• Feb 4, 2011
Recently, we got an email from a reader named Bernadine asking about apartment dwellers charging their plug-in cars. She wrote:
I would like to see Autoblog contact, address, and consider how would apartment dwellers fit in the scheme of things by the manufacturers of "green" vehicles. I am quite sure there are others, like myself who would love to purchase or get in line to order such vehicles. However, we do not have garages or nearby outlets that we can access to charge our vehicles, once purchased. Is there any projects in place that will address the needs of apartment dwellers? Will our local gas stations be transformed into electric stations?
Turns out, Bernadine is not the only one thinking about this particular issue. We covered the issue in some depth about a year ago in this Greenlings article which noted that, in 2009, Mitsubishi helped develop an electric vehicle charging system for apartment buildings in Japan. More recently, our friend Paul Scott and Santa Monica Nissan presented a panel on this very subject at their local library with people with deep knowledge of EVSEs and permitting and other related issues. You can watch a well-edited video of that event provided by Plug In America after the jump.

Lastly, we have a bit of news about charging for people without a garage or a dedicated parking space. A company called 350Green is bringing a fast EV charging station network to the U.S. that is designed specifically for this type of plug-in driver. The network is made up of DC fast chargers that will be installed at "select, high-traffic retail locations" in six cities in the Bay Area. Find more details in the press release on the other side of the jump.

[Source: Plug In America, 350Green]




Show full PR text
350Green Announces Plans for National Network of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Network will make EV ownership possible for residents who don't have home garage charging, and more convenient for those who do

SAN FRANCISCO (February 1, 2011) – 350Green (www.350green.com), announced its plans today for a national network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Starting with its first project in the San Francisco Bay Area, the company plans to install and operate stations across urban retail shopping centers and other places near where EV drivers live and work. This approach aims to address two of the most vexing challenges facing widespread adoption of EVs: range anxiety and access to a garage for overnight charging.

"Most of the early focus around EV infrastructure has been on putting charging stations in the home garages of customers, which is great if you have a garage. But since many residents in cities don't have access to a garage, this effectively limits the number of people who can participate in the EV revolution," said Mariana Gerzanych, 350Green's founder and CEO. "Because our public charging stations with fast chargers will be widely and conveniently located near where residents live and work, EV ownership will suddenly become an option for all, regardless of whether they have access to charging in a personal garage."

The Bay Area project is funded in part by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) as part of its "Spare the Air" program, which also aims to make owning an electric vehicle in the Bay Area a viable option for residents.

"As part of protecting the air quality in the Bay Area, we're committed to making electric vehicle technology available to all," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air District. "Adding to our electric vehicle charging infrastructure will make it easier for Bay Area residents to Spare the Air every day by going electric."

350Green will build and operate fast charging station plazas in six cities around the area: Albany, Menlo Park, Milbrae, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. All of the plazas will be installed in the parking lots of select, high-traffic retail locations, at no cost to the host location.

According to the BAAQMD, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of air pollution in the Bay Area. Significant emission reductions from the transportation sector will help the Bay Area attain and maintain state and national air quality standards.

Production numbers from EV automakers project approximately one million EVs on US roads by 2015, and possibly 27 million (or 10 percent of all vehicles in the US) by 2020. In the Bay Area, the percentages are even higher: there may be almost 400,000 EVs on the road in the Bay Area by 2020 – or 12 percent of all the area's vehicles.

350Green will announce specific locations in the coming weeks, and construction, operation and management of its Bay Area network of direct-current (DC) fast chargers and Level 2 chargers will be complete by June 2012. Additional markets around the country in which 350Green will build networks will be determined in collaboration with the company's city and state partners, as well as stakeholders in the various communities.

350Green's innovative technology and strategic approach enables its municipal partners to meet the demand for regional EV charging by creating a private-public partnership. As a project developer, 350Green creates customized programs that feature best-of-class technology that meets the needs of each project.

About 350Green
350Green is a project developer that designs, builds and operates scalable networks of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the US. The company distributes its stations at select, high-traffic retail shopping centers and other places near where EV drivers live and work, to create the most expansive and convenient network of EV charging locations. More information on 350Green and its projects can be found at its website: www.350green.com.

PANEL ON ELECTRIC CAR CHARGING FOR MULTIFAMILY HOUSING

Industry Experts Offer Immediate Solutions & Suggestions for Progress

MEDIA: VIDEO OF THE PANEL WILL BE POSTED ON WWW.PLUGINAMERICA.ORG BY 2/1/2011, 8 A.M. PST

SANTA MONICA, CA, Jan. 14, 2011--How can condo and apartment dwellers charge their electric cars without a home garage? To answer the question, Santa Monica Nissan will present a free public panel about Electric Vehicle (EV) charging for multifamily housing residents on Monday, Jan. 31, 6:30-9 p.m., at Santa Monica Public Library, Main Branch.

Only last month, in a historic transformation of the transportation industry, Nissan began to deliver the first mass-marketed EV, its all-electric LEAF. Homeowners who purchased or leased the cars are having chargers installed in their garages. But policies and practices for installing these high voltage chargers in multi-family dwellings are just now evolving nationwide.

"I get questions about this almost daily," says Paul Scott, a national EV expert who sells the LEAF at Santa Monica Nissan. "Our panel will provide immediate solutions to some of the challenges surrounding charging options for multifamily housing residents and offer suggestions for progress going forward."

Panelists will include representatives from Southern California Edison, The City of Santa Monica Building and Safety Division, and Clean Fuel Connection, Inc., an EV charging-infrastructure company. Independent EV-charger installer William Korthof, who, like Scott, has driven an EV for years, will also participate. Scott, a co-founder of Plug In America, the nation's leading EV advocacy organization, will moderate.


Show full PR text
350Green Announces Plans for National Network of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

Network will make EV ownership possible for residents who don't have home garage charging, and more convenient for those who do

SAN FRANCISCO (February 1, 2011) – 350Green (www.350green.com), announced its plans today for a national network of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations. Starting with its first project in the San Francisco Bay Area, the company plans to install and operate stations across urban retail shopping centers and other places near where EV drivers live and work. This approach aims to address two of the most vexing challenges facing widespread adoption of EVs: range anxiety and access to a garage for overnight charging.

"Most of the early focus around EV infrastructure has been on putting charging stations in the home garages of customers, which is great if you have a garage. But since many residents in cities don't have access to a garage, this effectively limits the number of people who can participate in the EV revolution," said Mariana Gerzanych, 350Green's founder and CEO. "Because our public charging stations with fast chargers will be widely and conveniently located near where residents live and work, EV ownership will suddenly become an option for all, regardless of whether they have access to charging in a personal garage."

The Bay Area project is funded in part by a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District (BAAQMD) as part of its "Spare the Air" program, which also aims to make owning an electric vehicle in the Bay Area a viable option for residents.

"As part of protecting the air quality in the Bay Area, we're committed to making electric vehicle technology available to all," said Jack Broadbent, executive officer of the Bay Area Air District. "Adding to our electric vehicle charging infrastructure will make it easier for Bay Area residents to Spare the Air every day by going electric."

350Green will build and operate fast charging station plazas in six cities around the area: Albany, Menlo Park, Milbrae, Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Sunnyvale. All of the plazas will be installed in the parking lots of select, high-traffic retail locations, at no cost to the host location.

According to the BAAQMD, the transportation sector accounts for more than 50 percent of air pollution in the Bay Area. Significant emission reductions from the transportation sector will help the Bay Area attain and maintain state and national air quality standards.

Production numbers from EV automakers project approximately one million EVs on US roads by 2015, and possibly 27 million (or 10 percent of all vehicles in the US) by 2020. In the Bay Area, the percentages are even higher: there may be almost 400,000 EVs on the road in the Bay Area by 2020 – or 12 percent of all the area's vehicles.

350Green will announce specific locations in the coming weeks, and construction, operation and management of its Bay Area network of direct-current (DC) fast chargers and Level 2 chargers will be complete by June 2012. Additional markets around the country in which 350Green will build networks will be determined in collaboration with the company's city and state partners, as well as stakeholders in the various communities.

350Green's innovative technology and strategic approach enables its municipal partners to meet the demand for regional EV charging by creating a private-public partnership. As a project developer, 350Green creates customized programs that feature best-of-class technology that meets the needs of each project.

About 350Green
350Green is a project developer that designs, builds and operates scalable networks of plug-in electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across the US. The company distributes its stations at select, high-traffic retail shopping centers and other places near where EV drivers live and work, to create the most expansive and convenient network of EV charging locations. More information on 350Green and its projects can be found at its website: www.350green.com.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 58 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      Stupid idea across the board. The only workable solution is a car that
      self-charges. The current grid won't handle it. And what about winter? Battery's
      are a joke. As soon as this administration's gone all of this will be back-burnered
      just like in the late '70's. IMAO.
        • 3 Years Ago
        "Self-charging" would require a generator using fuel, and that's basically the hybrids we've already got. Efficient, yes, but they still require petroleum based fuels.

        The current power grid can support over a million plug-in vehicles, considering that most charging will be done at night when power demand is lowest. It will take years to reach that level, giving us time to upgrade the power grid.

        Batteries work in winter, too, otherwise you wouldn't be able to start your gasser when it got cold. If it gets too cold for batteries, it will be too cold for gassers, too. Yep, that "joke" of a battery starts your car.

        The Volt project got started in 2006, long before "this administration" got into office. In fact, since it takes 4 to 6 years to develop a new car model, most of the plug-in vehicles coming to market in the next few years started their development when Bush Jr. was still President. Maybe they took W. seriously when he complained about our addiction to oil.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Put a 2.5kw generator in your trunk with a hole cut in it for exhaust. Fire it up and plug it in. Oh wait - isn't that what the Volt's generator is for? Why can't it run automatically like an RV? (Hint - that would spoil the narrative).
        • 3 Years Ago
        Hint: The Volt does run its generator automatically when needed, the driver just drives it like any other car. (but it does get much better fuel economy than any RV).
        • 3 Years Ago
        it's generator runs when it is parked and you're sitting in your apartment? hadn't heard about that feature...
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is it inevitable that charging capable parking spots will be reserved for EVs? What will that do to the parking problems so prevalent in cities today?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Some apartments do have reserved parking for their tenants, a few even have private garages that can be rented by tenants. In those cases, charging outlets may be installed, especially if the landlord can see a profit potential or an attractive advertising feature from it.

      Yes, I know that some apartments have no reserved parking for their tenants, but they tend to be in the crowded heart of older cities with good public transit, or in less affluent areas. Neither one is a particularly attractive market area for new cars, let alone new plug-ins.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ltaw, cute case story but its also not typical. Usually the L3 chargers are the large stations. There's no reason an L2 station can't be inconspicuous. These things could be installed right into the curb with a cap that opens/raises.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I deeply sympathize with your plight, LTAW, and I feel blessed that I don't have to deal with a "homeowners association" or historical preservationist tyrants. But take heart, what you describe is the exception and not the rule, and the laws might well change the situation.

        At one time, many California "homeowner associations" banned outdoor clotheslines as "unsightly" even if they were in private backyards, but the California state legislature passed a law over-ruling those homeowner association bylaws and allowing clotheslines as an energy saving measure. So perhaps you'll see a law over-ruling those "preservationists" and allowing on-street chargers to be installed.

        (I'm still baffled as to how you can have "permit parking" but not reserved - unless there were more permits issued than parking spaces)
        • 3 Years Ago
        Those of you who have visited the UK or Europe will realise that perhaps 30% of car owners are pretty well stuffed.
        To some extent this may be mitigated as in my view at least car ownership has probably peaked, and car share arrangements and so on will cover a lot more transport.
        I can imagine a battery which would cover this. It would have to hold perhaps a week's worth of running around's charge, and be very rapidly rechargeable. Unfortunately we are no where near to be able to build it, let alone build it at any reasonable cost.
        That is a primary reason why I do not think that batteries alone will do the job for everyone.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Like the SCE guy was saying in the video...

        The grid can handle the EVs today... when demand reaches 100%, the grid capacity will be greater too.

        At MOST, 25% more capacity will be needed... and right now, the grid (and local distributions going to residences) can handle that much since the bulk will NOT occur during peak times (since peak demand already adds 30% or more to the average load).
        • 3 Years Ago
        I am glad you mentioned the ratio of 4 : 1 for typical household power needs : EV power needs.

        For each apartment, only 1 EV charger will be needed... so that is still only adding 25% capacity for each apartment.

        And that is assuming day charging for all EVs. At night, residential demand is lower than 75% of the daytime demand... easily

        So it should be "easy"... and not require any upgrades from the Utility to the Complex/building.

        ----------------------

        From the input panels, to the sub-panels, meters, and then to the parking spots... might require significant upgrades... because unlike Houses with garages, apartment power is no where near the parking spots.

        And if the complex/building is old, it can be VERY expensive.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I live in a residential neighborhood in a historic city with terrible public transport, and even though the houses can easily top seven figures, parking is permit only and non-reserved on-street.

        The streets weren't designed with cars in mind - much less a BEV charging infrastructure. I can guarantee you the neighborhood would burn to the ground before the Preservation Society, the Historical Society, and the Board of Architectural Review would even consider allowing anachronistic charging facilities to be mounted along the roadside. I can't even install double-glazed windows because they're considered "inconsistent".

        EV chargers will be great in areas where they can be planned for and accommodated by new construction. They will even do well in most areas built up during the 20th c and designed with the auto in mind. But, there will always be pockets where a charging unit just won't be allowed, until there is a different method of charging.

        I know induction charging is inefficient, but it would probably get approval here due to its invisibility. Anything with a cord, or a unit sticking up out of the ground, would get an automatic "no".

        I will mention out that my neighborhood is an ideal neighborhood for new cars, with everyone pretty much upgrading every few years (just like a normal neighborhood). But aside from the (rather wealthy) private homeowners, my neighborhood is also quite a popular rental area, with many of the large old mansions split into condos and flats, rented out by law and medical students, in addition to undergrads of the local university. Every year there's a new crop, with a great variety of automotive choices.

        Between the wealthy - who are continually buying new - and the students - who often are the early adopters buying the newest - my neighborhood is an automakers' dream demographic of wealthy, young, sophisticated, educated, and eco-aware individuals.
        • 3 Years Ago
        ""I can guarantee you the neighborhood would burn to the ground before the Preservation Society, the Historical Society, and the Board of Architectural Review would even consider allowing anachronistic charging facilities to be mounted along the roadside. I can't even install double-glazed windows because they're considered "inconsistent".""

        I hope/think that might change when EVs pass the 50% of all new cars built mark. Even if companies have to their EVSE's look like old fashioned lamp posts.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Putting in a pile of chargers is difficult.

        If you want to charge 4 EVs at once, you're talking about 12kW of power, that's as much power as my entire house has. And apartments have a lot more spots than 4.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I second Chris M. That is I believe it will be a long time before a good solution is available for people who have to park on the street. But most apartments have private parking areas and dedicated parking for each tenant. Even out door dedicated places can have a charge station. These would have a lock or electronic key to make sure only the approved people would get a charge.

      Apartment owners should be encouraged to provide charging capability by tax breaks, laws in the case of new construction, and the belief that people who are conscious about the environment are probably more desirable tenants.


        • 3 Years Ago
        'But most apartments have private parking areas and dedicated parking for each tenant.'

        Electric vehicles are a world-wide movement, not confined to the US. In that context this statement is simply untrue.
        Of course local solutions applicable to the US are welcome, but for electric vehicles in general other and better solutions are needed.
        • 3 Years Ago
        A long time? If there's demand then they'll just install level 2 street-side chargers and pull a profit.

        How hard do you think it is for cities to look up (you know, through the DMV) how many EVs are in a certain area, and then offer up that info to utility companies and charge-station installers who want to meet the demand? Did you read the entire article? Its already starting to happen.

        It won't be tomorrow that this happens everywhere because we're still in the early, early adopter phase. Give it a couple years and this business model will be copied wherever there is demand.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd hate to think that all of this EV push comes from a desire to reduce CO2 based on the faulty and corrupt science of Man Made Global Warming ? If it is, how is using coal or natural gas generated electricity going to help in any significant way ?
      Even if you believe in AGW you must know that reducing the CO2 output from cars in the US by even 50% will have to measurable effect on global temperatures so it can't be about the CO2 ...

      So if its not about the CO2 maybe its is about the mix of other pollutants produced by ICE cars ... but in California today most new cars exhaust air that is cleaner than the air that they take it ... so the tech exists to make ICE pretty clean ... not perfect but very good ... so it can't be about the "other" pollutants ...

      I know, it sucks that the current transportation fuel infrastructure favors gasoline ... 120 years ago the infrastructure support horses and trains ... and the first cars were electric but they failed because, wait for it ... no infrastructure ... why is that ? I'd guess that nobody could have made a fortune building said infrastructure like they could with gas ... given the huge regulatory burdens of electricity manufacturers today nobody see's a great fortune to be made in selling electricity for cars and thus no market for electric vehicles ...




        • 3 Years Ago
        Hey wait did someone say, oil spill, frackking, or drilling in Alaska? Oh right ICE cars are clean... Yeah they are clean when they come off the lot but over time these cars get dirtier and dirtier. Remember this time its not about what the companies want its about what we want, and I want a clean car! A car that as the grid gets cleaned up as well (through regulation) becomes even cleaner.
        • 3 Years Ago
        A lot of the push came from the desire to reduce the power and influence of OPEC, particularly certain middle-eastern countries that have been financing terrorists. Reducing oil consumption reduces imports, which in turn reduces oil sales by OPEC countries.

        There is no better way to reduce oil consumption than to drive electric.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Conventional autos pay for highway maintainence thru our "gas tax". How do electric cars pay this, or is this yet another enviromental perc?
      This question came up in the 70's when people were using their home heating oil, which has no gas tax, for their diesels
      • 3 Years Ago
      Could you summarize this?

      I live in an apartment and I'm curious, but I don't have an hour to spend on a subject that I believe will end in a larger capital investment than either I or my landlord is going to make.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Simple. The first plug-in vehicle sales will be mainly to homeowners with a garage to park and charge them in, then to condo and apartment dwellers with reserved parking or garages, and finally there will be public charging facilities for apartment dwellers without reserved parking.

        It is impossible to tell exactly how long it will be before you will be able to plug-in, that depends on how quickly prices go down for plug-ins and charging outlets (and your finances, of course).
      • 3 Years Ago
      For city dwellers with on street parking, my valet charging idea will work well.

      The EV owner will buy a monthly contract for workers to pick up their car from the street in the middle of the night, charge it up nearby and return it, all while the owner sleeps. The car is ready to go in the morning when needed. For a little extra, the service can include cleaning, maybe even taking the thing in for service, etc.

      I don't see city ev charging as a problem so much as a new business opportunity.

        • 3 Years Ago
        That does not reduce costs, just displace it! How much petrol would this valet service pay for?
        • 3 Years Ago
        Hi Blackbird,
        Well, there are few cities elsewhere than Manhattan, unbelievably! :-)
        Admittedly we can only confirm that City status was granted to Bristol in 1581, but even so I can assure you that you ain't gonna persuade 'careful' Bristoleans to fork out for car valets to come around overnight.
        Getting them to pay for an adequate sewage system so that the centre did not regularly flood took several centuries.
        Most car owners who live in most cities are not wealthy enough so that paying out for a nightly valet service instead of continuing to pay for petrol is a realistic option.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Apartment in Manhattan - $20,000/month

        Rental house in the suburbs - $2500/month

        I think if saving money is what you are all about, then you aren't going to be living in the city anyway.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Hi All,

      Many of you have asked good questions on which I can shed some light.

      When I decided to install a Level 2 charge station in my condo, I brought reps from the city planning, the utility, an EVSE (electric vehicle supply equipment) supplier, and lastly, my very experienced electrician. We determined that I could not install a 40 amp circuit on my 50 amp panel, so I had to go with Level 1. Once the decision was made, I had my guy install it. Santa Monica waived the $270 permit fee, so the total cost was $1,350. I had a 100 foot conduit run, and we oversized the wire to accommodate future expansion.

      Since my driving circuit is very low mileage, I don't need anything faster than the 5 miles per hour of charging L1 provides. I can easily get 60 miles of range over night. If you drive more than that in a day, you'll want L2, if you can install it.

      Many condo and apartment dwellers will be able to install L1 easily and for low cost. Mine was double what a short conduit run would cost. It's just a 20 amp 120 volt circuit.

      Some residences will be much more difficult due to old electrical panels with inadequate power resources, and the upgrades can be expensive. However, SoCal Edison and other progressive utilities are on top of the line side of the problem and are going to bend over backwards to make it work for you from the supply side. After that, it's your dime.

      Keep in mind the money you save by not giving the oil companies any of your money. Instead, you give about 20-30% to your utility, the rest you keep . That will add up fast as gas prices keep rising.

      Do you think gas will get more expensive, or less expensive?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Very nice,car, thanks for the information.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have an Idea for the condos and apartments. Don't install the whole J1772 device, just the 220 outlet. Lock the door on the outlet (or outlets) and issue keys to the dwellers that want to charge. Each dweller would be responsible for making his own portable J1772 device. This can be easily done by the owner and there are now plug in L2, j1772 devices for sale.

      Have all the outlets on a dedicated meter. At the end of the month all the EV owners divide up the bill if only one dedicated meter is used. Not a perfect solution but an affordable one as it only requires 1 dedicated meter and some inexpensive 220 outlets.
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