First EA Charging Session — Quite the Fiasco

My first impression of the charging process is that VW/EA have A LOT to learn from Tesla. The UX is as dreadful as some of the MMI interactions.

The first time I charged the car at home, I could not pull the charging cable out when done. It turns out it was user error, one must press the charging door button before pressing the release button on the handle (despite the car already being unlocked). Why? My intention is already clear by virtue of unlocking the car and pressing the release button (and the MMI option «unlock when done charging» having being selected). Oh well, dumb/buggy but no big deal.

Fast forward to tonight, same issue:
I started the charging session (using the energy credits, initiated via the myAudi app). It took a bit, but it eventually started. It charged from 67% to 78% and then the charging stopped on its own. I then proceeded to unplug . and the port would not unlock (the MMI option «unlock when done charging» was still active). I just did not unlock, no matter what I did. Pressing the charger door button din nothing and the release button on the handle would not move at all as it was clamped tight by the port lock. I made sure the car was unlocked/locked/on/off . everything. It would just not release. I called EA, looked through the manual for the emergency release procedure, tried that . nothing. Pulling the emergency release tab did nothing, other than making some horrible «I make have broken it» sounds. After some 15 mins it somehow automagically unlocked by itself. I initiated another session and let it run a little bit. I stopped it from the charger, then tried to unplug. Locked again. Essentially, I pulled a Bjorn (see below, time index 28:30). After a lot of jiggling, clicking, locking/unlocking and all that, it unlocked. This time it did so after some 5 mins.

This is probably a software/electrical bug, as well as a mechanical one. The release tab did absolutely nothing, either because it just doesn’t work or possibly because of the layout of the charging spot. The fact that the charger cable’s considerable weight pulls sideways on the charge port surely did not help (no other way to position the car to avoid that).

So far . disappointing.

On a positive note, the charging is FAST. It started at 151kW and stayed around 150 until 80%. That was way faster than what I had previously experienced in the Tesla. With these stations placed in Walmart parking lots, it felt like walking in for a bio break and a coffee or something would give the car enough time to charge close to full. It didn’t feel like it will be much of an inconvenience going forward . provided that it will let me leave after charging.

My first impression of the charging process is that VW/EA have A LOT to learn from Tesla. The UX is as dreadful as some of the MMI interactions.

The first time I charged the car at home, I could not pull the charging cable out when done. It turns out it was user error, one must press the charging door button before pressing the release button on the handle (despite the car already being unlocked). Why? My intention is already clear by virtue of unlocking the car and pressing the release button (and the MMI option «unlock when done charging» having being selected). Oh well, dumb/buggy but no big deal.

Fast forward to tonight, same issue:
I started the charging session (using the energy credits, initiated via the myAudi app). It took a bit, but it eventually started. It charged from 67% to 78% and then the charging stopped on its own. I then proceeded to unplug . and the port would not unlock (the MMI option «unlock when done charging» was still active). I just did not unlock, no matter what I did. Pressing the charger door button din nothing and the release button on the handle would not move at all as it was clamped tight by the port lock. I made sure the car was unlocked/locked/on/off . everything. It would just not release. I called EA, looked through the manual for the emergency release procedure, tried that . nothing. Pulling the emergency release tab did nothing, other than making some horrible «I make have broken it» sounds. After some 15 mins it somehow automagically unlocked by itself. I initiated another session and let it run a little bit. I stopped it from the charger, then tried to unplug. Locked again. Essentially, I pulled a Bjorn (see below, time index 28:30). After a lot of jiggling, clicking, locking/unlocking and all that, it unlocked. This time it did so after some 5 mins.

This is probably a software/electrical bug, as well as a mechanical one. The release tab did absolutely nothing, either because it just doesn’t work or possibly because of the layout of the charging spot. The fact that the charger cable’s considerable weight pulls sideways on the charge port surely did not help (no other way to position the car to avoid that).

So far . disappointing.

On a positive note, the charging is FAST. It started at 151kW and stayed around 150 until 80%. That was way faster than what I had previously experienced in the Tesla. With these stations placed in Walmart parking lots, it felt like walking in for a bio break and a coffee or something would give the car enough time to charge close to full. It didn’t feel like it will be much of an inconvenience going forward . provided that it will let me leave after charging.

I have not had this problem, Bjorn had trouble because he turned the car on during charging for HVAC, which seems to have exposed a bug. I found on the charging port the light has to be white to unplug, mine has worked perfect so far both at home and the 2 sessions on EA. EA chargers have worked great for me too once they are started, charged to 90% with no faults both times. Starting the chargers is another issue entirely, EA will get their system worked out, they are spending too much money not to have a smooth operating system, and I think VW plans to make a profit operating EA eventually, so it will have to work we’ll.

Tesla’s charging is smoother, but painfully slow, and the new S and X (Raven) are even slower than the old 100D as Bjorn Nyland posted last week.