First Public Charging or Have Nissan got it right?

Here we are again with another instalment of my “first times” experiences.

I am planning a trip to Wales and that will be another “first ” for a long trip experiences, so I thought I try the nearby Public charging points before exposing myself to any humiliation by ending up on a low loader because I run out of charge and could not get a Motorway services charging point to work.

Anyway I chose the Durham Services high capacity charging point along the A1/M. It was located almost right in front of the entrance to the shop and eateries.

Tesla are a bit like Apple, they have decided that the “industry standard” charging cables are not “intelligent” enough and do not fit with their  design purposes (small and neat), so they developed their own.This however means that you have to get an adapter for the industry standard charging points out there which of course costs extra and are quite expensive, because they got ” intelligence” ie a chip and software in them.Nissan however have gone a different way in their LEAF.They stuck to industry standard and have incorporated two sockets into the car design for the most used public charging points.One Socket for Fast Charging and one for normal at home charging.

We ( my father and I ) arrived at the Durham Services charging point and I unpacked the CHADEMO Adapter bought at the Tesla Manchester Service Centre, when we picked up the car for, the first time.

So here I am looking at the LCD screen of the public charging point and the the machine says: “Please select AC or DC charging.” Good question – what do we need?Well the engineers that decided on how to design a public charging point (not a charger as that is build into the car!) also decided that the plugs should look different for AC or DC charging.So I looked at my CHADEMO adapter and it was clear it meant we can only use DC charging. This was easy to what came next however.

The next thing the machine asked:”Please identify yourself and swipe your NFC card passed the black marked area”.So I got my ECOTRICITY NFC Card out of my wallet and swiped it passed the identified black marked area and success it said:” Please insert your charging cable to start charging”. Ah- not so fast! We had not connected the CHADEMO Tesla  adapter to the Public charging cable. So I gripped the CHADEMO Tesla Adapter with my right hand and the Public charging cable with the left and tried to fit them into each other.

Well both cables are about the thickness of a petrol station hose and have a similar Pistol Grip.At first glance they should have fitted together easily and like a glove.Well nothing fitted together and I had to let go of  both items and put them on the floor.

After inspecting both items separately I suddenly realised that these clever engineers had come up with another clever design to help the “stupid” public to make charging “idiot” proof.They inserted groves in one part of the plug with corresponding ridges on the other.So there was only one way to fit these two together ( probably in order to not disturb the polarity of the DC) .

   

The pistol grip now mad a clicking sound and the press button thingy on the top also clicked into a locked position and both items were firmly connected.Hurray we were ready to plug it all into the car. Oops – nothing was happening! At this point the charging port of the car should open to reveal the socket in the car.Well I got in the car and opened the charging socket manually ( mental note: open charge port on car before leaving car at public charging point).I insert the CHADEMO and public charging point contraption into the car and nothing was happening, again-this time I was expecting a light to come on to show that the car was ready to accept the plug and we started charging.Mental note: Activate charger only once you have put charging cable and adapter together. Yes, I had to identify myself at the LCD screen of the charging point again as it had TIMED out!

  
Finally I was ready to charge and we got juice into the car, so the LCD screen on the Charging point and in the car confirmed. PHEW!

  
Here is the same procedure with a Nissan Leaf: Open front flap on bonnet of car.Identify yourself at charging point.Take cable from charging point and plug it into the socket that fits.Wait for car to be full of charge for 1:30 or 2:00 hours.Unplug and continue journey.

  
Our next stop on this trial day was the Tesla owned Supercharger Station somewhere near Washington Services.I remembered that on my Satnav in the car there was a shortcut button for Tesla Superchargers.So precede it and the Washingtin Suoercharger Station came up as a destination and I chose it and if we went to experience that.

I can only say :What a difference! Just like at a Petrol station of old! Get out of car, Get Pistol grip and press button on Pistol grip to open charge port, connect to charge port and watch juice flowing into car on car’s LCD screen at 280 miles/hour of 45 minutes to full charge.

   
  I think enough capacity for some more TESLAs to join the fun. 
Just look at the difference in juice that is coming out of the TESLA supercharger point in comparison to the Public CHADEMO charging point.

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