Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Charging Around Town and a Tesla in the Wild

After the Gathering of Friends car show, I drove leisurely through town and hit the Costco (for groceries) and when I came out, a father and son were standing next to the car taking pictures.  The 914 is an attention-getter and then when people figure out it's electric...

From there I went to the Target parking lot across the street to try their J1772 charging station.  Here we are, in front of their 2 charging spaces.  Unfortunately when I plugged in, the charger gave an error light and the charger didn't fire up.  I suspected a problem in the charger control circuitry or fuses.  Bummer.

They use Clipper Creek chargers.

Here's the label with full details.

 There are also a number of parking spaces reserved for efficient cars, according to the ACEEE rating score, which I had never heard of.  It's too bad you have to pay a subscription fee to see if your car meets the ratings, which I think will do more harm than good for the effort.

Sadly, my VW Beetle TDi which gets 49 mpg doesn't make the list, I think it was due to the particulates of diesel combustion.  I run the car on 99% biodiesel so there is very little pollution but I don't want to have an argument with someone in the parking lot.

From Target, I drove a hundred yards down the road to the Nissan dealership.  I pulled up at the front and asked if it was OK for me to do a test with their charger.  They thanked me for asking, as one day they showed up to find a Tesla Roadster plugged in and the owner nowhere in sight.  The Tesla was in the way of something they needed to move so they weren't really happy.  I pulled the car around the side and plugged in while 3 Nissan folks watched.  The charger tried to start up, then stopped over and over, and a relay in my charging circuit was buzzing on and off very fast.  I pulled out the cord and thanked the Nissan folks.  Sorry for the dark picture.

The following weekend I moved the enclosure for the charging system and rewired it and found a blown fuse.  After I got it all back together, I plugged it into my Schneider J1772 unit and it took the charge like a champ.  I'll have to try again next time I get back down to San Luis Obispo.

To wrap up this post, here's the backside of a Tesla Roadster I was behind.

The license plate is "SOLDVSI" so I'm thinking the owner sold a company or technology that goes by the name VSI and bought the car with the profits!  I wonder if it's VSI Products, which builds products for the cycling and  BMX  markets?