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If you happen to reside in Los Angeles, Sacramento or along the stretch of road that extends between San Francisco and San Jose, California, then you're in luck and boy are we envious of you. Coulomb Technologies has announced that it received a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to install 1,600 of its CharegPoint Networked home and public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the aforementioned areas.
The installation of these charging stations is being funded by a relatively small $3.4 million grant from the CEC. The charging stations will help the State of California conduct research on EV charging habits and other aspects of EV usage. Though initially installed for research purposes, these 1,600 chargers will likely remain in place long after the study is completed, thus providing selected areas of California with way more chargers than any other region of the U.S. and giving the state the edge in the drive towards a zero-emissions future.

[Source: Green Car Advisor]


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  • 38 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      > Youve just added to the infrastructure cost.

      > Almost no homes in the USA have meters that distinguish between peak and off-peak useage.

      True, but in Los Angeles, the DWP will replace your current meter with a time of use (TOU) meter for no up-front cost. There is an $8.00 per month charge for this meter, but the off-peak rates are enough cheaper than the standard meter charge that you break even after 160 kWh of power used off-peak. The bottom line is that my electricity bill using TOU meter to power a Nissan Leaf 9,000 miles a year will be about $2-4 per month less with the TOU meter than the standard metering.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'm not trying to talk anyone out of buying a BEV.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow, it is incredible to think that the same amount of money that it takes to build an overpass can seed a market that big with electric charging stations.

      Try that with hydrogen.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dave,
        I'm sorry, but your logic simply doesn't work.
        1) most people, especially early adopters, will be charging at home every night and won't even need the charging points except for unusual circumstances
        2) the average person only drives 30 miles a day so will only need to charge every 3rd or even 6th day, depending on their range and whether they did ANY charging at home
        3) they only need an hour's worth of level II charging for each day's driving. How could that possibly tie up a charger all day every day.
        4) there will also be level III quick chargers mixed in there which can charge in minutes
        5) we generate over 4 Trillion kWh per year. A million EVs driving 12,000 miles a year would use about 2.7 billion kWh....which is .068% of our electricity production. We are a LONG way from even noticing EVs on the grid

        Look, you are taking wildly scary and ridiculous assertions and applying them against EVs and then tell Dave R that we'll all run around with portable hand pumps to get fuel out of the ground when there is no electricity?
        For some reason you are trying really hard to tear down EVs. Just admit there are some advantages and disadvantages to both and that cost of infrastructure is in the favor of EVs. A single article about an existing pipeline in Hawaii won't change that for the rest of the world.
        It's no big deal, your assumptions about EV charging are just wrong.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Gentlemen: War no longer! The answer for increasing the distance of a BEV lies in the use of a range extention genset, one wheel bumper trailer attached to the rear of the BEV. These can be rented or purchased depending on your needs. In fact I have a rough design just waiting for my Leaf to arrive. All one needs to do is match the power requirements and hack into the system. It should take about a year to build the prototype unless someone beats me to the market. The initial system will run on gasoline.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "@Dave
        You assume there needs to be a huge addition of powerplant capacity for BEVs, yet you ignore the resources that would be needed to supply the hydrogen to your theoretical stations."

        I've assumed no such thing. Reread my posts. Read the sources. After we've converted every single gas station in the USA to hydrogen, there is still $170 billion left over to build power plants, Coskata plants, etc. compared to the cost of installing chargers.

        "As for the argument that every plug-in needs its own public charger, hard to say until actual they get driven and the utilization of public chargers are determined."

        I made no such argument. In fact, the original article discusses PUBLIC and HOME chargers. Feel free to call an electrician and ask how much it would cost to add a 220 circuit to your breaker panel, run 220 to your garage, and install a charger there. Then ask how much it would cost to dig a trench to run an additional circuit to another car parked in the driveway. Then call a New York City utility contractor and ask how much it would cost to dig up every sidewalk there and add a charger every 20 feet. As I said, $2125 is a very low average cost.

        "As for home charging, for 30-40 mile commutes, your typical 110V socket is enough for overnight charging. However, I think the level 2 chargers have big room for price decreases. Even 2k installed, is too much. If it weren't for NEC 625, a dryer socket would be all you need."

        Again - BEV advocates assume that everyone will drive a tiny aerodynamic car 30-40 miles a day with the heat and A/C off for consistent commuting. Not gonna happen. A level II charger is a must for at least 90% of the population. And a dryer socket is only a small part of the equation which only satisfies a small part of the population - those who park inside their own garage every night.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dave,

        Everything you're saying is based on the assumption that there has to be one public charging station for every EV on the road. That is simply wrong. I go to the EV Club of the South meetings here in Atlanta and the parking lot is full of EVs. Every one of those people get along just fine without a single public charging station.

        They charge at home by simply plugging into a 110V or 240V outlet at night and never give it another thought. That is simply a fact and you can't explain that away.

        There are thousands of EV conversions on the road today and there sure as hell isn't a public charging station for each one of them and the 1000 Teslas on the road today and yet these people seem to still be driving. Can you explain that? According to you this is impossible so this reality doesn't exist.

        Every other argument and everything you're saying is based on this one false premise.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Dave, That is a silly statement. You don't have to have a charger for every single BEV. "

        Yes, you do. Unless we're going to charge them during peak hours when the grid is already fully taxed. Which would mean building lots of power stations and transmission facilities in addition to the chargers.

        "@Dave - you do know that gas pumps don't work when the electricity fails, either, right? It takes energy to pump gasoline out from under the ground and in to your take."

        I have a hand powered liquid transfer pump with which I can easily fill my car from an underground tank in less time than the fastest EV charger can charge a battery. Or, a very small gasoline generator can run several pumps.

        "With hydrogen fill stations requiring additional compression as you pump, those will require electricity to run, too."

        The compressors can easily be run by electricity generated by a small fuel cell onsite.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dave - you do know that gas pumps don't work when the electricity fails, either, right? It takes energy to pump gasoline out from under the ground and in to your take.

        With hydrogen fill stations requiring additional compression as you pump, those will require electricity to run, too.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I feel left out, my name isn't Dave.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dave. the notion that we'd need a public charger for every EV is as ludicrous as the notion that we'd need a gas station for every car. To be sure, most EV owners will be charging at home, but a home charging outlet costs a LOT less than a public one, as it doesn't have to keep track of billing, nor does it have to resist the elements or vandalism. In fact, many EV owners could use a 220 volt outlet or even a standard 110 volt outlet at home, and we could install thousands of outlets for the cost of just one H2 station (but in many cases those outlets are already installed).

        It's also ludicrous to assume an immediate changeover of the existing car fleet to EVs or H2FCVs. That changeover will take several decades, giving time to build up the infrastructure as needed. Of course, since plug-ins are more energy efficient than H2FCVs, there is less energy demand and less energy infrastructure costs for plug-ins.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dave, That is a silly statement. You don't have to have a charger for every single BEV. They don't all charge at the same time, and most will charge at home (and there are over 70 million homes with a garage/car port according to the DOT figures).

        For people who can't charge at home and need to charge at a charging station, they don't do it every day and they will be able to do some level II charging which does not take 8 hours. The average person drives 30 miles a day so they need about 7 kWh. Level II charges will give you that in about an hour.

        Look, H2 has an advantage in range, but you can't sit there and seriously say that the cost of charging infrastructure needs for BEVs and H2 FCVs are even remotely equal.

        Or is that what you are indeed claiming?
        • 4 Years Ago
        @Dave
        You assume there needs to be a huge addition of powerplant capacity for BEVs, yet you ignore the resources that would be needed to supply the hydrogen to your theoretical stations.

        As for the argument that every plug-in needs its own public charger, hard to say until actual they get driven and the utilization of public chargers are determined.

        As for home charging, for 30-40 mile commutes, your typical 110V socket is enough for overnight charging. However, I think the level 2 chargers have big room for price decreases. Even 2k installed, is too much. If it weren't for NEC 625, a dryer socket would be all you need.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "most people, especially early adopters, will be charging at home every night and won't even need the charging points except for unusual circumstances"

        Home chargers aren't free. Installation of home chargers is not free. In fact, as the article states, some of the chargers are home chargers. Otherwise, the average installed cost would be much higher than $2125, no doubt.

        "Coulomb Technologies has announced that it received a grant from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to install 1,600 of its CharegPoint Networked HOME AND PUBLIC electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in the aforementioned areas."

        "A million EVs driving 12,000 miles a year would use about 2.7 billion kWh"

        So what? We are talking about replacing 150,000,000 ICE vehicles, not just 1,000,000. The infrastructure for a lousy 1,000,000 H2 vehicles is also cheap as dirt, relatively speaking, since the first are likely to be fleets that return to a central station every night.

        And your calculation of electricity consumption is highly flawed. It assumes only small cars under optimum or nearly optimum conditions.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Dave-

        You also have to take into account the price of fuel- 7 cents for off-peak charging to go 5 miles... or $168 for total fuel costs for one year charging off-peak ($288 average)"

        Youve just added to the infrastructure cost.

        Almost no homes in the USA have meters that distinguish between peak and off-peak useage.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "Look, H2 has an advantage in range, but you can't sit there and seriously say that the cost of charging infrastructure needs for BEVs and H2 FCVs are even remotely equal.

        Or is that what you are indeed claiming?"

        Yes. That is what I am indeed claiming.

        $3,400,000 / 1600 chargers = $2125

        150,000,000 chargers x $2125 = 318,750,000,000

        And that is on the VERY low side. That assumes we will not need any more generating or transmission infrastructure. And in many cases, the price of a charger and installation will be much higher.
        • 4 Years Ago
        "A SINGLE article about an existing pipeline in Hawaii won't change that for the rest of the world." [emphasis added]

        Actually - I have referenced a number of articles at this time, while you have referenced none.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You need to install a charger for every single BEV. Including the ones that are parked on the street overnight. And you have to make sure there is NEVER a blackout. Or entire areas of the country become immobile.

        You only need to build one H2 station for every 1000 (or more) FCVs. And the typical FCV will go days before needing a recharge.

        According to this, GM is working with partners in Hawaii to establish an H2 infrastructure that will cost between 6,000,000 and 12,500,000 and that should serve 1000s of FCVs:

        http://green.autoblog.com/2010/05/11/general-motors-to-establish-pilot-hydrogen-infrastructure-in-haw/

        • 4 Years Ago
        "they only need an hour's worth of level II charging for each day's driving. How could that possibly tie up a charger all day every day. "

        Currently, we refill every 200 miles or so and it takes 5 minutes or less. Thats 60 times per year for a car driven 12,000 miles. For a total of 300 minutes. And there are often lines at the pump.

        You are talking about 365 hours of charging per year. So, you'll need 73 times more level II chargers than you have gas pumps. (Assuming that the cars are immediately removed from the chargers as soon as they are filled, which isn't going to happen.)
        • 4 Years Ago
        @ Dave:

        You mentioned the CEC funding an amount of money to to fund these charging stations. An important item to keep in mind is that the money from the CEC is at most 50% cost share, so the actual cost of the stations is at least double the amount that you are quoting. Check out the CEC P.O.N. for yourself to confirm this.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Dave-

        You also have to take into account the price of fuel- 7 cents for off-peak charging to go 5 miles... or $168 for total fuel costs for one year charging off-peak ($288 average)

        Gasoline for a 25 mpg car is $1440 per year at $3/gallon, $1920 @ $4/gallon....

        As an incentive for initial adoption, paying for the charging stations makes sense to establish the market (will eventually get cheaper with mass-production and competition). It also makes sense to add some public stations to enable longer commutes. And public quick-chargers will enable highway travel...

        However, the dramatically lower price of electricity per mile driven places ROI for individuals within a couple of years. You don't have to buy a charger for every EV you buy, so it is a one-time investment. Level II chargers would also give businesses a great way to attract educated, generally high-earning EV early-adopters for cents per hour. Fast chargers are less expensive than gas pumps (much less hydrogen pumps), so it would take less markup to cover the cost for unsubsidized quick charging stations (provide more time at the station to generate more sales of stuff from the convenience store where gas stations currently make much of their profit- although quick-charging would only be needed for long-range trips). It will take years to turn over the US fleet (even with mass adoption), so the investment will be spread over a number of years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        That's ok ddub, we can make you an honerary dave...or even on ornery dave lol.
        • 4 Years Ago
        And just think ddub, if I learn to spell we could even make you an honorary dave!
        • 4 Years Ago
        http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_gas_stations_are_there_in_US

        "According to the economic census for retail trade (census.gov) in 1997 there were only 126,889 gas stations (64% of them having convienence stores). "

        http://www.energyindependencenow.org/pdf/fs/EIN-HowMuchWillHydrogenInfr.pdf

        "Capitol costs for a high volume hydrogen fueling station that could support 1464 vehicles are estimated at $1.16 million" - (capitol costs would cover converting gas stations to H2 stations.)

        127,000 x $1,160,000 = $147,320,000,000 to build H2 fueling stations.

        $318,750,000,000 - $147,320,000,000 = $171,430,000,000 left over to build more nukes, Coskata style plants, etc.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Can this charger from Coulomb charge the Leaf? How much time? If installed as a public charger, what's the cost for a fillup?
        • 4 Years Ago
        These charging stations could be as lame as a "level 1" 120V domestic receptacle in a weatherproof box, into which you plug your "emergency/trickle charge cable". But the Leaf and GM Volt and upcoming Ford Focus all have the SAE J1772 receptacle that supports 240V level 2 charging, and Coulomb makes charging stations compatible with it. (Note that Coulomb does not yet make a level 3 rapid charging station of any kind; the Leaf has a second receptacle for the 500V DC CHAdeMO level 3 standard.) See http://www.coulombtech.com/products-charging-stations.php

        Nissan's FAQ says "Starting from a depleted battery, ~8 hours at 220/240V (depending on amperage)". Coulomb's two SAE J1772 stations can deliver 30 amps, which is about mid-range (ClipperCreek's special Tesla Roadster charger delivers up to 70 amps). But the Leaf's recharging time from Level 2 is also limited by its on-board charging electronics, which supposedly in initial models can only handle 3.3 kW, or 13amps at 240V.. Note that if you're mid-trip a level 3 quick charge is much nicer; from the same FAQ "It takes about ~30 minutes to 80% at a 480 volt quick-charge station." So the charging stations that Coulomb is likely to install make sense at work and mall parking spots, not so much at "quick stops".

        As for price, Coulomb says "Owners of ChargePoint Charging stations have the option to offer charging services for free or to set a fee for accessing their stations." It's possible that California has regulations from their big 90s EV push about recharging fees, but I haven't heard of them. You can buy a ChargePass credit card for their network. As to the "raw materials cost", the Nissan Leaf has a 24 kW·h battery pack. The Leaf won't ordinarily let the pack discharge to zero but charging won't be 100% efficient, so let's say it takes 24 kW·h of electricity. At the California average residential rate of 15 cents according to http://www.eia.doe.gov/electricity/epm/table5_6_b.html, that would cost $3.60.

        You can go to http://mychargepoint.net/ and see their current network. All the California charging stations I clicked on have just a 120V, 16A, NEMA 5-20R connector, no SAE J1772 yet. Someone in Pleasant Hill is recharging *right now*!
      • 4 Years Ago
      All of you are assuming some kind of massive system changeover, but EV technology still has some vast hurdles to overcome before it is in any way viable for a significant amount of the U.S. population. The same holds true for fuel-cell vehicles running on hydrogen. The real progress in the next few years will most likely be improvements in efficiency for gasoline and hybrid vehicles. I'd be very surprised if before 2040 the majority of vehicles on the road no longer used ICEs. Even in the seventies people were singing the praises of alternative energy vehicles but the enthusiasm just never materialized. Forty years later we are still dealing with the same issues that hampered EVs back then. Inefficient batteries, and weight issues being the biggest obstacle. Yes improvements have been made, but a breakthrough advancement is still needed. Until then EVs will have a market but it will remain somewhat marginal. If you want more information on the Chargestations check out http://blog.earthgarage.com/2010/07/ev-island-looks-like-some-kind-of.html and if you want something you can do right now to make your car greener check out my website earthgarage.com These are things you can do today, not something your speculating might happen a decade down the road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Your content-free tirade doesn't say anything new. To most people here "Real progress" means getting off oil not marginal improvements in ICE cars, and most U.S. consumers aren't interested in either until gas costs a lot more.

        That charging station picture is a joke. About 300 W from solar panels when the Leaf recharges at 3300 W? EV Island is just trying to piggyback off Coulomb Technologies' name.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Considering the number of Chinese and Indian cars etc that are likely to be on the road by 2040, if most of them are still using petrol they had better be importing it from Titan!
        Seriously, the oil for this just does not exist.
        The nearest hydrocarbon fix I can think of that might have the needed scale might be methane hydrate use.
        This could have 'serious' implications for the climate, if used to run a few billion cars.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Yes! This is very nice for me since travel between the SF, San Jose, Sacramento area.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Jake,
        You guys are getting spoiled and soft out there! Why when I was a kid, we had to charge our own EVs by running on a treadmill, up hill....both ways LOL
      • 4 Years Ago
      Very cool. Wonder what max current these charging stations will be able to provide. To the disappointment of many Tesla owners in those areas, I'd guess they'll be limited to 30 Amps.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yeah... I think that's extremely short sighted. We should concentrate on higher current Level II chargers. It's the best bang for your buck as battery capacities increase.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Yup, as I wrote to chinb96629 , the two SAE J1772 charging stations on Coulomb's product list http://www.coulombtech.com/products-charging-stations.php are 30amps at 240V. But that's already beyond the power handling of the charger in the Leaf. The huge power handling of the Tesla Roadster and its ClipperCreek charging station is pretty unique! It'll be interesting to see if the AC power handling of cars and public charging stations increases, or whether they stay relatively low and people rely on 500V DC quick charging for faster fill-ups.
      • 4 Years Ago
      @Dave

      Hi Dave, I just wanted to clarify something which other's have eluded to but failed I think to properly explain.

      Every EV does NOT require a charger because, as is the case for Teslas and any EV which is or hopes to become a mass-market vehicle, EVs have an on board charger. As such, they simply need to be 'plugged in' to the grid.

      This of course gives the tremendous advantage of being able to charge your vehicle in the garage at night when demand is naturally low. Whilst mass uptake of EVs may level out the daily power consumption profile, any upgrades to the current power infrastructure will consequently not be as drastic as you might think.

      As you previously suggested, the cost of electricity may indeed go up as a consequence but for anyone who currently owns a vehicle with an ICE engine, the net benefit of ditching your old car for a new EV vehicle should far outweigh any cost rise. (Ignoring for the moment that EVs are generally more expensive to buy).

      That's my 2 cents.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Crap, California already has tons of chargers. Once again, no EV charger love for the East coast!
        • 4 Years Ago
        Ditto for the Midwest.
        And I'm not talking about Chicago. At least Chicago has a couple, granted they need many many more. Springfield, IL could use some.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I know! They get all the EV attention...we want chargers in Atlanta too.
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