Start charging 101
Our hotline receives by far the most calls from customers who are standing at the fast-charging station and, for some inexplicable reason, it won’t start to charge. Even though our telephone agents are happy to receive any call, in most cases our customers can solve this problem themselves. In this blog post, we’ll explain what the problem might be and what you can do about it.
While refuelling a combustion engine vehicle is a really simple process in which the desired quantity of liquid fuel is pumped into the vehicle’s tank, the fast charging of an electric car’s battery is far more complex. Considerable communication is needed between the car’s battery management system (BMS) and the charging station to ensure that the charging process is as efficient as possible and preserves the life of the battery. Just charging at full power would permanently damage the battery. To make sure that doesn’t happen and that the full charging potential is also available, the charging currents need to be continually adjusted to match the chemical processes in the battery cells during the charging process.
A question of communication
The charging process therefore depends on whether the computer in the vehicle and the one in the charging station understand each other. Communication between the two runs via separate communication cables in the charging plug used. When things are this complex, it’s obvious that something can go wrong occasionally. Here are the most frequent reasons why the communication between the charging station and the car doesn’t work, and how you can solve the problem yourself:
1. Is it plugged correctly?
Robust and durable cables containing a lot of copper and with a diameter of up to 4 cm are needed to enable quick and reliable charging. The cables and plugs at our fast-charging stations are therefore quite heavy. What may happen is that the vehicle doesn’t lock the plug properly in place because it hasn’t been inserted as far as it will go or the weight of the cable is pulling slightly on the plug. Always make sure that you push the plug until it won’t go any further and also lift it slightly for a few seconds. It doesn’t matter what kind of vehicle you have, you can tell that the connection is secure from the quick locking noise made in the inlet.
2. Correct payment method selected?
GOFAST charging stations accept RFID cards from all common charging providers. Contactless payment by credit card is also possible at some locations. Sometimes the machine can’t identify the card, but this is usually because the correct payment method needs to be selected on the display. Make sure that you select the correct payment method on the buttons below the display before waving the payment card over the reader.
3. Is the ignition off?
‘Is it running yet?’ That’s the classic question from all EV newbies. It takes some getting used to that an electric car that is ready to drive makes no noise. That’s why sometimes you may park the car and leave it without switching the ‘ignition’ off (ok, nothing is actually ignited in this case anymore). However, electric cars cannot be charged when they are switched on. In this case, just disconnect the charging cable, switch the car off, plug in again and activate the charging with a payment method.
4. Is the order right?
Yes, the order you do things in matters too. And this actually isn’t always the same for all providers and equipment. With GOFAST charging stations, the charging cable must be plugged in first so that the charging station can communicate with the car. Only then can the charging be activated using the various payment methods. The correct order and what to do next is shown on the charging station display.
Charge like a pro
By following these simple tips, you’re much more likely to feel a real sense of achievement at our fast-charging stations. We will also do everything on our part to ensure the reliability and availability of our equipment. If all else fails, feel free to contact our hotline for advice and support around the clock on +41 800 463 444.