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Too many electric cars, not enough workplace chargers (San Jose Mercury News story)

Discussion in 'Electric Vehicles' started by wraithnot, Jan 20, 2014.

  1. wraithnot

    wraithnot Model S VIN #5785

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    This story was in yesterday's San Jose Mercury news: Too many electric cars, not enough workplace chargers creating tension on Silicon Valley tech campuses - San Jose Mercury News

    Adoption rate at the two companies featured in the article were higher than I would have expected (61 EV owners of the 1,800 SAP employees on site- 3.4% and 27 of 260 employees at infoblox- 10.4%).

    I also found PG&E's estimate pretty impressive: "PG&E expects to see as many as 800,000 electric vehicles on the road within its Northern California territory by the end of 2020, up from just 20,000 now, and the valley is a hot spot of adoption."
     
  2. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    I hope more of this happens. In the long term I see one of three things happening:
    - "Remember those 80 mile electric cars?" (Battery, inverter and motor prices don't drop and credits expire, with high costs limiting the market to luxury, long-range vehicles so nobody needs to charge at work.)
    - "Why would you want a charger here? You have 200 miles of range, it's your commute that needs to change!" (Battery prices keep falling, tech keeps improving, long-range BEVs take over)
    - "Sure, plug in, the batteries are full." (More businesses have the latest solar power tech with battery back-up so have excess electricity available during sunny days).

    I really don't see workplace charging being a long-term thing. It just doesn't make sense to me.
     
  3. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    Either SAP doesn't pay enough so their employees can't afford a Model S :tongue: - bad sign - or, they don't see their employees' time as a valuable resource, calling for more chargers - even more of a bad sign. Sigh.
    As a facility manager I would go great lengths to make sure moving cars to free up charging bays is not needed.
     
  4. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    Well, progressive employers ensure that their employees take a break during the day ...
     
  5. timf

    timf Member

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    The way I see it, there are three reasons someone would charge at work.

    1. Their car doesn't have enough range to get them to and from work without charging during the day.
    2. They live in an apartment or condo and aren't able to charge at home.
    3. They are taking advantage of charging for free or at a reduced rate compared to what it costs to charge at home.

    #1 is range anxiety and shows no signs of going away soon besides the introduction of affordable Teslas. In fact, it is likely to only get worse as major automakers push plug-in hybrids that people are going to want to drive electrically as much as possible but will need to recharge frequently to do so. I feel that plug-in vehicles become the most practical when the range covers at least 150% of a typical day's driving so you never feel the need to recharge except overnight.

    #2 I foresee as always being a problem as you are going to run into the same issues at apartment buildings as at offices. How many stations is enough? Who takes more of the burden, landlords or employers? The most practical long-term solution in these circumstances would be to offer longer range vehicles with fast-charging in a central location.

    #3 is the most easily remedied. Having free charging is a nice perk, but the infrastructure can quickly become saturated if too many take advantage of it. Like free access to the carpool lanes, this is a good incentive to get people to discover the joy of driving electrically, but at a certain point you need to balance supply and demand. When it becomes cost prohibitive to increase supply, decreasing demand becomes the next best approach. Ultimately, it should cost the same to charge at work as it does at home to discourage freeloading.

    In short, while some capacity of at-work charging should be provided for the foreseeable future, there are ways to handle the supply and demand issues without endless expansion of the number of charging stations.
     
  6. GSP

    GSP Member

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    #6 GSP, Jan 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2014
    1) apartments and condos need to provide charging to residents, at the residents expense.
    2) workplace charging should be provided at the employee's expense. This makes sure it is available for employees when they NEED it.
    3) DC fast charging needs to be available to fill in the gaps, and allow longer distance travel. If you are low, just stop at a DC fast charger for 20-30 minutes.

    I cannot wait until all of the above reaches critical mass. When it does it will be a huge enabler for EV sales.

    GSP

    PS. I suggest that companies with overwhelming demand for workplace charging charge $2/hour to be connected to a 30 A J1772. Also, they can install lots of 120 V GFI 5-15 outlets and charge $1-2/day to connect.
     
  7. ItsNotAboutTheMoney

    ItsNotAboutTheMoney Active Member

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    As battery capacity becomes more affordable the societal benefit of workplace charging would be diminished. PHEV drivers never need to recharge. At a certain point it crosses over to the driver's problem and my view is that for a significant plug-in market to be self-sustaining, the cross over must happen. As such, I see the push for workplace charging to be short-termist and damaging.

    If there's a parking space, there space for a charger. To me as demand builds the supply will increase. As demand rises having a charger installed will be as normal as having a telephone service. In fact, more normal. It's just more electricity, more nodes on an existing network.

    On-street parking would be more of a challenge, but I'd expect a gradual roll-out of on-street charging infrastructure on a street-by-street basis.
     
  8. rcc

    rcc Model S 85KW, VIN #2236

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    Space isn't the problem. The problem is whether there's enough capacity for high-amp circuits (often the answer is "not enough") and then having to rip up and then repair concrete to run the wiring from some building to the parking spaces.

    This is easy stuff if you're doing new construction and can plan it all in. It can be a royal pain if you're trying to retrofit existing parking. My previous company added chargers. They could only add 4 chargers per building -- that was about all the excess power capacity they had because the buildings were running at capacity already with all the people and the labs.
     
  9. Larry

    Larry Member

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    Terrible article for the general public. Makes it seem like the only place to charge is work and that it's a congested pia. Doesn't even mention home charging at all.
     
  10. VolkerP

    VolkerP EU Model S P-37

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    The bottleneck arises from calculating electric demand in a worst case as the sum of all EVSE power ratings. This calls for smart EVSEs that negotiate the available power and distribute it between vehicles.
    Example: A Volt charges at 3.3kW for 2.5 hours. A LEAF charges at 6.6kW for 1 hour. A Model S charges at 10kW for 40 minutes. 30 miles of range recharged for all vehicles.
    With 20kW supply (80 amps continuous, 100A rated circuit) you can recharge 3 Volts, 8 LEAFs and 12 Model S within 8 hours in 23 parking slots. No shuffling required.

    So please tell me which EVSE brand can do this. I see a huge market.
     
  11. widodh

    widodh Model S R231 EU

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    In Europe you can use EV-Box (Dutch) or Keba (Austria), they both have such systems where based on the main load they distribute Amperage over all the available chargers.

    You don't have to dimension the main breakers on the peak load, just do smart charging.
     
  12. ZBB

    ZBB Emperor

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    #12 ZBB, Jan 21, 2014
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2014
    I work in a 25 story tower. There are only a few employers that have more to an one floor. The landlord put in 3 chargers about a year ago -- but they are Blinks and are subject to hourly rates. Seems to be the best solution to charger crowding -- those that need a charge will pay, and others just getting free juice will stop if they don't need it...

    Since getting the Tesla, I've only used them a handful of times -- early on it was out of curiosity. Only one time was necessity -- I forgot to plug in at home one night, so needed to charge at the office for a couple hours to make sure I could make it home.

    But the chargers are otherwise almost always avail. I've never seen more than one car charging at a time, and that's pretty rare -- it's now been months since I saw someone use the chargers. I did see another Model S, but I suspect it was someone staying at the hotel a couple hundred yards away and doing an overnight charge...
     
  13. tdiggity

    tdiggity Member

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    There is a company out there that does this. PM me and I'll tell you which one. I don't want to list them here because I don't believe in the fees they charge.
     
  14. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    This story has been making the rounds. It was picked up by a local free rag. Go figure...
     
  15. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    No, the San Jose Mercury News is not a local free rag at all. It is an old stalwart - do some research to find out why it is called the "Mercury" news.
    It is a far better paper than the San Francisco Chronicle particularly in technology coverage. But since it is not a tourist town, out of towers don't have the name recognition.

    Also, when you read the actual story there are detailed interviews with the companies in the story.

     
  16. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    D'oh, you didn't read my post. I said that the story had been picked up by a LOCAL RAG. I live in Canada. San Jose is not local to me.
     
  17. Owner

    Owner Active Member

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    Got it your intention now. Sorry for the confusion.

    Ahh…. I did read your post. I read it that you were implying that the Mercury is a local rag. I have previously read comments on this forum of people dissing articles from this paper as being unimportant. And that anything CNN or some national news story said was important. Clearly CNN gets 1K x the coverage, but far less interesting to me.

    when I read "local rag" - to me just implies a generic term for one of those free papers, not necessarily local to the writer.

     

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