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On a cold (mid 40s) rainy night, my 500e went from 70% charged to 1% on a 34 mile round trip to take the grandkids home. Headlights and wipers on the whole way, heat on, but not the seat warmers. And the radio was on. Had to switch on the front defroster frequently, but not the rear. Maybe I need to look into LED headlamps? I'm beginning to think there's a level 2 charger in my future. If I had one, I'd almost never have to leave the house with less than a 100% charge.
 

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I am trying to gain as much knowledge as possible before I commit to buying a 500E. Have you removed the fuse to the power steering unit to increase your range?
I have looked into level2 charger systems and believe I will go that way. Any other tips you can pass along will help me make up my mind.

Cyncial
 

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Heat is a huge range killer. The heated seats are much more efficient. Rain also really hurts the range as does cold temperatures. Headlights, wipers, radio, power steering etc. are relatively minor compared to the heater.
 

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I wonder what Jsnoddy's current charging setup is. A Fiat recharges fully overnight from DEAD, by plugging the stock charge-cord into the same 240V outlet that you'd need for L2 anyway.

Also, our % gauge gets skewed downward over time. Mine currently shows about 8% below the OBD reading. In other words, I can drive about 8 miles after my car's gauge hits zero. You can recalibrate it if you want, by discharging to 0.00% on OBD, which also shows as 12V on the starter battery if you have a gauge for that. If you have neither, you have to discharge until the 12V warning shows.

I had to unplug the humidity sensor just right of the rearview, to keep it from running the power-robbing A/C compressor (without even lighting the A/C button!!).

Cabin heat reportedly takes about 8kW for a few minutes & then about 1kW, when it's near freezing out.

2 seat heaters total only about 0.15kW BUT soon drop lower once warm, although that doesn't help anyone in the back seat.

Stock headlights total only 0.110kW, so there's little to save with LEDs

Pulling the steering fuse sure won't hurt range, but I found no difference. I left it out anyway because it feels better except for 5 seconds while parking.

Having said all that, a few mph of SPEED makes way more difference than all of the above combined.
 

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Heat is a huge range killer. The heated seats are much more efficient. Rain also really hurts the range as does cold temperatures. Headlights, wipers, radio, power steering etc. are relatively minor compared to the heater.
Thank you for your answer. Let me ask this is the heater just a central point heater? Can you tell me how the AC works?

Cyncial
 

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I wonder what Jsnoddy's current charging setup is. A Fiat recharges fully overnight from DEAD, by plugging the stock charge-cord into the same 240V outlet that you'd need for L2 anyway.

I use the stock 120v charger that came with it. Will definitely not give you a full charge from zero over night. Three chatty little girls can quickly steam up a small car on a cold night. Used the defroster quite a bit, and since they are California girls, their attire required the heat be on the whole time!
 

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Thank you for your answer. Let me ask this is the heater just a central point heater? Can you tell me how the AC works?

Cyncial
I've never actually used the heater. From what I understand it is just a resistive heater and the cabin fan blows that heated air around. It is a small car, so apparently it heats up quickly based on what people in colder climates say - but at the expense of using a lot of power. Preheating while plugged in makes a big difference and saves a lot of stored energy for your trip.

AC works like well and is more or less like an ICE car - just the compressor is driven by an electric motor. In addition to the cabin climate control, there is also a thermal management system for the battery pack to keep it warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot.
 

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I did preheat, but it was 45 degrees, bitter cold by Southern California standards! And damp. Pouring rain the whole way.
I don't think the Level I charger that comes with the car can keep up with the heater. Level II does much better at maintaining charge while pre heating.
It always surprises me how much rain hurts efficiency - which becomes really apparent when you have limited range to begin with!
 

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The stock 120v charger that came with it WILL definitely give you a full charge from zero over night by plugging it into the same 240V outlet that you'd need for L2 anyway. The same electrician who installs that can switch the cord's plug:

Even very mildly damp air will activate the unnecessary humidity sensor, turning on the power-hungry compressor without even showing you via the A/C button's light (it stays off when the sensor activates the compressor). It's an easy fix. Just pop the cap straight off (just right of the rearview) & insert a round toothpick to unlock the purple plug from its socket. The cap even snaps back on with the plug tucked inside.

Yes, the heater is central under the dashboard, as are the A/C cooling coils.

I don't believe battery heat is an issue in this case. I think it doesn't come on until the battery itself has cooled to at least below freezing.

Right that L1 won't always keep up with cabin heat (or even A/C), but it's still better than heating without being on charge. L1 on 240V is of course exactly twice as good as on 120.
 

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On a cold (mid 40s) rainy night, went from 70% charged to 1% on a 34 mile round trip. heat on, but not the seat warmers.
The seat warmers are ~200 watts each. the heater is ~6000 watts. Heater will ALWAYS kill range if you use it constantly. The only times I use the heater are when preheating (plugged in) or when i know i've got plenty of battery for the planned trip. Winter commutes consist of seat heater on, and a heated blanket. heated blanket uses much less than the cabin heater. I've done 70 miles in freezing temps doing this. (~45mph avg speed)

battery cars are all about knowing what the battery will do for you. Compared to ICE vehicles the 24kw battery we have would be like having a 0.65Gallon fuel tank with a 1/4" diameter fill tube. The Battery car will go further on that energy, but there's a tradeoff, the battery car is so much more efficient that there's almost no wasted heat from the system. ICE NEED radiators to keep from melting down. Battery vehicles can go without and still be able to function.

Everyone here seems to think that the L1 charger is all anyone needs. I personally think that is short sighted. Either you need to modify the charger, or make a murder plug that could injure yourself or someone else if it is mistaken or used incorrectly (very easy to do). I keep my L1 in the car in case there's a trip i've mistaken my available energy. But mostly I use my OpenEVSE L2 charger. I like that it's firmware is open, and is able to be controlled by my home server setup. I have it setup so on workdays if I plug it in during my average time getting home, it charges at 7A starting ~2am. if I plug it in an hour later than normal, it starts charging 2 hours sooner. scaling from there if the "start time" is before the plugin time then it ups the amperage. If I plug it in before my normal get home time, or on non scheduled work days, then it charges at the full 30A soon as I plug it in. Eventually i want to make something to plug into the OBD port and interface the car, so i can have feedback as to how full the battery is, instead of doing the timing estimates, but this has worked for me for over a year and ~15k miles.
 

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Everyone here seems to think that the L1 charger is all anyone needs. I personally think that is short sighted. Either you need to modify the charger, or make a murder plug that could injure yourself or someone else if it is mistaken or used incorrectly (very easy to do).
I don't quite put it that way. Folks new to EVs often come in without a full picture. They come in with the belief that if you don't have full power L2, then the EV cannot properly be operated. So, when I, and ETS, and others offers a more measured approach, it may come across as "L1 is all you need."

Just personally after more than 2 years of ownership and 26,000+ miles logged, I find the need for L2 at home to be a rare event, on the order of about 1 time every two months. And it's always in the situation of taking a trip early in the day then turning around and taking a second trip later in that same day.

But honestly, I had/have backups from the very beginning of ownership. There are 3 L2 public stations in a 5 mile radius in various directions. So, even before I purchased my own L2 (A Bosch 30A used at a $200 bargain), other options were available. BTW I still haven't installed a 240V line for the Bosch. I'm sharing the electric dryer line with an extension cord to use it.

So, I suggest simply not to make a reactionary decision about L2 charging without understanding the alternatives first. I continue to tell the story of the owner in the Bolt forum asking about 32A charging stations and installing a 240V line. Turns out her commute was about 15 miles a day, which is trivially recharged by L1. In my opinion, she simply wasn't reading the situation properly.

I think the point is that if one has a 240V line, and a $30 adapter with the OEM EVSE will services 100% of your home needs, then why bother investing several hundred more dollars for a 30A EVSE that only charges at double the speed?

ga2500ev
 

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I don't quite put it that way. Folks new to EVs often come in without a full picture. They come in with the belief that if you don't have full power L2, then the EV cannot properly be operated. So, when I, and ETS, and others offers a more measured approach, it may come across as "L1 is all you need."

Just personally after more than 2 years of ownership and 26,000+ miles logged, I find the need for L2 at home to be a rare event, on the order of about 1 time every two months. And it's always in the situation of taking a trip early in the day then turning around and taking a second trip later in that same day.

But honestly, I had/have backups from the very beginning of ownership. There are 3 L2 public stations in a 5 mile radius in various directions. So, even before I purchased my own L2 (A Bosch 30A used at a $200 bargain), other options were available. BTW I still haven't installed a 240V line for the Bosch. I'm sharing the electric dryer line with an extension cord to use it.

So, I suggest simply not to make a reactionary decision about L2 charging without understanding the alternatives first. I continue to tell the story of the owner in the Bolt forum asking about 32A charging stations and installing a 240V line. Turns out her commute was about 15 miles a day, which is trivially recharged by L1. In my opinion, she simply wasn't reading the situation properly.

I think the point is that if one has a 240V line, and a $30 adapter with the OEM EVSE will services 100% of your home needs, then why bother investing several hundred more dollars for a 30A EVSE that only charges at double the speed?

ga2500ev
I value your opinion along with ETS, insights you give are invaluable to me. We don't live in a large city so charging stations are rare, the charging station at home for me makes perfect sense. I am getting confused about charging in that if a 30amp/240v outlet is all I need, then why would I buy a $500.00 EVSE? Next question, how can I monitor the battery temps whiles charging and/or do I need to bother with it?


Cynical
 

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I value your opinion along with ETS, insights you give are invaluable to me. We don't live in a large city so charging stations are rare, the charging station at home for me makes perfect sense. I am getting confused about charging in that if a 30amp/240v outlet is all I need, then why would I buy a $500.00 EVSE? Next question, how can I monitor the battery temps whiles charging and/or do I need to bother with it?


Cynical
The OEM charger is current limited. So even at double the voltage you only cut the charging time from Level I in half. You need a 30 amp EVSE and a 30 amp 240 volt outlet to be able to max out level 2 charging for the 500e - which will charge to full more than 4 times faster than stock Level I. My recommendation would be if you are going to get an EVSE, get a 50 amp circuit and at least a 40 amp EVSE so you have a bit more capability for your next EV.
 

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I am getting confused about charging in that if a 30amp/240v outlet is all I need, then why would I buy a $500.00 EVSE? Next question, how can I monitor the battery temps whiles charging and/or do I need to bother with it?
First answer: You would NOT need to buy a $500 unit...

Lots of good advice above. I think I can eliminate the confusion. Just consider your longest daily drive & sleep/work habits, and do a tiny bit of simple math:
  1. Stock charge-cord on a heavy-duty extension in a standard outlet recharges about 5 miles every hour (40 miles during 8 hours of sleep or work).
  2. Stock charge-cord on an extension in a dryer/oven/welder outlet recharges about 10 miles every hour (80 miles during work/sleep).
  3. If you need over 5mi/hr but don't have a 240 outlet, get a 50A circuit installed.
  4. IF you need over 10mi/hr get a $500 unit like Juicebox or "Open" brand.


Next answer: You do NOT need to bother, but you can monitor batt temp with a $17 eBay ELM327 KONNWEI KW902 OBD reader & free AlfaOBD "demo" app. If you only have an iPhone/iPad, try a laptop, or ask your friends if they have an old Android, or get one for $15 on Amazon. No service needed, just download the app on WiFi.
 

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I value your opinion along with ETS, insights you give are invaluable to me. We don't live in a large city so charging stations are rare, the charging station at home for me makes perfect sense. I am getting confused about charging in that if a 30amp/240v outlet is all I need, then why would I buy a $500.00 EVSE? Next question, how can I monitor the battery temps whiles charging and/or do I need to bother with it?


Cynical
An EVSE is a slightly smart safety cord. Unlike a standard extension cord, it's only live when it is properly plugged in. Also it advertises to the EV the maximum amount of current that can be drawn. Finally, the J1772 connector guarantees that the connection will only occur with a properly configured EV.

But in the end it's really just an extension cord with the right connector on the end to plug into the EV. Most EVSEs are made up of about $100 or so of components. However, because of it's utility, and limited market, the prices are really jacked up.

It's one of the reasons that I suggest that folks at least try the OEM EVSE that comes with the vehicle before purchasing another separate EVSE.

Don't bother with the battery temps. The 500e does its own battery temp monitoring and will automatically heat or cool the battery as necessary during a charge.

ga2500ev
 

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Back to rain requiring defog heat: I just remembered that some 500s have leaked rain into the interior, & when that happened in another car of mine it required LOTS of extra defog power.

The leak is through the firewall, from the drains below the wipers. I'm pretty it's usually on the left, so check for dampness inside around the base of the steering column. If it has had time to dry out, then first pour a bunch of water on the base of the windshield, below the left wiper, & then check.

If you have the hood open when you pour the water you can see where it runs down the left front of the firewall. Can't hurt to check the right side too. I think there's an easy fix on this forum. If yours leaks & you can't find the thread, let us know.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Just personally after more than 2 years of ownership and 26,000+ miles logged, I find the need for L2 at home to be a rare event, on the order of about 1 time every two months. And it's always in the situation of taking a trip early in the day then turning around and taking a second trip later in that same day.

Thank you. Some very good observations. Had I been paying attention on my trip home, I could have pulled into a L2 charge station and relaxed for half an hour and gotten home with room to spare. I pas several on my route to the grandkids home.

If I had a 240v outlet, I'd definitely pick up an adapter for my stock charger. Be really nice to cut my charging time in half. A level 2 unit would be nice, but definitely overkill for a retiree with no daily driving.
 

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I wonder if the stock cord on 240v would take care of those rare occasions when you think you need L2.

A 240 outlet can be pretty cheap, especially with a nearby garage breaker box. L2 needs that anyway, so that's a smart first step, even for others who really think they need L2.

It's also highly likely that your % gauge reads low. Fiats seem to all do that after a while. Last time I checked mine at 11%, it showed 18% on OBD, & that's what the car goes by, stopping only when OBD reaches 0.00%. If I were you, next time I got close to zero I'd park with everything on until the 12V warning comes on (or better yet just go to 0.00% on a $17 OBD, or 12v on a gauge at the battery terminals).
 

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I think the point is that if one has a 240V line, and a $30 adapter with the OEM EVSE will services 100% of your home needs, then why bother investing several hundred more dollars for a 30A EVSE that only charges at double the speed?

What is the adapter mentioned?
The dryer outlet I have is what this plug is used by the dryer, a 3 connector plug. IMG_8767 (2).JPG
 
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