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Encouraging EVs - Rebates or Destination Chargers

Discussion in 'North America' started by RDoc, Jun 26, 2014.

  1. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    Massachusetts recently started an EV rebate program funded with $1.86M to grant rebates up to $2500 for purchasers of EV's. I'm doubtful that this is the best use of the money.

    It seems to me that the main barrier to EV adoption is range and/or the lack of charging infrastructure, not a marginal price difference. The same funding could have added perhaps 150 level 2 chargers around the state at destinations such as the outer Cape, the Berkshires, etc. Or, probably much better, 8 or so level 3 DC charging stations around the state that would make for a very robust charging infrastructure. If, rather than rebates, such infrastructure construction was done by governments at all levels I think the range issue would drop into the general political background noise.
     
  2. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I agree, getting a small rebate on a $40k car purchase is not a big convincing factor. Having many charging locations has a bigger impact I think. When people see these chargers everywhere, at every parking lot, it's like advertising for EVs. They see, before they even seriously consider an EV, that there are chargers wherever they go. One of the most asked question I get about my car is 'where do you charge' (when you are not at home). People have no clue where charging stations are. Seeing them everywhere would give people the confidence to get an EV.
     
  3. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    You are fortunate to live in a state with the foresight to offer any incentives. With this demonstrated EV friendly attitude, perhaps in the future they will be receptive to offering charging infrastructure incentives as well.

    The issue of EV incentive priorities is likely to be viewed differently depending on whether you own an EV, versus whether you are seriously considering the purchase of one.

    It also depends on which EV you are in the market for. People with the financial means to afford a Model S are more likely to purchase the car regardless of government rebates. People with less disposable income looking for an environmentally friendly commuting car are going to view government rebates as necessary to get them to pull the trigger.

    Once we move from prospective EV owner to EV owner our priorities naturally shift. Once you own an EV, regardless of the type, you are likely to prefer infrastructure incentives. It's just human nature.

    Larry
     
  4. RDoc

    RDoc S85D

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    For the record, I don't own an EV.
     
  5. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    Larry, I agree with you though one point about chargers (AKA EVSEs)

    The existence of public EV chargers does have one impact on prospective EV buyers. When they see a lot of them, it reduces range anxiety as an objection. "Oh, I could charge there." There have been studies that show this. They also show that people don't use public chargers as much as they thought they would after they buy. Except for true destination chargers (like at hotels, work, park-and-ride lots), most chargers get little use and the vast majority of charging is done at home. So, public chargers are basically a PSA encouraging people to buy EVs but do not provide much in the way of actual charging. Superchargers are an exception to this but they meet a specialized need (long distance travel).
     
  6. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    The problem for destination chargers is contention rates. Piecemeal installation of general public chargers is nice for early adopters but if it's worth doing, it's not worth doing because once you get to early pragmatists you end up with contention being high enough that nobody can rely on it.

    To be meaningful I think the approach needs to be one of:
    - OTR DC fast chargers that allow BEV owners to push their range and get a top-up in an emergency
    - Destination charging that can be relied on at a destination, either through a reservation systems or by sheer volume.

    Government is in a position that can allow it to act in a constructive way.

    Personally, I'd rather they focus on doing what the market can't:
    - electrification of government fleets
    - standardizing EV parking signage
    - enacting parking laws that prevent ICEing without preventing collaborative charging
    - modifying building standards to encourage and eventually require charge-it-where-you-park it for home parking
    - preparing for and underwriting street-by-street installation of on-street chargers.
    - supporting large-scale installations of chargers at hotels.

    PS Congratulations USA on losing by 3 fewer goals than Portugal against Germany.
     
  7. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    INATM, totally agree with you. I would also add
    - passing laws requiring apartment buildings to support charging stations (perhaps that's in your building standards point but we need retrofitting as well)
    - passing laws requiring home owner associations, condos and co-ops to be more EV friendly (devil in the details, though)

    The second one is pretty important since we hear a lot of stories about how condo boards are resistant to EVs in general.
     
  8. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    I see that you have a reservation for a Model X. I should of course added in my remark "People with the financial means to afford a Model S or a Model X are more likely to purchase the car regardless of government rebates." :smile:

    Larry
     
  9. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    Larry, you are right, your focus changes before and after you own an EV. Even though $2500 (here in California) is a significant amount of money, people don't perceive it that way when they are looking at a price of $40k. It's a strange way of thinking. When buying a car, many people are fine adding a $1500 option or pay $2000 extra for nicer wheels because in relation to the total price it's a small percentage. Seeing $43k on the sticker or $41k on the sticker doesn't convince anyone to buy an EV. Adding free charging stations at public parking, at malls, at parks and so on would push the EV adoption more as it gives people the confidence they don't have.

    One of the biggest concern that people have when I talk to them about my EV is 'what do you do when you run out of battery'. Why? Because they don't know where charging stations are, they are worried they can't charge where they go and run out of juice. Model S owners rarely have that issue, but every other EV has such a limited range that charging during the day is often necessary. If they saw that there are chargers at all the places they go on a daily basis, it would take away their worries. That's why I think investing in chargers would overall have a bigger effect. Especially considering that the federal government already gives you $7500.
     
  10. Larry Chanin

    Larry Chanin Model S Perf Sig 1055

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    This is an excellent point.

    Regarding your last bullet, I am a big proponent of Destination Charging and I would like to see state and local governments helping out.

    Obviously, this is an area where in addition to the government, the market, particularly hotel chains, can also assist.

    Larry
     
  11. David99

    David99 Active Member

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    I would say the majority of Model S owners own a house and have no problem installing a home charger. The majority of the population lives in condos or apartments where access to a garage is limited and installing a charger is up to the building owner. I know from many people and my own experience they mostly don't care and just say 'no'. That's where we will need laws that require condo and apartment owners to allow renters to have chargers. I just did a little research recently and pretty much every apartment management I talked to didn't want anything to do with EV charging. A few installed chargers but had Chargepoint install and manage them and they were shared with all residents (what a mess) and they are ridiculously expensive ($0.35 per kWh when electricity here is 11 ct at night).
     
  12. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    According to the 2011 American Housing Survey, of the 132 million housing units, over 83 million had a garage or carport, and another 40 million had a driveway or other off-street parking available. Nationally, 65% of housing units are owner-occupied and 96 million of the housing units are single-unit.

    Of course, in large cities, including those in CA, more peole rent than own, but the fact that CA has relatively high ownership of plug-ins compared to the rest of the nation should make it clear that while charger installation laws are helpful, the interest of landlords isn't going to decide the success of PEVs. I think an on-target Gen 3 would have volume sales and spark a large shift in attitudes, aided by any incremental improvements from other manufacturers (especially if GM can make a significant step forward with Volt 2.0).
     
  13. aventineavenue

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    #13 aventineavenue, Jun 28, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 28, 2014
    Consumer Education is still the biggest obstacle, IMO

    To a certain extent I agree - in that for any money spent on incentives or charging stations, there needs to be money spent on education and outreach initiatives related to the incentives, stations, and perhaps most important of all, the very basics of plug in cars versus gasoline cars.

    When there are a dozen new car models for under $30k (several under $20k after incentives) whose electric range easily meets or exceeds the commutes or daily drives of 50-90% of Americans (some of which like the Volt and Energi cars that come with zero range anxiety nor need for public charging), there is not a technology nor infrastructure gap, there is a consumer knowledge gap.

    So I don't think more money spent on public charging stations is next what's most needed - as public charging is just the tip of the charging pyramid. At this point I think it's better to let the private sector drive public charging as a value-added enticement for customers, and we are already seeing that with for example supermarket chains installing their own branded station when a new store is built. The next big slice of the charging pyramid is Workplace charging, and that ties in to where I think the most effort is needed - workplace based EV education.

    The public is STILL woefully ignorant, as a recent survey showed that 75% didn't even know that an electric cost less to operate, and 95% were unaware of the existence of incentives (like the $7500 federal credit that has been around for almost 6 years). The best place to actually reach groups of people is at their employer.

    Money needs to be allocated to develop education workshops (combined with touch'n'drive events?) particularly at workplaces, as wellness or brown bags lunch and learns. Once people learn about things like 5 year total cost of ownership, and have any variety of their pre-conceived myths about electrics, we will really see the needle move, with hand of the consumer pushing the dealers and manufacturers.

    Of course I'm not just talking about this like "somebody needs to do it" - I manage an organization named Drive Electric Cars New England and we are trying to get these ideas off the ground in the tri-state area.
     
  14. Madartist

    Madartist Member

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    Have you thought about getting one? I hear Model S is a pretty nice car. :smile:
     
  15. GSP

    GSP Member

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    Even though public charging is the tip of the charging pyramid, and rarely needed, when you need it you really need it. Even enthusiasts on this board who really wanted a Model S were concerned about what to do about long trips and considering it a real obstacle to purchase. SuperChargers are taking care of that problem nicely, and are great advertising for Tesla.

    For the 80 mile cars there can be days when unexpected driving around town, or short trips just out of town, where public DC fast charging is needed. I think many people are not buying these cars because of this issue. I drive a Chevy Volt to get around it. I rarely need the gas backup, but when I need it, I really need it. If there were reliable DC fast chargers around town and in nearby towns, then an 84-mile Leaf could do what my Volt does (except trips out of state). This would be enough to ditch the gas backup, using a longer range car for out of state trips. DC fast chargers would also be good advertising for EVs, and eliminate an obstacle for many prospective buyers. To be effective at all, customers need to be able to rely on the DC fast chargers. That requires, at a minimum, two separate chargers at each location and effective maintenance and "de-ICEing."

    Letting the public sector handle this will be slow and difficult, since there is no known business model to pay for installation and maintenance except for Tesla's "pay for it with the car" model. None of the other automakers seem inclined to do this yet, but hopefully that will change. Governments tend to do badly, since the stations are not always designed with EV drivers wants and needs in mind, and they can out of service for months after the vendor gets their one-time government check. Perhaps non-profit advocacy groups can step in and help.

    GSP
     
  16. PhilBa

    PhilBa Active Member

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    #16 PhilBa, Jun 29, 2014
    Last edited: Jun 29, 2014
    This is a complex area and there is really is no single solution to meet all the perceived issues. I say perceived because as our understanding of EVs evolves, many of the older charging truisms have been proven wrong. For example, early on, there was a belief that chargers would attract business to all sorts of stores and people would charge while shopping. The empty chargers sitting outside of 400 Walgreen's and countless other stores put that one to bed. Secondly, people with short range EVs are pretty good at planning their daily usage. 95% of all commutes are less than 60 miles round trip (51% < 20 miles). For the most part, they have self selected cars that work for their situation. This is a key reason why the public charging networks have incredibly low utilization. (An other is the cost differential between home and public charging.) Having these networks is good in one way (probably their only real value) in that they help people to overcome range anxiety when making an EV purchase decision. Once they have the car and realize they can manage their range just fine with home charging, they never charge there.

    Eventually, the average EV range will increase to the point were this isn't even a discussion point.

    The real areas of focus should be in making home charging available to apartment dwellers and co-op and condo owners. Currently, an EV is not an appropriate vehicle choice for these people. Using a public EVSE as a primary charger is a very dissatisfying experience. Llike driving to a gas station, having to leave your car there for a couple of hours and then move it somewhere else. That's just not going to work for most people. There are some piecemeal approaches (like charging at work) but until there is commonplace "home" charging, EV penetration in that cohort will be low. (I define home charging as charging where the car is normally parked.)
     
  17. ChadS

    ChadS Petroleum is for sissies

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    I agree with most of what you said, but would like to modify this. There are still lots of EVSE site hosts that love the extra business they get from their EVSEs and help us talk other site hosts in to signing on. But every owner I knew rolled their eyes when we heard about Walgreens getting them. It has been known for many years that a good EVSE site host should be sufficiently far from the owner's home AND be a place where they park sufficiently long. Walgreens typically fit neither of those criteria.

    I don't think Walgreens is evidence that EVSEs doesn't attract businesses to site hosts; I think it is just evidence that they don't attract business to ANY site host - sites still need to be chosen carefully. I think most owners have been trying to discourage, say, video stores (another bad example for the same reasons) from hosting EVSEs. Though there have been some selling EVSEs that have been trying to convince EVERY business that they would be a good location...perhaps that is what you were referring to.
     
  18. brianman

    brianman Burrito Founder

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    I was thinking about this earlier...

    If someone put a Roadster charger at every Fry's location, that would cost me a lot of money. (Camping out at Fry's for 2+ hours is, um, likely expensive.)
     
  19. aventineavenue

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    Paid Workplace charging is consider the best solution to the apartment dweller/condo problem by many policy makers, and I agree. Where else do people spend 8 to 10 hours a day almost every day, and have an established relationship that could ensure access and ease of payment? Even level one charging could be fine in many cases.

    Unfortunately with current non Tesla vehicles, this workplace charging idea only works for relatively short commutes (25 miles RT in Leaf/ 20 miles RT in Volt) but that is the commute of just over 50% of people!

    For example, My Volt commute is 70 miles RT so I need to charge at home overnight and again at work to stay gas free. But if my commute was half that, say 35 miles, I could charge just at work and never plug in at home - and then drive to the occasional public charging station on the weekend, if needing a few extra miles. That seems like a much simpler model than the other co-housing charging ones I have seen.
     
  20. richkae

    richkae VIN587

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    I don't think anyone but a tiny minority is going to buy an EV that is incapable of meeting their daily driving needs with only home charging.
    Municipalities should use their resources to put in EVSEs aimed at visitors, not locals. I don't think the locals need it, but they can use the stuff aimed at visitors, however it should be priced to discourage locals and keep it open for visitors.

    When I am visiting somewhere, I want destination chargers at tourist locations:
    hotels, parks, museums, restaurants, convention centers, theatres, concert venues.
     

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