GRA
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Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Tue Sep 20, 2016 4:13 pm

The following is a first draft of the Introduction section of a letter I'm going to send to the various organizations who would be involved in doing this. I'm still working on the Technical section, and am making a hiking trip over the next few days which will include examining potential charging sites in the Wawona area, results of which will be included in the latter. Constructive criticism is welcomed, especially if you think there are things I can leave out of the intro and move elsewhere to shorten it to one page.
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Name
Address
email


Date:

To: Woody Smeck, Acting Superintendent, Yosemite National Park
Bob Concienne, V.P. of Operations, Yosemite Hospitality, LLC
Frank Dean, President & CEO, Yosemite Conservancy


Subject: Expanding electric vehicle charging in Yosemite to reduce local air and noise pollution, and GHG emissions

Enclosures:

Suggested Charging Sites
Technical Section
Glossary


To reduce transportation-related air and noise pollution, GHG emissions and congestion, shuttle buses have been provided to transport visitors inside the park, and the YARTS bus system was established to transport visitors between surrounding communities and Yosemite. However, the majority of visitors still reach the park via private vehicle, and due to personal choice or because buses don't run when/where they need, they often do substantial amounts of driving inside the park as well.

In order to reduce pollution from these latter vehicles, it is important to encourage the use of Plug-in Electric Vehicles (PEVs), which consist of two major types: Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs), which run on batteries some of the time; and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs), which run on batteries all the time. Providing a greater number of charging facilities for them, more widely distributed inside the park, will allow their use for travel to and from the park, and ensure that most or all of the miles which these vehicles may drive inside the park will be on electricity, near silent and and having zero tailpipe emissions. An additional advantage of PEVs inside the park is that range when running on batteries is still considerably less than is typical of Internal Combustion-Engined vehicles (ICEs); range on batteries can always be increased by slowing down, so PEV drivers are more likely to adhere to park speed limits, reducing the number of animals killed or injured in collisions.

I believe it is important to provide at least some initial increase in charging facilities at sites both inside and outside the Valley, by the start of the summer season of 2017, for the following reasons:

    1. Until now, the only BEVs which as a practical matter had the range to visit the park from charging stations outside it were very expensive models by Tesla. That is about to change, as GM will introduce the sub-$40k MSRP, 200+ mile range Bolt BEV by the end of this year, and several other companies will follow with similarly-priced models over the next two years.

    2. PHEVs have no trouble reaching the park, but until recently weren't available in the vehicle type most desired by outdoors enthusiasts, all-wheel drive (AWD) Crossover Utility Vehicles/Sport Utility Vehicles (CUVs/SUVs), so their numbers have been lower in the park than would otherwise be the case. That has recently changed, currently at the expensive end of the scale (Porsche/BMW/Volvo etc.), but several more affordable PHEV AWD CUVs are due to be introduced in 2017-18.

Despite the fact that the San Francisco Bay Area has the highest percentage of PEVs per capita in the country and the second largest total (Greater L.A. is first), there are only two official charging sites inside the park, both in the Valley. Other national parks, such as Zion and Yellowstone, have made greater progress installing charging facilities despite having a much smaller nearby PEV population. Yosemite's charging sites aren't listed in the 'Facilities' section of the Yosemite Guide or on the park's own website (they are listed on the concessioner websites for those facilities), although given that they can only handle a maximum of three cars simultaneously at the moment, only two of which are usable by all PEVs without after-market adapters, that's perhaps appropriate.

The number of charging stations at each charging site, as well as the number of charging sites both in and outside the Valley need to be increased, they must be usable by all PEVs without after-market adapters, and their locations must be advertised. I have explained my rationale as to where I believe charging sites should be located as well as the type and number of stations at each site, in the Suggested Charging Sites section which follows.

Money to fund such programs is always an issue, but improving park air quality and reducing noise and GHG emissions is desired by the Park Service, Yosemite Hospitality LLC and the Yosemite Conservancy, all of which may be willing to fund some of this work. Crowd-funding by PEV owners is also a possibility.

I will be happy to provide any advice or assistance I can to advance this. My interest in improving access by PEVs to and inside the Park is personal rather than professional, due solely to my desire to improve visitors' experience of Yosemite, which I have been privileged to enjoy regularly ever since I first visited Tuolumne Meadows as a young child over 50 years ago. I have no business or financial interest in, or connection with any company providing charging or other electrical equipment, electrical utilities or auto manufacturers. However, in the early 1990s I worked for a small company that sold off-grid renewable energy equipment and also designed complete off-grid systems, and while so employed I proposed, designed and with the assistance of the hut ranger/caretaker installed the photovoltaic lighting and water-pumping systems at Ostrander Lake ski hut, which I have visited almost every winter since 1980.



Sincerely,
Last edited by GRA on Sat Oct 01, 2016 4:32 pm, edited 8 times in total.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

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abasile
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Tue Sep 20, 2016 6:46 pm

This is great work.

In addition to reducing "air and noise pollution" I would suggest adding "reducing carbon pollution", given California's comparatively clean electric power generation. One goal for the national parks is to serve as models in the battle against AGW.

It might also be worth mentioning that "affordable" long-range BEVs such as the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt are coming soon, thus potentially enabling many more battery-only cars to reach the park. For BEVs, of course, gasoline is not an option and charging infrastructure is vital. Many people will be more likely to purchase a BEV, and thus avail society at large of its benefits, if they know it can be used to visit national parks.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Wed Sep 21, 2016 12:54 pm

I want more EV charging everywhere. But keep in mind that the NPS wants there to be fewer cars in the Valley during peak season (summer). It's too crowded already. They want you to park your car and use the shuttles. I still think it's a good idea to have charging infrastructure (so Leaf-range EVs can make the round trip--and the longer drives to the edges of the park). Just something that you may want to work into the letter.

I also wonder if there's that much electrical bandwidth coming into the park. Places like Curry Village only let you use a single light bulb. They may be constrained as to how much juice charging stations could even use. Highlighting this issue could be helpful to get them to increase capacity by a larger amount whenever they do upgrade their infrastructure.

I'd love to find this out actually (where their electricity comes from--just out of curiosity). Quick googling didn't reveal.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:34 pm

abasile wrote:This is great work.

In addition to reducing "air and noise pollution" I would suggest adding "reducing carbon pollution", given California's comparatively clean electric power generation. One goal for the national parks is to serve as models in the battle against AGW.

Good idea. Heading up this evening, but will add it when I get back.

abasile wrote:It might also be worth mentioning that "affordable" long-range BEVs such as the Tesla Model 3 and the Chevy Bolt are coming soon, thus potentially enabling many more battery-only cars to reach the park. For BEVs, of course, gasoline is not an option and charging infrastructure is vital. Many people will be more likely to purchase a BEV, and thus avail society at large of its benefits, if they know it can be used to visit national parks.

Already going to mention that (see the fourth paragraph, "For reasons explained in that [Technical] section, I believe it is important to provide at least some initial increase in charging facilities, at sites both inside and outside the Valley, by the start of the summer season of 2017." I'm planning to discuss the differing requirements of BEVs and PHEVs there as well. I'd initially planned to put it in the intro, but I've gone back and forth about which section to put it in, as I'd really like to get the intro down to a single page (two now). I'm trying to shorten it as much as possible to make it an executive summary, as the addressses will likely hand this off to people in appropriate departments to look at the details. These people are busy, so giving them something big picture they can scan and quickly decide whether to support it or not, without bogging them down in the fine points is what I'm aiming for.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Wed Sep 21, 2016 1:59 pm

forummm wrote:I want more EV charging everywhere. But keep in mind that the NPS wants there to be fewer cars in the Valley during peak season (summer). It's too crowded already. They want you to park your car and use the shuttles. I still think it's a good idea to have charging infrastructure (so Leaf-range EVs can make the round trip--and the longer drives to the edges of the park). Just something that you may want to work into the letter.

I'm mainly interested in providing charging outside the Valley, but also looking at L1 primarily for lodging facilities in the Valley and elsewhere, which are slow enough that people will want to leave their BEVs parked and walk, bike or use the shuttles during their stay, to have enough juice to get home or to QCs located in gateway communities which will eventually appear (Groveland, Buck Meadows and/or Hardin Flat plus Lee Vining for 120; Mariposa and/or El Portal for 140; Oakhurst and/or Fish Camp for 41). As it is, there are several eVgo dual standard QCs along 99 (Salida, Modesto, Ceres, Atwater, Chowchilla, Fresno/Clovis), most with 2 dual standard QCs, from where the park can be reached now by a Bolt (and might even be able to do the round trip to the Valley un-recharged), and some stand-alone CHAdeMO in the same areas and a few more.

forummm wrote:I also wonder if there's that much electrical bandwidth coming into the park. Places like Curry Village only let you use a single light bulb. They may be constrained as to how much juice charging stations could even use. Highlighting this issue could be helpful to get them to increase capacity by a larger amount whenever they do upgrade their infrastructure.

I'd love to find this out actually (where their electricity comes from--just out of curiosity). Quick googling didn't reveal.

Believe me, I've surveyed most of these sites for what kind of electrical capacity they have and how much may be excess, and will highlight those limitations in the technical section. It's the lack of excess capacity inside the park as well as the desire not to upgrade the infrastructure, that leads me to believe that QCs belong outside the park in the gateway communities.

Park electricity comes from a variety of sources. Tuolumne gets theirs from So Cal Edison, whose power lines run up Lee Vining
Canyon (including at least one hydro station there). I imagine the Valley gets their's from Hetch Hetchy, and I'm not sure about Wawona. Could be them, SCE or PG&E. Crane Flat gas station and IIRR White Wolf get theirs from diesel Gensets, so I'm not going to recommend charging there.

BTW, a long time ago, after the first time I stayed in the freezing (at that time non-insulated) tent cabins at Curry Village in the winter, I subsequently used to pack along a screw-in dual receptacle with light socket and pull chain, available at most hardware stores, plus an electric blanket and/or space heater and an extension cord. As each cabin was equipped with a single incandescent light bulb on a 15A circuit (glass fuse inside the cabin where the wire entered), the cabin was much more comfortable on subsequent trips . . . but you didn't hear it from me ;)

Heading up there again in a couple of hours, for recreation and a final electrical infrastructure survey of some areas I haven't visited in a long time.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Sun Sep 25, 2016 4:52 pm

Spent one day hiking on the east side, one in Tuolumne Meadows participating in a volunteer end-of-season trash cleanup (National Public Lands Day was the 24th), and one checking out sites in the valley and at Wawona, after first hiking up to the top of Lembert Dome just after sunrise (woke up about 1/2 hour late). Got some very light snow which melted as soon as it touched anything Thursday afternoon just east of Tioga Pass at about 9,800 feet, and it had obviously snowed within the past couple of days as well, as the higher peaks had dustings.

I'm finally starting to see some PHEVs in the T.Mdws area, one each PiP, Volt 2 and C-Max Energi over Friday - Sat. morning. Also checked out Valley locations, and saw three PHEVs in the absolutely full Curry Village (Half Dome Village? Bah!) orchard parking lot: an i3 REx, another Volt 2 and a Fusion Energi. Also saw two Model S and a Model X. One Model S was coming back from the Ahwahnee (Majestic Yosmite Hotel? Bah, Humbug!), and probably had charged there, the other was driving towards the east end of the valley. The Model X 90D was charging at the J1772 (a Clipper Creek CS-100 protected at 40A, so 32A), and I talked briefly to the owner. Originally, I'd read that there was a single Tesla HPWC plus a NEMA 14-50R at the Ahwahnee, but inspection found the HPWC plus a Clipper Creek LCS-20 side by side; the latter's space was ICED, no warning signs referring to fines or towing being present, unlike the handicap spaces I found elsewhere, which all had "Minimum Fine $250" signs on them.

Drove to Wawona, and decided where I'd recommend the stations there, at the Wawona Hotel (Big Trees Hotel? Double Bah, Humbug!!) and the store/Pioneer History Center parking area.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Mon Sep 26, 2016 3:56 pm

Checking the transformer at the former T. Mdws gas station, while it's missing any placard it appears to be identical to the 25 kVA transformer at Tioga Pass Entrance Station. Checking the transformer at Tuolumne Meadows Lodge (75 kVA), I found it was a 208Y/120V as expected. Assuming this holds true for the one at the former gas station, and that we want to serve both store and campground visitors, we presumably have 20kVA to play with (25 kVA x .8 for continuous load). That being the case, I'd like to hear what people think would be most useful/preferred for a mix of BEV/PHEV, both short term and overnight:

1. 3 x (208V x 32A) L2s, possibly dual connectors sharing the circuit (total of 6.6kW available per circuit, one car gets it all, but if two cars are connected they each get 3.3 kW), with Point of Sale payment by pre-paid network card as usual (ideally by standard credit/debit card).

2. 2 x (208V x 32A) L2s (possibly dual as above) with PoS payment, plus 4 x (120 Volt x 12/16A) L1s probably just NEMA 5-15R or 5-20R receptacles, free.

3. Same as above, but L1s are J1772s, either PoS or free (indicate whether either would be acceptable).

4. 6 x (208V x 16A) L2s, either PoS or free (indicate whether either would be acceptable).

5. Other (describe).

Thanks. BTW, I've made some edits to the draft in the first post, so please check it out and see what you think.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Tue Sep 27, 2016 8:53 am

Since all of the options have 6, I would say #4 for 6 L2's. They all sound like they will be good though.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Wed Sep 28, 2016 10:40 am

Glad you were able to scout this out! Personally, I think I like (3), because this option maximizes the number of PEVs that can be served while offering limited higher-speed charging options for those who might need it.

A. If funding exists for J-1772 connectors, this is preferable to 120 V outlets because it reduces the likelihood of "abuse" by those not actually charging an EV, eliminates the risk of theft of owners' portable 120 V EVSEs, and improves convenience.

B. Those driving PHEVs can charge on L1 in not too many hours. There's probably little utility in charging most PHEVs on L2 since most PHEV owners appear, in my observation, to leave their cars plugged in longer than necessary anyway.

C. Longer-range BEVs can be charged on L1 while their owners are camping or backpacking. If in the extreme case a Tesla BEV needs to add 200 miles of range, that could be accomplished in three full days on L1. That would be very useful to those of us who like to stay for days and hike everywhere.

D. Offering some higher-speed L2 charging (relatively speaking, as 32A still isn't really "fast") would be useful to those who are just staying for a short time and passing through. Signage could encourage longer-stay users to leave the L2 spots open if possible for this purpose.

E. Collecting PoS (point of sale) charging fees would be ideal, but only if this can be done without excessively driving up the installation and maintenance costs.

F. In the absence of PoS fees, perhaps users could be encouraged by signage to pay or make "donations" at the General Store or perhaps on site via envelope system.

G. It should be possible to commence a charging session 24/7. Many campers arrive after hours, some hikers and backpackers arrive during the wee hours of the night to start their adventures, etc.
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Re: Expanding EV charging in Yosemite

Wed Sep 28, 2016 5:43 pm

abasile wrote:Glad you were able to scout this out! Personally, I think I like (3), because this option maximizes the number of PEVs that can be served while offering limited higher-speed charging options for those who might need it.

A. If funding exists for J-1772 connectors, this is preferable to 120 V outlets because it reduces the likelihood of "abuse" by those not actually charging an EV, eliminates the risk of theft of owners' portable 120 V EVSEs, and improves convenience.

That is an issue that I'm going to address in the technical section. Here's one pricey example from 3 years ago:
Illinois Company Introduces Low-Cost 120-Volt Public Charger for Electric Cars
http://www.plugincars.com/illinois-comp ... 27306.html Given how low L2 prices have dropped in the interim they would have to be a lot cheaper now to compete. And 16A is too high: if we're going to provide a couple of 32A L2s on a 25kVA (20 kVA usable) 208V transformer plus 4 L1s, they need to be 12A.

As I mentioned to cwerdna in another thread, there's another side, in that people worried about potential theft of their EVSEs aren't going to hog the spots, but will disconnect as soon as they're done. Personally, if I had to use my own EVSE I think I'd make some kind of mount which the EVSE could be placed in and then the car driven on top of it (the tire blocking removal), so that only the cords could be stolen. Here's a version where the cord is in such a device (6th photo down): http://insideevs.com/protect-nissan-lea ... eft-video/ What I don't know is if the J1772 connector or the 'box' is the expensive part to replace - ideally, you'd protect both, but if the box sits up tight with the receptacle, that isn't an option, unless you use an extension cord (and violate dire safety warnings).

The question is, is it better to risk losing someone's personal EVSE without disabling the charging station, or provide permanent EVSEs with J1772 connectors that will be used more often, but which can be put out of service with a single act of vandalism? The long-term answer is obviously wireless charging via embedded coils.

Re abuse, I hear you; once receptacles are known about, it's dollars to donuts that campground denizens would be using them to recharge their phones and other portable electronics.

abasile wrote:B. Those driving PHEVs can charge on L1 in not too many hours. There's probably little utility in charging most PHEVs on L2 since most PHEV owners appear, in my observation, to leave their cars plugged in longer than necessary anyway.

C. Longer-range BEVs can be charged on L1 while their owners are camping or backpacking. If in the extreme case a Tesla BEV needs to add 200 miles of range, that could be accomplished in three full days on L1. That would be very useful to those of us who like to stay for days and hike everywhere.

D. Offering some higher-speed L2 charging (relatively speaking, as 32A still isn't really "fast") would be useful to those who are just staying for a short time and passing through. Signage could encourage longer-stay users to leave the L2 spots open if possible for this purpose.

We're on the same wavelength, which is why I lean towards providing free (or at least lower cost) L1 mixed with a few higher cost L2s, as the people who are charging overnight or longer will see no reason to pay for faster charging, and the PHEVs will mostly opt for the L1s, leaving the L2s available for those BEVs need them most of the time.

abasile wrote:E. Collecting PoS (point of sale) charging fees would be ideal, but only if this can be done without excessively driving up the installation and maintenance costs.

That's always the problem, along with reduced reliability when you introduce electronic fee payment and need reliable communications.

abasile wrote:F. In the absence of PoS fees, perhaps users could be encouraged by signage to pay or make "donations" at the General Store or perhaps on site via envelope system.

Aha! Brilliant minds etc. I was trying to find someone who could tell me how much the campground 'fee' collection poles' cost this past weekend, but struck out. Compared to the cost of the charging equipment, I'd think the answer would be 'essentially nothing,' but someone's got to collect the fees too. AOTBE I'd opt to use simple, reliable Clipper Creek EVSEs everywhere, and use the honor system. But, while that will work well among early adopters, if PEVs move from the early adopters to the mainstream the % of people who will 'do the right thing' voluntarily is going to drop precipitously. I'm still pondering what to recommend.

abasile wrote:G. It should be possible to commence a charging session 24/7. Many campers arrive after hours, some hikers and backpackers arrive during the wee hours of the night to start their adventures, etc.

I'm one of those who tends to show up late at night or in the wee hours. That's one reason I'd prefer PoS at least on the L2s, kWh pricing w/wo ToU, but once charging is complete, time-based occupation charges to encourage people to move. OTOH, there'd need to be an occupation-fee free period running from say 8 p.m. - 8 a.m, as people aren't (and shouldn't have to) going to get out of bed/sleeping bag and schlep over to the car at Zero-Dark Thirty to move it, just because it has completed charging. That's one reason I favor lots of L1s at lodging sites and campgrounds, as they charge slowly enough that it's almost a non-issue. Whenever possible, I try to encourage courteous behavior through design rather than compulsion.
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