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I think the arrangement ... as it is right now ... will turn out to be temporary. We don't currently have these problems with gas stations. If someone pulls into a gas station to find a pump not working, it gets reported to the attendant, and it's fixed in short order.

I think we're gonna need attendants at these Charging Stations - just like we have now with the gas stations - because of all the people who still pay for gas with cash. And if everybody is mostly charging at home, you're only going to need these Charging Stations along the main Interstates and secondary Routes ... however many that turns out to be.

I don't think we need Charging Stations everywhere and anywhere ... and if we do do that (long-term), then we'll just have to get used to them being out of commission, which will lead to people just ignoring them, and ultimately ... having them removed.
 

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I think the arrangement ... as it is right now ... will turn out to be temporary. We don't currently have these problems with gas stations. If someone pulls into a gas station to find a pump not working, it gets reported to the attendant, and it's fixed in short order.

I think we're gonna need attendants at these Charging Stations - just like we have now with the gas stations - because of all the people who still pay for gas with cash. And if everybody is mostly charging at home, you're only going to need these Charging Stations along the main Interstates and secondary Routes ... however many that turns out to be.

I don't think we need Charging Stations everywhere and anywhere ... and if we do do that (long-term), then we'll just have to get used to them being out of commission, which will lead to people just ignoring them, and ultimately ... having them removed.
Tesla opens its network to CCS. Problem solved. ;)
 

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Typically, I favor free market mechanisms to promote efficient operations. However, I am not sure the free market is applicable just yet. There are a lot of obstacles that remain in front of network operators which make the business less than assuredly profitable.

Sitting in on some of the NEVI workshops, I am comforted that the key stakeholders involved in rolling out NEVI are aware, and discussing these challenges. What are they (not necessarily in order of importance)?

Permitting - With thousands of state and local jurisdictions, each with their own "unique" requirements, the landscape is complicated and time consuming. Charging infrastructure is a major economic stimulus opportunity for a lot of stakeholders, standardization will be a key component to efficient rollout of projects.

Utility Regulation - Again, numerous jurisdictions and utility suppliers means "unique" economics with projects. Traditional Demand Charge rate structures are generally not a good fit for EV charging which is sporadic demand vs sustained demands of the typical industrial or commercial customers. Regulatory reforms, being difficult to implement, could be key to this challenge.

Demand - EV charging demand isn't like typical power use, demand tends to occur during the day, and on weekends. This adds to the demand charge problem. But, demand also impacts the business case for projects. With NEVI requiring infrastructure every 50 miles, this means many sites will be in remote, low volume locations. These sites won't be profitable, at least not in the short term. Fortunately, the corridors part of NEVI anticipates this and there are provisions to help with incentives to make these sites more attractive to network players. Further, this is a bit of a chicken and egg thing, the investments to date have enabled coast to coast travel, but barely enough to keep up with growing demand. The NEVI investments will probably overbuild infrastructure in the short term, but will stimulate long term EV adoption. Beyond NEVI, in 5 years, networks will need to have a profitable business model to sustain the infrastructure. A lot will need to happen in the 5 years to make this possible.

Reliability - Again, NEVI addresses this, but it is a real challenge. This CA effort captures some of the challenges, with network operators favoring a 100% score if 1/8 of a site is operational, and consumers favoring 8/8 being operational. Better tools are clearly needed to report reliability, it will certainly be a challenging aspect, but perhaps an area of opportunity as well.

I applaud CA for starting the discussion, but maybe this belongs on a broader scale, nationally? At least regionally.

The one area that seems like it could potentially help with free market pressures is Tesla's plan to open SuC sites to CCS EVs. Given Tesla's eye towards reliability and properly scaling sites, as well as energy management efforts, they could put serious pressure on others to step up their game.

Generally, I have had pretty good experiences with public charging. Last year, I used DCFC nearly 100 times in my travels, with only a few issues that amounted to more than simply moving to an alternate charging space at a site. But, increasing demand and decreasing reliability seem to be adding up to short term challenges. It may be that we are in for a rough year or two before some of this shakes out. But, looking at the state of things 5 years ago when I bought my Bolt, things are infinitely better today than back then.
 

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Tesla opens its network to CCS. Problem solved. ;)
That's going to be Pandora's box, There's no way that Tesla is going to be able to replicate their seamless vertically integrated charging experience with non-Tesla EVs. They simply won't have enough information nor enough control to be able to pull it off.

ga2500ev
 

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That's going to be Pandora's box, There's no way that Tesla is going to be able to replicate their seamless vertically integrated charging experience with non-Tesla EVs. They simply won't have enough information nor enough control to be able to pull it off.

ga2500ev
They already do this in Europe:


You have to use their app to activate the pedestal you're going to charge with. Not as goos as for Tesla vehicles, but certainly no worse that EA or others, and it eliminates the failure prone touchscreens.
 

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That's going to be Pandora's box, There's no way that Tesla is going to be able to replicate their seamless vertically integrated charging experience with non-Tesla EVs. They simply won't have enough information nor enough control to be able to pull it off.

ga2500ev
On that note, Aptera just announced that they're going to put Tesla Supercharger inlets on all of the production vehicles they ship. They also seemed to indicate (through omission) that usage of the network hadn't yet been fully secured.

I wonder if it's a similar thing to Elon's "funding has been secured" tweet?

Good luck, to them.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I would really like to see the gas station / convenience store / fast food joint model applied to charging stations. 8 or 10 chargers, under a canopy, with a little store and a subway or other restaurant. We need on site attendants to deal with issues and sell stuff. At least 4 chargers should be pull through for EV trucks towing trailers. We probably won't see that until gas stations start going out of business. It will be a while.
 

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I would really like to see the gas station / convenience store / fast food joint model applied to charging stations. 8 or 10 chargers, under a canopy, with a little store and a subway or other restaurant. We need on site attendants to deal with issues and sell stuff. At least 4 chargers should be pull through for EV trucks towing trailers. We probably won't see that until gas stations start going out of business. It will be a while.
These will likely start with existing truck stops like the current projects in the works with Pilot and Loves I believe. It'll grow where there is need. That need will be travel routes between cities where EVs will be a willing captive audience.

We're going to have to accept that EV charging is going to be different than the gas station model because local EV charging is primarily going to be overnight even as the fleet grows. There's simply not going to be the need for 4 EV charging stations on 4 corners of an intersection like we see with gas stations. It's going to become more important for EV charging to be accessible to EV chargers in the places that they park most of the time than to be a destination for charging. And because of the expense and long dwell times, those are not going to be 150-350 kW DCFC chargers for local use.

ga2500ev
 

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I would really like to see the gas station / convenience store / fast food joint model applied to charging stations. 8 or 10 chargers, under a canopy, with a little store and a subway or other restaurant. We need on site attendants to deal with issues and sell stuff. At least 4 chargers should be pull through for EV trucks towing trailers. We probably won't see that until gas stations start going out of business. It will be a while.
Given the sporadic demand for public charging, staffing sites would easily double or triple the cost. I have coached a dozen or more new EV owners who struggled at EA sites in the past year, and have seen other experienced owners do the same. Help is available if you ask for it.

The gas/convenience, fast food model already exists for many DCFC sites. GM is partnering with EVGo and Pilot/FlyingJ, Loves has a number of DCFC (both CCS and Tesla) sites, ChargePoint is likely going to be seen increasingly at corridor travel centers. I have even used a number of gas station EA sites at Sheetz, Chevron, Shell stations. But EA tends to be at Walmarts or Sam's Clubs more often than not.

The good news/bad news with travel center/gas station chargers is there is almost always always someone on site, but chances are they know very little about the chargers. With the Pilot/FlyingJ initiative, these will actually be owned by Pilot, operated by EVGo, and funded jointly with NEVI and GM funds to supplement Pilot's investments. My guess is, Pilot already has a crew to maintain their 750+ sites, and likely they will get some training on the DCFC equipment.

DCFC was initially more urban focussed with EVGo. Then Electrify America came along with a focus on travel corridors. The strategy EA took was to get sites up and running as quickly as possible with enough plugs to meet early demand. Partnering with Walmart surely helped them with site availability. Now that the corridors are mostly covered, expansion and canopies are in fact a key part of EA's strategy going forward, along with site wide battery storage to help with remote sites with limited grid capacity.

Travel Centers are a natural fit for corridor DCFC given a host of other services available (including showers). Given the market approach ChargePoint uses (site hosts own equipment), and now EVGo Extend which is site host owned model, and EA's commercial offering allowing sites to own equipment (ala APS in AZ and EVolveNY), these site owners will have a stake in the game. Walmarts are not really involved in the economics of EA sites, they merely lease space in their parking lots.

EA is also installing lounges and other amenities at new sites. It was all about laying groundwork as fast as possible initially, now the focus is shifting to what you envision.
 

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I've mused on this issue a bit and I wonder if each company (or possibly even several of them -- cooperating) could hire an independent, part-time regional checker (e.g. a starving student?) to periodically drive around within his area (preferably during a slow time) and attempt to charge his EV from each charger (at each location) that was not being being successfully used at that time. He would report any defective chargers to the appropriate network and also hang an "out of order" sign on any defective chargers immediately to identify them. The latter by itself would have saved me a fair amount of time and frustration playing leapfrog between chargers at various charging stations until I could find one that actually worked. This really does not sound that expensive to implement and a single individual could service a dozen or more EV charging locations and make a few bucks while doing so.
 

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On that note, Aptera just announced that they're going to put Tesla Supercharger inlets on all of the production vehicles they ship. They also seemed to indicate (through omission) that usage of the network hadn't yet been fully secured.
Well, 100% of 0 is 0. Which what they've accomplished so far in terms of production vehicles. Now they're saying that maybe with another $50 million, they might actually be able to produce a few vehicles.

Generally, I have had pretty good experiences with public charging. Last year, I used DCFC nearly 100 times in my travels, with only a few issues that amounted to more than simply moving to an alternate charging space at a site. But, increasing demand and decreasing reliability seem to be adding up to short term challenges. It may be that we are in for a rough year or two before some of this shakes out. But, looking at the state of things 5 years ago when I bought my Bolt, things are infinitely better today than back then.
They've certainly added a lot of new locations (though the pace is dropping rapidly, at least out west). But I don't know any statistics on reliability.

In general, nearly-new chargers seem to be the best - they've had long enough for the initial kinks to be worked out, but haven't yet begun to seriously degrade hardware-wise.

Progress though? I've seen a lot more dead/broken chargers this year than last. And once they break, the time it takes to repair is typically measured in months, if not years.

Most people are not that patient. They'll try a few times, hit issues (unless they have a Tesla), and decide to leave the EV at home when they do their longer trips. Which, frankly, is probably the sensible thing to do. After the 4th or 5th time fiddling with a recalcitrant EA connector, I'm tempted to join them. It's not even cheaper any more when it comes to fast-charging a Bolt vs. a Prius running on $4/gallon gas.
 
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