EV drivers find plug-in refuge during gas station frenzy post-Sandy
Electric vehicle drivers in New York and New Jersey have been able to avoid some of the post-superstorm Sandy apocalypse – waiting in long lines just to find out the station is out of gasoline.
Tom Moloughney, owner of the Nauna's Bella Casa restaurant in Montclair, NJ, and an all-electric BMW ActiveE, doesn't mind his 100-mile daily round trip to his home in Chester, NJ. In the storm's aftermath he witnessed something like a scene from The Walking Dead, where 100 people ran down a street in Montclair. They carried gas cans and heard there had been a gas station a half-mile way that had received a fuel delivery.
Like many of the locals, Moloughney's neighborhood was blacked out by trees taking out power lines. With home charging temporarily unavailable, he would use a public charging station nearby that still had power. He also used a 110-volt charger at home powered by a natural-gas generator. Gas stations have been hard hit by running out of gasoline and power failures turning off the gas pumps.
Moloughney also charged up at his restaurant, which has three 240-volt chargers installed for customers. One problem he couldn't avoid was his restaurant's delivery drivers running out of gas, suspending home deliveries.
For Frank Streng, a Nissan Leaf owner who lives in Cortlandt Manor, NY, and works in White Plains, NY, charging his 60-mile roundtrip at a White Plains train station has been the most viable option. Without power or a generator at his house, Streng has had to access the train station charger a couple blocks from his office. He would prefer charging at home, but that was taken away from him. The White Plains site cost him $10 for an all-day charge. "The best deal is when you're charging at home," Streng said. "It's pennies."
For Manhattan resident and Tesla Roadster owner Nicky Dawda, the storm's aftermath proved that knowing where the best Midtown and Lower Manhattan charging stations are based was a benefit. Dawda had less trouble getting electricity in blacked-out lower Manhattan than most New Yorkers had getting gas.
EV battery packs offer another post-disaster remedy – vehicle-to-home (V2H) and vehicle-to-grid (V2G) energy storage. In the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and tsunami last year in Japan, Mitsubishi used 15 of its i-MiEV electric vehicles as an emergency power supply at its headquarters after the blackouts. Electric vehicles are proving their benefits for mobility and storage capacity following inclement weather.