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When A Spec Is Not A Spec
#1
Today, my question about the charging times for Solo was answered by CEO Jerry. I thought it was rather straightforward. If the Spec is 3h/6h at 220V/110V, how can that work with a 16.1kWh battery? There just aren't enough kWh to do the job, not even close. 6hX110VX12A (TurboCord spec) is 7.92kWh.

The answer as best as I could understand it is that the "spec" is like "typical" of recharging after a commute/errand/trip... So, it's a really vague number and nothing like a spec with clear meaning/limits/dependability.

So, I'm thinking the real spec is more than double those number of hours. That seems like a really "great" way to disappoint buyers. It would be so simple to publish a bit of an explanation rather than stating 3h/6h or giving the "real" numbers and explaining why that would not be typical but rather more like 3h/6h. The reason I think the "real" numbers are more than double is simply because Jerry states that a "tapered" charging is used so it takes longer, the charging circuit and the battery are not 100% efficient so a little extra time is required and, heaven forbid, lower temperatures may require extra time/heating to achieve a full charge and the numbers I've used come to about half a charge if the battery is indeed 16.1 kWh. I know it will like take about 18kWh to do the job because of wasted energy in the process.

I never did get an answer to the question of what current the Solo draws at 220V but if it's as little as 16A, the time to deliver 16.1kWh is 4.57h. Jerry even said not to wait for full charge, skipping the balancing of cells... That could be harmful to the battery if a deep discharge does happen eventually. A cell could reverse polarity and be destroyed.

I agree this probably will not affect most commuters but it certainly will affect commuters with longer than "typical" commutes... Imagine a guy with a 100 mile commute. He won't catch up at work in 9h at 110V and combined with some shopping or visiting after work he might eventually run the battery flat. It might not work for a guy partying using Solo one evening and working the next day. This is not a great way to sell cars. Imagine a seller of ICEd vehicles advertising 64mpg but delivering only 32mpg... Why poke potential customers in the eye? Why disappoint customers? Why expose the brand to charges of false advertising? I hope the user's manual has greater specificity. BTW, that's still not public...
My blog is an eclectic list of rants and commentary about things for which I care. See MrPogson.com It's been around a decade...
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#2
(09-11-2017, 10:43 PM)pogson Wrote: Today, my question about the charging times for Solo was answered by CEO Jerry. I thought it was rather straightforward. If the Spec is 3h/6h at 220V/110V, how can that work with a 16.1kWh battery? There just aren't enough kWh to do the job, not even close. 6hX110VX12A (TurboCord spec) is 7.92kWh.

The answer as best as I could understand it is that the "spec" is like "typical" of recharging after a commute/errand/trip... So, it's a really vague number and nothing like a spec with clear meaning/limits/dependability.

So, I'm thinking the real spec is more than double those number of hours. That seems like a really "great" way to disappoint buyers. It would be so simple to publish a bit of an explanation rather than stating 3h/6h or giving the "real" numbers and explaining why that would not be typical but rather more like 3h/6h. The reason I think the "real" numbers are more than double is simply because Jerry states that a "tapered" charging is used so it takes longer, the charging circuit and the battery are not 100% efficient so a little extra time is required and, heaven forbid, lower temperatures may require extra time/heating to achieve a full charge and the numbers I've used come to about half a charge if the battery is indeed 16.1 kWh. I know it will like take about 18kWh to do the job because of wasted energy in the process.

I never did get an answer to the question of what current the Solo draws at 220V but if it's as little as 16A, the time to deliver 16.1kWh


is 4.57h. Jerry even said not to wait for full charge, skipping the balancing of cells... That could be harmful to the battery if a deep discharge does happen eventually. A cell could reverse polarity and be destroyed.

I agree this probably will not affect most commuters but it certainly will affect commuters with longer than "typical" commutes... Imagine a guy with a 100 mile commute. He won't catch up at work in 9h at 110V and combined with some shopping or visiting after work he might eventually run the battery flat. It might not work for a guy partying using Solo one evening and working the next day. This is not a great way to sell cars. Imagine a seller of ICEd vehicles advertising 64mpg but delivering only 32mpg... Why poke potential customers in the eye? Why disappoint customers? Why expose the brand to charges of false advertising? I hope the user's manual has greater specificity. BTW, that's still not public...

The question is what is the charge rate at 220 and 110?
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#3
(09-12-2017, 07:01 PM)Acentre Wrote: The question is what is the charge rate at 220 and 110?

That's one question. Jerry seemed unconcerned by that little detail. He was talking about how the charging rate tapered and balanced cells and how most users could plug in the Solo for a while and be OK. Apparently, those are "typical" times although that's nowhere stated. It's very poor advertising.

For many commuters, it's probably of no concern but if your commute is long or you're taking a long drive, it matters if the charging time is way off. The 3h/6h numbers seem not to be real. e.g. The TurboCord one uses to charge from 110V delivers only 12A maximum so it takes way more than 6h to deliver 16.1kWh. Why give a spec, 3h/6h, if it's meaningless? I'm puzzled. They might have said it can be easily charged overnight although party animals might find that not so.

The battery of Solo delivers nominally 144 volts and the 18650 cells deliver 3.6V. There are over 1000 cells in series/parallel arrangement to hold 16.1kWh so the balancing is very important to prevent reversing a cell on deep discharge. Not completing a charge could be serious and if the charging time is very long battery life will be jeopardized by consistently undercharging if the end of the charge is where the balancing is done.
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#4
(09-12-2017, 08:40 PM)pogson Wrote:
(09-12-2017, 07:01 PM)Acentre Wrote: The question is what is the charge rate at 220 and 110?

That's one question. Jerry seemed unconcerned by that little detail. He was talking about how the charging rate tapered and balanced cells and how most users could plug in the Solo for a while and be OK. Apparently, those are "typical" times although that's nowhere stated. It's very poor advertising.

For many commuters, it's probably of no concern but if your commute is long or you're taking a long drive, it matters if the charging time is way off. The 3h/6h numbers seem not to be real. e.g. The TurboCord one uses to charge from 110V delivers only 12A maximum so it takes way more than 6h to deliver 16.1kWh. Why give a spec, 3h/6h, if it's meaningless? I'm puzzled. They might have said it can be easily charged overnight although party animals might find that not so.

The battery of Solo delivers nominally 144 volts and the 18650 cells deliver 3.6V. There are over 1000 cells in series/parallel arrangement to hold 16.1kWh so the balancing is very important to prevent reversing a cell on deep discharge. Not completing a charge could be serious and if the charging time is very long battery life will be jeopardized by consistently undercharging if the end of the charge is where the balancing is done.

You are off base on many important points.
The TurboCord is only one of many EVSE's, and is not one of the most powerful.

The charge rate is limited by both the capacity of the on-board charger and the EVSE.  A 6.6 kW on-board charger is fairly typical, and would be expected on the Solo.  The 6.6 kW rating is based on 220V.  The same charges is only has a 3.3 kW charge rate at 110V.  We're talking about simple math - 6.6 kW for 3 hours = 19.8 kWh, and 3.3 kw for 6 hours = 19.8 kWh.  In other words, charging a 16.1 kWh battery in 3 or 6 hours is not the least bit unreasonable.

A 30-amp EVSE would be needed to take full advantage of the 6.6 kW on-board charger, but even a 25-amp EVSE should be adequate to meet the 3/6 hour advertising claims.

There are some charging losses, and the electrical circuit needs to be rated higher than the EVSE.  IIRC, the recommendation for a 30-amp EVSE is a 40-amp circuit, and a 30-amp circuit for a 25-amp EVSE.

This is pretty basic EV info.  After 10 years of following EV's and ranting about them, you should have already been aware of all of this.

I remain unimpressed with JK's marketing and engineering chops, but this is a total non-issue.
I'm done.
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#5
(09-12-2017, 10:29 PM)flying_solo Wrote: The same charges is only has a 3.3 kW charge rate at 110V.  We're talking about simple math - 6.6 kW for 3 hours = 19.8 kWh, and 3.3 kw for 6 hours = 19.8 kWh.  In other words, charging a 16.1 kWh battery in 3 or 6 hours is not the least bit unreasonable.
Whatever the demand of the Solo, the TurboCord can only deliver 12A at 110V, 1.32kW, not 3.3kW. Even if the full 15A of the 110V circuit were available, that's only 1.65kW. There's the mistake.

It has been pointed out that some 110V circuits can deliver 20A but with a different connector and then it's only 2.2kW.

So, the 6h spec is clearly impossible. The thing is, the Solo does not know what breaker is on the 110V circuit and cannot be tripping 15A breakers regularly. We still don't have a proper number for Level 2 charging. The J1772 spec mentions 16A at 110V, 30, 32 and 80A at 208-240V but the Solo is in charge of making the demand, not the charging station. We still don't have an answer from Jerry.

19.8kWh/(12AX110V)=15h, which might work for some people and might not for others. I think it will take about 18kWh from the mains to deliver a 16.1kWh charge, 13.6h. Jerry says the charging rate of the Solo tapers so it might be even longer. I think that makes 110V an "emergencies only" capability and there's no mention of that at all from EMV. Fortunately, Level 2 is very popular. If EMV is wrong about 110V can the time for Level 2 be trusted? I just don't know.

If fractional charging of Solo is the norm, is 100 mile range also a delusion? What will happen to EMV's sales when real users actually measure the performance of Solo and put real numbers out there? I suspect most commuters really won't care but it's silly to offend large numbers of potential customers or to disappoint large numbers of actual customers. I just don't understand EMV's "marketing". I and many others believe "truth in advertising" is right and proper. Tesla's and Nissan's claims have been well tested in the real world and stand up. Can EMV compete this way? Isn't this scandalous? The bigger EMV's sales get the bigger the scandal. Aren't they on the verge of bigness?
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#6
The SOLO's specs seem to be in a constant state of flux as production vehicles roll SOsLOwly off the line, finalized only after accepting delivery of your individual reservation SOLO #.

If one has serious doubts about the information a new startup provides regarding their product specs one shouldn't buy their product.
White Hot Solo #166
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#7
(09-13-2017, 05:47 AM)pogson Wrote:
(09-12-2017, 10:29 PM)flying_solo Wrote: The same charges is only has a 3.3 kW charge rate at 110V.  We're talking about simple math - 6.6 kW for 3 hours = 19.8 kWh, and 3.3 kw for 6 hours = 19.8 kWh.  In other words, charging a 16.1 kWh battery in 3 or 6 hours is not the least bit unreasonable.
Whatever the demand of the Solo, the TurboCord can only deliver 12A at 110V, 1.32kW, not 3.3kW. Even if the full 15A of the 110V circuit were available, that's only 1.65kW. There's the mistake.

It has been pointed out that some 110V circuits can deliver 20A but with a different connector and then it's only 2.2kW.

So, the 6h spec is clearly impossible. The thing is, the Solo does not know what breaker is on the 110V circuit and cannot be tripping 15A breakers regularly. We still don't have a proper number for Level 2 charging. The J1772 spec mentions 16A at 110V, 30, 32 and 80A at 208-240V but the Solo is in charge of making the demand, not the charging station. We still don't have an answer from Jerry.

19.8kWh/(12AX110V)=15h, which might work for some people and might not for others. I think it will take about 18kWh from the mains to deliver a 16.1kWh charge, 13.6h. Jerry says the charging rate of the Solo tapers so it might be even longer. I think that makes 110V an "emergencies only" capability and there's no mention of that at all from EMV. Fortunately, Level 2 is very popular. If EMV is wrong about 110V can the time for Level 2 be trusted? I just don't know.

If fractional charging of Solo is the norm, is 100 mile range also a delusion? What will happen to EMV's sales when real users actually measure the performance of Solo and put real numbers out there? I suspect most commuters really won't care but it's silly to offend large numbers of potential customers or to disappoint large numbers of actual customers. I just don't understand EMV's "marketing". I and many others believe "truth in advertising" is right and proper. Tesla's and Nissan's claims have been well tested in the real world and stand up. Can EMV compete this way? Isn't this scandalous? The bigger EMV's sales get the bigger the scandal. Aren't they on the verge of bigness?

You're still lost.  There is no scandal.  Well, there might be other scandals, but EMV is not responsible for the limitations of the TurboCord.  While I've been using your 110V/220V specs, using 120V/240V is more common in many locations.  At my house, for instance, most of my lines tend to run 117V/238V.

You still need to wrap your head around the fact that the TurboCord is not the only, or even the ideal EVSE.  Here is the User Guide for the OpenEVSE P50:  https://www.openevse.com/files/P50_Users_Guide.pdf   On p7 of the UserGuide (the 8th page of the pdf), it shows the range for 120V charging to be between .72kW (6 amps on a 20 amp circuit) and 2.88kW (24 amps on a 30 amp circuit).  

Since most home 120V lines are 15/20 amps, charging on those lines would be limited to 12/16 amps.  On a 30-amp 120V circuit, 24-amp charging is available.  Although I was theoretically correct that 30-amp charging would be available on a 40-amp 120V circuit, on a practical basis, those do not exist, so I was wrong to claim that 3.3/3.6kW Level 1 charging is available.

That leaves us at 2.88kW for 6 hours, or 17.28kW.  Still within the claimed charge time for 120V/L1 charging.

A home user with a P50 and a 30/40/50 amp circuit could also charge within 3 hours on L2.

The AeroVironment TurboCord is limited to 12A @ 120V (1.44kW) and 16A @ 240V (3.84kW).  That would mean that you would be unable to charge the Solo from full discharge to full charge in the advertised time frame.  Without accounting for line losses and variances in SOC, that works out to about 11+ hours on L1 & 4+ hours on L2.

That is not the fault of EMV, assuming that the on-board charger is a 6.6/7.2 kW unit.  EMV cannot control your home wiring, your choice of EVSE's, or your other charging options.

Again, this is a tempest in a teapot.

FWIW, the idea that LiIon's need to be fully charged to be balanced is also a fallacy.  Also, a good BMS will leave some room at both the top and bottom of the charge cycles to prevent the battery from a dangerous over- or under-charged state.

EMV has plenty of real issues and challenges, but running around ranting that the sky is falling over factually incorr

ect claims is out of line.

I'm pretty much done here.  The attached image points out the futility of correcting every error on the internet.

[Image: Someone_is_wrong_on_internet.png]
I'm done.
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#8
Whatever. Jerry has not talked about special high current 120V outlets but the garden variety 120V stuff people have in parking lots and garages. I'm pretty sure most consumers visiting EMV's site will think that as well, and it's misleading. If that's what EMV means, they should say so. ISTR he actually intentionally left things vague so people wouldn't build services in their garages and blame EMV when it didn't work. Aren't we long past the prototyping stage where those ideas might have been appropriate? If we are in the final stages of safety certification shouldn't such matters be settled? Let's have proper specs. My 120V outlets won't fully charge a Solo in 6h no matter what kind of adapter is in play, certainly not the TurboCord they push on their site.

It's still not clear that a Level 2 charger will do it either, with tapering and possible 16A demand from Solo. 16AX240VX3h = 11.52kWh. Does anyone know what Solo draws at 240V? Level 2 defines the capacity of the charger and does not dictate what current Solo draws. The dual-voltage TurboCord delivers a maximum of 16A at 240V. Maybe that's all Solo will take. It is a small battery. Nissan Leaf 2017 with 30kWh battery takes 6h to charge at 240V. That's only 5kW, 21A. Is Solo going to put the same current into a smaller battery? I don't think so. It will be a lower current for about the same time, longer than 3h.
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#9
It was suggested to me to look at the similar and competitive Arcimoto SRK. This document (<- link) shows:

"The SRK range per charge is ample for local driving. Its 70 to 130 miles per charge range depending on battery meets most drivers€™ daily needs. As noted earlier, people in the U.S. drive an average of 29.2 miles per day, according to the aforementioned AAA study. The SRK is also convenient to charge. It can use a standard outlet. It supports Level 1 charging, which is at a rate of about 9.8 miles per hour of charge. Level 1 can be done from a standard 120-volt power outlet. The SRK also supports 240-volt Level 2 charging, which is at a rate of 17.5 miles of range per hour of charge. Level 2 can be accomplished both at home and at public charging stations."


12/20kWh battery options with those charging rates show 70/9.8=7h charging from 110V for 12kWh and over 13h for the larger battery. At level 2, the times are shorter at 4h and 7.4h for the 12 and 20kWh batteries. So, 3h/6h seems very doubtful for Solo. It's not a killer for commuters but it's silly to publish clearly wrong numbers. Won't EMV and their specs be found wanting the first time a customer finds Solo not fully charged after 3h/6h? How is that good for the brand or the consumer? Oh, scaling from 12kWh to 16.1kWh, Arcimoto's numbers would be 5h/9h... Surely someone will notice nearly a factor of two difference. Surely a day will come when it will matter when a customer runs flat.
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#10
OK, first : the "charger" is in the vehicle; it is NOT the thing you plug into the wall and then into the vehicle. That is called an EVSE. What happens is that the EVSE will tell the car how many amps it can pull, and the car can pull any amount up to that max. The *car* decides how much to pull.

2nd: for long term (several hour) use, it is recommended that any device pull a max of 80% of the circuit limit (the circuit breaker is supposed to be appropriately sized for the wiring).

3rd, most (non-Tesla) EVs limit the max amps they will pull at 120V, no matter what the EVSE tells them. This is a safety/legal protection. The company doesn't want to get sued (or get bad press) because the car started a house fire while charging. Many cars *default* to 8A at 120V, and have a setting so you can change it to 12A. That's because older houses have crappier wiring, and more sockets on a single circuit breaker, so more items might be plugged in and pulling power via the same breaker/wiring. On a 12A breaker the EVSE shouldn't pull more than (12 * .8) 9.6A an a 15A circuit shouldn't have a multi-hour load over 12A. Hopefully, the Solo will have similar logic. The TurboCord dual (120/240) EVSE charges at a max 12A rate at 120V (16A at 240V).

4th, 12A * 120V = 1.44kW. 16.1 kwH/1.44 = 11.18 hours of charging *with no loss* (and there is always a loss - at 120V, a 90% efficiency would be great). At 90% efficiency, it would take about 12.4 hours *with no tapering of the charge as the car approaches 100%*, so it will take over 12.4 hours.

5th, the numbers for 240V charge time (3 hours) are about right (so long as the charger in the car can pull at least 5.8 kW, which would be about a 24Amp charger).

6th, I am not at all surprised that Jerry gives yet another wrong answer or that the "specs" for the vehicle will be changed again. He really shouldn't be handling tech questions for the company and they should have a tech-savvy person review the specs on the web page.
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