Consistency Issues With NRG EVgo DC Fast Charging Stations?

Originally published on CleanTechnica.

NRG EVgoHave any of those reading this had consistency issues with the NRG EVgo DC fast charging network? Specifically, with regard to “communication errors” interrupting the charging of your electric vehicle in the middle of a charging session? It seems you wouldn’t be the only one.

A discussion thread on “The Circuit” (the official BMW i Series forum) on this subject was recently started by a user by the name of “releve068,” who started things off with this:

Has anyone experienced any consistency issues with nrg EVgo DC Fast Charging? I have a station about 1.5 blocks away from my home which I use quite often but more often than not, there is a greater than 50% chance that I will NOT be able to charge using the DC Fast Charge as the unit gives me all sorts of strange errors. It either claims that my car is on (when it is 100% off) or after charging for about 20 mins it suddenly stops stating “communication error” with the vehicle.

I have had this situation occur at other nrg EVgo stations and I am really starting to wonder if its my particular car or software on my particular vehicle. If anyone has experienced problems or perhaps NO problems, please let me know.

This comment spurred a number of others to share their experiences as well.

“Scott” commented:

I have had this problem, in southern Cali. I had taken my i3 into service three times for it, they replaces the locking mechanism and did two different software updates. Now it seems to work… about 95% of the time.

As did “boatguy” (who I assume likes boats):

Yes, it’s a feature of the EVgo network. As someone suggested it may be associated with the heavy cable pulling on the connection and disrupting the control signals. I’ve never understood why the 50 kW EVgo cable is so much larger than the 120 kW Tesla cable, it’s a real monster to drag across the parking space.

And “Dr. B,” a bit jaded, added:

I have had a similar problem so regularly that I’ve just given up on trying to use nrg EvGO Fast Chargers including those quite near my home. They have proven themselves to me to not be worth the hassle.

And the forum moderator (“Mary”) provided some broader perspective and a solution of sorts:

I have not had these problems but some that have report that if you support/lift the handle while activating the charge, it will work. The cable is very heavy and pulls on the port/locking mechanism quite a bit. You can let go after a minute of operation.

Overall, that gives one the impression that this is a pretty common problem. As I haven’t had personal experience with the network, I’m a bit curious to hear from those who have. Is this truly a common problem? Is it limited to certain models (BMW i3, etc)?

Photo by Jun Seita (some rights reserved)

5 thoughts on “Consistency Issues With NRG EVgo DC Fast Charging Stations?

  1. I’ve never had this problem with a KIA SOUL EV or a Nissan LEAF. But I do have a problem with the charging rate. It drops from about 40 kW to only 4 kW after the car reached 80% charge. This takes so long I just leave. If you are paying by the minute the cost per kWh is insane.
    They also have a hidden rule about not being able to charge again for 1 hour. If it stops and you start again they bill you FULL price since you didn’t wait an hour.

      1. It happens on all the ABB Fast chargers even the Nissan dealers that run them at only 15 kW. I see it drop from the NRG 40 kW down to 4 kW so it’s a waste of time and or money if you stay after it gets above 80%. I’ve watched the same on a LEAF, BMW i3 and our SOUL EV. A NRG BTC unit in Casa Grande also does the same thing.

        Even a Tesla on a Super Charger drops from 100 kW to 50 after 80% it’s to balance and top off the batteries without heating them up from what I’ve read.

        1. So that’s a “feature”. If you keep pushing that much current past 80%, it will wear out the life of your battery… allegedly.

          It will always slow down to L2 after 80%.

          I don’t think that’s unique to any model or the Chademo connector, I’m pretty sure it’s all EVs. I know it’s the case with the Spark EV and the iBMW.

  2. Funny you should ask! I had difficulty with an NRG EVGo fast charger just the other day. I’m not sure if it said anything about a “communication error”. I remember it saying something about a “ground fault”!!!

    It acted like it was going to start charging and then stopped.

    I unplugged, turned the car on and off (with brake pedal depressed) and went through the process again, and it worked.

    I’m using a Spark EV.

    I don’t think it’s EVGo, because we’ve had similar problems with the same fast charging equipment maintained by other companies… multiple times, unfortunately.

    I was starting to think maybe it’s my car… but maybe not.

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