, or one in front and one in back. So the whole thing gets overwhelming and I go back to thinking about the public chargers for the limited days that I would have to do something.

I know I should have probably researched this much more before buying the car, but I thought 62 mile range, 22 miles each way, I'm good even if I can't charge in town. Little did I know and that's the biggest lesson for anyone reading this.

So I know that is a lot of information - just thought people might learn something from my experience and situation, and that others may have some ideas.

Thanks

1pk
Posts: 31
Joined: Thu Jul 10, 2014 7:34 am
Location: Chemainus, BC

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Tue Jan 02, 2018 9:53 pm

Your Battery is much warmer after driving and charging during the day than it is in the morning and it makes a HUGE difference in your range as you have seen.

If the battery has not been working (current going into or out of it) it will cool down. After a few days of sitting over the holidays my battery was at -2C and my range was not very good that day. I imagine yours was somewhat lower than that.

It's colder than usual around here, nights have been below freezing for the last few weeks. In summer my 38 km commute uses 5 bars, last week I had been using 9 bars with my heater on the first notch and pre-warming the car before leaving. Today I used 11 bars because my car sat fully charged in the cold for 3 days and the battery temp was low.

Sounds like you have lots of charging options. What's important is that you make it where you're going and it sounds like you are doing that.

Oh and after 4 years with my car, I stick with B all the time, and either coast or feather the accelerator to maintain constant speed as much as I can when I need to maximize range.

Pete

bradleydavidgood777
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Wed Jan 03, 2018 4:58 am

Thanks Pete, that is good to know and makes a lot of sense.

I went out and turned the key this morning at 6AM and saw 60 miles. And it is 8 degrees F this morning. So this makes me feel better because I feel that i would be able to make it with 15 miles to spare, especially if I don't use so much heat, feather it more and keep the speed lower and use the B gear.

I am still wondering about pre-heating and if that limits the miles more.

And if anyone else has any other thoughts please share.

Thanks

kiev
Posts: 510
Joined: Sun May 03, 2015 7:15 am
Location: The Heart o' Dixie
Contact: Website

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Wed Jan 03, 2018 7:55 am

There may be a power difference between defrost and heat during a pre-heat session but i havent tried to measure that, but in either case the water heater is running from the pack voltage.

If your charging method can supply that preheat power then no apparent remaining range loss is seen, but Level1 at 120vac is not sufficient to provide heater power and maintain full pack voltage, so you may see some slight drop of RR.

Carry your remote and use it to preheat before leaving work. Any preheating helps reduce using the heater while on the road. Back off the accelerator to keep the power gauge needle over toward the left. Using E mode makes the pedal less sensitive to a heavy foot when up to speed. Back off early and use B mode for maximum braking and regen, and avoid using the brakes except to hold at lights. Regen will increase with just a slight press of the brake pedal, so let regen do the work rather than the pads.
kiev = kenny's innovative electric vehicle

JoeS
Site Moderator
Posts: 3301
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2011 5:47 am
Location: Los Altos Hills, California

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:18 am

bradleydavidgoood77, I just erased a long-winded discussion about winter battery capacity decrease, car-heating demands, effect of snow on rolling resistance, hypermiling techniques, etc., and unnecessary time wasted trying to recharge the car. Here's the bottom-line:
bradleydavidgood777 wrote:... not going too fast but sometimes going over 70 mph, maybe 75 for a little bit. Mostly around 65 or so...
In a nutshell, if I may suggest:

1. SLOW DOWN! Don't go above 55mph and be a featherfoot. You'll be amazed.
2. Minimize heater usage during your trip. Play with the settings to just keep the windshield clear.

Your 22-mile commute is very-easily doable, especially since you have charging at work. Our Canadian brethren must be chuckling...

For your 120vac charging at home, I presume you have the Mitsu EVSE switch set to 12A and not 8A?

Since REMOTE preheating the car using HEAT consumes significantly less power than DEFROST, perhaps someone has quantified this and can offer a suggestion whether it's better to, for example, preheat the car using HEAT for 20 minutes vs. DEFROST for, say, five minutes?
EVs: 2 Wht/Blu SE Prem., '13 Tesla MS85, 3 156v CorbinSparrows (2 Li-ion), 24v EcoScoot(LiFePO4)
EV Conv: 156v '86 Ram PU, 144v '65 Saab 96
Hybrids: 48v1kW bike
ICE: '88 Isuzu Trooper. Mothballed: '67 Saab (orig.owner), '76 MBZ L206D RHD RV

Don
Site Moderator
Posts: 2535
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Wed Jan 03, 2018 5:15 pm

I'll add a few comments here - First, I think what you're experiencing is pretty much normal. With the heater on, going 70 or 75 in the winter time with a cold battery you will see a drastic reduction in range - 50% under those circumstances doesn't surprise me

Second, I do believe from my personal experience when you preheat using L1, the heater uses more juice than the EVSE can supply, so you are probably draining the battery pack just a bit when preheating. If you have the 2012 8 amp EVSE, it only puts out about 960 watts and the heater can draw as much as 5,000 watts. I doubt it's programmed to allow the full 5Kw when, preheating but I do know 960 watts doesn't generate much heat. I forget if you have a newer car with the 12 amp L1 EVSE, but that one only does 1440 watts on 120 volts and even that may not be quite strong enough in the preheat mode. An L2 unit would solve your problems, *if* you can get 240 in your garage without too much trouble

Cold temps, fst freeway speeds and the use of the heater all add up to a really significant energy drain. Luckily, you have a place to plug in at work (and for free too!) so you're in good shape there. For winter, with the heater use you may need more than 960 watts of charge at home though

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1994 Miata 60K miles - Soon to be sold
1979 Honda CBX six into six

bradleydavidgood777
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:51 am

Thank you JoeS and Don, you have both helped a lot. I will try to respond to what you have said.

About using the remote to pre-heat after work - I move the car around lunch time to free the spot after I am charged up fully, so I am unplugged at the end of the day. Plus I am 2 long city blocks away so it is too far to make sense even if you meant that I would do that while unplugged.

I will totally take your advice about slowing down. I am getting used to not being in a rush anyway and I am slowing down more and more in many areas of my life. Which is good spiritually and physically. I had a feeling that slowing down would make a huge difference. The challenge is that about half of the highway miles are on a very wide part of I-95 where maybe no one is going less than 65. The average is probably 70 and by going slow it puts you in a position where people ride up your tail and are annoyed and it is not very safe. And it is past many exits including the airport area so there is lots of movement in the right lanes which would cause me to have to loose smoothness in the ride because of people cutting one way or another. However, I think I can probably do way better and will definitely try.

Charging 120V - I have a 2017 i-Miev with the stock charger. I have wondered about that 8 and 12A switch. I had read about it in the manual and tried pushing the button and it did not switch. I had forgotten to ask about it on this forum so I am glad you brought it up. So I need help understanding why it will not switch off of 8A. I am almost positive that it is on 8A all of the time. So changing that would be awesome and probably solve my whole problem.

bradleydavidgood777
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:04 am

Some more thoughts....

I also heard your advice on keeping the heater low during the drive and only keeping the windshield clear. I have been getting better at that and will continue.

And on the pre-heat in the morning, I understand about the wattage drawn and how the 120V cannot handle it, so I think I may just not pre-heat at all. But I'm not sure if that will be better or not because I'm hearing to pre-heat because that will minimize the heating needed when I get into the car, but then I loose range. I get that balance, but my primary concern is to get to the destination and I really don't want to be stuck with no juice anywhere near Philly - past halfway there there is nothing but no good places and it would not be good at all to need a tow there - crooks everywhere, no good chargers until into the city more. So being a little cold is way down on my priorities as far as that is concerned. I have found myself looking at the miles left as I get closer and then turning up the heater more as I get closer and know I am fine.

I don't have a garage and charge on the street in the front most of the time and if I can't get a spot close enough I use the back business lot which is clear every night. So no good option for 240V really - I said a lot about that in a previous post above so take a look at that if you like.

Thanks again for all of the help you guys! It is great to have this forum and help from my i-Miev family!!!

bradleydavidgood777
Posts: 35
Joined: Tue Aug 29, 2017 11:55 am

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Thu Jan 04, 2018 6:15 am

The other night I came home with 22 miles showing. I plugged in at 530PM. I am assuming it was on 8A. I'm not going out there now as it is like a blizzard and will be all day.

At 6AM I had 60 miles showing.

So thats 12.5 hours and a gain of 38 miles, which means it is gaining about 3.04 an hour.

Just wanted to throw that out there to see if that is typical and for reference for others.

I would assume that if I can get it to switch to 12A that it would make a huge difference. And my cord is 10 gauge so it should handle it fine.

If my math is correct 8/12 is .66. Or 12 is about 1/3 more than 8. or 33%. So that would mean that even if I did errands on the way home that were a little farther than my normal grocery store, or if I started charging later, say 7pm instead of 530 due to shopping/stopping time, I would still probably top off by morning or get close to topping off, which would make all of the difference in the world.

Don
Site Moderator
Posts: 2535
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 3:55 pm
Location: Biloxi MS

Re: Range and Charging Observations and Questions

Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:35 am

Only the older cars came with an 8 amp EVSE - Yours *should be* a 12 amp unit. I don't know if they are 8/12 switchable or not. You may be using 12 amps already. L2 at 240 would be TWICE as fast as that

'Preheating' by definition is warming up the car using AC power, so it doesn't decrease your range by running the heater full blast as you drive, but you need to be plugged into the EVSE to accomplish that - Can you use an extension cord?

Is there an alternate route which would eliminate your drive up I-95? We have several trips that we make using back roads which pretty much parallel the Interstate. Sometimes it takes a bit longer, but sometimes it's actually fewer miles than the Interstate route. The net result can be that by driving fewer miles at a reduced speed you use waaaay less juice to get to your destination . . . . sometimes it's safer too. Not a bad trade-off for having to leave home a few minutes earlier

Don
2012 iMiEV SE Premium, White
2012 iMiEV SE, White
2014 Ford Transit Connect XLT SWB wagon, 14,000 miles
1994 Miata 60K miles - Soon to be sold
1979 Honda CBX six into six

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