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Author Topic: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger  (Read 7726 times)

Lenny

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Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« on: October 30, 2016, 08:25:11 PM »

Hey guys,

I’m highly interested in a Zero with fast charging options, as this is the only feature lacking for real touring with an electric motorcycle. The charge tank and those custom solutions with external Elcon-Chargers in cases don’t really attract me, as they are to slow/reducing luggage space. But the DigiNow supercharger looks like a great option. I have a few questions remaining, which I’d like to ask here.

1. How is Zero’s five-year Battery-Warranty affected by the use of non-original chargers? Are they able to see that they were used?

2. Is the supercharger available for European voltage? I’d like to use 3-phase 230V/16A, which results in 11 kW of power.

3. I heard about the Zero Charge-Fuse. Apparently Zero is limiting the charge current to 80A although the fuse is 100A, so there’s still a small safety margin. If I want to reach 11 kW (or more) I’ll need to exceed those 100 A, depending on package voltage. DigiNow differs in between “Accessory Port Kit” (max. 7,6 kW) and “Controller Kit” (max. 12 kW). Do I guess right that the Controller Kit version somehow bypasses the charge fuse so it doesn’t blow up?

4. I guess Terry is the only one being able to answer this question: Is there any experience with faster battery degradation due to heavy use of fast charging? From my point of view there shouldn’t be any problem, 12 kW is less than 1C (for a 4 brick) and those Farasis-Cells are specified for 1C.

Thanks a lot.

Lenny
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mrwilsn

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2016, 11:03:14 PM »

1. How is Zero’s five-year Battery-Warranty affected by the use of non-original chargers? Are they able to see that they were used?


There is more than one way to hook up the DigiNow charger.  One way is using the aux charge port.  If you are using this method it will not affect your warranty.  That's what the aux charge port is there for....to allow auxiliary chargers.

2. Is the supercharger available for European voltage? I’d like to use 3-phase 230V/16A, which results in 11 kW of power.


I doubt much if any testing has been done on 3-phase 230V but my understanding is that the DigiNow should accept it.

3. I heard about the Zero Charge-Fuse. Apparently Zero is limiting the charge current to 80A although the fuse is 100A, so there’s still a small safety margin. If I want to reach 11 kW (or more) I’ll need to exceed those 100 A, depending on package voltage. DigiNow differs in between “Accessory Port Kit” (max. 7,6 kW) and “Controller Kit” (max. 12 kW). Do I guess right that the Controller Kit version somehow bypasses the charge fuse so it doesn’t blow up?


I'm not sure where the 80 amp limit originated but I recall reading something about that.  Maybe some of the older bikes (particularly older bikes that run at a lower voltage) use an 80 amp charge fuse?  I have gone over 80 amps with my DigiNow on my 2014 Zero S.  Just keep in mind that when the Zero battery is fully discharged it's going to be somewhere around 90V.  With a 100 amp charge fuse that means you max at 9kW (really more like 8kW to leave yourself some margin for spikes).  You can crank up the power to 10kW once the battery voltage gets above 100V.  You won't be able to hit 11kW until after you are over 110V.

Here is a screen shot of me charging at 10kW but I waited until after the battery voltage was over 100...in this case 109V.




4. I guess Terry is the only one being able to answer this question: Is there any experience with faster battery degradation due to heavy use of fast charging? From my point of view there shouldn’t be any problem, 12 kW is less than 1C (for a 4 brick) and those Farasis-Cells are specified for 1C.


Heat is the main issue.  If you are in a hot climate fast charging on a daily basis in direct sun light isn't going to be good for the battery.  But under those conditions you are probably going to see faster degradation even if you are just slow charging.    I personally don't worry about it.  By the time the warranty is up there will be batteries that will be less expensive and offer much longer range and you will want to upgrade the battery on the bike anyway even if it is still providing more than 80% of original capacity.  It's only a matter of time before there are enough Zero's in the world to make battery upgrades more common place and supported by the after market or Zero themselves.
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madcow

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2016, 11:15:10 PM »

Unfortunately cant really contribute to the topic but I am asking myself the same questions. Been lurking this forum for quite a while now and found it extremly helpful (modifications, technical explanations etc).

In Europe (at least in my country/region) 11kW AC is basically the minimum the public outlets offer (more common is 22kW, sometimes even 43kW or faster DC solutions). With an integrated quick charging option my zero would substitute even the need for a (electric) car. When the charger is finally released I'll definitly be one of the first to buy it. The charging speeds are really impressive and much more uselful than any other solution.
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Kocho

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #3 on: October 31, 2016, 12:12:51 AM »

Can someone explain what the charging through the controller terminals is? Is it just s direct connection to the battery for DC charging, bypassing any charge fuses, contactors, and other electronics in the bike? Or is it not a direct connection to the battery +/- terminals?
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mrwilsn

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #4 on: October 31, 2016, 12:39:13 AM »

Can someone explain what the charging through the controller terminals is? Is it just s direct connection to the battery for DC charging, bypassing any charge fuses, contactors, and other electronics in the bike? Or is it not a direct connection to the battery +/- terminals?


It means connecting the charger directly to the same terminals on the motor controller where the battery connects (B+ and B-).  This bypasses the charge fuse because of course the battery has to be able to provide more than 100 amps to the motor controller.  You still need the contactor to be closed to charge though.

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Kocho

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #5 on: October 31, 2016, 01:07:45 AM »

Thanks!
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Electric Terry

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2016, 08:45:47 AM »

Hi Lenny.  Welcome to the forum.  Glad you're interested in a Zero and in fast charging.  As far as using a supercharger right now, I wouldn't consider that an option in a reasonable time frame.  I wish I could say different as I use one and love it, but there are issues that I am aware of with the relationship between the manufacturer and Diginow where some failed chargers early on are not being warrantied and built to be stronger.  I don't understand why this can't be solved and this relationship repaired as it's a great product.  Many times engineers who can come up with incredible products, unfortunately do not make the best communicators, either with customers or manufacturers, and this is my guess although I might be wrong.  Hopefully this can be fixed as fast charging is wonderful. 

Although for now I am recommending anyone wanting to charge quickly with a Zero to contact Hollywood Electrics and use their Elcon fast charge kit that can go inside either side or a top case or to get the Zero ChargeTank.

As far as fast charging and battery life.  A recent test by Farasis comparing degradation of cells with the control sample being a 1C charge, 1C discharge cycle test, and comparing it to a 2C charge (30 minutes full charge) 2C discharge cycle test.  I forget how many cycles, I want to say 500 but can't remember.  Anyway the results may surprise you.

The 2C charge/discharge test showed lower degradation than the 1C cells!!!!

The conclusion to this is that charging speed has literally a microscopic influence on cycle life.  The largest things affecting cycle life is simply heat, calendar life and time spent at a high state of charge.

Charging fast will create heat, and heat will degrade a battery faster, and this is why we have heard somewhere that fast charging is not good for batteries.  Charging fast does increase the voltage potential difference between anode and cathode which also decreases cycle life, but charging fast from 0-50% SOC has a lower potential difference than simply sitting at 100% SOC anyway.

The reason that measured immediately after the tests that the 2C cells had less degradation than the 1C cells is thought to be that the 2C test was completed faster, significantly faster.  And so at the end of the 1C test the capacity had shown more degradation simply due to more calendar life.   These cells were held at a constant temperature from cooling as a 2C charge/discharge cycle will definitely heat the cells rapidly and that will cause degradation.

But also keep in mind that this degradation is measured to many significant figures.  After a year it is likely to measure less than one tenth of one percent perhaps.  Never noticeable to the user.

So the fact is if you want maximum battery life, in the summer, try your best to keep it parked out of the sun, and if you want to go to extremes, don't keep it at 100% for long times.  But I don't want to get into an argument on this thread.  Zero recommends keeping it plugged in at all times when not being ridden, and I will agree that is fine to do, and doing so will maintain that your pack will remain the capacity percentages over the time frame they state and warranty it if it were not to.  The reason being, is because the risk of having a small current leak perhaps from corrosion or self discharge from the BMS over many years could perhaps run the battery empty and cause it to become a brick (can't charge it again).  The risk of this is higher to Zero than the risk of degradation due to 5 years sitting at a high state of charge (which measurably is very very little anyway).

The best thing you can do with your Zero?  Use it every day as hard as you want to!  There is very little you can do that will cause any more degradation to the battery than simply just calendar life, especially at a high state of charge.   But we are talking many many years before you would ever be able to measure it without highly precise engineering equipment.  Really it's not worth worrying about.  Just ride it and plug it in every night.  If you rode it and it is above 60 or 70 percent, personally I don't bother plugging it in at night, but mostly because I'm lazy.  I let Charger out to go pee at 4:30 AM and plug it in then, by 7:30 AM its usually at 90-95% and I unplug and go.  But consider me sort of nuts and obsessive.  I can't really explain why I do this, and there is no reason for anyone else to do so.  Some that understand batteries might kinda get it, but its not worth explaining. 

Ok last thing about batteries and charging.  The 2C charge shouldn't be sustained all the way to 100% capacity.  Solid lithium plating on the anode can occur charging too fat at too high a state of charge, and once that happens it won't ever reverse back into solution. Over a long period of time doing this many times, the solid lithium will choose to place itself on top of already existing solid lithium instead of somewhere else.  Much like stalagmites in caverns from dripping water with minerals, or icicles forming from the edge of a roof in winter, dendrites can form to be long enough to pierce and short circuit the cell.  Right now Farasis doesn't actually allow over 1C at all.  Although I would guess that will change eventually.  We might get faster charging capable, but lower than 1C charging at very low temperatures, or at high states of charge.  For instance right now technically you can charge at 1C right up to 100%, or when the battery is 1 degree above freezing.  I predict one day that will change but maybe not.

Almost all EV car companies allow 2C-3C charging with DC fast chargers up to about 50% and then taper to where above 80% you charge about as fast using a level 2 charger.  Also most electric vehicles only charge to 80%.  To get them to charge to 100% you have to manually configure it to do so each time you charge.  Or unplug after 80% and plug back in to get to 100%.  Perhaps one day the onboard charger on a Zero will have multiple setting to allow you to leave the bike plugged in and have it remain at 80%, but if it were to drop to 79% after many weeks of self discharge, will charge itself back to 80% and hold it there.  and then at 5 AM or when ever you set with the app that you need it, will charge to 100% by the time you leave for work! How awesome would that be!  Wishful thinking, maybe in 5 or 10 years perhaps.  Totally not important compared to the work it would take to do that. 

Anyway, final concluding thought:  Just go buy a 2015 or 2016 Zero, or perhaps in a few weeks a 2017 Zero, ride it hard, ride it often, and if you are someone that likes to travel or go places on a motorcycle that are far away, get some fast chargers from Hollywood Electrics and use them as often as you want and don't worry about anything except going to new places each weekend on your Zero and enjoying the fact you are one of the first to be able to experience this amazing technology.  One day all motorcycles will be electric except for those in museums, but until then you can be on the cutting edge and look back one day years from now and be able to tell your friends and kids that you were a pioneer. 

Charge on my friends!  - Terry
« Last Edit: October 31, 2016, 08:58:10 AM by Electric Terry »
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BrianTRice

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2016, 11:41:17 AM »

As far as using a supercharger right now, I wouldn't consider that an option in a reasonable time frame.  I wish I could say different as I use one and love it, but there are issues that I am aware of with the relationship between the manufacturer and Diginow where some failed chargers early on are not being warrantied and built to be stronger.  I don't understand why this can't be solved and this relationship repaired as it's a great product.  Many times engineers who can come up with incredible products, unfortunately do not make the best communicators, either with customers or manufacturers, and this is my guess although I might be wrong.  Hopefully this can be fixed as fast charging is wonderful.

If this worked out how I think it did, it's certainly disheartening for me. I'll try to contribute what I can to improving the state of the art at least. I'm been planning a personal trip with demonstration aspects to normalize electric motorcycle travel, but getting everything to come together is not easy. I think the Supercharger is quite viable if it has the right quality control and assurance (testing and practices) around it, and we're just experiencing some nasty bumps. Eventually the QC and QA will be commoditized and embedded into it or a follow-on product and we'll take this for granted. I know I've glimpsed it on my few full-day Supercharging rides, like I can see over a hill to the next horizon. (Okay, I'll cut the poetry...)

As far as fast charging and battery life.  A recent test by Farasis comparing degradation of cells with the control sample being a 1C charge, 1C discharge cycle test, and comparing it to a 2C charge (30 minutes full charge) 2C discharge cycle test.  I forget how many cycles, I want to say 500 but can't remember.  Anyway the results may surprise you.

The 2C charge/discharge test showed lower degradation than the 1C cells!!!!

The conclusion to this is that charging speed has literally a microscopic influence on cycle life.  The largest things affecting cycle life is simply heat, calendar life and time spent at a high state of charge.

So the fact is if you want maximum battery life, in the summer, try your best to keep it parked out of the sun, and if you want to go to extremes, don't keep it at 100% for long times.


Thanks for sharing what must be interesting test results; this is great food for thought and probably shows that a little effort at heat management and software-level configuration might go a long way.
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Lenny

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2016, 02:00:39 AM »

Hey people,

first of all I have to say that I totally agree with @madcow. This forum is just awesome with all these people pushing forward electric mobility together. I have also been reading for a while and I hope to be able to contribute to your work soon. 11 or 22 kW is the standard in Germany (where I am from), it seems to be pretty much the same in all Europe, although connectors sometimes differ.

Special thanks to @Terry for the huge and very interesting post, your contribution to the community is really great. Sad to hear that the supercharger might not be available as desired. Concerning the charge rates I wasn’t primarily concerned about the cells, as I trust Farasis to be able to handle more than 1C easily. My concern is still more about the Zero Warranty, if the BMS or whatever logs show charging speeds higher than archivable with original Zero accessories.

One more question on the current running through the charge fuse. I guess the on-board charger current is also running through it, so I have to consider its ~13 amps in addition to the chargers connected to the auxiliary charge port, right?

I saw pics pics from Terry out of the app showing 14kW charge power, so I guess although the supercharger is connected directly to the motor controller the app reports not just the charging current running through the fuse but also the total power reported by the BMS, is that correct?

What I found out in the meantime is that Zero actually officially supports charging up to 7.8 kW when using the ChargeTank with four QuickChargers, as mentioned in the manual, see the picture attached.

Thanks and a nice weekend to all of you,

Lenny

« Last Edit: November 05, 2016, 02:02:32 AM by Lenny »
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BrianTRice

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #9 on: November 05, 2016, 04:26:48 AM »

Special thanks to @Terry for the huge and very interesting post, your contribution to the community is really great. Sad to hear that the supercharger might not be available as desired. Concerning the charge rates I wasn’t primarily concerned about the cells, as I trust Farasis to be able to handle more than 1C easily. My concern is still more about the Zero Warranty, if the BMS or whatever logs show charging speeds higher than archivable with original Zero accessories.

There's something to work out there, but it seems surmountable from my perspective. It's regrettable that this is all down to integration and control systems (receiving and responding to the right signals reliably, and structuring the safeguards robustly, and minimizing the development and vendor assembly costs) but that does mean the core hardware and concept works.

One more question on the current running through the charge fuse. I guess the on-board charger current is also running through it, so I have to consider its ~13 amps in addition to the chargers connected to the auxiliary charge port, right?

No, the onboard charger is not related to or disabled by the auxiliary charge connection, which is important because if you blow that fuse it's important to be able to charge at all until it's replaced.

I saw pics pics from Terry out of the app showing 14kW charge power, so I guess although the supercharger is connected directly to the motor controller the app reports not just the charging current running through the fuse but also the total power reported by the BMS, is that correct?

Yes, using the controller connection bypasses the auxiliary charging port limitations; one might charge both through the port and the controller up to 1C limit for the battery you have installed, which for Terry's (2014SR) Zero with a Power Tank is ~14kW, though I believe the nominal capacity 12.5kWh is what determines what 1C is for any continuous charging interval. I'm guessing an interval of 10 minutes is safe/wise but no more than 1 hour for sure, and having the contactor open up on you in the middle of a high power charge like that is potentially dangerous so keep a safety margin. For what it's worth, I've sustained 11kW charging rate on my 2016 DSR without Power Tank where the nominal 1C rate is presumably 11.4kW. But I would not want to get closer to that value than I have so far.
What I found out in the meantime is that Zero actually officially supports charging up to 7.8 kW when using the ChargeTank with four QuickChargers, as mentioned in the manual, see the picture attached.

Yes, and Zero arrives at that figure by adding up all of their officially supported charging sources and also using the limit on their officially sanctioned auxiliary charging port. I'm glad they published the Charge Tank manual; it lends a little more official depth to these discussions.
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dukecola

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2016, 07:15:10 PM »

Terry, are you saying Diginow has stopped making/shipping chargers because of problems?
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Electric Terry

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #11 on: November 07, 2016, 05:36:22 AM »

Terry, are you saying Diginow has stopped making/shipping chargers because of problems?

I have been told they aren't taking any new orders at this time.  If you are looking for a charging solution I would contact Hollywood Electrics and perhaps they have further information.
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dukecola

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #12 on: November 07, 2016, 05:44:42 AM »

Well, I ordered one 4 months ago, so wondering are they still making them or is something wrong they stopped shipping any?  I could get a refund and get elcons, but it's be nice to know the status of diginow
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Shadow

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #13 on: November 07, 2016, 08:53:39 AM »

Well, I ordered one 4 months ago, so wondering are they still making them or is something wrong they stopped shipping any?  I could get a refund and get elcons, but it's be nice to know the status of diginow

Apparently my June 20th 2016 order will be delivered this tax season (USA), or not:

"...at this point we will either be getting you a refund, or a highly reliable charger, which does qualify you for the tax rebate"
Source: Brandon / Diginow on October 22nd 2016


My advice would be to contact your dealer with any questions about a refund or order fulfillment.

Me?  I'll start the bidding at $2000 plus cost to take over my unfulfilled June 20th 2016 order of a Supercharger deluxe package.
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Electric Cowboy

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Re: Questions on FastCharging / DigiNow Supercharger
« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2016, 02:58:39 PM »

Just to fill you in a bit more. EMW (electric motorwerks) has been avoiding our contact attempts for over a month now. They have a lot of our money and seem to have no intent to respond to us in any way.

I have heard from other people in the industry that this may be common place for them. And that some people are leaving the company because of this and similar behavior by the owners.

I really had high hopes for working with them, however it seems they were just out to take a lot of my companies money and pretty much all of my savings. I have put everything I had into this, and now that it has been their turn to deliver they have pulled several dirty tricks.

I have covered for EMWs mistakes a lot over the past year because I wanted to believe they could handle manufacturing the super charger for us, and because I thought they were good people. It really hurts my feelings that they would take advantage of me this way when all I want is to advance our industry.

I am a very trusting and honest person, and I will always give people more than one chance, some times too many more chances. It seems I protected EMW for too long taking the heat as digiNow to prevent them from getting a bad name. However it looks like that is exactly what they were counting on.

This was my first experience manufacturing a product at scale and it looks like I made a very bad choice choosing EMW, but I have learned a lot and will never ever be taken advantage of this way again. The world looks a lot less sunshiney knowing there are businesses out there like EMW that seek to take advantage of young entrepreneurs like me and my partners.

If anyone here has recommendations for the appropriate measures to take or can offer assistance I would appreciate your messages. Currently we are discussing going to the federal trade commission, and considering counsel for what I have been told will likely end up in a legal battle. Very depressing :(

The other side of this is that we do have a very small number of Super Charger V1 units left, @erik, im setting yours up tomorrow.

Super charger V2 details and specs along with full testing data will be released within 7 days. After that we will have detailed info on the dates for product arrival and will have a policy of full transparency. So far the V2 and manufacturer seem to be reliable and quality driven as well as able to supply our orders, which EMW was not able to do. Depending on the build a customer wants we currently should have enough to deliver 10 V2 chargers. With another 20 on the way, dates will be openly published and I will not be covering for anyone this time.

My apologies that I have not been more transparent about the issues we were having with EMW, I did not want to speak poorly of them and felt that it was my fault for choosing them. The combination of these lead me to not be as open with all of you as I could have. I promise not to let anything like that happen again.

-EC
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