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Electric Vehicle Charging at the Grand Canyon National Park - Discrimination Continues!

Discussion in 'Energy, Environment, and Policy' started by Sharkbait, Aug 2, 2018.

  1. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    Today, August 2, 2018, I sent an email to my US Congressman, the Honorable Col. (ret.) Paul Cook, serving California’s 8th District, regarding the lack and unavailability of EV charging stations at the Grand Canyon National Park.

    My wife and I are visiting the Park next week and staying at a hotel managed by one of the two Park’s concessionaires, Xanterra. However, my issue is with the other concessionaire, Delaware North and the National Park Service overseen by the Dept. of Interior. Delaware North operates the Trailer Village concession, the RV park within the NP that supplies RV’ers with power, water, possibly septic and more. It’s been reported by electric car owners, including owners of Teslas, that “dry spots” are available for EV charging. I’m led to believe that a “dry spot” is one, where an EV can only charge, either for free (if you’re a guest staying at a Xanterra concession hotel or for a fee of $10. It would appear that practice has ended or is unavailable during “busy” periods, discriminating and depriving EV owners of the ability to reliably access the Park and return to Flagstaff or Williams, Arizona with enough power to recharge their vehicles.

    The information I refer to was placed up on the Plugshare website (www.plugshare.com) by EV owners and subscribers of the site. So, before taking your Tesla (or any EV) to the Grand Canyon, make sure you know where you are going to charge. There is a destination charger located at the Best Western Premier Hotel in Tusayan but not much else except for a wall outlet at McDonald’s or on an exterior wall outlet at the El Tovar Lodge, which are both dubious in my mind for availability and access. (Perhaps consider the cost of a flatbed to take your powerless EV from GC NP to Flagstaff or Williams, AZ.) Good job I’ve got AAA Premier towing. Oh yeah, you’ll have to pay $200 - $300/night at the Best Western to charge there. Hotel guests only!

    So while the NPS outlaws hobbyists from flying their drones in national parks for taking beautiful videos and pictures due to “noise pollution”, amongst other reasons, the main gate at the southern entrance to the GC NP has a one-hour backup of ICE vehicles, including 9-mile per gallon RVs, all polluting! After all, carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t nearly as bad as “noise” pollution! We need the Dept. of Interior and the National Park Service to pull their heads out of their collective asses, irrespective of political affiliation. We have 535 members of Congress. Surely some of them, or their relatives, or their friends must own EVs, not as if they were too poor to buy a Tesla.

    I encourage everyone, in all 50 states, to email your senator or congressman to protest this discrimination of a class of citizens to fully access their national parks and procure the equivalent fuel for their EVs! The NPS promised us EV charging stations years ago, and little to nothing has been done to address the issue. Any concession that manages hotels or RV camping/parking in our National Parks should be mandated by law to provide adequate and accessible EV chargers, and these charging slots should be monitored for Ice’ing and subsequent towing. Alternatively, the Dept. of Interior and the NPS can remove all the ICE refueling stations from the Parks, all Parks! They can start with the Grand Canyon. We’ll see how that works out for visitors but we’ll have a whole lot less pollution. What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.
     
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  2. ewoodrick

    ewoodrick Active Member

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    So, I hope that your letter may do good, but I suspect that it will do more harm than anything else. When you wave around words like discrimination, you really start sound like a person who just wants to bicker.

    I just looked at Plugshare and I didn't see the issues that you referenced. I'm actually seeing a number of successful charging sessions going on. What you may want to do is to find one of the local concession managers and suggest that they look into the Tesla destination charger program. If you can at least find the information, you can make recommendations on the Tesla site.
    As to the destination chargers at the hotel, often you may want to talk and be nice to them. If they don't have any guests using them, then they may allow you to drop by.
     
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  3. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2018: Drain the Sewer

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    Would you do that before the trip starts or at the destination ? I've considered before but I have no confidence that the nice person I talked to on the phone will be the person I meet.
     
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  4. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    You betcha. Perhaps you would like to contact Trailer Village yourself at the GC and see what story they give you. One wrote on Plugshare that Xanterra guests can charge for free at Trailer Village but TV is run by Delaware North, at least now it is. Another said charging cost $10 at TV. Not yesterday. I know there are empty slots available for the day I need to charge and they said I can pay over $71 for one (up front no less). A little steep few enough watts to make Flagstaff with a reasonable buffer, don't you think? Look, I'm just reporting what I was told as it conflicts with what has been reported in the past. And to "bicker"? Perhaps more in defense of folks driving 60's, 75's, and 85's. I'm fortunate; I have a 100, so I'll probably not encounter any issues but to "bicker"? Call it what you want but when the NPS serves one class of folks at OUR Parks (the people with ICE vehicles) and don't work to serve the other class of folks (the people with EVs) I call that discrimination. If the colonists never thought to "bicker" with England, your taxes would be around 50% by now.
     
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  5. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    The only destination charger at the GC I know about, and previously identified, is the one at Best Western Premier Hotel in Tusayan. It's reserved for guests. Walking in off the street with 5 kW left in your EV, and speaking nicely to front desk person, maybe you will get you a paper cup full of water. Be prepared to book a night at $359 during peak, summer season. The other outlets that have been previously discussed here and on other sites include a NEMA 14-15 attached to the west side of the El Tovar Hotel. The space in front of the outlet is most often ice'd. In fact, if you look at the Plugshare cover photo for the El Tovar outlet, you will see that the spot is ice'd by a Jeep Cherokee. McDonald's in Tusayan reportedly has an outlet that maybe somebody used, but it is not clear to me it was authorized or intended for public use. If you're lucky and use it, expect to stay a while at 3 miles/hour.
     
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  6. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    So we just returned from a 1,500-mile road trip through southern and northern Arizona with two nights at the Grand Canyon. Upgrading to the 100D from my '75 made the trip so much better and stress-free. The car performed as expected, superbly!

    We topped up the charge from 90% to 100% just before checking out of the Courtyard Marriott (Flagstaff Supercharger) and headed up to the Grand Canyon vis US 180, a very scenic and great drive.

    Arrived at Grand Canyon main gate around 12-noon and headed for Trailer Village RV Park to see if I could reserve a "dry spot" for the alleged fee of $10 reported by others. Forget it! There were no "dry spots" and no other slots available for EV charging. I sort of anticipated this during high season, but Delaware North (one of the two Park concessionaires) is NOT EV friendly. The attendant at Trailer Village RV Park seemed to care less about my EV charging needs. Ok, move on.

    I traveled over to the El Tovar Lodge to seek out the 14-50 outlet located on an exterior wall of the hotel but it was ICE'ed. I parked and went into the hotel, explained my situation and asked the front desk why a parking slot to charge an EV could be ICE'ed and could the vehicle be removed. Got the "not my job response" because it was the Park's responsibility to enforce parking. So I tried another approach since my concerns were not being addressed.

    It just so happens, I made dinner reservations at the El Tovar main dining room for that evening, a dinner that with wine would easily top $150. I told the front desk manager that if they couldn't help me with the ICE'ing situation for their single outlet, I would have to cancel my dining reservation and eat elsewhere, albeit without the ambiance (but quid-pro-quo). They asked me where I was staying, which happened to be the Maswik Lodge (also managed by Xanterra). They called Maswik to ask if they could help me. As we were staying at Maswik, I was told they had a spot for me to charge and to contact Weylan at the front desk.

    When I arrived at Maswik to check in, Weylan was waiting and hooked me up! He gave me a spot where they charge their electric golf cart type vehicles and said I could have it for my entire stay. It was only a 110v outlet, charging at 3 miles per hour but fed the bulldog! Weylan also informed me they were also installing two, 220v charging stations on the property, which would be opening within the month. He couldn't provide details of the electrical connection interface types, so bring your adapters!
     

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  7. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2018: Drain the Sewer

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    Flagstaff is ~ 80 miles south of the GC and Page about 110 miles to the North. Both have Superchargers.
    I don't understand the commotion over a crappy destination charger.
     
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  8. ArizonaP85

    ArizonaP85 Member

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    Elevation change and very cold temps in the winter, plus many visitors want to see the Grand Canyon on their way to or from points west where the next/previous SC is in Kingman. Going past Williams to Flagstaff or having to return to Flagstaff before going west involves a lot of backtracking and wasted time.

    Out and back trips just through Flagstaff only make sense for folks coming from and returning to Phoenix, which is a tiny portion of the millions of yearly Grand Canyon visitors.
     
  9. Phrixotrichus

    Phrixotrichus Member

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    All I could think of while reading those rants:
    [​IMG]
    You`re an early adopter of a tech that hasn`t really developed its infrastructure, yet. It´s still a small niche and hence many regions don`t have developing infrastructure for said niche high up on their agenda.
     
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  10. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2018: Drain the Sewer

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    #10 SageBrush, Aug 17, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2018
    I see.

    Kingman -> GC -> Flagstaff is 250 miles. Most but not all Teslas can skip the fight with the hotel clerk.
     
  11. ArizonaP85

    ArizonaP85 Member

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    You're missing the 4000' elevation change between Kingman SC and the Grand Canyon, plus further hills from Grand Canyon to Flagstaff SC. Add in weight (most people don't go to the Grand Canyon as a single driver with no passengers or luggage; it's a family vacation destination) and especially with cold and/or snow as early as October, and not even a 3LR can make your trip.
     
  12. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    If I'm up at the GC for several days, it's possible that I might want to travel between Desert View and GC Village a couple times to catch the best evening and morning light (two roundtrips 130 miles). I really don't want to hole up in the village for three nights. I don't believe a 100 can make a couple round trips to Desert View and back plus a trip up from Flagstaff (80 miles) and then a run to Kingman (175 miles). And Page, AZ? Really? Would I drive all the way to Page to charge rather than back to Phoenix or some Level 2 RV park near Williams? If I'm heading west from GC to southern California, I don't want to double back to Phoenix, spend an hour supercharging and then waste another 45 minutes driving west to Williams and then on to Kingman. No, you really want to charge somewhere in the Grand Canyon, and if the front office manager at the Maswik Lodge is kind enough to let me use his 110V outlet for 15 hours, I can pick up an extra 45 kW while I'm sleeping and travel about anothe 135 miles. Anyway, there will be a couple 220V chargers installed near the Maswik within the next month, which is at least a bandaid for now.​
     
  13. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    And that's my point, which is to get the NPS off their asses and move quickly to get the "infrastructure" installed! But if you're driving a 12 mpg Cadillac Escalade to the GC, no worries. You'll be able to fill up your 35-gallon tank with nature's best fossil fuel at the GC Village gasoline pump. And NPS is all about the "Environment". Don't bring your drone though. They noise pollute! What a laugh!
     
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  14. SageBrush

    SageBrush 2018: Drain the Sewer

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    Good point.

    So now it looks like a reasonable trip plan for coming from and returning to the West could be:
    Kingman -> Flagstaff SC -> GC
    GC -> Kingman SC

    That adds about 70 miles over the most direct route and removes the elevation penalty. I don't know the route to say if the indirect road via Flagstaff is a faster drive but it has that appearance on the map.
     
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  15. abasile

    abasile Conscientious investor

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    Destination charging is a problem at a great many national parks. Investing in this is opposed by some environmentalists on the left who don't want to see any significant new infrastructure in the parks, and by plenty of conservative climate change deniers who see EV infrastructure as a waste of money. Those environmentalists have at least succeeded in removing some national park gas stations (Yosemite NP comes to mind here), but they need to understand the bigger picture and accept that running a bunch of shuttle buses won't solve everything.

    I think Tesla needs to continue adding Superchargers in "gateway" communities adjacent to popular national parks, like the Superchargers in West Yellowstone, MT, outside Yosemite at Fish Camp, CA and Groveland, CA, and outside Joshua Tree NP at 29 Palms, CA. This isn't to say there shouldn't be a focus on adding destination chargers, but Superchargers are still needed by those who are doing short visits or spending most of their time in locations without electrical infrastructure. Tusayan, AZ would be an obvious location for Superchargers.

    I have a lot more faith in Tesla building out the Supercharger network over the next couple of years than in the US Government working to get destination chargers installed.
     
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  16. Phrixotrichus

    Phrixotrichus Member

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    Why should they invest for the handful EVs that actually have a problem with that?

    Tesla had their reasons to invest in their own infrastructure. It´s blatantly obvious that no one invests heavily where no money can be made or only a handful of people can profit from more developed services.
    You seriously can`t blame the NPS for not giving a *sugar* about the few EVs around yet.

    Give the model 3 and similar vehicles some time to actually show up in numbers to make investing money for 3rd parties worthwile!
    Until then don`t act like such a self entitled "i want to speak to your manager"-person.
     
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  17. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    I don't. Look at the number of permits taken out lately compared to say three years ago. Also look at the number of Superchargers that were promised "coming soon" one, two or three years ago. Look, I don't care who puts the chargers in. I'll pay for power if I have to. That doesn't bother me. It's the head in the sand mentality that upsets me. Most here bought Tesla because we believe in the technology, the environment and the future of electric vehicles.
     
  18. Don TLR

    Don TLR Member

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    That's great news as I always stay at the Maswik, cheap and clean rooms. I've got reservations around Xmas time as the weather conditions are typically great for photographing the Canyon at that time of the year. Tusayan is just over $110 last time I was waffling on car of Jeep and checking for openings.
     
  19. abasile

    abasile Conscientious investor

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    I agree that Supercharger rollouts have been slower this year, probably because Tesla is trying to keep its capital expenditures down, but I expect this lull to be temporary.

    By contrast, getting the government to move is almost never easy, and we know how things worked out in the past when the federal government paid for private entities to install charging stations. (We got the Blink Network, haha.) Inside the national parks, any new project has to go through additional layers of review. It's not nearly as easy as decades ago when those gas stations were put in.

    We've been to a number of national parks in our Model S, and at many of them, we've submitted comment cards asking for EV charging. Virtually every park employee we've encountered has been very happy to see us visiting in an EV, and I have no reason to doubt their sincerity. But it's clearly an uphill battle.

    All I can say is, if you really want to support Tesla and EVs, just continue using your Tesla vehicle to visit national parks even when this involves some inconvenience. Politely request access to charging whenever you can. Where there are charging gaps, be creative and approach RV parks and other nearby businesses even if they aren't listed in PlugShare. And don't hesitate to go out of your way to access Superchargers if that's what it takes.
     
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  20. Sharkbait

    Sharkbait Member

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    1. EVs owners pay taxes, some of which end up in the coffers of the Dept. of the Interior (and eventually NPS).
    2. Planning for new infrastructure is part of the charter of the Dept. of the Interior (EVs since at least 2014).
    3. The Dept. of the Interior has allegedly committed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and energy consumption.
    4. In 2017, China announced its intention to phase out the production and sale of gas and diesel vehicles altogether.
    5. Two years ago, the Dutch government voted to end all gas and diesel car sales by 2025.
    6. A year ago, India said that it would end sales of gas and diesel cars by 2030.
    7. Norway, France, UK, all following suit. (Interesting enough, Merkel (Germany) hasn't commented on a date. I guess they're still fiddling around with diesel emissions numbers and auto computers to sell VWs.)
    8. EV production and sales are growing exponentially.

    One can go on and on. If one massive electric charging station isn't required at one of the nation's largest national parks, I vote to REMOVE the gasoline station in GC Village. After all, all those ICE vehicles can fill up outside the park or maybe at Flagstaff or Williams, Arizona. Why not?

    Who is going to invest in all this infrastructure? I vote for a foreign visitor fee to our National Parks, say $100/head per park visited. Last year, approximately one million visitors to the GC were from a foreign country. (1,000,000 X $100 = $100,000,000). At $300K - $400K per supercharger site, Elon can put in 250 supercharger sites in the 1,900 sq. mile park. There ya go. Infrastructure paid for in one year!!!!



     
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