Placement of Quick Charge Stations Key to Eliminating Range Anxiety

By · April 04, 2013

Blink Charger

Photo Credit:JPWhite

The number of Quick Charge stations in the U.S. may not be nearly as important as where they're installed.

For example, consider the installation of a new Blink DC Quick Charger in Casa Grande, Arizona. The city of Casa Grande is relatively small, with only approximately 50,000 people calling it home. At first glance, it might not seem the most likely place for a Quick Charge station, but its location of halfway between Phoenix and Tuscon.

The distance between Phoenix and Tuscon is roughly 116 miles. That's too far for most electric vehicles to venture on a single charge. But, with a Quick Charge station placed at roughly the mid-point of this journey, most EVs can now make the trek between Arizona's two largest cities.

"This infrastructure is critical to get from Tucson to Phoenix," said Leisa Brug, director of the Governor’s Office of Energy Policy, who spoke at the opening of the station on Monday.

Location, Location, Location

The Blink DC Quick Charger in Casa Grande could encourage EV owners to make the journey between Tuscon and Phoenix, since they now know that a near-full recharge can be accomplished in less than 30 minutes, or in less time than its takes to eat some lunch or do some shopping. Other charging stations in the Case Grande area take several hours to full recharge an EV.

The Casa Grande is located at Chevron gas station and Discovery Market, off Interstate 10. "You can get a burrito at Nico's, or a pizza at Little Caesar's, or a soft drink," said Mike Mennenga, who owns the gas station. "We definitely have the full assortment of goodies to keep you busy for a little bit."

According to Fox Phoenix, a 15-minute charge costs about $10.

Blink Charger

The San Francisco Bay Area has about a dozen Quick Chargers, currently situated so that EV drivers can travel between the area's biggest cities—but none in the city of San Francisco itself. More Quick Chargers are on the way. (Source: Recargo)

So, it's not the number of quick charge stations installed in the U.S. that matters, but the strategic placement that will make electric vehicles appear more user-friendly and capable of occasionally making a road trip. This, in turn, could convince greater number of carbuyers that EVs are practical.

Comments

· · 3 years ago

I'd be interested in seeing who pays the electric bill for these things. If there's any charging going on at 11 am or 4pm in the summertime, it would have to increase the building's demand fine, of probably around $700 per month. That means the thing has to be used 70 times per month at $10 per top off, or more than twice a day, just to pay for the demand charge.

As our resident restaurant owner Tom says, there has to be an additional reason to be able for the business to justify installing one.

But its a start that they put they thing where its NEEDED. I can only view from a distance since there are currently none in the area where I live, and doesn't appear we will have any for quite some time. I've heard about all the glowing Nissan Dealership announcements, but that has yet to pan out around these parts. In this area, Nissan Dealerships are going to have by far the biggest number of PUBLIC level 2 stations, simply because no one else has added ANY in the past 2 years. Some Chevy, Cadillac, Fiat, and Ford dealerships may have something, but to date I haven't seen any of them in this area accessible to the public, but at least one Minnesota Chevy Dealership has at least put a 15 amp Voltec on an outside wall (which could be pressed into service for an alternate brand in an emergency).

· · 3 years ago

Hey Eric,

No problem if you use my photo, but can you please add an attribution so folks know who the photographer is please ?

Pretty Please?

· · 3 years ago

Exactly Bill. There's simply no way they will pay for themselves let alone be profitable unless you really rely on what value you get from having them on your site.

I read comments where people complain about paying $1.00 hour to use a L2 public charger. That thing cost thousands to install, the electricity isn't free and the maintenance can be expensive with vandalism a constant issue. I can only imagine how much a DC quick charger cost to buy, install and pay the demand fees to operate. It's very difficult for a private entity to justify installing them. You do have a captured customer for 30 minutes to an hour so you better have a lot of impulse items/snacks/coffee, etc to sell or it will always be a losing proposition.

· · 3 years ago

And why should taxpayers pay for those so called "DC chargers" so they benefit only few auto makers?

I think public money should fund L2 240V chargers only if it does anything at all...

· · 3 years ago

@Bill: you're right that demand fees could make quick-charging stations insanely expensive to operate. Some research on that very topic: http://www.theevproject.com/downloads/documents/2.%20DC%20Fast%20Charge-Demand%20Charge%20Reduction%20V1.0%20Revised%20(2).pdf

Unlike their counterpart in the south, center/northern California utilities (PG&E and at least some other smaller ones like CPAU) realized that EV adoption could greatly benefit the grid (short-term: charging takes advantage of lower night-time rates; longer-term: vehicle-to-grid applications) and that quick-charging was a key enabler -- they therefore waive any demand charge in this context.
I don't know whether utilities in other states have similar policies, hopefully at least some do.

@MMF: first, L2 is completely inadequate for charging en route, it's way too slow. Only DCQC makes (some) sense to extend range.
Next, following your flawed logic, why should taxpayers pay to subsidize the oil industry, maintain a strong military and occasionally wage some war to help insure supply etc -- things costing hundreds of millions times more than charging stations?
Why should EV drivers, or anyone not using fossil fuels for that matter, bear the environmental and health costs associated with them?
We could go on...

· · 3 years ago

More fast chargers is certainly a good thing but for the foreseeable future and even beyond, a micro range extender as a standing safeguard will be a more desirable option since it also protects from blackouts and provide energy source flexibility. It can also transform an average range electric into the only family car, one thing that makes a huge difference for the millions that can only afford one car or doesn’t have panoramic parking areas. Also on financial terms this is the best value for money, a 75 miles battery with a 15 KW micro generator. It gives a decent range for commute and as a sole electric generator it comes in cheaper in regard to full dual motorizations.

· · 3 years ago

@Tom,

People complaining about $1/hr are probably used to getting public charging for free. At $2.40/hr, most public L2 around here is completely unused. This is cost-parity with $10/gallon gasoline for a Volt driver. I understand that businesses exist to make a profit, but they cannot do so with these prices. By contrast, when these units were first installed, they were free to use. As a result, I personally spent a lot more time and money at the shopping centers that had them.

As for DCQC prices, I doubt Tesla's model (free supercharging for the life of the car) will really take off. I will be hopeful and say I believe people will be more willing to pay a significant premium because they recognize the convenience. L2 simply doesn't provide much convenience most of the time (outside of home/work).

· · 3 years ago

Exactly Brian that's my point. The charging stations will never come close to paying for themselves let alone make a profit. It's even harder with DC quick charge stations so there HAS to be a way the station managers can justify installing them. It's difficult to convince a property owner that it's worth installing them. I have had this discussion with many property owners and managers as I have been trying to help get more public charging installed. It's a tough sell telling someone to invest thousands of dollars on something that will certainly lose money but you'll make it up in "other ways".

· · 3 years ago

@Mr. O

I spent some time analyzing your link, apparently I am in an area of relatively high demand charges, But Southern California Edison takes the cake.

When I was a kid, small customer demand charges were more or less a 'minimum charge' , with a somewhat higher kwh rate if you tended to use large demands w/respect to your overall usage, but otherwise the situation was liveable for Mom and Pop businesses. They almost had heart attacks when Mario Cuomo (our current governor's father) , in effect, destroyed the electricity business in this part of the state. Strong words? I wouldn't say so.

Would you rather pay Seatle's $1.22 / kw demand charges, or SCE's $20 /kw ?

The difference wasn't quite this stark, but I'm proving my point.

You'd have to ask Brian Nead exactly where this Level III thing is, but apparently some Level 3 charger locations may benefit from an Arizona rate structure which (unbelievably) EXEMPTS the first 50kw. Exactly the right size for a fast charger. Just don't have more than 1 per meter in this specialized case.

· · 3 years ago

@Mr. O.

oops. you could also ask Benjamin Nead, Brian's brother. (Ben knows about him right?)

· · 3 years ago

I'm not exactly sure who Brian Nead is, Bill. We've got Brian Schwerdt commenting on this thread, above, though.

In regards to this new Level 3 EVSE at Casa Grande, we're please to finally get it. Ecotality/Blink promised a bunch of them along I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix something like 4 years ago. Better late than never. Our local EV chat group talked about this - and the earlier GoE3 Level 3 installation 30 miles to the south in Pacacho Peak (which is, apparently, off line at the moment) extensively last week . . .

https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/evtucson

As for how to feed electricity to these new Level 3s, we've got sunshine down here in spades. I would hope all such Arizona Level 3 installations will have lots of grid tied solar PV to go along with it.

· · 3 years ago

@ JPWhite...apologies for the oversight...wasn't aware that was your photo...I added a captioned link under the image

· · 3 years ago

Thanks Eric :-)

As for the hourly cost of using EVSEs being too high, I agree but also understand that it's an easy mistake to make for a property owner.

Compared to a $50 filliup of gas a few bucks seems like a bargain. Non EV drivers do not comprehend that level 2 chargers are actually quite slow. Many non EV drivers think the cost of electric will be high to charge a vehicle so once again a few bucks looks like its cheap.

If the vast majority of evse's go unused this could kill the deployment to new properties as new spreads that they are seldom used.

Property owners should offer free charges or at least the first hour free to encourage use and the consumption of their goods/services.

· · 3 years ago

We just logged 18,000 miles on our 2011 LEAF. Love the LEAF and I would love to see at least ONE Quick Charger in Oklahoma. I disagree with your belief that more Chargers will Eliminate Range Anxiety. Increased RANGE will eliminate Range Anxiety. My Range Anxiety will be cured with an EV with a 200 - 300 mile range. I know a $70,000 to $90,000 Tesla will eliminate my Range Anxiety, maybe that lottery ticket will pay off one day.

· · 3 years ago

@MurrayT

Exactly. I've said the same thing 10 times by now and no one agrees with me. Maybe because you said it, people will now believe.

This is one point where Carlos Ghosn is wrong. You as an actual customer, know what you want: MORE RANGE.

But Its an expensive mistake, for the authorized Dealer, that is.. Nissan around western NY (and I assume most locales) will have to most public stations available since they are installing 4 L2's per dealership, although no L3's.

But if Ghosn can be wrong about this so can Martin Eberhardt be about clothes dryers (on another blog I showed why a 35 to 50 amp branch circuit *cannot* be used). . Same as Jay Leno has said more than once that refrigerators run on 220 volts. He's been in Beverly Hills way too long. The most expensive stand alone (i.e. no refrigerant in the walls) appliances I can find are roughly $10,000.00, but are still 110 volt. I have no idea what he is buying but no one in Buffalo has one.

New to EVs? Start here

  1. Seven Things To Know About Buying a Plug-In Car
    A few simple tips before you visit the dealership.
  2. Incentives for Plug-in Hybrids and Electric Cars
    Take advantage of credits and rebates to reduce EV costs.
  3. Buying Your First Home EV Charger
    You'll want a home charger. Here's how to buy the right one.