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paulgipe
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California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Tue Sep 18, 2018 10:33 am

Despite its reputation for being electric vehicle (EV) friendly, California lags behind other North American states and provinces in the density of non-Tesla EV fast-charging stations relative to population. California ranks fifth behind Oregon, Quebec, British Columbia, and Ontario, but ahead of Washington State. Oregon has 1.7 times more stations relative to its population than the much more populous Golden State.

Most EVs, including Teslas, charge at home. However, DC fast-charging stations are needed by EVs for intercity and regional trips. Tesla operates its own extensive network of fast charging stations designed for intercity travel. Non-Tesla EVs use a patchwork of fast-charging stations that are often concentrated in large urban areas unless policy directed the stations elsewhere.

British Columbia, Washington State, Oregon, and California are partners in the West Coast Electric Highway that would allow an EV to drive from Mexico to Canada along the Interstate 5 corridor. However, California never completed its portion of the network until recently. California instead focused on urban areas, leaving much of the state devoid of fast-charging stations needed for intercity trips.

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The absence of a robust non-Tesla DC fast-charging network for intercity travel may have inhibited the growth of EVs for more than just urban commuting in California. Tesla early on identified the need for a comprehensive network of fast-charging stations along major travel corridors as a prerequisite for EV adoption. See A Canadian Take on Tesla's Supercharger Network for an insightful analysis of this question.

Parts of California are still not served by DC fast-charging stations. After a much later start than other regions, the California Energy Commission (CEC) now expects to complete its network of fast-charging stations along major highways by 2020. The CEC's program--two large awards currently underway--would still leave areas of the state underserved, such as the East Side of the Sierra Nevada. There's a dearth of public, non-Tesla chargers of any kind along US 395 from Mojave to Bridgeport on the East Side. There are neither DC fast-charging stations nor any public Level 2 stations.

However, two separate programs could add stations to more remote areas. As part of its diesel-gate settlement, VW's Electrify America network is installing 160 stations across California and some of those are in more remote locations. Electrify America's vague maps don't provide much detail, but it appears they plan stations somewhere between Bakersfield and Mojave. They also have stations planned for somewhere between Inyokern and Olancha and a third station somewhere around Bishop. These three stations would serve the East Side of the Sierra Nevada.

In addition, CalTrans, the state's department of transportation, had planned for the installation of 37 stations to be operational by November 2018. Three of these planned stations are east of the Sierra Nevada: Coso Junction, Independence, and Bishop, California. Unfortunately, CalTrans will miss its deadline. CalTrans' stations are on hold, according to the Electric Auto Association's Raejean Fellows, pending the outcome of Proposition 6 in the November mid-term election. If passed, Proposition 6repeals an increase in the road tax that CalTrans planned to use in part for the DC fast-charging stations.

Port Density

California does have the highest density of ports for non-Tesla EVs relative to population among the regions examined. But, the number of ports, called outlets by the Alternative Fuels Data Center, doesn't tell you how many vehicles can charge.

Image

Each port serves one vehicle, but not all ports are active at one time. Most new DCFC stations in California have at least two charging kiosks. Each kiosk, or dispenser in Electrify America's vernacular, has two ports. In the typical installation, only one port is active at a time.

For example, EVgo operates one station at a Walmart in Bakersfield. This one station has two kiosks. Each kiosk has two ports. Thus, the station has four ports--but only two can be active at one time. As a result, the number of ports listed by the Alternative Fuels Data Center does not reflect how many vehicles can actually charge.

Stations in Tesla's supercharger network have dozens of ports. The Kettleman City and the Baker, California stations have 40 kiosks each, all with a single port. All ports are active all the time, although the level of charging may be reduced by the number of vehicles charging at one time.

Tesla operates 82 supercharger stations strategically placed along major as well as minor corridors in California. Notably, there are 1,088 Tesla DC fast-charging ports in the state and all are designed to be operational all the time. Tesla operates eight ports in remote Mammoth Lakes, another four ports in Lone Pine, and four ports in Inyokern, all on the East Side of the Sierra Nevada.

VW's Electrify America is installing multiple kiosks per station. Each kiosk has two ports, but like kiosks from other companies only one port is active on a kiosk at a time. At its station in Colby, Kansas, Electrify America has installed four kiosks for EVs using the American-German CCS standard, and one kiosk for the Japanese CHAdeMO standard. It's not clear if this mix of kiosks is in full compliance with VW's settlement agreement to be brand neutral. VW builds EVs using the CCS standard.

To summarize, California lags behind its peers in number of non-Tesla DC fast-charging stations relative to its population. The state has more ports than any other state relative to population, but not all of these ports can be used simultaneously to charge an EV. Currently, gaps remain along several major corridors. However, both the state and VW's Electrify America is installing hundreds of new stations that will be completed within the next 18 months.
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Tue Sep 18, 2018 2:39 pm

It would be nice to be way up there at the very top, but where they are is still in the highest echelon. CA will need to keep it up, but they are no laggard.
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GetOffYourGas
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:04 am

Interesting analysis, but I think the use of "Lags" in the title is inappropriate. Maybe it's the result of the author's frustration. The only state that exceeds CA's density is OR, which has 1/10th the population. It turns out, that makes it a whole lot harder for CA to compete on a per-capita basis. That they are the #2 state means they are a leader (leadership is not all-or-nothing).

The comparison of U.S. states with Canadian provinces is apples and oranges. They have very different national incentives and different cultures.
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paulgipe
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:27 am

GetOffYourGas wrote:Interesting analysis, but I think the use of "Lags" in the title is inappropriate. Maybe it's the result of the author's frustration. The only state that exceeds CA's density is OR, which has 1/10th the population. It turns out, that makes it a whole lot harder for CA to compete on a per-capita basis. That they are the #2 state means they are a leader (leadership is not all-or-nothing).

The comparison of U.S. states with Canadian provinces is apples and oranges. They have very different national incentives and different cultures.


Brian,

The whole exercise began because a Canadian thought BC had a higher station density per capita than California. Sean was right. I always make my comparisons North American. I never limit my comparisons to just the USA unless there's no data on Canada.

I was surprised by the results myself.

We could extend the comparison to other US states. I only included the eastern Canadian provinces because I was already familiar with them. Ontario's roll out of DCFC was much, much faster than California.

Paul
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GetOffYourGas
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:55 am

That's fine. I'm just saying that there are very different forces at work in the US and in Canada. So saying that California is behind may be accurate, it may not reflect so much on the Californian efforts, as on the US Federal Government's efforts.

Regarding other states, I'd be curious how Vermont ranks. They have a low population (<1M I believe) but a decent DCQC network.
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:17 pm

I concur that California does fit in the leader category on this.

Also, the Tesla charging network is a good example of how to be successful in this space. It goes a long way to thwart range anxiety - and that is for cars that have much longer range than their counterparts. We really need fast charging infrastructure if we really want EVs to become mainstream, especially for those who don't own their own home and need to rely upon public charging. A lot more.

At the most convenient charging spot near my work, there is 1 J1772, and 2 of the ChadeMo/CCS kiosks. Of course the J1772 is occupied about half the time I try to use it. :(

This location also has a dozen Tesla spots. Most I've seen on those is 4, but with the Model 3 selling strong, that will probably grow pretty quick. I'd really love if Tesla would allow non-Tesla to access this network. But I fully understand the competitive advantage it gives them and that is what justifies the expense of building that network.
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paulgipe
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:06 pm

GetOffYourGas wrote:That's fine. I'm just saying that there are very different forces at work in the US and in Canada. So saying that California is behind may be accurate, it may not reflect so much on the Californian efforts, as on the US Federal Government's efforts.

Regarding other states, I'd be curious how Vermont ranks. They have a low population (<1M I believe) but a decent DCQC network.


Brian,

Just follow the link and type in Vermont. I think the filters will already be set.

To my knowledge, California and US states have a big advantage that the Canadians don't have. We have the $7,500 federal subsidy. I don't think there's anything like that in Canada. Canadian EV incentives and Canadian roll out of DCFC chargers are due to provincial action. Consequently, the fact that California falls behind them is more significant than it first appears.

You could argue that BC has a provincial utility and effectively no regulation--same in Quebec--so they can pretty much do what they want. Not so in Ontario. Ontario is more similar to California in that DCFC roll out was purely a provincial and not utility function. To go further, Ontario even made some of the same mistakes (24 kW stations winning bids) as California.

Paul
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2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Fri Sep 21, 2018 5:08 pm

DarthPuppy wrote:I concur that California does fit in the leader category on this.



Agreed. I only looked at the ones I knew doing something. The rest? No so much.

Paul
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Sun Sep 23, 2018 5:26 am

I'm sorry, but this OP is self-serving propaganda of the eastern Sierra advocacy for the advancement of feeble EVs in sparsely traveled areas. I sort of appreciate the advocacy* to not leave any EV behind (thanks, George) but not the approach.

Specifically, DCFC density per capita is context dependent and at *best* tells only a small part of the utility of a fast charging network.

Oregon is a good example. The state enabled regional EV driving for non Tesla cars in the greater metropolitan areas in particular and along the coast to a lesser extent but eastward driving is poorly supported if at all. This makes a lot of sense given where the the body of people live who buy EVs, the majority of tasks asked of those cars, the battery sizes and the charging rates across the network. None of these guiding principles are encapsulated in a per capita metric.


* Well, sort of. Getting the interested EV owners to pony up for 14-50 outlets at hotels along the favored routes strikes me as more likely to succeed and a lot less obnoxious to the wider EV community and cause than demanding million dollar DCFC pavilions for the five or so people who will use them each year.
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paulgipe
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Re: California Lags in DC Fast-Charging Station Density for Electric Vehicles

Sun Sep 23, 2018 8:33 pm

SageBrush wrote:I'm sorry, but this OP is self-serving propaganda of the eastern Sierra advocacy for the advancement of feeble EVs in sparsely traveled areas. I sort of appreciate the advocacy* to not leave any EV behind (thanks, George) but not the approach.

Specifically, DCFC density per capita is context dependent and at *best* tells only a small part of the utility of a fast charging network.

Oregon is a good example. The state enabled regional EV driving for non Tesla cars in the greater metropolitan areas in particular and along the coast to a lesser extent but eastward driving is poorly supported if at all. This makes a lot of sense given where the the body of people live who buy EVs, the majority of tasks asked of those cars, the battery sizes and the charging rates across the network. None of these guiding principles are encapsulated in a per capita metric.


* Well, sort of. Getting the interested EV owners to pony up for 14-50 outlets at hotels along the favored routes strikes me as more likely to succeed and a lot less obnoxious to the wider EV community and cause than demanding million dollar DCFC pavilions for the five or so people who will use them each year.


I think you would be surprised by the volume of traffic on US 395. Why do you think Tesla installed four superchargers on the route?

And unlike Oregon, California didn't even try to connect major cities along the north-south corridor until very late in their program--and only after a lot of advocacy. And forget about East-West connections. The major East-West corridor to Tahoe was done by the Japanese and maybe BMW. I don't remember the consortium exactly, but you could look it up.

Paul
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2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used 10/3/16, sold
L2; ClipperCreek HCS-40; Jesla; JDapter Stub
http://www.wind-works.org

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