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Last month, a San Antonio resident started a petition to the White House asking that that fast-charging stations for plug-in cars be installed every 50 miles along the US Interstate system. The trick is, if the request is to have any a chance of being granted, fast-charging advocates will have to start signing that petition a little, uh, faster. The petition was posted on July 23 by an "R.M." from San Antonio (five of the ensuing six signatures were also from that city, so we're guessing there may be friends involved), but as of Friday morning, just 114 people had signed up. The target, of course, is 100,000 signatures and the deadline is August 22, meaning that about 5,000 folks a day will have to join up. Hey, we're doing our part here.

Even without the petition, publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations are on the upswing. According to the US Energy Department, there are about 6,400 publicly accessible EV charging stations in the US, up from about 5,200 at the beginning of the year, but it's unclear how many of those are of the fast-charging variety, which can fully charge an EV like the Nissan Leaf in about a half hour. Read the petition below, and link to it here.

Earlier this year, another electric vehicle petition – this one to allow Tesla Motors to sell vehicles directly to the public – hit the 100,000 signature target. The White House has not yet responded.
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Create Fast Charging Network for Wide Scale Adoption of Electric Vehicles

Fast charging stations should be installed every 50 miles across the United States Interstate Highway System. These chargers will allow electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Spark, Nissan Leaf and other vehicles to be recharged to 80% capacity in 20 to 30 minutes. This will allow drivers of electric vehicles the freedom to travel throughout the entire US without fear that they may run out of power.

There are huge societal benefits from switching to electric vehicles including reduced pollution, noise and dependence on foreign oil.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 35 Comments
      Letstakeawalk
      • 2 Years Ago
      Kind of silly, really. It's not the Federal government's place to install/operate EVSEs on such a large scale. A few around town (municipally operated), and at government office locations is fine by me. More to the point, it's really unrealistic. There are huge stretches of Interstate that this request would affect, requiring not just the installation of EVSEs, but the whole infrastructure to support them. On/Off ramps, parking areas, wiring to the locations, etc.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        You mean government shouldn't take over every function of the private sector? what kind of crazy person speaks out against that kind of thing? ;)
        archos
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Of course hydro-nut boy would say this.
        Spec
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        Well they are not saying the government has to do it. They could instead create incentives, low interest loans, tax-credits, etc. to get other people to do it. For example, they could offer a $10K tax-credit to gasoline stations on interstate highways that install a DC fast-charger.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Actually, it was the gov't Small Business Administration (SBA) loan programs that really ramped up gas station construction. And the roads their customers use while using their product were almost all built by gov't agencies. And many of the early state highways were based upon the original Pony Express routes, which were created through federal funding, and defended using the US military. And the oil they sold has been subsidized with federal and state subsidies throughout modern history. The list goes on. I won't even start on the internet or cell phones, since clearly you have no clue as to their origin. What was your point you were trying to make?
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          You mean like the tax incentives, 30% Investment Tax Credits, and MACRS depreciation that Tesla uses to help fund their solar PV stations?
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          You know - gas stations got built without complex governmental schemes, subsidies, grants, yada yada.. if there is money to be made, private industry will build the infrastructure. Same with the internet - all the routes we use today are built by private industry because there was money to be made.. same with the cell phone towers.. do you have no faith in the market to provide solutions?
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          Can't say i have a huge problem with SBA loans - that's another topic. Government built the roads yes, they also built the telephone lines. But now they don't manage them or build them. You do not need government to build the roads. Just as you didn't need government to string along the internet lines, the cell phone towers, the cable lines, and other fun bits of critical infrastructure that me and you use today. So i don't know how that figures into this argument at all. Yup, they created highways but they didn't need to. Didn't private industry lay down a lot of the railroads themselves? Oil is subsidized but it never should have been. The Rockefellers and the Koch and Saudi families are rich enough. Government invented the TCP/IP protocol and helped develop cell phones but none of the infrastructure you and i use is created or maintained by government. Do you remember what the internet was like in the early 1980's? probably not - that's what the government created. Remember cell phones that were the size of a brick and had lead acid batteries in them? yeah, government helped those along too. What happened when they ALLOWED the market to improve those things? you now have something in your pocket that's as powerful as your computer was 5 years ago and an internet that is just a teeny tiny bit better and faster than a multi-route BBS-type interface running on 1mbit lines, ya? You don't get my argument? You really don't get it at all?
          2 wheeled menace
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          ps, a SBA loan is not a specific thing used to build gas stations is it? isn't it a loan that applies to pretty much any small business? Do you think that gas stations couldn't have been built without loans from government? The oil men had plenty of their *own* money to invest into building a network that could sell their product. Maybe the gas station owners were taking advantage of a program that they didn't need to bother with. Do you think they wouldn't have been built without SBA loans? There is plenty of capital floating around, people willing to put their own cash down on a kickstarter project, and other avenues to fund things out there these days. If you have a good idea, there is no better time in history to get private funding based on the merit of your idea.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Spec
          "Well they are not saying the government has to do it..." Actually, the Feds would have to foot a large percentage of the cost, simply in paving the on/off ramps and installing signage. That's what I meant by saying there are huge stretches of Interstate with *nothing*, that would require the creation of new infrastructure.
        Jeff N
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Letstakeawalk
        It is silly and unrealistic, along with being unnecessary and wasteful. This, coming from a Nissan Leaf owner. People who buy short-range EVs right now know what they're getting into. There should be no expectation that any government or private organization should make it possible to drive cross country in a low-range EV. Our Leaf driven only on the highway gets around 60 miles of realistic range. It's ridiculous to buy a car like that and expect the world around you to change in such a drastic fashion. Also, by the time any sort of policy would be passed and enacted (at a huge cost to taxpayers) EV range should be much great. So building a charging station every 50 miles makes no sense. If you need to travel long-distance, either use an ICE car or plan your trip such that you can charge as often as you need. Or you can wait to buy an EV with a range and charging time that's more amenable to cross-country trips (like the upcoming Tesla Gen III).
      Anthony
      • 2 Years Ago
      Every 50 miles seems unnecessary. Every 150 miles is more likely. You won't be going across country in your Leaf, and thats OK, but in 3-5 years when we have 200-250 mile EVs, charging stations every 150 miles or so will allow people to drive for two hours, take a break to charge for 20 minutes, and get back on the road. In 10-15 years when we have 300-500 mile range cars, then you stop every 4 hours and fill up for 30 minutes or so.
        GR
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Anthony
        Agreed. I still signed the petition though.
      SublimeKnight
      • 2 Years Ago
      So going 200 miles, something that takes under 3 hours today in our ICE car, would take 3 hours + 1.5 hours of charging in our LEAF. Not my idea of a good time. You want to petition the government? Have them add 3 phase power to rest stops every 100 or 150 miles. Leave it to the private sector to add the chargers, they will when it makes sense.
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      " These chargers will allow electric vehicles such as the Chevrolet Spark, Nissan Leaf and other vehicles to be recharged to 80% capacity in 20 to 30 minutes." Nice, they avoid the standards war by mentioning both a SAE-Combo and a CHAdeMO car.
      raktmn
      • 2 Years Ago
      That is excessive and unrealistic. It is way too early to build out an entire network just to satisfy 1st gen EV's. Pure EV early adopters need to understand the limitations of the EV's or PHEV's they are choosing. If their choice of EV's is not a good match for their driving patterns, the solution is to buy the correct EV/PHEV that matches their needs. Not to build out huge infrastructures for charging vehicles to do things they were never originally intended to do. If they are going to petition anyone, it should be their pure EV manufacturer to sell their next generation version of their pure EV so it is compatible with the Tesla SuperCharger network, and help Tesla build out there sites. Right now it is the state of the art for long distance EV trips. Buyers of the current batch of local commuter oriented EV's should not expect to use them for huge trips, and really should not expect anyone to build out a massive network just to try and make a car that isn't designed for road trips work in a very limited way for road trips.
        Actionable Mango
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        Well said.
        DarylMc
        • 2 Years Ago
        @raktmn
        Hi raktmn I agree. I'm not in the USA so my view is not so relevant, but it seems excessive and foolish to me to implement a system of charging stations for highway use. Especially when you consider that all EV's are able to do most of the tasks required by a large number of the population with home charging alone.
      Dave
      • 2 Years Ago
      "The network has since been extended, and as of 2010, it had a total length of 47,182 miles (75,932 km),[2] making it the world's second longest after China's. As of 2010, about one-quarter of all vehicle miles driven in the country use the Interstate system." 1000 chargers X $50,000 (mostly installation and supporting infrastructure cost) ~ $50 million
      2 wheeled menace
      • 2 Years Ago
      Why bother reporting on those, not a single one has made an effect. It's a diversion to give you the impression that government is interested in your feedback. Sort of like the form letter you get back when you write to a big corporation ;)
      • 2 Years Ago
      A couple thoughts: - This would extend the range of the EV. Sure most of them can only go 80 miles right now but it would be nice to be able to extend that range for occasional trips to nearby cities and not have to stop for 4 hours to recharge. This makes these city cars more usable as daily drivers. - Range will increase as batteries get better. That doesn’t make the chargers worthless. The range on most gas vehicles is over 300 miles yet we still have 168,000 gas stations in this country. - To get more electric vehicles on the road, you need an infrastructure to support it. The discussion this petition created is one step in that direction. Maybe private industry will pay for it, maybe government will subsidize. The point is, you have to start somewhere.
      Actionable Mango
      • 2 Years Ago
      What we really need are longer range EVs. If you are on a roadtrip quick charging your Leaf every 50 miles you will destroy your batteries.
        archos
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        No it won't.
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @archos
          I've read a million times that fast charging batteries frequently is bad for them. Is this wrong?
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        What if your destination is only 50 miles away and you want to be able to get back? It doesn't seem unreasonable to do one quick charge per weekend. Longer range EV's will come but we will still want chargers for them and the bigger the batteries, the faster the chargers you need.
        raktmn
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Actionable Mango
        whether it destroys the batteries or not, it is not a car that is designed as a roadtrip car, and lots of charging stations wont make it into a great road trip car. It will still be a lousy roadtrip car, having to stop every 50 miles.
          Actionable Mango
          • 2 Years Ago
          @raktmn
          Yes poor example on my part (triggered by the 50 mile number), but my main point is that what we really need are longer range EVs.
          raktmn
          • 2 Years Ago
          @raktmn
          AM -- I agree completely. More chargers won't make short range EV's into epic highway cruisers. Only bigger batteries or a range extender can do that.
      Marco Polo
      • 2 Years Ago
      The White House response is easily predicted. A polite acknowledgment of the receipt of the petition, followed by the filing of the petition where all such impractical and absurd petitions are filed. A conspiracy theorist, might conjecture that such a petition is actually inspired by those wanting EV adoption to fail, by making government support appear ludicrous or irresponsibly extravagant. A cynic might think that 'RM' from San Antonio, is just a drinking buddy of Danny King, helping him beat up an article. A .....
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Marco Polo
        Or it could be someone who wants to get the discussion started around the country. Change takes time.
      Anderlan
      • 2 Years Ago
      signed it
      Jim T.
      • 2 Years Ago
      Not without a standard for high-speed (Level 3) charging in place.
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