edatoakrun
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Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Sun Sep 03, 2017 3:36 pm

Much that is wrong with the American public charging infrastructure today is summed up in the imbalance in this ratio:

Why the Gas Station Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

In the future, says Pasquale Romano of ChargePoint, vehicles will simply charge their batteries where they park


Optimism surrounding electric cars has swelled with the launch of Tesla Inc.’s $35,000 Model 3 sedan, but there are plenty of obstacles on the road to mass adoption.

One of the biggest hurdles is infrastructure. In a nation where there is a gas station on every corner, finding a car charger that works and is open for use can be a scavenger hunt. A public network of chargers is evolving, but it’s tough to catch up to gasoline, which can be purchased at 168,000 filling stations nationwide.

Pasquale Romano, chief executive of ChargePoint Inc., is working to change views on what the charging network of the future will look like. [The Campbell, Calif., company has 39,000 charging spots set up in garages, parking lots, apartments and other locations, with several hundred of them capable of so-called DC express charging, which can provide 200 miles of charge in an hour for cars currently on the road and promises much faster fill-ups as car batteries become more advanced.

The 51-year-old Mr. Romano says copying the gas-station model is a mistake. “That’s just an artifact of the fuel choice that we’ve used for the last 100 years,” he says. As electric vehicles become capable of going further on a single charge, drivers increasingly will be able to simply plug in at home or work, minimizing the need for roadside depots that sell everything from lottery tickets to diesel...

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-the-ga ... 1502676420

Free version at:

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/why-ga ... 2017-08-23


Pasquale Romano of chargepoint is missing the point, IMO, when he says "vehicles will simply charge their batteries where they park".

And that is because he (and many others) don't seem to understand the reality of the primary reason why drivers and passengers get out of their cars during long road trips, quite often for only about the same short time it takes to pick up some kWh at a high kW rate.

The gas station is not a model for public DC because that's where you buy gas.

But they are a major part of the really important public infrastructure network travelers require, and the right model we should be considering when developing the DC infrastructure, public toilets.

In short, in the future, vehicles will simply charge their batteries where the passengers stop to pee.

When was the last time you pulled off the freeway on a long trip and stopped at a business, where there was not a restroom?

The reason virtually every gas station/mini-mart, restaurant, fast-food joint and coffee shop at that freeway exit has public restrooms, at great expense, and producing no revenue at all, is to attract customers to their other revenue-producing products and services.

Of course, McDonald's future DC charge sites will not be free, like it is now to leave your deposit in its restroom.

You will always pay for the charge, but whether kWh sales are a profit center (like the artificially-flavored-diluted-corn-sweetener-dispensers, also located almost every where you stop) or a loss-leader (much more likely, IMO) will depend on local competitive conditions.
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RonDawg
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Sun Sep 03, 2017 11:01 pm

In a nation where there is a gas station on every corner


The notion of a "gas station on every corner" has actually been declining since the dawn of the new Millenium, if not earlier. If LA is any indication of a nationwide trend, there are FEWER gas stations than when I was a kid 40 years ago.

There are many reasons for it, including:

1. Selling fuel itself is a low-margin business; most gas stations make up for the low profits by adding convenience stores like you mentioned, sometimes sacrificing service bays to put one in
2. Environmental regs means expenses like having to change out tanks makes it not worth staying in business especially when #1 is factored in
3. Land values in some urban areas simply are too good to pass up for gas station owners: http://abc7news.com/news/gas-stations-i ... g/1462248/

In my area, I estimate there are only about 1/3 of the number of gas stations that existed 40 years ago. I remember when at major intersections there were gas stations on all four corners; that's long gone today. You'll be lucky to find two gas stations at an intersection today, much less four. The only exception would be near freeway exits especially in rural areas.

In a couple of weeks I will be picking up a friend at the Denver Airport; he will be joining me partway through an extended road trip. Unlike most airport cell phone lots, DEN's is next to a gas station facility that also has some eateries (according to the airport website). It's important because DEN is out in the middle of nowhere. I agree with you, that's the kind of places where we need to put charging stations.

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SageBrush
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 1:08 am

The ChargePoint guy was pointing out that 90+ percent of car miles are not during extended trips, and for those miles chargers at home and at the workplace suffice. He is absolutely right for the home owning demographic, and could be right if the employers get with the gig for car owners who do not have home charging. I think this is his way of saying that generic L2 public infrastructure is doomed.

OP keeps hoping for the US to fill up with 75 mile range LEAFs but this is a failed model.

DCFC along long distance travel routes is a different story.
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powersurge
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 3:34 am

I don't know where the original poster got the idea that we don't need more charging stations, and also that we do not need charging stations in gas stations....

I think that the idea that people in the future will only charge at home is incorrect. Using the "Home Island" model of supplying fuel is ridiculous. Many present and future EV drivers do not have home chargers, and the use of outside charging stations makes very real sense. Secondly, since everyone and their uncle complain of "range anxiety", the most logical reason for a person to take the plunge and buy an EV is when they have the peace of mind that they can charge when they are shopping, in church, or go to other places of business.

Secondly, there is a great need for free or almost free quick chargers at all interstate rest areas. without those, it is not possible to travel long distances with an ev. I have driven on long trips, and the bottle neck of traveling is the current lack of QC chargers everywhere. Even if level 2 chargers are available for long distance driving, it is not practical to have to stop for one hour for every thirty miles you drive..

SO.... I really disagree with the title of this topic, as the gas station model (and shopping center model) is the future of the electric car. Even if batteries get better, they will not improve that fast, and people will need a perk to adopt this new technology by making it very convenient for them to charge free at many places in their neighborhood and on long distance travel...

As an example, in the past there was no problem with our old technology to put public pay phones everywhere, on every block and in every store... Why cant we put chargers everywhere now???

edatoakrun
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 5:22 am

powersurge wrote:I don't know where the original poster got the idea that we don't need more charging stations, and also that we do not need charging stations in gas stations...

Maybe you should read my comment again.

powersurge wrote:...As an example, in the past there was no problem with our old technology to put public pay phones everywhere, on every block and in every store...

The pay phone analogy is a very good one, but most people today probably have no clear memory of this excellent infrastructure, before its long and pathetic decline, which began as soon as cell phones were introduced.

Similar to BEV charging, the large majority telephone calls using private infrastructure.

But public infrastructure was required whenever away from home, to fully access telephone technology.

This was not accomplished by building superphoning stations consisting of large numbers of phones placed at destinations, in and of themselves.

Public pay phones were placed where potential customers already were while conducting their ordinary activities, and in the numbers required by demand.

The major (and important) difference is, public phone use required the customers to remain stationary and engaged, while the BEV drivers will be available to conduct other activities while their packs fill up.

This face time with potential customers is very valuable to businesses selling products to travelers, such as food and beverages.

So, a few years from now, your vehicle's nav screen will probably show the current promotional offers (both how many kW, and at what price per kWh) from each of the fast-food joints located at the next freeway exit, whenever you are traveling.
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IssacZachary
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:45 am

I guess I'm the odd one around here. For years I refused to get a cell phone. As a long route bus driver I'd pull over and call my wife at payphones. I didn't see the advantage of carrying a phone around with me that could be a distraction, costs several hundreds of dollars and also would not work in most towns anyway. But then as time went on public phones kept disappearing and after a while I was forced to buy a cell phone. Which costs me a large sum of money every month and still doesn't work in a lot of towns and on a lot of roads (that's the Rocky Mountains for you).

Well I would love there to be a charging station at every gasoline station. I'm frugal, and so the $5,000 and dropping 75mile (and dropping) Leafs appeal to me. If I got to pay $30,000-$50,0000 for an "acceptable EV" then forget it! I'll just keep driving my 1985 VW diesel with it's 500,000 miles that gets 60mpg. But preferably I'd rather drive the 120 e-mpg car, even if it only holds "half a gallon" of "fuel", especially since all the charging stations around here are free. And even if they charged exuberant prices, as long as there were enough of them I'd sell my diesel and just go all electric. To me it makes more sense (to me, not anyone else) to have a bunch of charging stations (don't care if they're only L2) all over that charge $10-$20 per charge than to pay $50,000 out of my nose for a BMW or Tesla. I pay 10 cents per KW hour at home, so most of my fuel prices would be cheap anyway. I'd even pay that much for charging stations before renting an ICEV since it costs $50 or more per day to rent once you figure in all the costs. And the rental place is a lot of times only open for only 4 hours 5 days a week. And renting is a hassle anyway.

The problem right now is the charging infrastructure. I'd be more than happy if there were L2 charging stations every 40-30 miles. But every 60-70 miles is a bit much, especially when you add in the mountains and winters around here and my 11 bar (and dropping) Leaf. There are gasoline stations every 30 miles, so why not charging stations? I know, I know. I have high hopes. As people adopt more EV's they will be the 200 miles type. Tesla already has a fairly decent charging infrastructure, even though the closest Tesla charging stations are 200 miles away from me. I guess I just need to be patient and wait until 1, more charging stations actually pop up or 2, used Teslas, Bolts and others fall to the $5,000 price range that I can afford.
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DaveinOlyWA
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 8:19 am

In the past; gas stations were designed for high volume in and out. The reason? Since self serve became the norm, you can't leave your car unattended more than a few minutes and many stations have less than half a dozen parking spaces.

Due to regulations concerning spills and other environmental issues, the cost of the gas station is no longer manageable by a local owner. So they have become by and large; franchised. The money made by the station operator is VERY small. They don't make more money on volume so busy or so, they get the same. Maybe different with other areas and other stations but not likely. I do have direct knowledge about two major vendors in my area.

This means its impossible to make a living selling gas. So now food, lottery, and lot rental has become the go to option. Problem with that is gas station food has a very bad (and much deserved in most cases) reputation. Around here; there are only a small handful of places I would eat at and they are very good but still very limited in choices.

So in comes the EV and the need to charge. We do have a few gas stations hosting chargers and the vary from very nice to "at least the charger works." All these hosts have one thing in common; they were not built for high volume, fast in, fast out, traffic. They have a few dozen parking spaces, lots of room and typically have food, 24 hour facilities and vendors on site. But the other 95% of the gas stations around, don't.

Sadly we have charging stations at gas stations that don't have anything worth staying for. Tumwater Shell finally got a Taco Truck with very good food but the bathrooms are only available during business hours (they are not open all that late either) and there is nothing within reasonable walking distance. (McDonalds is like 4 blocks away but that is a good trot to get there, order food and return within 30 mins. It can be done but I am a bit over the top in stuff I do. IOW; most won't do it...)


So what is needed is charging in locations that are designed for people to hang out. Fast food is good for the QC but malls, shopping centers, major grocery stores, etc. is where its at and by and large that is where most new stations are going in but the key missing puzzle piece is "road trip" stations. Must have easy freeway access and in ALL cases, I am getting off the freeway, passing a gas station that is generally on a larger lot, open 24 hours, etc. only to drive another half mile or more to get to the fast charge station. This now makes my 30 min charge stop closer to 40 mins (or sometimes an hour during rush hour traffic)
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:33 am

I agree with Issac on cell phones, in many ways they are more of a destructive force than a positive, my first cell was in 2014 because I had to , addictive is about alli can say but not really a time saver .

On chargers...
Around here there is 1 QC about 10 miles from me, (which is useless)
no public non-seasonal charging at or anywhere near my destinations .

The only charging is 110vac at Kwik Trip.

I would be happy if local stores would have at least a few 110vac outlets, that way when I go shopping I would get a couple miles at each destination enough to go to the next.
If I go to eat probably 5 miles

I would be overjoyed if there would be some 240vac outlets even in a few spots anywhere along my normal driving routes but in this state very unlikely.

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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 10:49 am

As with ICE automobiles, the infrastructure will largely compose itself once a critical mass of customers exists. I speculate by the time that happens, pack sizes will negate much of the need for slow public AC charge stations. "Opportunity charging" is something early adopters put up with, I don't think it will characterize the mature EV charging infrastructure.

Home charging will take up a big part of the load; simply nature of EV driving. It's the most convenient option for millions. For renters, I see car charging becoming a common offering, just as parking spaces, cable, air-conditioning, and washer/dryer hookups became expected amenities. Still, of course there will be those who won't have that feature available and so pay stations will be important for all their driving, not just local driving.

And this all argues for the "fuel stations" of tomorrow being fast-charging stations where the process is fast and effective. An infinitude of low-power stations everywhere, while perhaps the holy grail from the standpoint of early-adopters of short-range vehicles, is a resource sink that will be grossly under-utilized and decay when far more capable EVs become a significan portion of the rolling fleet.
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Re: Why the Gas Station (is, and) Isn’t a Model for Electric Cars

Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:05 am

Nubo wrote:As with ICE automobiles, the infrastructure will largely compose itself once a critical mass of customers exists. I speculate by the time that happens, pack sizes will negate much of the need for slow public AC charge stations. "Opportunity charging" is something early adopters put up with, I don't think it will characterize the mature EV charging infrastructure.

Home charging will take up a big part of the load; simply nature of EV driving. It's the most convenient option for millions. For renters, I see car charging becoming a common offering, just as parking spaces, cable, air-conditioning, and washer/dryer hookups became expected amenities. Still, of course there will be those who won't have that feature available and so pay stations will be important for all their driving, not just local driving.

And this all argues for the "fuel stations" of tomorrow being fast-charging stations where the process is fast and effective. An infinitude of low-power stations everywhere, while perhaps the holy grail from the standpoint of early-adopters of short-range vehicles, is a resource sink that will be grossly under-utilized and decay when far more capable EVs become a significan portion of the rolling fleet.


Exactly
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