Fisker Buzz Forums banner
1 - 14 of 14 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Currently I have a Fisker Eco Chic and I only have the 110V charger supplied with the car. It takes about 18 hours to fully charge the car. The manual says 12. What are other people's experiences?

We are purchasing the Fisker Charging station but it's not installed yet. We did install in the Boston with the 240V charger and in 2.5 hours it gave us 24 miles of charge.

Is it the car, the charger, or something else?

Are there ways to improve the charge time?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
353 Posts
My Karma takes a little over 15 hours on 110V. It takes about 5 1/2 hours with my Coulomb 140V charger.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
913 Posts
The "normal" charge time, from zero to full, on a 120 volt system is "about 12 hours ± 1 hour" (except minus does not happen often, so more like 12 to 13 hours). At 240 volts it drops to half that, for the simple reason that energy is the integral of power.

Remember, batteries store energy. Think of energy as if it were water. A battery is a tank or a bucket: it is not water (energy) itself, it is just a storage container. There's a low water mark labeled "empty" (in this case, there's some water/energy left at "empty" because the battery lasts longer that way) and a high water mark labeled "full". The rate at which you drain or refill the bucket is the electrical power.

So: "energy" is much like stored water, and "power" is rate at which you drain or refill the water in the tank.

In electrical systems, power (rate of drain or fill) is measured in watts. Watts are like gallons-per-minute. Energy is, or at least should be, measured in joules (or some multiple, like megajoules, because "1 joule" is really quite tiny—it's like measuring a water-tank capacity in drops of water).

Because joules are tiny, and because of our history—people's home use of electricity mainly started with electric lighting—the measure most people are familiar with, that you see on your electric bill every month for instance, is "kilowatt hour". A kilowatt hour is the amount of energy you could dump into an energy-tank if you filled it at a rate of one kilowatt, for one hour.

(Side note: I'm going to add another analogy here, because in my experience, a lot of people get lost at this point. They're not used to thinking of filling the bathtub "at 3 gallons-per-minute for 1/6th of an hour" and the unfamiliarity throws them. So another useful trick in wrapping your head around this stuff is to think of "power" in terms of "miles per hour on the road", and "energy" in terms of "distance traveled". If you can average 30 mph, and you need to travel 10 miles, how long will it take? It turns out it will take 20 minutes: 30 mph is one mile every 2 minutes. If you can go 70 mph on the freeway, and you drive for an hour and a half, how far will you go? That's 70 miles/hr times 1.5 hr = 105 miles. So if you see "watts" or "kilowatts" in any claim, try mentally substituting in "mph", and see if the result seems to make sense. When someone says "I have a fancy new battery that stores 2000 watts" you can mentally translate it to "I have a storage tank that holds 2000 mph" and you will instantly realize that there's something fishy here. Whoever it is, either misspoke, or has no idea what he is talking about.)

Anyway, OK, so once you have energy = "stuff" (like water) and power - "flow rate of stuff" (like gallons per minute) down, now we can take a look at "volts" and "amps" in electricity. Take a moment to go outside and play with a hose and your garden/lawn, or try remembering when you were a kid, playing with the hose (I did as a kid, anyway). Turn the water on as a sort of dribbles-out-of-the-end-of-the-hose rate: high enough that it flows well, but not so high that it makes a long arc before splashing on the lawn or driveway.

Hold the end of the hose and watch the water dribble out at your feet. Then, take your thumb and put it over the end of the hose, blocking it off as much as you can without completely stopping the flow. What happens? The water squirts out through any gap you leave, and now it actually sprays rather than dribbling. It's a thin spray, only as big as whatever opening you leave with your thumb. Open the end wide (take your thumb off again) and it's a wide-mouth dribble.

Without changing the faucet setting, get yourself a bucket and try (1) dribbling water into the bucket and then (2) spraying the water into the bucket. Observe how fast the bucket fills with water each time. The interesting thing here is that whether you spray the water in a thin but spray-full stream, or let it dribble in, the bucket fills at the same rate. If it takes 60 seconds for the water level to climb one inch, it takes 60 seconds regardless of "big dribble" or "thin spray".

Here's the really cool bit: with electricity, voltage (measured in "volts") is like "force of spray", and current (measured in "amperes") is like the width of the opening out of which the liquid (the "electric energy") either dribbles or sprays. The product of the two—volts times amps, or "volt-amps"—is (in simple DC electrical systems anyway) the rate of the energy flow. And it turns out that "volt-amp" is another name for "watt" (well, until you get to alternating current and "phase angle" but never mind that!).

We have:

volts: pressure
amperes: width (cross-section)
watts: flow rate
energy (in joules, or watt-hours, or whatever): integral of flow-rate over time

It's easy to see, when playing with the garden hose, that you can increase pressure by decreasing width, or vice versa, without changing the total energy flow rate (the same amount of water comes out of the hose, regardless of whether it's a fat dribble or a thin spray). This is how alternating current electrical energy is sent long distances over skinny (read: cheap) wires: convert it to high voltage (high pressure) and it fits in a thin wire! Of course, at high pressure, it's also very ready to escape, so we down-convert it to a more convenient voltage at the house.

Now, if you want to get energy (water) into your battery (storage tank) faster, there are two ways to do it: build a bigger, fatter pipe and use the same voltage/pressure, or, keep the same skinnier pipe but raise the voltage/pressure.

If you double the pressure (120 volts to 240 volts) while keeping the pipe the same width (same amperage), you'll double the flow rate (twice the watts) and hence move twice as much energy in the same time. This is why, ignoring secondary effects having to do with losses in wiring and converters and so on, charging your car at 240 volts makes it charge up twice as fast as doing it at 120 volts.

Note that if we could go to 480 volts while keeping the amps the same, the charge rate would double yet again, and the charge time would drop to about 3 hours. 480 volts is common in industrial applications (although 415 is also common, with the difference having to do with "delta" vs "wye" configurations of the three phases in standard industrial 3-phase AC power, but never mind that). However, almost every building in North America has 240 volt power run to it (240 volt "center tapped", with 120 volts from center-neutral to either side; that's where the 120 volt power comes from).

(The actual voltage at any outlet in your house can vary from a low-normal of about 110 to a high-normal of about 125 and the nominal "correct" voltage is actually "117 volts AC RMS" but there's so much slop in the system that people just say "110" or "120" and we call it good....)
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,662 Posts
marswill said:
My Karma takes a little over 15 hours on 110V. It takes about 5 1/2 hours with my Coulomb 140V charger.
I have never gotten a full charge on 110V, even overnight. I think the extension cord I used could not handle the full 12A flow and the charger had to step down the current to keep things safe.

With my Blink charger, my car consistently goes from 0 Miles to full charge in 5.5 hours.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
913 Posts
Fabulist said:
I have never gotten a full charge on 110V, even overnight. I think the extension cord I used could not handle the full 12A flow and the charger had to step down the current to keep things safe.

With my Blink charger, my car consistently goes from 0 Miles to full charge in 5.5 hours.
Note that it takes 13.75 amps to charge at the 1.65 kW rate that you need to get "half rate" charging on 120V ("full rate" 240V charging is 3.3 kW, and 3300 watts / 240 volts = 13.75 amps). I think (don't have specs in front of me) that the convenience charger actually starts at about 13 amps rather than 13.75), and yes, if you don't have a heavy-duty-enough cord you'll get heating and other losses. "Normal" household outlets have 15-amp fusing (15 amp circuit-breakers, these days) so at nearly 14 amps there's basically nothing left when using that circuit, too.

Kitchen circuits are (normally) wired for 20 amp loads, so in theory you might do slightly better if you plug into a kitchen outlet using a heavy duty extension cord. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
30 Posts
I never had the bad a performance from my 110 charger before I put in my 220 charging station. I don't know if there is any scientific fact to this but was told to not use any extension cord if possible and if absolutely necessary don't get one any longer then you need and make sure it is a medium to heavy duty weight. I will say that different outlets (my work vs. home) had a variance of a couple of hours in how long it took to "fill up".

Make sure you check with your local electric company about the best way to install. By putting in a separate meter I was able to cut my per Kw charge in more then half 24 hours a day where I live in So. Cal.

Good luck, enjoy!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Ah! Thanks for the nice explanation ct.

It seems like the extension cord may be a culprit. I was trying to think of what could be limiting the current, as the car seems to be able to handle it at the commercial charging station. That seems obvious in retrospect. :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
So it turns out that according to the dealer 18 hours is not out of the scope of normal. I did eliminate the extension cord and found that instead of getting about 2.6 miles of charge per hour, that I'm getting about 3.4 miles of charge per hour - about a 15 hour total charge time.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,975 Posts
CT- question. Why is it quicker to charge up to say 80% of a battery's capacity, but it takes much longer (ie not linear) to get the remaining 20% to get to 100% full charge?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
913 Posts
SoCalGuy said:
CT- question. Why is it quicker to charge up to say 80% of a battery's capacity, but it takes much longer (ie not linear) to get the remaining 20% to get to 100% full charge?
That's more a feature of Li-ion batteries than anything else.

While it's not actually quite correct electrochemically speaking (also I'm not a battery chemistry guy, the actual chemistry gets really complicated), you can think of the battery as a big sports stadium, in which electrons take their "seats" in random order by stumbling around blindfolded. At first, there are plenty of open seats, so everyone goes in and sits. As the stadium fills up, though, you start getting people going in and stumbling around bumping into everyone already seated. The closer you get to "completely full", the harder it is to find a seat.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #12 ·
I am still puzzled by the chargers. I am waiting for the 220 V charger and want to make sure it is installed properly and with the optimum performance.

After experimenting with the charging times, I notice it varies quite a bit by the charger. The Fisker manual says the charger will vary based upon the current. What is the ideal current? And how does it know? I mean if it pulls as much as possible it would trip the circuit. I'm pretty good with electronics but didn't know there was an electronic way to tell how much a circuit can handle.

My home 110V charger does about 3.25 miles/hour.
My home 110V charger with extension cord does 2.6 miles/hour
The ChargePoint station in the city does about 10 miles/hour.

In other words, the ChargePoint station is doing nearly three times the charge rate not double as the voltage would suggest.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,662 Posts
TexasDavid said:
I am still puzzled by the chargers. I am waiting for the 220 V charger and want to make sure it is installed properly and with the optimum performance.

After experimenting with the charging times, I notice it varies quite a bit by the charger. The Fisker manual says the charger will vary based upon the current. What is the ideal current? And how does it know? I mean if it pulls as much as possible it would trip the circuit. I'm pretty good with electronics but didn't know there was an electronic way to tell how much a circuit can handle.

My home 110V charger does about 3.25 miles/hour.
My home 110V charger with extension cord does 2.6 miles/hour
The ChargePoint station in the city does about 10 miles/hour.

In other words, the ChargePoint station is doing nearly three times the charge rate not double as the voltage would suggest.
[Note: All of the following is approximate and rounded up/down for easier math and presentation:] The 110V charger is limited to 12A current so the maximum amount of power it can pump into the battery is 1320W or 1.3KW. So for every hour of charging you get 1.3KWH worth of charge. Fisker counts each KWH of battery charge as about 2.95 Miles of travel, so one hour of charge should theoretically get you 3.8 Miles of range, but there are losses through heat, etc. that would reduce that number close to 3.5 Miles/Hour of Charge which is generally in line with your experience.

When you use the 220 V charger, not only do you get double the voltage, you also charge at 15A instead of 12. This means that you can push 3300 W or 3.3KW of power to the battery which gets you 3.3 KWH per hour. Using the same KWH to Miles ratio, you get 9.74 Miles of range per hour of charge, which is also in line with your experience.

The real limiting factor here is not the external device (that is not really a charger but just a smart switch, usually referred to as an EVSE) but Karma's on-board charger that controls and manages the charging process under the unblinking eyes of the on-board computers that monitor all the different on-board conditions to prevent overheating or other problems. As I understand it, the battery in the Karma can be charged much faster without any damage and the EVSE devices can usually deliver up to 30A, which could double the charging speed of the Karma, but as it stands, the Karma can only drink the flow of electrons at this rate and no faster.

We hope that future versions of the Karma may come equipped with chargers more like this one, that can charge at 22KW, which could theoretically charge a Karma from empty to full charge is less than an hour. But for the moment. With something like this, the Karma would be power chugging electrons instead of sipping them.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
40 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Thanks! Exactly the answer I was looking for. I'm excited to get the proper charger at home.
 
1 - 14 of 14 Posts
Top