Fisher99
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

New Owner Charging Questions

Thu May 16, 2019 10:39 pm

I just purchased a 2014 i3. Although I won't be picking it up for a few weeks (it is 700 miles away) I have a couple of questions about charging.

First, I understand that the standard Level 1 charging cord is only about 12' or so in length. It will be difficult for me to park the car that close to an outlet. Is it possible to use a heavy duty extension cord (say, 25') to extend the charging cord length?

Also, what is required if I want to obtain level 2 charging capability? Does something in the i3 need to be physically updated or replaced to gain this capability? And if you do have level 2 capability do you still have the ability of level 1 charging or are you stuck with level 2?

Thanks.

frictioncircle
Posts: 34
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 1:31 am

Hello Fisher99 –

Congratulations on your purchase! My daily is a 2014 BEV – the early cars are probably the lightest cars that BMW of the 21st century will ever make and they are brilliant little machines.

Assuming you live in North America and have residential 120V service:

Level 1 (120V) charging – in general, yes, you can use an extension cord, though you should buy the thickest and shortest cable that you can possibly use. The longer / thinner an extension cord is the more resistance it has – as resistance increases, the cable gets warmer and less energy makes it to your battery. Go too long or thin and you get into fire-hazard territory.

The extension cord linked in your message is a Level 2 (240V) cable. It will not work for Level 1 charging.

Regarding Level 2 charging: let us know where you live (general geo, nothing specific!). North American cars have built-in Level 1 (120V AC) and Level 2 (240V AC) charging capability. In Europe Level 2 charging is, I believe, an option.

If you have Level 2 charging then yes, you can also charge at Level 1.

Level 3 charging (referred to as DCFC - DC Fast Charging) might be fitted to your i3. Level 3 connections differ depending on what continent you live on.

AndrewDebbie
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:37 am
Location: Anglesey, Wales, UK

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 1:56 am

Fisher99 wrote:
Thu May 16, 2019 10:39 pm
I just purchased a 2014 i3.

Also, what is required if I want to obtain level 2 charging capability?
Your i3 has either 3.6kW or 7kW AC level 2 on-board charging. 7kW was standard in many regions but not all.

You need a Level 2 EVSE and a 240 VAC connection. 3.6kW EVSE needs a 20Amp circuit and a 7kW EVSE should be on a 40A circuit. The connection depends on where you live.

In America you can use an electric clothes dryer socket and buy an EVSE that plugs into it. You can also get it hard wired.

In the UK, the EVSE would be hard wired to a dedicated new circuit. I think some people in the EU use a "commando" socket instead of hard wiring.
2014 LEAF 24 (gone)
2017 LEAF 30 (gone)
2018 Mazda 2 (Debbie's)
2018 i3s 94Ah Rex

Fisher99
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 7:45 am

Thanks for the quick replies! I live in the USA, in the state of Oregon.

Good to know that I can use a heavy duty extension cord for level 1 120V charging (keeping it as short as possible). Is there an easy way to tell if the car has the 7kW level 2 on-board charging, or just the 3.6kW?

So it sounds like I need a 20 amp circuit for Level 1 charging? I will have to double check but I'm fearful that the closest circuit is only 15 amp.

And good to know that (assuming the car has the 7kW charger) I can plug into a standard clothes dryer circuit. I assume that I would just have to purchase a cord such as this one? https://www.amazon.com/ICEr-J1772-Exten ... ecarfor-20&

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MKH
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Posts: 281
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Location: Dallas

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 8:35 am

So it sounds like I need a 20 amp circuit for Level 1 charging?
Most house wiring is 20 amps. Check your breaker panel, unless your house is really old, and the panel hasn't been upgraded since the '50s, all your plugs are on 20 amp circuits.
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

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MKH
Gold Member
Posts: 281
Joined: Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:48 am
Location: Dallas

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 8:39 am

I assume that I would just have to purchase a cord such as this one? https://www.amazon.com/ICEr-J1772-Exten ... ecarfor-20&
No, that is just an extension cord for an existing 220 charging station. It is for if your charging station comes with a 25 foot cord, which works great when you are parked in your garage, but doesn't quite reach far enough down the driveway, and you need an extension to get it to reach farther.

For 220 charging you will need one of these:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07BK ... UTF8&psc=1

https://www.amazon.com/JuiceBox-Electri ... 61819&th=1

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B071YDGJYZ/re ... 3a71b469ca

https://www.amazon.com/ClipperCreek-HCS ... 163&sr=1-5
Mark H.
2015 i3 Rex, Capparis White, Tera World, Technology & Driving Assistant, Parking Assistant, Harman Kardon Audio System, 19 inch 427 wheels, EVoInnovate EVSE

Fisher99
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 10:10 am

Oh, I get it. I thought I could get a cord that would plug directly into a 220 dryer socket for charging the i3, but you are saying that for 220 charging that I would need to purchase a charging station? That definitely ramps up the expense, so not sure that I will go that route. This will be mostly an around town and short trip car for me, so letting it charge on 120 for 14 hours or so overnight won't really be a problem.

Fisher99
Posts: 52
Joined: Sun May 12, 2019 6:24 pm

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 12:18 pm

I just downloaded the i3 manual, to get familiar with the car before I make the trip to bring it home. It talks about having to have an electrician check the electrical outlet before I use it and then I have to manually set the charging rate on the iDrive system in the car depending on the "current strength" of the outlet? This seems cumbersome to me. What if I'm away from home and want to plug into an available 120v outlet? Is it really problematic to leave it configured to "maximum"?

vreihen
Posts: 87
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Location: Orange County, NY (FN21vm)

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 1:22 pm

Fisher99 wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 10:10 am
I thought I could get a cord that would plug directly into a 220 dryer socket for charging the i3, but you are saying that for 220 charging that I would need to purchase a charging station?
There are several 220V portable charger options available on Amazon for $200-$300 US, some including travel cases and 120V adapters. Some are 16A, and some 32A. Pick one to match your outlet, and you should be good to go with fast L2 charging (or somewhat fast with the 16A options) .

A full charging station just adds wall brackets, a cord hanger, and possibly some intelligence for data logging to the basic electronics used in the portable cables. A lot of them also come with plug options in addition to hard-wiring, with a caveat that (UL?) regulations prohibit them from putting more than a 15-inch (?) cord on the plug end. If you're not hanging the station next to an outlet, you will need to have an electrician install an outlet.....
2015 BMW i3 BEV, Giga World, Tech and Driving Assistant packages, 15K miles

alohart
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Location: Honolulu, HI

Re: New Owner Charging Questions

Fri May 17, 2019 2:07 pm

Fisher99 wrote:
Fri May 17, 2019 12:18 pm
I just downloaded the i3 manual, to get familiar with the car before I make the trip to bring it home. It talks about having to have an electrician check the electrical outlet before I use it and then I have to manually set the charging rate on the iDrive system in the car depending on the "current strength" of the outlet? This seems cumbersome to me. What if I'm away from home and want to plug into an available 120v outlet? Is it really problematic to leave it configured to "maximum"?
Understanding how all EV charging in North America works might make all of this easier to understand. Some things differ in other markets.

All EV's can be charged with AC power. Due to the unfortunate U.S. decision to install both 240 V and 120 V outlets in residences instead of all outlets being 240 V, two AC charging protocols have been defined: AC Level 1 (120 V) and AC Level 2 (208 - 240 V). Fortunately, the charging port and plugs for both AC Levels 1 and 2 are identical (described in the SAE J1772 standard). The charger in every North American EV is able to be charged with all AC Level 1 and 2 input voltages.

The device used to charge an EV is called Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE). EVSE minimizes electrocution risk, negotiates with an EV's on-board charger to deliver the maximum power both support, and limits the charging power to protect the charging circuit. This is why an EV cannot be plugged directly into an electrical outlet using only an electrical cable. An AC Level 2 EVSE usually has a setting that limits the current that it can deliver to protect the charging circuit. However, an AC Level 1 EVSE usually does not.

An i3 allows the maximum charging current to be set in iDrive for both AC Levels 1 and 2. This setting has precedence over any EVSE current limit setting. Because most AC Level 2 EVSE's have a current limit setting, it's generally safe to set the AC Level 2 charging power to "Maximum".

120 V residential circuits usually aren't dedicated to a single use (i.e., a 120 V residential circuit can usually be shared by more than one 120 V load). So even if the 12 A AC Level 1 EVSE included with your i3 wouldn't trip the 20 A circuit breaker itself, other loads on the circuit could increase the total circuit current enough to trip its breaker. If this is the situation with your 120 V charging circuit, you might need to reduce the charging power in iDrive to "Reduced" (9 A) or "Low" (6 A) which would significantly increase the charging time.

The recommendation that an electrician check the 120 V outlet you'll use for EV charging is because many outlets are old, could be corroded internally, could have loose internal wiring connections, etc. Any of these conditions could cause the outlet to generate enough heat to damage the outlet and/or EVSE plug or to cause a fire. For continuous use such as EV charging, the maximum safe current is 80% of the rated current capacity for the circuit component rated for the least current. Even though modern residential circuits are typically rated at 20 A, their outlets are usually rated at only 15 A. 80% of 15 A is 12 A, the maximum continuous current delivered by that outlet. This happens to be the maximum current of your EVSE, so your EVSE is drawing the maximum continuous current that would be safe for a new 15 A outlet.

BMW recommends against using a 120 V extension cord with its EVSE because this adds another set of plugs and outlets that could generate dangerous heat if they're not in perfect condition even if the cord itself is rated for more than 12 A of continuous current. Many EV owners use 120 V extension cords without problems, but the plugs and outlets should be monitored to ensure that they're not getting hot.

The J1772 extension cable that you referenced on Amazon would be a safer way to extend the reach of your i3's EVSE. However, the JLONG is almost certainly safer than those made in China like the one you referenced because, unlike Chinese J1772 extension cables, the JLONG includes all J1772 safety features. Unlike what others have stated, any J1772 extension cable could extend either AC Level 1 or AC Level 2 EVSE's, so it could also be used at an AC Level 2 public charging station as well as at home. However, at ~$200, it might be a theft target at a public charging station. Also, its cost could be applied to the installation of an AC Level 2 EVSE, many of which have cables that might be long enough to reach your i3 without a J1772 extension cable.

All North American i3's include the second on-board charger that increases the maximum charging power to ~7.2 kW (240 V @ 30 A).

A dryer outlet is 240 V which won't work with your 120 V only i3 EVSE. However, an AC Level 2 EVSE with a compatible 240 V plug or plug adapter could be plugged into your dryer outlet. Your dryer outlet is likely on a 30 A circuit which would mean a maximum charging current of 80% x 30 A = 24 A. Even though that's less than the maximum current that your i3's charger can accept, its 240 V x 24 A = 5.8 kW charging power is more than twice as much as your 120 V x 12 A = 2.4 kW i3 EVSE, so your total charging time would be cut in half.

If your 2014 i3 has the DC fast charging option (not all did), it could also be charged using DC power from either a DC Level 1 (up to 80 A or 36 kW) or DC Level 2 (81 - 200 A or up to 90 kW) charger. The charging port would have 2 additional pins below the AC charging pins. An i3 can be charged at up to 50 kW of DC power delivered by either DC charger type without any driver configuration (just plug it in). Some erroneously refer to DC fast charging as "Level 3" charging which doesn't exist.
Aloha,
Art

2014 BMW i3 Arravani Grey, Giga World, Tech + Driving Assist, Parking Assist, DC Fast Charging, JuiceBox EVSE

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