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I've only had my Bolt for ~8 months and I've done only a dozen long-distance (400+ mile) trips, so I'm still a relative newcomer. Still, my impressions so far (from northern California) has not been that great:

1) Coverage. The pure number of stations seems impressive, and there are plenty in large suburban areas. But many long-distance routes have 120+ mile segments with no stations at all. Some, like US 395 have no coverage. 120 miles really is the minimum for viable long-distance travel (60 would be better), give that EVs with a nominal 200-250 mile range like the Bolt see such rapid battery depletion in cold weather and mountain driving.
2) Redundancy. Back in May, there were a bunch of recalls on ChargePoint units. So large parts of northern California suddenly had no DCFC options at all. Even where stations are operating, if you're unlucky and a station is having issues, you may not have a backup DCFC within range.
3) Maintenance. The proportion of stations that are down at any given point is non-trivial. I'd say at least 1/4 of the stations I've visited have at least 1 failed unit.
4) Too few ports. Many stations have just a single DCFC. If it's out of order, or in use, it won't be of much use.
5) Location. Given that one usually needs 30 minutes+ these should ideally be in places that are well lit and where there are parks, shops, restaurants etc. nearby. Sticking them in giant parking lots is not great. Even malls are often not a good fit - everything is closed and dark by 8 or 9PM.
6) Speed. A decent proportion of DCFCs are not really that fast (24kw or less). That's fine for local charging, but for travelling it's not really helpful.
7) Ease-of-use. Cables are too short, too stiff and often require reseating multiple times to get a good connection.
8) Payment. This is a relatively minor nit but having to maintain a glovebox of RFID cards (and attendant memberships) is an unnecessary complication. Gas stations take credit cards. Why can't ChargePoint/EVGO etc?

The worst problem I see though is that the network is expanding very slowly and even stations that have been built take forever to come online (possibly a California-specific problem?). If people do start buying non-Tesla EVs in larger quantities and using them for trips, the few existing DCFCs on the major routes will be overwhelmed. I am very grateful that Tesla does not offer CCS compatibility and charges a lot for their Chademo adapter, given the 80%+ of the EVs in California are Teslas. If they start using the DCFC stations, we'll be in trouble...
 

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The DC fast charging network in central Virginia is going backwards. We used to have three Greenlots 100 amp chargers in Charlottesville, one in Staunton, and one in Front Royal. Those are decommissioned, and no longer listed. The ones in Harrisonburg, and Ashland have been listed as broken for at least a year, and still are. Not coincidentally, these were all free or very cheap.

Now we have a few high priced EA charging locations instead. Anybody know how long Volkswagen is forced to fund these?

None are in Charlottesville, and most critically none at the end of the Skyline Drive in Front Royal.
 

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FWIW, I don't think EA stations are high priced. In California, without a $4 Pass+ membership, charging for 45 minutes costs $12.25. In Virginia it costs $10.45. With Pass+ it costs $8.10 (California) and $6.75 (Virginia). In that time, charging from 15% to 70%, you'll receive about 33 kWh. So, the price varies from $0.37 per kWh to $0.20 per kWh.

If you charge less optimally, it can work out to be about $0.50 per kWh, but frankly even if that's four times what you pay at home, for folks traveling once in a while it's no big deal.

A typical EA site cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build. If we assume it cost $250,000 and imagine the session cost of $12.25 all went to paying that off that investment over five years, you'd need over 11 customers charging for 45 minutes every single day. Factor in ongoing maintenance costs, site lease costs, cost of electricity (with demand charges), and it's hard to see how this can be a viable business right now, or perhaps ever.
 

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FWIW, I don't think EA stations are high priced. In California, without a $4 Pass+ membership, charging for 45 minutes costs $12.25. In Virginia it costs $10.45. With Pass+ it costs $8.10 (California) and $6.75 (Virginia). In that time, charging from 15% to 70%, you'll receive about 33 kWh. So, the price varies from $0.37 per kWh to $0.20 per kWh.

If you charge less optimally, it can work out to be about $0.50 per kWh, but frankly even if that's four times what you pay at home, for folks traveling once in a while it's no big deal.

A typical EA site cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to build. If we assume it cost $250,000 and imagine the session cost of $12.25 all went to paying that off that investment over five years, you'd need over 11 customers charging for 45 minutes every single day. Factor in ongoing maintenance costs, site lease costs, cost of electricity (with demand charges), and it's hard to see how this can be a viable business right now, or perhaps ever.
My comment was comparing the EA price to the Greenlots prices...mostly free, or a dollar or two an hour for the parking. And you bring up exactly why I expect the EA sites to be closed in five years
 

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My comment was comparing the EA price to the Greenlots prices...mostly free, or a dollar or two an hour for the parking. And you bring up exactly why I expect the EA sites to be closed in five years
I think free charging is even less sustainable (since it's not just an initial investment, somehow you need to pay for ongoing maintenance) and it sets all the wrong expectations. I think Level-2 charging + DCFC should be way cheaper than filling up with gas, but it's fine if DCFC alone ends up costing about the same as buying gas.

If (and it's a big if) America actually embraces (non-Tesla) EVs in significant numbers (and CCS isn't replaced by some “better” technology), I think there is reason to believe that running a DCFC charging network could be sustainable as a business. Scale will lower equipment costs.

For now, for a while at least, EA will continue to sink money into their operation, and I think VW is eager in the long term for their EVs to have a good network. In contrast, GM doesn't really give a shìt.
 

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I think free charging is even less sustainable (since it's not just an initial investment, somehow you need to pay for ongoing maintenance) and it sets all the wrong expectations.
I totally agree. If there's one thing I don't want when I'm traveling a long distance it's to find fast chargers that are busy with queues because of people trying to get free juice.

There was an article in our local paper recently talking about people getting into arguments at EV Chargers. It placed the blame at (a) not enough chargers, and (b) ignorance of charging etiquette. But the primary cause, IMHO, is that most of the fast chargers here in Vancouver are free, and when you give something away it draws people like flies. On those occasions where I need a local fast charge, I'm quite happy to pay $10 or so for one of the few fast chargers that requires payment. They're never busy, and the money I save by doing most of my charging at home more than makes up for the occasional expense.
 

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The DC fast charging network in central Virginia is going backwards. We used to have three Greenlots 100 amp chargers in Charlottesville, one in Staunton, and one in Front Royal. Those are decommissioned, and no longer listed. The ones in Harrisonburg, and Ashland have been listed as broken for at least a year, and still are. Not coincidentally, these were all free or very cheap.

Now we have a few high priced EA charging locations instead. Anybody know how long Volkswagen is forced to fund these?

None are in Charlottesville, and most critically none at the end of the Skyline Drive in Front Royal.

Just got my Christmas present...four reliable EVgo chargers to replace the three unreliable Greenlots chargers!


Only steps away from a wine and burger bar. The problem will be finding one of the four spots without an SUV parked in it.

The nice signs say:

Fast Charging Only
Vehicle Must Be Charging
Vacate Stall When Complete

What is missing is the only important one:

Towing Enforced

Without that, it is only a suggestion.
 

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I think free charging is even less sustainable (since it's not just an initial investment, somehow you need to pay for ongoing maintenance) and it sets all the wrong expectations. I think Level-2 charging + DCFC should be way cheaper than filling up with gas, but it's fine if DCFC alone ends up costing about the same as buying gas.
The common saw that "nothing is 'free' in life" is true, especially for DCFC. Every place where I did not pay directly for electrons, expected me to eat at the nearby restaurants (who, I am sure, subsidize the current flow) or to stay at their $200/night hotel.
 
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