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Fast DC Charging

2004 Views 15 Replies 7 Participants Last post by  Columbiaskier
Have had my 2023 Lightning for 2 weeks now and keep running into the same issue at DC Fast Charge Stations (Max 350kw)

Have used three different ones and every time I only get a max of 40kw. I was thinking temperature could be a factor and once it was -36C when i charged, and today it was +9C still with the same result.

Is there a charge setting in the truck that needs to be adjusted or any other advice that can be passed along?
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We are seeing similar results in the cold. It is possible that battery pre-conditioning is not mature yet in the vehicle, or possibly not even working. The speeds you are seeing are very typical for a cold battery trying to take a charge.
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0c is very cold for the battery to try to charge. Even 9c is far too cold to take a heavy charge. A Tesla will start preconditioning its battery 15 minutes out even at 70° f. It wants the battery 80°+ for optimal charge rates.

Nobody has been able to demonstrate yet that the Ford is preconditioning appropriately. It is the most likely suspect for slow charge rates at temperatures below 70° f.
Are you exclusively DCFC charging or what is your charging regime (AC vs DC ). -32C or -25F is seriously 😳 cold and any EV will have problems accepting a charge even with DCFC preconditioning. It sounds like you battery is cold gating, as mentioned in other posts. If traveling try to start with a warm battery and if you DCFC every 2-3 hours, the battery will stay warm. It’s amazing how Ford press shots showed Lightnings in cold snowy weather, but truthfully they are ill equipped to handle it. No DCFC preconditioning or use of heat pumps.
"Warm" is relative. I am on a cross-country trip, and whereas the temperatures are not all that bad, the Tesla model Y that I am driving is preconditioning hard before every charge. Even after 10 or 12 hours of pretty constant driving.

Without really good preconditioning routines, EVs are just not going to charge very well in the cold. Tesla's have heating/cooling coils that run in between the cells, so they are running with a heating/cooling advantage over most other EVs.
Thanks @R.I.P. for the response. Maybe it is the cold. Just to provide some more information, I had just completed a 1 hour trip.

I’m pretty new to this EV stuff but I would have thought if it was a cold issue, wouldn’t it go pretty quickly to the low charge rate? I wouldn’t have thought it would draw130 kW for 5 minutes before dropping charge rate?
Also I tested and if I stop charging and then restart charging it will go back up to 130kW. Again after 5 minutes charge rate drops.
It is a factor of the chemistry of the batteries. In super generic terms, there are electrons that are easy to move, and electrons that are harder to move. The easy ones can be moved quickly with high voltage, but when it gets to the harder electrons things slow down very fast unless the battery is warm. I recommend googling "why cold lithium batteries resist a charge" for some very in-depth white papers on the subject if you are a nerd like me and enjoy reading that type of thing.
Follow up question on this. If the battery is only charging fast for the first 5 minutes because some electrons are easier to move and some are harder to move, then why can I get a fast charge rate again by just stopping the charger, then plugging in again for 5 minutes? Effectively I can get a 130 kW charge for 20 minutes by just continuously repeating the above procedure. I have done this successfully and added approx 33% to my battery.

My guess is that the charge controller on the lighting is choosing to charge at a lower rate (30 kW) after 5 minutes for another reason. That has to be either an error, or an attempt to protect the battery.
The BMS is programmed to accept a charge rate that the battery will accept. Many battery chemistries can accept a high rate for a few minutes, before things happen that could damage them.

Short circuiting this programing by unplugging/replugging, essentially starting this clock again may be defeating this protection mechanism that is built in.

This could be bad for the health and longevity of your pack. I have not seen the code in Ford's BMSs, I am just speaking to generalities here. From what I have seen, Ford is using some pretty dated tech and code, so it may be clock-based rather than the more comprehensive battery health monitoring systems that are becoming the standard. In this case, you really are just resetting the clock, and not doing your pack any favores at all.
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