Aeolus wrote:it is appalling that the contractors who are supposed to be spending federal money allocated as part of a jobs program cannot get their act together to install level 3 charging systems.
L3 - Why are Japan, Norway, Netherlands, Washington, Oregon, Tennessee, Arizona, and Texas ahead of California?
The first 1,000 Leaf and Volt drivers in San Diego bought our cars without much in the way of public charging infrastructure. The next 1,000 will buy their cars with just a little public L2 charging infrastructure and no public L3 infrastructure. The next 10,000 drivers and the next 100,000 drivers are not likely to do so. They'll buy ICE instead unless they can "fill up."
It's important for utilities to level their demand because they have to build power plants and transmission lines for the worst case. For this reason they love EV's charging at night when capacity is otherwise unused. Also for this reason SDG&E levies a "demand charge" of $26 per kW of peak usage, regardless of average usage.
But this demand charge for a single L3 charging station would be $1,560 per month. If the station is used a single time in a month, the cost to provide that single charge would be $1,560 - before anything is paid for the electricity itself, nor for the equipment, installation, maintenance, etc. Suppose the station is used 150 times per month, so it's busy about 50% of the time over 12 hours of each day. Then the demand charge alone would cost $10 per charge, which to someone whose ICE alternative is a Prius is like buying gasoline for $9.48 per gallon - and again that is before allowing for electricity or any other costs. Where will those 150 people come from who feel like paying $9.48 per gallon for their e-gas? Tony is looking for some technical solution: http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=5867
But right now it's hard to see how an L3 station could make economic sense in California.
By analogy with number of ICE cars per gas pump, and assuming that EV drivers will charge at home at least 90% of the time, one L3 station should support a population of 2,000 EV's. So if the demand charge prevents one L3 from being built it saves 60 kW of peak demand, but thereby misses out on 7,200 kW of load leveling night-time demand when those 2,000 drivers choose to buy gasoline cars instead.
An L3 charging station could run economically if instead of connecting it to the utility grid you connected it to a natural gas or diesel generator. Diesel sounds terrible to someone who specifically bought a Zero Emission
car, but if L3 charging were only used for 10% or 1% of your annual miles driven I imagine the total emission numbers would work out pretty good. But it doesn't matter, because state air quality regulations prohibit permanent installations of such generators - and for good reason lest thousands of businesses might otherwise run generators regularly to level their loads and reduce their demand charges.
But now look at the unintended consequences of this rule. It keeps one diesel generator, 90 hp, running intermittently at constant rpm with stationary emission controls and regular maintenance, from spewing its emissions into San Diego's air. But by preventing that L3 charging station from being built it thereby it puts 2,000 more ICE cars onto the road, each with 100-200 hp, with varying levels of maintenance of their emission systems.
I don't think that EV's should get a free ride on regulations, taxes, nor long term subsidies. But we need to think about unintended consequences, and about what it is we're trying to accomplish with our regulations lest some 20th century regulations hold back a 21st century transportation system.