Thursday, November 15, 2012

Charging for Charging Cheaper Than Free???

Ran into a SEVA (Seattle Electric Vehicle Association) member returning home from the mountains where he had a meeting to discussing public charging options.  He is part of a group that is pushing to offer free charging thru out the entire state.  Well, seeing as I use free charging for up to ¼ of my needs, I was all for that!

SEVA sponsored two of the charging stops for the WCGH (West Coast Green Highway which is a charging network with a goal of allowing an EV to go from Canada to Mexico. OR is pretty much done. WA has a few gaps from the EV Highway Project and CA is ahh...getting started)  due mostly to a conflict of laws.

Rest Stops are under the thumb of the Truckers Association which helped to create a law Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) of 1982 that bans commercial activity of any type which "somehow" includes charging for electricity which means that the gateway rest stops at the OR and Canadian borders (Custer in the South, Scatter Creek in the North) cannot charge for their juice.  Note that Vending Machines are allowed and I guess a machine that u put money in and then access services without the aide of a live person (kinda like a charger!!) is not a vending machine?  If we set up the charger so it took quarters, would that count?? but anyway...

I am no lawyer (couldnt pay me enough to do it!) but the laws of this country has some hand in all the difficulties we have had as a nation but if that was the only issue, there would be no issue since free charging is where we wanna be anyway.

Now the WCGH is a joint agreement between the States of WA, OR and CA to provide additional charging stations to support the EV Highway Project. Each state in question would provide ALL the costs including installation, electricity, etc. for 3 years to any host who agreed to have the station installed.  BUT, there is a state law (ya, another law!!) that says the State of WA cant give away ANYTHING unless a...(ya, that 3 letter word again) was passed! 

Now, electricity might be a spendy item in CA, but here, its dirt cheap. VERY cheap and the total cost of the free electricity for the entire 3 years for the entire WCGH Project statewide would not add up to 10% of the cost of getting the law passed!

EVs are starting to get a hold in the market place but antiquated laws like these (and there are many many others!!) are obstacles and in some cases, roadblocks to a smooth transition the  that must be addressed. In WA State, Jay Inslee the new governor has a great reputation for supporting renewable energy and green projects. Exciting times are ahead. Hopefully WA can become the leader in getting the laws changed to allow EVs to flourish

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