Monday, December 24, 2012

Government Assistance, Part Two; A New Era of Regulations

On my previous post, I discussed that EVs are slow to take a foothold in Americana due to lack of support.  We need money to get anywhere in this world and I think I have a great way to get the money and not take a penny out of the pocket of the consumer!

The other side of the page is regulations to help EVs flourish  because every mile an EV  travels is a benefit to the entire country and includes everyone no matter what kind of vehicle you drive or how far you have to drive it!

We already talked about the fact that gas prices are based on demand and unfortunately we are addicted, so raising gas taxes should lower prices (ya thats right!) by reducing consumption which means more oil available years from now when we will need it for the handful of  oil-based critical operations that will remain.

ICE'ing; ICE (Internal Combustion Engines) is a term used to designate cars that use liquid fuel. ICE'ing is when that car is parked at an EV charging station.  This can create a very stressful situation when an EV'er who has meticulously planned his day comes to the charging to find out that he cannot charge due to a car that CANT charge being parked there.

Laws need to be enacted TODAY to prevent this. It is of national importance that EVs be allowed every chance to flourish. That includes regulated parking to insure EVs have the chance to charge up when needed. Preventing ICE'ing also increases the station providers chances of increasing revenue so its a win all the way around.

Hosts could help by locating the charging stations away from the prime parking areas but if you have ever been to Costco or any other high volume store, you know even non prime parking will only have limited success without repercussions for violators.

Increase Visibility; In my experience, I have seen people ICE'ing an EV parking spot unknowingly despite the presence of signage. A law has the double benefit of making people aware that they need to be more diligent in looking for the signs.  A standardized EV Charging Only Symbol needs to be designed and uniformly implemented nationwide to enhance visibility and recognition.

Demand Charges;  Some states have public utilities with regulations that were designed to provide equal access to all customers for basic power needs. If you had a need that was beyond what the utility considered basic, you were charged for it and charged big time! For example;  A single event requiring power over a set baseline is billed for each KW over that baseline. This can add hundreds of dollars to a monthly charge for the host despite only using a bit more electricity than someone who does not pay demand fees.

These laws were created  and it addresses very large power customers who may have a constant high  power demand making demand charges a fair and equitable system. Public utilities need to create a policy to address the specific needs of EVs.  If they dont conform, we need to get rid of them.  Here in WA, it has become a common practice to do exactly that. Puget Sound Energy is the public utility "of choice" here but many local governments have taken it upon themselves to provide their own electricity. This has resulted in lower rates and better service. Thurston County where I lived actually voted on doing just that  during the most recent election, but the bid failed. Most major cities in WA have gone private.

Mandating EV charging; This would require at least L1 charging (L2 preferred) stations be installed. A guideline requiring any parking whether public or private (employer based) over a certain amount of spaces be required to install charging stations.  It would be up to the host as to how they handled access. They could charge for access and perhaps validate free charging for purchases. This will help build customer loyalty and is good for the community.  Less smoking cars on the road means better air which means less sick days which means less expense to the employer.

Now all these suggestions may seem to pick on gasoline cars, but its actually only giving EVs the advantages that gas cars were given.  Each type of transportation mode has its specific needs and for gas cars, it was roads.  So the government stepped in and built the national highway system.  It greatly enhanced usability of the automobile in general and despite the enormous cost of the project, it was still beneficial to do not to mention the huge impact on local economies and the jobs it provides.

Light vehicle transportation accounts for 60% of emissions and adds nearly half a trillion to the national debt every year so reducing our foreign oil needs AND increasing homegrown electrical demand which will create jobs AND doing it with renewable energy sources is a win-win for everyone.


  1. Dave,
    Regarding your mandate for EV charging availability. The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) green building codes already include this as part of LEED certification. What we need to do is mandate LEED certification for all new buildings and all building remodeling. Will this cost more? Yes, but it's the cost of the future if it's not done.


  2. Cost is important but can no longer be the overriding factor any more. The long term impact of inaction is beyond calculation. reminds me of a pix on FB this morning. in it are Cats dreaming of Christmas present. one wants a mouse, another cheese, etc. then there is the Black Cat who dreams of changing the world

    its like the ideology of TCO. we only compare the cost of gas verses electric but ignore the other transportation options because they would win easily but no one wants to carpool or take the bus