Preparing the charging infrastructure for the Tesla Roadster

As you might have read, a friend of mine (also my colleaugue) has ordered a Tesla Roadster, so we had to do some preparations for the charging infrastructure.

We live in The Netherlands (Middelburg, Zeeland) where we have two offices. Our main office is at the city center, but we also have second office which is outside the city and has a private parking deck, ideal for charging your Roadster!

One of the problems you have in Holland is that our whole infrastructure is based on 3-phases, while the Roadster only supports 1-phase charging. A lot of offices are connected to one or more phases with a 25A or 35A breaker (one breaker per phase ofcourse). Yes, we have 230V, so 35A should give you around 8kW of power, but it would still take 6.6 hours to fully charge the Roadster. But that is the situation here, you can’t use more than 32A (breaker is at 35A) on one phase. The 3-phase system has to be balanced, so when you want to use more then 32A, the load should be spreaded over the 3-phases.

Our office had one breaker of 35A, which was enough for just the office (5 desks and some servers), but it wouldn’t be enough for charging a Roadster. After contacting the utility company they told me that the first step was to go from 1x35A to 3x40A, so that is what we did.

That was our old main breaker, as you can see, there are two (Black and Grey) unused phases, the utility company came over and they connected the two extra phases and installed a 3-phase kWh meter.

After that was done we contacted a local electrician who could expand our fusebox. Since I made a reservation for a Model S, we choose to use both extra phases for charging EV’s.

This resulted in two charging stations of 230V 32A at the parkingdeck, both connected to their own 32A breaker. After there work was done, our fusebox looked like:

At the parking deck we installed two 32A single phase sockets, we have two parking places next to each other


The connector which we will be using to charge the Roadster is a CEE Form 32A Single Phase connector:

Compare that to the 16A connector:

While charging stations are being installed more and more, they are not everywhere. Every outlet in the wall is a charging station, so why not use it? I created some converters which would enable him to charge his Roadster anywhere:

I’m still waiting for some connectors to create a 3×32 to 1x32A converter, but it’s the same as the 3x16A to 1x16A converter showed above, but then a bit bigger.

For now, we only have to charge this Roadster:

To be continued!

Printing over IPv6 to a Canon MP495

Yesterday I posted that my new Canon Pixma MP495 also supports IPv6.

I had to test if I could print over IPv6, so I switched from IPv4 to IPv6 in the printer configuration (Note: You have to select IPv4 or IPv6, there is no Dual-Stack!). Before doing so I wrote down the MAC Address of the printer, I would need that to find it on my network, since the printer would get a IP from the Router Announcements my Linux router send out.

After turning on IPv6 the printer got his address within a few seconds and I was able to browse through the webinterface with Firefox.

Now I wanted to print over IPv6, the first thing I checked was if CUPS under Ubuntu 10.04 supported IPv6. It seems that CUPS supports IPv6 since version 1.2 and Ubuntu 10.04 is shipped with CUPS 1.4, so that was OK.

Then I created a DNS record for my printer, I pointed a AAAA-record to my printer, just so I dind’t have to type the address all the time. And DNS has been developed for NOT typing IP-Addresses, isn’t it?

Now I had to configure CUPS to print over IPv6, my goal was to do this via the GUI and not use any command-line stuff, that was even easier that I thought.

Adding the printer can be done in a few simple steps:

  • Go to System -> Administration -> Printing
  • Add a printer
  • Choose “Network Printer”
  • Choose LPD/LPR Host or Printer
  • In the host field, put the DNS record to your printer (or add the printer in /etc/hosts)
  • Then choose “Probe”
  • At “Queue”, select “ps”
  • Click on “Forward”
  • Choose “Provide a PPD file”
  • Download this PPD file and choose it as the driver
  • Add the printer!

Your printer settings should then look like:

Your are all set, the printer should work over IPv6 after this steps. Happy printing over IPv6!

Bonding, VLAN and bridging under Ubuntu 10.04

The last few weeks I spend a lot of time upgrading Ubuntu 9.10 systems to 10.04, these systems are SuperMicro blade systems with 2 NIC’s per blade.

By using bonding (active-backup) we combine eth0 and eth1 to bond0. On top of the bond we use 8021q VLAN’s, so we have devices like bond0.100, bond0.303, etc, etc.

Those devices then are used to create bridges like vlanbr100 and vlanbr303 to give our KVM Virtual Machines access to our network.

This would result in a setup like:

eth0 -> |
        | -> bond0 -> bond0.100 -> vlanbr100
eth1 -> |          -> bond0.303 -> vlanbr303  

Under Ubuntu 9.10 and before this setup worked fine, but under Ubuntu 10.04 we noticed that the network inside the virtual machine wouldn’t work that well. The ARP reply (is-at) would be dropped at the bridge and didn’t get transferred to the Virtual Machine.

If I’d set the arp manually inside the VM, everything started to work, but ofcourse, that was not the way it was meant to be.

After hours of searching I found a Debian bugreport, that was exactly my problem!

It seems that Ubuntu’s ifenslave-2.6 package (1.10-14) under 10.04 has exactly the same bug. Backporting the ifenslave package from 10.10 (1.10-15) fixed everything for me, my virtual machines would start to work again.

I created a bug report for this at Ubuntu, hopefully they will fix it in 10.04 rather quickly.

For now, if you have the same problem, just backport the ifenslave package from 10.10 to 10.04

Canon MP495 supports IPv6!

While we are nearing the end of the IPv4 pool, a lot of consumer electronics (even Enterprise routers) do not support IPv6.

Today I bought a new printer to use at home. It had to be a printer which would work over WiFi, after some time at the local store I choose the Canon Pixma MP495, a simple printer, just what I needed.

After configuring it (which I had to do via Windows), I browsed to the IP of the printer and saw that it supported IPv6! (Even IPsec) Wow, that is something you don’t see often.

Haven’t tested it with my Ubuntu 10.04 laptop yet, but it is nice to see manufacturers start implementing IPv6 in ordinary products!

Quickcharging an EV, how much power do I need?

There are two points on which people criticise Electric Vehicles (EV):

  • Their range
  • The time it takes to charge them

The first can be solved by ‘simply’ adding a larger battery, this can be in physical size or having more Wh’s (What Hours) per Kilogram.

Filling the tank of a car with a ICE (Internal Combustion Engine) takes about 3 minutes, it is something we are used to. But charging a EV can take up to several hours.

A lot of people say that they will start driving an EV as soon as the range gets better or charging can be done fast, like they are used to right now.

Charging a EV really quick has a few problems which can not be solved that easily:

  • The batteries can’t be charged that fast (Yet)
  • It takes a lot, really A LOT of energy to charge that fast

Take a Tesla Roadster for example, this car has a 53kWh battery pack. 53kWh equals to 190800000 Joule (53 * 1000 * 3600). If we want to charge this battery in 5 minutes, we would need to put 636000 Joules per second into that battery. 636000 Joule equals to a current of 636kW (636000 / 1000).

A simple micro-wave in your kitchen uses about 1kW of energy, charging a EV that fast would use the energy of 636 micro-waves! That would put a lot of stress in the grid, too much stress.

If we charge the EV in 10 minutes we would ‘only’ require 318kW of energy, 20 minutes 159kW and 30 minutes would take 106kW of energy. Those are still high numbers, but they come closer to what is possible.

Take the Nissan Leaf for example, this car has a 24kWh battery which can be charged to 80% in 30 minutes, let’s calculate how much energy we would need.

80% of 24kWh is 19.2kWh, that equals to 69120000 Joule (See my calculations above). 30 minutes equals to 1800 seconds, so charging in 30 minutes requires 38400 Joule per second, or 38.4kW of energy.

Charging that quick will mostly be done at 480 Volt. 38400W / 480V = 80A, that is how much we need to charge a Leaf that fast.

3-phase 480 Volt is not that hard to find / get here in Europe, so charging a Leaf that fast is feasible on a lot of locations.

Not only will quickcharging put a lot of stress on the grid, it would also be unsafe for humans to connect such cables. If the current which flows through that cable would be exposed to a human, you would instantly be killed, no doubt.

Quickcharging a EV has a few drawbacks, let’s sum them up:

  • Bad for the battery

  • Puts a lot of stress on the grid
  • It would be very dangerous for humans to handle such cables

But why would we want to do that? A EV can be charged everywhere! Your car will be parked for most of the time during the day. Those are all possible charge possibilities, we should work towards utilizing those moments. Ofcourse, there will be some places where quickcharging will be possible, but I think they will be placed on strategic locations like road-side restaurants.

I think we need to let go of the concept of filling up our car within a few minutes. In the future battery technology will improve and we will start to see battery packs ranging from 75kWh to 150kWh, which will bring us where we want to go, charge there and get back again.

Tesla Roadster coming soon!

While I’m waiting for my Tesla Model S a friend of mine just bought his Tesla Roadster 2.5, cool!

He choose the Fusion Red color with the executive interior, what a gorgeous! A few pictures below.

While it’s a beautiful machine, it’s also fast and eco-friendly! If you read my blog you might notice that I’m into EV’s, not because I’m such a “environment hippie”, but I simply like the technique behind it.

Right now we are working on getting the fuses at our office upgraded from 1x 35A (230V) to 3x 35A, so that we can use 32A’s charging the roadster.

One of the interesting things is that we live in the Southern part of Holland (Zeeland, Walcheren to be exact) and we need to travel to Amsterdam quite often. While the roadster should get there (220km) with it’s 350km range, we are curious how much energy we will be using, since it’s all highway (120km/h) driving.

In Amsterdam we will also create a 32A socket for charging the roadster, so that we can make the round-trip without problems!

I’ll keep you updated!

Make-kpkg fails due to a ‘+’/plus appended to the kernel version

This weekend i tried to compile a patched 2.6.35 kernel and wanted to install this on multiple machines. But it kept failing when the .deb files were created.

make-kpkg kept complaining that the kernel version, 2.6.35-rbd+ was not in the “control info”.

After some searching i found out this was due to CONFIG_LOCALVERSION_AUTO not being set.

Setting this to ‘y’ solved it for me, now my kernel compiled and got packed the way it should.

De eerste 500km!

Bijna 4 weken geleden heb ik een elektrische scooter gekocht, een Novox C20 (25km/h model) om precies te zijn. Waarom? Ik woon in Zeeland en daar is het in de zomer een drama om met de auto ergens te komen, laat staan parkeren. (Nee, het is echt niet een probleem van de randstad!) Maar ook omdat ik elektrische voertuigen leuk vind.

De afgelopen weken heb ik dus al aardig wat kilometers gemaakt op de C20 en dat bevalt eigenlijk prima! Het is opzich best raar, je pakt de scooter uit de garage en gaat rijden, tanken is niet meer nodig.

Het leukste zijn toch wel de reacties van de mensen om je heen, je hoort en ziet iedereen over je praten, want zeker in Zeeland heeft nog bijna niemand een elektrische scooter gezien. Ook bij een verkeerslicht blijft het leuk, je bent volledig stil, dus je mensen kijken je raar aan.

Een groter probleem is toch wel dat je érg defensief moet rijden, mensen gaan er nu eenmaal vanuit dat ze ander verkeer aan horen komen, dus fietsers zullen zonder te kijken links af slaan, inhalen zonder naar achteren te kijken en ook voetgangers steken lukraak over, ze horen je immers gewoon niet…

Dat blijft toch wel vervelend en soms ook érg irritant, soms lijdt het zelfs tot een boze reactie van mensen, maar dat is gewoon omdat ze erg van je schrikken.

In het begin had ik echter wel last van “range anxiety”, je denkt constant dat je accu leeg is, hij langzamer begint te rijden of dat je het gewoon niet naar huis gaat halen, terwijl dat allemaal tussen je oren zit. Het komt gewoon omdat ik er zelf ook nog niet helemaal aan gewend ben dat er geen geluid van af komt.

Het bereik is verder prima, de eerste dag heb ik samen met mijn vriendin er op ruim 70 kilometer gereden waar hij volgens het boekje 100 moet halen (met één persoon). Inmiddels rijden we regelmatig met twee personen er op zo’n 50 kilometer op een dag en dat haalt de scooter allemaal met gemak. Over landweggetjes met flinke wind, de duinen naar boven, het is geen probleem, ook niet met twee personen.

Het begint wel steeds meer te wennen, je komt thuis, prikt de scooter aan de lader en de volgende dag kan je er gewoon weer mee rijden, heerlijk!

Nu is het wachten op de Tesla Model S..

Het gaat goed met de aanleg van laadpunten

Recentelijk schreef ik nog een blogpost over het feit dat ik een Tesla Model S besteld heb, dit omdat ik zelf elektrisch rijden als de toekomst zie.

Echter woon ik in Zeeland waardoor ik automatisch veel kilometers maak, voor veel zaken moet je namelijk een aardig stuk rijden. De Tesla Model S, met zijn 450km bereik is tot nu toe dan ook de enige, echte elektrische auto die aan mijn wensen voldoet.

Een elektrische auto kan zéér gemakkelijk geladen worden, door deze simpelweg in het stopcontact te “prikken”, echter gaat het laden dan niet zo snel.

Daarom worden er door Nederland heeft op verschillende, strategische plaatsen oplaadpalen geplaatst.

Stichting E-Laad is een van de bekendste spelers op het gebied van het plaatsen van laadpalen, hun doelstelling is om in 2012 een 10.000 laadpalen in Nederland te hebben staan.

Echter zijn ze niet de enige, ook in Amsterdam wordt er door NUON hard gewerkt aan het aanleggen van laadpunten. Daar mag je zelfs al op de mooiste plekken gratis parkeren en laden!

Dit lijkt dus de goede kant op te gaan, het duurt niet lang meer of je kan met een elektrische auto prima door Nederland rijden.

Voor een compleet overzicht van alle laadpunten in Nederland, zie www.oplaadpalen.nl.