We’re currently on our way in the i3 from Northampton to Surrey, to visit relatives for New Year’s Eve. It seems like most of the few CCS charge points operated by Ecotricity at motorway services are offline today.
I have therefore planned to charge at public charge points near our destination. However, since we always stop at Toddington services going south for the toilets anyway, I thought I’d try an AC charge here (Toddington has no CCS/DC cable).
The i3, of course, does its slow charging on AC (alternating current) like all electric cars and its rapid charging on DC (direct current) like all electric cars except the Renault ZOE. However, the new i3 (the ’94ah’) has a trick up its sleeve – it can ‘medium charge’ on 3 phase AC (a feature shared only with the Tesla).
After about 10 minutes of mucking about with the Ecotricity app on my ‘phone it finally loaded, and the car started charging from the Type 2 cable (intended for rapid charging a ZOE). About quarter of an hour later, when we were ready to leave, we had taken on 2.5kWh of electricity. 2.5kWh in 14 minutes equates to about 11 kW charging power, which is what the i3 can theoretically achieve so it’s encouraging to see it working in a real situation.
Having said that, we only gained about 10 miles of range (so about 40 miles per hour). That’s certainly better than nothing, but doesn’t compete with true DC rapid charging where that’s available.
[Part 2 is here]