If you want to learn about your Renault electric vehicle, you’ve come to a good starting point. We will supply you with an app that displays driving stats and lots of interesting information about your car. All you need is a Bluetooth OBDII dongle and an Android device. For a more detailed description of the app see the about or the screenshot page.
The app is also available on Google Play store here.
From a friendly driver, I got this picture. No, not his ZOE.
The most interesting part in my opinion was the location of the TCU.
It is that black box on the far right side of the picture. Wrong. It is not in this picture, situate behind R-Link and in front of the windshield vents. Damn hard to replace!
The open bracket under it is the mount for the radio module, you can see the white coaxial connector dangling just next to the insulation mat. Think of it like a traditional car radio form factor but without a front.
Lots of unidentified stuff, such as the black box under the center ventilation vent. Maybe it’s the climate computer. From what I understand the two boxes under the ventilation panel area are the fragrance / ionisation controller and a multimedia gateway.
ZOE falls in a deep sleep about 6 minutes after she’s closed up. I have written about this before in the context of resetting the BCB. For delayed charging under charger control this can be problematic: if you connect ZOE to an unpowered charger, i.e. one with a timer in its power line, she will fall asleep and nothing but opening the doors will waker her up.
However, my charger, a KEBA P20 has a control line where you can disable charging without powering it down. I use this for timed charging, which has somewhat complicated schedules in my country: economy rates are active at night and during weekends and during some bank holidays. Easter Monday (variable date!) being one of them. I was curious how the charger kept ZOE awake enough to start charging after hours in a disabled state.
Here is how the protocol works.
- You plug in the cable. The car is still awake and detects the PP-PE resistor of the cable and locks it. The chargerpoint also puts a +12 volt DC through a 1K resistor on the CP pin, but this is not what makes the car detect the cable.
- The car sees the 12 volt signal and signals the chargerpoint it would appreciate a charge. It does so by applying a resistor (882 ohms) between CP and PE. This drops the voltage from 12 to 6 volts, which is detected by the charger.
- If the chargerpoint is enabled, it will change the signal to a square wave pilot signal. The positive pulse width indicates the maximum current per lead the car is allowed to take. In my case it was 268 uS, corresponding to 16.08 amps. It will also close the contacter, connecting the car to the grid.
- The car recognizes the pilot, closes it’s own contactors and starts charging.
If however the charger is disabled, it will not close the contactors and it will not change the CP signal to a pilot, but just keep it at a steady 12 volt, minus the drop over the 1K resistor of course caused by the car requesting a charge. ZOE stays awake enough now to recognize the transition to charging later on. I am pretty sure you need to connect your car to the powered, but possibly disabled charger before she falls asleep.
Bottom line: if you have a chargepoint that cannot be disabled but you want it to do so, insert a relay in the CP line, common to the car side, NC to the chargepoint side. The NO side should be wired through a 1K resistor to +12 volt, which you need to find somewhere in the chargepoint. The chargepoint will not see the car being connected, the car will see the keep awake signal. As always, be very careful. Live wires close by.
It’s remarkably hard to find pictures of just the PEB (the inverter and DC/DC converter) of the Q210 as a single unit. I came across this single one though. I am the first to admit it is not a very interesting picture, but it’s all we have at the moment. Note that the box is upside down in this picture. Imagine the orange connectors on the left side when facing the car, and the entire module upside down, so the square black block, which I suspect is the 12 volt connector from the DC/DC converter being on the right bottom side.
The visible orange connector feeds the rotor coil for excitation. Tucked away under that metal ridge at the far right side (so in reality, on the top left side) are the 3 connectors to the stator coils.
I got a few pictures from a friendly mechanic of the inside of part of the BCB. I must admit I was suprised!
First, for reference, the buildup. The left sub-box contains charger electronics (no pictures), the right sub-box is the main power interconnect.
Cover removed. See image above for the connectors. The Neutral point connector goes directly into the motor. What is marked as signal connector are two smaller ones, the top one going to the charge connector lock motor, the other probably the CANbus. What they call the Converter, is technically known as the PEB. Note the 40 amp fuses between the battery wires and the heat pump connector, snugged away against the forward wall. Also note the orange bus-bars connecting the battery and the interconnect to the inverter against the aft wall. I suspect the third connector is for the high power rheostats, that are only installed in the cold climate versions of the ZOE.
Upper half, containing plugs and wiring removed. The blue box is a triple capacitor. The two black components I cannot identify, but I suspect the left one being a coil, and the right one being an integrated charger.
The removed upper half. The cable to the charging plug in the nose is connected to the other, closed half of the BCB, left bottom.
Re-applying heat conducting paste to the charger module.
Nicely cleaned bottom, ready to accept the modules covered in heat conducting paste again.
Note: The rotor cable, as well as the three phase cables to the motor come directly from the PEB.
In one of the UK fora, there was quite a discussion about the 12 volt battery. I did some investigation and here is what I have found so far.
- the battery is a normal car battery, read, a lead-acid starter type battery. I assume same as i.e. Clio;
- the battery is needed to boot the car. Without it, the 400 volt system cannot be activated, which is a deadlock.
As for charging and jump-starting, this is all verboten by the manuals. With that disclaimer in place:
- you can jump-start the ZOE by connecting another isolated battery and starting the ZOE. It will start charging the empty battery immediately;
- alternatively, charge the battery with an external charger, but then always disconnect the minus pole of the ZOE first;
- jump-starting another car is possible (as it is a starter battery), but again, always disconnect the ZOE’s minus first.
The instruction manual on the fuses really is off. Here is the real thing, in German though. In all fairness, I got this from the first reply in this thread.
Note that there are also fuses in the red box op top of the 12 volt battery, a HUGE 250 amp fuse inside the battery pack, and probably a few more in the USM box under the hood.
No, this post is not about the rumours of the upcoming new battery pack by Renault. Imecar Elektronik of Turkey, in cooperation with Renault Turkey, have rebuild a ZOE battery pack to a capacity of 43 kWh. I don’t have details, but the picture suggest close to 4000 NCR18650PF cells. That in itself is an interesting design, as using cylindrical cells take a bit more space than the prismatic/pouch cells originally used in the ZOE. The casing, peripherals and LBCs have been re-used from the original battery. The metal box on top contains the LBCs computers, including the balancer circuits. In this picture the control wire to the LBCs seem not to have been installed yet.
I have absolutely no idea about net capacity, probable weight increase, etcetera. They are testing the pack as we speak. Stay tuned!
A lot of debugging has been going on the Battery Charging Prediction. Next to the usual bug fixes, the number of minutes between each line is now dependent on the charging power of the chargepoint (i.e. 45 minutes per line for 3.7 kW, down to 6 minutes for 43 kW). Also, a column is added showing the expected real power intake, so you can not only made an educated guess about when you will have charged up to the range you need, but also when the battery starts throttling the charging power.
In the source code It has already moved from the experimental section to the technical section and we expect this to make the next release. We’d be very interested in your feedback. Please not that while the module might work for a Fluence or Kangoo Z.E., the predictions will probably be way off. We’ve only tested this on a Q210 so far.
I admit traffic lights are the places where, when driving the Zoe, the challenge is burning. Boys toys. But after watching Alloam’s video about trying to get a 100/100 Eco score I have changed my strategy and now try to get really good mileage, just for the fun of it. Here are my tips for those who want to try:
- Be extremely gentle on the accelerator. When not hindering other traffic, try to keep your power below 8 kW
- Anticipate like crazy. If there’s any indication of slowing down, aim for 0 kW if possible. Remember, try coasting on 0 kW when possible, then regeneration, then braking
- Keep your speed down when possible. If you’re not in a hurry, just go with the lorry flow. Keeping 86 – 92 km/h makes a HUGE difference
Opinions of using the Cruise Control, especially in hilly terrain, varies. For flat terrain I always use it.
Where does CanZE come in? Well, for me, I keep an eye on the kWh/100km line in the middle graph of the Consumption screen. I noticed that after a while a second feedback mechanism emerged: the bottom graph shows a black line for the SOC in percentages, and a red line for the estimated range in kms (on a scale from 0 – 150 km). I really try to keep the red line above the black one, giving me a long-time average of over 150 km per full charge. As you can see, 170 km’s is doable.
And it really pays off. Look what I saw yesterday evening!
In the Bleeding Edge source code on Github, we’ve implemented a battery charging prediction model. It is accessible through the Experimental section. Here’s what it does.
When you start charging the battery, CanZE fetches the State of Charge, battery temperature, chargepoint power and the range estimate from the car. The first three are fed into a mathematical model of the battery. The model is then run for 100 minutes. Each 10 minutes the State of Charge is displayed, along with a range prediction. This will allow you to estimate how much time you have before the required range to get to your destination is reached.
The model is of course not perfect, and by it’s nature, errors accumulate. Feedback is appreciated. We intent to put it in the next release.
Edit: The screen shows always 10 lines. It’s silly to pretend accuracy is better than that. Depending on the possible charging power detected, the number of minutes between two lines varies between 10 and 50 minutes. We’ve ironed out a couple of nasty bugs, but it’s ready for the next release now.