With our new electric vehicle (Kia eSoul with a 64 kWh battery and max. 75 kW charging power) we have now covered several distance trips (≈700 km) on the Autobahn. That proved very interesting, and in part thrilling, not always in a good way… My experiences are are, of course, still limited and apply to some degree to that car.
TL;DR: Have a plan B for everything, namely charge point access, cable, route, charge points, ….
More detail: The goal is to arrive in a timely fashion with few charging stops. However,
- There is always too little charge 😜.
- The car drives so comfortable and silently, that it takes a major effort to discipline oneself to limited speeds.
- Even with a ≫75 kW charge point, charging power markedly depends on charge state.
- Below ≈15% there seems to be some throtteling, then the expected 75 kW can be enjoyed, and from 55% up there is increasing throtteling. (All e-cars have this, but to different degrees.)
- Consequently, a full 0–100% charge does not last the expected hour (even with a very high energy charger), but rather ≈ 3 hrs.
- Thus it is inefficient to try to charge fully on each stop. Rather charge only to 70% or so, and have one more stop – saves time overall.
- Have more than one way to start charging, e.g. “mobility”-card and an app.
- Some charge stations are out of order or can’t be persuaded to charge, even if indicated as working in the app (this happenend once so far).
- I had initially solely relied on DC charging (high power >75 kW with CCS). Yes, there are many of those by now, but some do not work (although flagged as ok in the charge provider app) and it could happen that the next one is out of range – then it’s a welcome relief to have an AC type 2 charge cable at hand. Low power stations are quite ubiquitous, and after some charging there one can reach the next DC station. So I’ve acquired an AC type 2 cable.
- Charge points differ very much, not just in power: a few have an attached AC cable, most have not (so bring your own). Not all have a QR code. Some have impressive displays, entertaining you visually during the boring charge process, some are completely bland and don’t even have a stop button…
- Funnily, the eSoul has no button to stop charging… That’s awkward when the charge point has no “stop” button either, and the app does not work (e.g. claiming car is “busy” 😎) … The manual is deafeningly silent on this. Solutions:
- For AC-charging: lock/unlock door, that temporarily unlocks the plug so it can be pulled.
- For DC-charging: in EV settings, temporarily set the max. charge limit to below current value.
- Found the best route planner so far: A Better Routeplanner. Here, after entering details of the car’s consumption and desired residual charge, the minimum number of stops and their best location is calculated. Not tested “live” so far, but looks very promising.
- Good overview of charging stations: https://map.openchargemap.io/, with one problem: The power info is often outdated, I found a number where it’s higher now (e.g. 50 → 150 kW). At least it errs on the good side :).