Add to that, a half dozen promising new EV entrants for the first half of 2017 and I predict we will see a renewed "turf" war emerging between the 100% battery cars and the "half as.." I mean the plug in's over whose need is more important. I have already seen a few Bolters who have done 2 consecutive 30 min fast charges!
But there is some light at the end of the tunnel. A new wave of announcements for new stations and partnerships to build, propose or encourage private businesses to invest in stations is addressing areas that have had little or no public support previously.
But there is still a basic realization that many providers have not come to grips with and that is how to allow multiple cars to access one charging station? Too many times I will see 6 chargers occupying 6 consecutive parking spaces. IOW; unless there is a space at either end of the row, you can't get better than a one to one ratio.
One hurdle is clear. It costs money to trench and install new power equipment especially when the power requirements are this robust so putting the stations adjacent to the power feed saves a ton of money. This almost always means they will be located on the edge of the parking lot or against a wall which means access on one side only. So this is a cost cutting move that makes sense.
But what about the process of bunching the stations all together? How much more money does it cost run to spread the stations farther apart if they are all running parallel to the power feed? Nearly every station now has a cable that is more than long enough that 3 LEAFs can easily reach one station.
But bolstering the network will take time, money and motivation, all of which is in short supply. The other much easier idea is financial disincentives. But parking fines as mentioned above has not been enforced for the most, can be tough to determine sometimes and simply creates too much hardship for some drivers in park and ride situations. But one idea that is gaining traction is variable rate billing to encourage sharing and more turnover.
The University of Idaho has installed at least one charger on the Moscow, Idaho, campus The Spokesman-Review (Embree, December 5, 2016) reviews. Charging costs $2 per hour for the first three hours, after that, the rate goes to $3, 8 to 5 during the day. After hours charging costs $1 per hour for the first 3 hours, then goes to $2 per hour.
It has now been over two months since starting this blog entry and one thing is certain; EVs are gaining a lot of ground. Be it better range like the Bolt, versatility like the Volt or simply crazy discounts like the LEAF, the battle for plugs will escalate and quickly. We need to start moving on adding more plugs.
Finally; an interesting situation that I just have to share. As we all know, fast chargers are the prime time destinations for people on the go. 80% in 30 mins just barely fits in most people's day so a slower option would be completely out of the question, right?...not always.