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Discussion Starter · #21 ·
How are you running Waze and the navigation system? The minute I pull up something in the navigation, the MMI kills CarPlay. Do you run on the tablet and pipe it through bluetooth?
No. For me, Waze standard alerts about police and hazards come through CarPlay while driving. Just like music. Yes, the Audi nav seems to kill other running nav, as near as I can tell like Maps or Waze. But I’m not running Waze as nav. Just as an informational audio service.
 

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No. For me, Waze standard alerts about police and hazards come through CarPlay while driving. Just like music. Yes, the Audi nav seems to kill other running nav, as near as I can tell like Maps or Waze. But I’m not running Waze as nav. Just as an informational audio service.
Awesome. Forgot you could do that. My old Tesla didn’t have CarPlay so I essentially did the same thing … just had Waze on to announce upcoming concerns over the Bluetooth audio connection.

Never thought to do that with the Audi!

Again thanks for the great suggestion.
 

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Great pics! Sounds like you are having a good trip so far. It would be interesting to hear how many stops you are making each day to charge. I'm also curious about what "range" levels you are getting after each charge. What I mean by that is that if you are charging to 100% each time, what is the range you are showing after each charge.
 

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Discussion Starter · #26 ·
1. No consumption data for Day 3. I failed to make a record of it, and Short Term Memory was automatically reset when I fired up the car on Day 4. On average, a full 10-12 hour day of driving—covering roughly between 500-600 miles—is requiring 3 charging stops. If I can get to 100% SOC, I will, but 90 and 95 are more typical.


2. I had my first negative experience charging. Coming out of Tucumcari, NM on I40 and heading through Amarillo, there are essentially two ways for an EV to go to the DFW area. The “safe” and longer way is to proceed due east to OKC, and then drop down to DFW. There is more robust charging along that route.

The second way is to take the diagonal from Amarillo toward DFW with a single charging stop in Lawton OK. The route planning showed getting to Lawton with about 25 miles of range remaining. And I did. Arrived with 26 miles. At a Hilton Garden Inn there, there is an 8-station charging plaza operated by Francis EV, a company focused on expanding EV charging in rural areas. That’s a good thing. We need that. But . . . I could not get a single charger to work. Some would fail at initialization, while others would operate for one minute and then shut off. This was, to put it mildly, a problem. I had insufficient range to reach any other charger, including Tesla destination chargers (I have the adapter), of which there were none in the area. Note to self: don’t plan a route in a charging desert that has you arriving at <10% SOC anywhere.

Short of renting a room and using an extension cord to charge the car painfully slowly, I was running out of options. A Tesla driver came by and used one of the chargers with no problem. He advised that the stations were very reliable for him. So, I went back to working on solving the problem. Could it be the 800v platform was too much for the chargers? That didn’t really make sense. I called Francis support a second time. They were very nice and were genuinely trying to solve the problem, having remotely rebooted two of the chargers, and escalated my problem quickly through their tech support. One person suggested I download their app rather than use a credit card to pay for charging. Their app is the white label EVGateway. I didn’t really want another app—but it would be handy at the next scheduled charging stop as well if I was able to get underway—but I did that, created an account, and initiated a charging session. And voila! It worked just fine. I went and got some lunch and let the 50kW charger chug its way to 90% SOC.

The rest of the trip into DFW was uneventful. The app worked fine at the next charging stop. When I got to the Fort Worth area, I discovered that it also had lots of 50kW (and less) chargers. There are 350 EA stations 50 miles or so outside the DFW area to the east and south, but none coming from where I was, and none close enough to my daughter’s house. I’m staying there for a few days and so am learning to top up frequently from these puny chargers and trickle overnight each night in her garage.

3. The Integrated Toll Module has been great. It has worked on every toll road so far with the lone exception of DFW airport, where I dropped a family member on Day 5. It’s possible that if I had waited for longer than 30 seconds, the toll gate would have recognized the ITM, but I already knew airport parking garages are more hit & miss, and the line behind me was starting to back up. So I just punched the button for a ticket and paid manually.

4. As mentioned, there is a fair bit of 50kW charging capacity here in DFW. It’s mostly EVGo. And each one I have used has delivered consistently 36-45kW. Makes for leisurely lunches or early coffee.

5. When I leave here on Day 9, my first stop will be at an EA 350 station in Ennis. ABRP now has me taking a more southerly route than before, where I will have good access to HPCs into Hammond, LA for an overnight stay and on into southern Alabama and middle Georgia the next day.

The car remains excellent.
 

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Thanks for the update. I have noticed one of the MOST common issues with EA also is the billing, NOT necessary the handshake etc. The one weekend where they had made all chargers free I had near zero issues starting and/or maintaining a charge session. Glad you figured it out.

Sigh...
 

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Discussion Starter · #28 ·
Thanks for the update. I have noticed one of the MOST common issues with EA also is the billing, NOT necessary the handshake etc. The one weekend where they had made all chargers free I had near zero issues starting and/or maintaining a charge session. Glad you figured it out.

Sigh...
Yeah, it’s all part of new and different. I’m having fun. But I have the luxury of being able to allow the network to dictate how and when I travel. But it’s going to take a lot more development for this to be reliable for significantly wider adoption (along with the corollary improvements in battery technology and the grid itself).
 

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Yeah, it’s all part of new and different. I’m having fun. But I have the luxury of being able to allow the network to dictate how and when I travel. But it’s going to take a lot more development for this to be reliable for significantly wider adoption (along with the corollary improvements in battery technology and the grid itself).
Personally I am absolutely LOVING these updates. Too bad papers like the WSJ and WaPo don’t crib someone like this to give a counterpoint about what actual EV ownership and long distance travel is like.

Seriously thank you for taking so much time to document your experience for all of us. So far its been a blast!
 

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Some people say the charging gun (especially the "white" one with the liquid cooling function) is too heavy to sit well enough inside the port to finish the hand shaking process (it will drop and not seal well) . So it's recommended to hold it with your hand during the handshaking/initializing stage... once the handshaking is done then no problem. Not sure how true it is but there are people out there address this issue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #31 ·
View attachment 5532
Some people say the charging gun (especially the "white" one with the liquid cooling function) is too heavy to sit well enough inside the port to finish the hand shaking process (it will drop and not seal well) . So it's recommended to hold it with your hand during the handshaking/initializing stage... once the handshaking is done then no problem. Not sure how true it is but there are people out there address this issue.
I am aware of that reported issue, though it never seemed to be what was happening at the Lawton station. I suppose it’s conceivable it was a factor, though the fact that charging happened immediately and successfully using their app—and was repeated down the road at the next stop—suggests something else to me.
 

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I would also like to thank you for these updates.
This is the best post on the forum presently, and one I look forward to reading when I log into my computer.

I am planning to take my 2019 e tron (suv) from Texas to North Carolina and back again this fall, and have enjoyed your updates.
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 · (Edited)
Day 9: June 13
After a few days with family in the Dallas area, I was back on the road with sights set on New Orleans. All worked pretty well. At my first charging spot in Ennis—primarily a top-up to make sure I got to Huntsville for a short charging session and on through Houston—I came across a Taycan parked across two parking spots, and a couple of Waymo Jags (correctly parked). The Taycan driver was in the Walmart. One of the Waymo drivers was with the vehicles. She was exceptionally nice, and she tried to make excuses for the Taycan driver, saying it was “his first road trip,” and he didn’t understand how the chargers worked. I didn’t think that was much of an excuse.

Anyway, I waited until the Taycan guy returned. used the time to clean my glass. He moved his car without saying a word. I tried to charge, but kept getting a network error. Since I knew the charger was working, I sent that error on to Audi, and just initiated a charge through the EA app. By the time of my next stop, that problem was fixed. Temps all day were in the 96-108 range.

The rest of the day was uneventful. I had hotel reservations in Hammond LA, but charged my route to take me into New Orleans for some photography at the Crescent City Connection Bridge. This used up some juice, and by the time I doubled back to Hammond, I was at 8% SOC (21 miles). Interestingly, I noticed that turning off the Stinger defense system increased range by about 5%. Apparently, it’s a bit of a juice suck. I may have to have my installer look at that. It shouldn’t be affecting range. [Question for the smart guys here: shouldn’t I want my radar defense system drawing power from the 12V battery?]

In Hammond, there is an EA charging plaza with a couple of 350kW machines at the Target. Nice area with plenty of shops and restaurants, but I got there too late to enjoy When I arrived, a VW was connected to #04. I took #03. This machine did not want to deliver, or my GT didn’t want to take, more than 39kW. After a long walk, I found the VW gone, so I switched chargers and immediately cranked up to 150kW. Made a big difference. I’ve seen this more than once, and it puzzles me. There are no doubt sound explanations, but consistency has to be a hallmark of any transportation infrastructure. We don’t have that yet.

Reasonably efficient today, even though speeds were in the 75-80 range, with occasional bursts higher, and lots of up and down/slow-fast adjustments, especially in Houston and New Orleans. I have tweaked the directionality of the AC vents, and it has helped a little. But Economy AC remains, shall we say, not robust. The Integrated Toll Module continues to work as advertised.
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This machine did not want to deliver, or my GT didn’t want to take, more than 39kW. After a long walk, I found the VW gone, so I switched chargers and immediately cranked up to 150kW. Made a big difference. I’ve seen this more than once, and it puzzles me. There are no doubt sound explanations, but consistency has to be a hallmark of any transportation infrastructure. We don’t have that yet.
I've chatted with an EA repairman, and found other discussions about this issue.

The cable cooling isn't working. So the charger ramps down to a low enough current (and power) to prevent the cable from overheating.
 
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Discussion Starter · #35 · (Edited)
I've chatted with an EA repairman, and found other discussions about this issue.

The cable cooling isn't working. So the charger ramps down to a low enough current (and power) to prevent the cable from overheating.
Interesting. So, this is the sort of thing that can be so individualized that two machines side by side in the same environment, that appear to have not been used for a while (minutes? hours?), can deliver charging rates at a 3-4x differential?

I also thought that the ramp-down at higher SOC is a design intention within the cars. Is that not correct?
 

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Discussion Starter · #36 · (Edited)
Day 10: June 14

I got up early in Hammond to catch the sunrise in New Orleans. As I left, a huge moon hung over the bayou and causeways. It was beautiful. My 80% SOC took me comfortably to Gulfport MS. Roads were uniformly excellent and traffic was light. There was a nice charging plaza at a giant outlet mall. But the mall, and its food court and bathrooms, would not be open until 10. This is one of the aspects of the infrastructure that will need to improve. It’s one thing to be able to walk into Walmart—for which I now have much greater appreciation :)—to buy what you might need. But many people like to make their pit stop a relaxing event. Eat, walk around, even shop. Having the charging stations in some far away corner of a parking lot is useful for the early adopters and people who integrate local charging in their daily life But folks who are on the road for their job, or vacationers, will want the same access to amenities everyone enjoys now. Putting charging stations where the gas, and everything else is, will be a factor in rapid adoption (not that the grid is ready for that everywhere).In Gulfport, I was joined by two other Kias.

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I then made my way through Mobile to Greenville, AL. Shortly before the I-10/65 split, the car nav stopped talking. I realized what was happening too late to switch lanes—obviously I was enjoying music too much and not paying enough attention—so went through downtown Mobile, which was quite nice. Rebooting the MMI solved that problem. Greenville was a Walmart with EA 350. I don’t remember my actual SOC when I got there, but I did not have time to finish a salad I bought before the car was charged. Oddly enough, my car alarm went off while the car was charging. I think some clowns who (very pleasantly and so coincidentally) accosted me in the parking lot to say they loved my car may have been responsible.

Although the route building software is very good, it isn’t perfect. In order to make it across the Auburn AL to Macon GA dead segment (ABRP highlights this segment in orange and labels it “not above 65mph”), the route planner software has you top off to 95% SOC in each of Montgomery AL (a Sam’s Club 350) and in Columbus GA ( a ChargePoint/Georgia Power 125 at a Burger King), cluelessly failing to take advantage of the Walmart 350 that it shows on the map in Auburn, in between, that could have easily carried me over to Macon GA without stopping at the other two. For some reason, that station did not appear in route planning or direct searches for DC chargers, but it did magically appear on the map as I drove toward and past Auburn. Ah well.

The Sam’s Club Charger featured a VW that parked across the stall lines preventing someone from coming in next to him. Fortunately, there were non-EV spaces for me to park opposite the charger. And all I had to do was top off. At 100F, getting in and out of the car, getting the charging initiated, etc., was unpleasant. I hope that future installations could feature roofing (with solar panels). I saw that improvement being made at a Mojave station. Even fast charging takes longer than gas pumping. EV drivers are more exposed to the elements. And to folks with bad intentions. I can see security becoming a problem at EV stations.

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I headed on to Columbus. Had good luck with their charging station. The ChargePoint has a very modern appearance and it delivered over 107kW right up to 97%. I did not have time for a snack.
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A four shot Flat White at the Starbucks next door, and I was quickly back on the road. (This stop more closely resembled what I described above.) I rolled into my destination at 6:26 less than a half hour off my original projection. Not bad.

Car is still fantastic. I love it. Have yet to see another on this trip.
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Interesting. So, this is the sort of thing that can be so individualized that two machines side by side in the same environment, that appear to have not been used for a while (minutes? hours?), can deliver charging rates at a 3-4x differential?

I also thought that the ramp-down at higher SOC is a design intention within the cars. Is that not correct?
Computer in charger and computer in car are chattering back and forth about status. As the SOC in the car rises, the car requests less and less power. As you say, a design intention with the car. If the left cable has lost cooling the charger can tell the car "can supply, 90 Amps max." The car would then request 90 Amps or less. That's about 38kW.
 
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Thanks for the updates. Two thoughts:

1) A newly installed charger may not be active yet, so maybe although it is there it is not "operational?" I have seen this in a few new installs.

2) If anyone is blocking a charger (ICE or EV) without charging look for a sign/number to call and report them. Unfortunately if we all don't take an active role in "dissuading" this kind of behaviour charging may become impossible due to selfish behaviour.
 

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Discussion Starter · #39 ·
Thanks for the updates. Two thoughts:

1) A newly installed charger may not be active yet, so maybe although it is there it is not "operational?" I have seen this in a few new installs.

2) If anyone is blocking a charger (ICE or EV) without charging look for a sign/number to call and report them. Unfortunately if we all don't take an active role in "dissuading" this kind of behaviour charging may become impossible due to selfish behaviour.
1. I ran into a few non-operational chargers, but not many, and they were truly not functional (and we’re correctly identified in EA and ABRP. But the differentials I described were with clearly operational chargers; I used both in both instances .
2. I agree with you about the community enforcing civil behavior. The days of acting like any of us is “the only EV around” are long past.
 
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I hope that future installations could feature roofing (with solar panels).
I was told by someone from another EV charging company that they don't usually put roofing because we plugin and walk away, compared gas stations that we stand there holding the nozzle

Somewhere like Baker, Ca is an exception due to the extreme Death Valley heat.
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