Tag: Electric Charging

Installing Public Electric Charging Stations

Tesla Model S RecallThere are really three major obstacles for electric vehicles from this writer’s perspective. All of them are difficult to overcome and it will take time. The three obstacles are Resistance to change, Installing Public Electric Charging Stations, and time to recharge batteries. We will explore each of these in more detail. However many people would argue that the lack of electric charging stations is a big impediment. With only 10,000 electric vehicles in Quebec and 5000 in Ontario, there is not much incentive to install charging stations.

Resistance to Change

Consumers are pretty happy with their gasoline and diesel-powered cars. They like the features, the flexibility and the ideal they can fill up anywhere and pretty much at any time. It only takes a few minutes as well to fill up the gas tank. The only negative is the cost of rising gasoline prices. At the time of writing, this post is pretty flat and not hurting people in the wallet.

Installing Public Electric Charging Stations

There are simply not enough charging stations around. Although more are being installed every week, the numbers do not begin to approach the availability of gasoline stations. They’re also at the present time little financial incentive for dealers to install charging stations. Time will solve this problem, but right now it is a huge impediment.

Time to Recharge Batteries

Another big negative is the time to recharge the batteries. A consumer will need at least a few hours or even overnight, depending on the charging station capacity. Compared to five minutes this really just does not work. Tesla has tried to deal with this issue by providing a battery swapping service which cuts down the time significantly. It will be many years before this service is widespread.

For more interesting posts about electric vehicles, click here.


States Boosting Electric Car Business

There are two major things that are holding back the increase in the electric car business.  The first is the cost of the cars to consumers.  The exact same car with a gasoline engine is often $5-$10,000 less than an electric car of the same model.  As a result even with subsidies the electric car is still more expensive than its gasoline counterpart.  The second thing that holds back consumers from buying these cars is the distance you can go on a full charge. Also locations to recharge your batteries.

Electric Car Business – Reduce Pollution

Several states in the United States have decided to give the electric car business a boost.  Their objective is to reduce pollution and improve the general well-being of the population.  As a result by reducing gasoline driven cars they hope to make a major contribution in the war against pollution.

Eight states are involved. They represent nearly a quarter of US auto sales. They have agreed to increase the number of electric and hydrogen fueled cars, trucks and buses on the roads.  Their goal is to have 3.3 million vehicles by 2025.  California is leading the way with an announced goal of 1.5 million zero emission vehicles in the next 12 years.

They are going to accomplish this goal by ensuring there are more points along the highways to recharge vehicles.  They’re going to continue with subsidies and increase subsidies to ensure that the consumers are more willing to spend money on electric vehicles.  Even with $10,000 subsidies some electric vehicles are still more expensive than their gasoline counterparts.  As a result the savings will come from the reduced cost to operate the vehicle using electricity instead of gasoline.

Practical Issues

The practical issue of being able to drive your car and  recharge it at a convenient location is of paramount importance. This issue needs to be solved in the near future if these objectives are going to be met.  The majority of trips made by consumers are less than 40 miles every day.  With incentives to install charging stations at employer locations. Along the highways and even at consumers homes.

Would provide more posts on the subject is more information comes along.  We recently wrote a post about 20 new electric charging stations being installed along the 401. This is between Montreal Quebec and Windsor Ontario.  This is a start and we will see a lot more in the years to come.

Electric car Charging Stations on 401

Building Electric Auto InfrastructureWe are trying to get more information about this topic. However it appears that there are now 20 electric car charging stations that have been set up along the 401 between Windsor and the Québec border. Apparently 20 of the fastest charging stations have been installed every 50 to 98 kilometers along the highway for electric car owners to stop and charge their cars. At the current time the use of the chargers and the electricity is free to drivers. It is provided by the host of the location. These sites have been set up by Sun Country Highway to promote green products and particular the all electric vehicles that are gradually becoming more popular.

Location for Electric car Charging Stations

For example a Comfort Inn along the highway is one of the sponsors that has a charging stating installed on it’s property. It is providing the electricity free of charge to customers. It takes about 3.5 hours for a full charge. And bout one hour to top up the batteries on these electric vehicles using a level 2 charger. Level 3 chargers are under development. They will significantly drop the charging time down to 30 minutes to recharge a battery.

This is really great news for the electric car industry. This is one of the most Significant issues when it comes for consumers to purchase electric cars. They want to know what will happen when the batteries run out. Where they can recharge the battery of the car. In the United States, they expect that sales of  hybrid and electric vehicles will reach 100,000 in 2013 compared to 53,000 sales in 2013.

We have also heard that California is making it possible to drive an electric car from Mexico to the northern California Border. They are installing charging stations all along the major highways to make this possible.

Stumbling Blocks

The main stumbling blocks to significant increases in purchases for all electric vehicles is the higher price. Also the time it takes to recharge the batteries. Availability of locations to charge the batteries is becoming less of a problem. More and more locations provide charging points for electric car owners. However they are becoming more popular as sales indicate. Even Justin Bieber has an electric hybrid!

Monitor electric car charging spots

Monitor electric car charging spotsCalifornia is setting aside parking spots that are reserved for electric vehicles in much the same way that spots are reserved for handicap spots and pregnant women. Unfortunately people with regular cars are not respecting these parking spot. They are using them to park in with regular gasoline powered cars. This can be a huge problem if you are driving an electric car. Especially if you need to recharge it before continuing your trip. Imagine, your battery is almost dead. Someone is parked in an electric car charging spot and is not charging his or her car!  All you want is to recharge and get going.

Monitor electric car charging spots

Ticket Drivers

More and more people are urging city counsels to pass laws that ticket non electric car drivers when they park in these spots. They feel that enough time has passed and that the grace period is over. Ticket these cars in the same way that a car parked in a handicap zone would be ticked. The meter maids and the people who enforce bylaws can implement these parking rules.

More Spots Available

Make more electric car parking spots available. They should also be made available in states that are pushing for electric cars to help deal with pollution.  This is going to cause more conflict with regular car drivers. Since in cities were parking is already at a premium, they will be reserving spots for charging electric cars.

Pass Bylaws

City counsels who are in  favor of promoting green energy approaches are going to have to pass parking by laws. They need to support these kinds of initiatives. This will take some time before laws will be passed. Since there are just not enough electric vehicles on the road. Eventually there will be. But this may take a few years. in the mean time they will just have to deal with the frustration of few spots to charge their cars being available and people parking in them when they should not be.

Charge Drivers

Most electric car drivers want police to charge drivers who park in these electric car charging spots. We anticipate that there will even be arguments and some form of road rage about this before it settles down and people accept the changing approach to cars. We are about to enter a significant change in driving and parking habits. As with all major changes in our society, some people embrace the changes and some  fight change. Which kind are you?

Treat these spots in the same manner as handicap spots in terms of policing, bylaws and ticketing. This is the only way that some people will get the message and stop using the spots for non electric vehicle parking.

Building Electric Auto Infrastructure

Building Electric Auto InfrastructureOur last post discussed Recharging Electric Vehicles in Condo Buildings. This post is looking at the subject from a broader perspective. We are asking what will the infrastructure look like for electric cars in the future. It will take time, but this is definitely the way that the future is going. Electric cars will become more and more popular.

Almost all manufacturers have introduced hybrid cars into their lineups in order to maximize gas mileage. A few have introduced electric only vehicles. A Tesla roadster for example will go 245 miles on a charge. However it needs a 24o volt charging station to charge it. You can also use 120 Volt, however it just takes longer at this lower voltage to charge it.

The trend to electric vehicles is simply a matter of time, consumers ability to figure out how and when to use them and an infrastructure to recharge them. Hybrid cars do not need to plug into the electrical grid to recharge their batteries. Cars that do not have any kind of gas engine, require available sources of electricity and need to be plugged in to recharge their batteries.

It Takes Planning

Right now if you buy an electric only vehicle, you have to plan when and were you are going to recharge your vehicle. Plugging into just any outlet is akin to stealing power and people are not going to like that.  Even if you offer to pay for a recharge, there will still be some suspicion, since they will relate recharging to filling the tank with gas and wondering why you are not handing over $40 or $50 dollars instead of the $5 that you are offering which is all that it really cost! Someone really needs to figure out a solution that is economically acceptable to society and demonstrate to business how they can make a profit. All of us also need to be educated as well.

Building Electric Auto Infrastructure

There are many potential solutions, however today as we write this post, none are commercially available in any significant numbers that we are aware of. Some may not even be on the drawing board for all we know. But one way or another we need to be building an electric auto infrastructure to recharge our electric automobiles. The trigger of course will be high gas prices and by that I mean at least plus $5 per gallon. California has the highest prices in the nation, so a solution will probably appear here in California first.

Electric Meters on Our Cars

One way to deal with the cost of recharging and not just ripping people off, is to install a unit on the car which measures just how much electricity you used when recharging and the corresponding cost. You can then show whoever owns the outlet the amount used and pay them accordingly.

Solar Panels

While this is not the complete answer, I still do not understand why the auto manufacturers have not built solar panels into the roof of the car. At least this would provide some power and help to recharge the battery. We are well aware that you cannot depend on solar panels alone for electrical power. Races across the California desert in electric solar powered vehicles have proved that. But a vehicle that gets maybe 75 miles on one battery charge might get an extra 10 or 20% power with a solar panel. If your car is parked a lot it might even amount to more than 20%.

Electrical Outlets at Work, at the Shopping Center etc

In some northern Canadian cities were it gets down to -40F in the winter, they already provide outlets at parking spots to plug in your engine warmer on these really cold days. Why not have more of these electrical plugs at work locations, shopping centers and other public places for those people who like to drive electric vehicles. This could be perceived as a benefit to employees and a competitive advantage for shopping centers!

Negotiate with Your Employer

This is one that could be interesting. Would the union negotiate with an employer to arrange for outlets at work locations as a benefit. It would be a win win for everyone! Everyone is seen to be saving energy and the employee benefits as well by getting free power at work for his or her car.

There are probably many other ideas for electric infrastructure for electric cars. We would love to hear from you about our ideas and any new ideas for electrical auto infrastructure solutions. Leave your comments and we will be happy to post them!

Recharging Electric Vehicles in Condo Buildings

Recharging Electric VehiclesThe debate is only beginning regarding recharging electric vehicles in condo buildings. On the one side is the condo board and the owners. They do not want to subsidize individual owners who want to charge their electric vehicles nightly. Even though they live in the building and they are willing to pay for their usage.

Then there are the various government agencies who are promoting clean vehicles and electric vehicles. Of course there are also the auto companies who want to sell more of these vehicles. For example any obstacle is a potential deterrent to increased sales. They are very concerned about resolving these issues. Some cities are just beginning to add charging stations for electric only vehicles.

Recharging Electric Vehicles

A recent article in a local newspaper reported on this particular issue. In our opinion was skewed on one side of the discussion. Hence this is what really prompted us to add our comments to the argument or discussion about who pays for the electricity in a condo. Or for that matter in an apartment building were the electrical costs are shared by all of the owners.

Recharging Electric Vehicles – What are the Issues?

Perception is that all owners would be subsidizing the few electric vehicle owners in the building who use electricity to charge their cars. For example this is easily countered by the car owner paying for the electricity based on a measured or calculated value.

People do not understand how electricity is priced and used and how much it actually costs. This is also easily demonstrated by an expert who can demonstrate what the real costs are.

Governments not addressing recharging issues. We have gas stations all over the place. We have electric systems all over the place. What we do not have is a way to deliver electricity to electric vehicles. It is very difficult to address this issue. Could we put a meter on the car that calculates how much electricity is really used?

Electrical Infrastructure

An issue that the newspaper article ignored all together was the electrical infrastructure. In the example in the newspaper, the condo building is 40 years old. It has one outlet in the garage. Which one of the owners was using to plug in his electric vehicle. What do you do when there are 2 or 3 more vehicles? One outlet on one circuit will not support more than two cars and may not support more than one car depending on the amperage rating of that circuit. Who will pay for the upgrade to the condo’s electric wiring system? This can become a very expensive issue. It should be shared or paid for the owners of the electric vehicles?

A condo built 40 years ago will have an electrical distribution system suitable for that time. This was before flat screen TV’s in every room, computers for each resident. As well as various other electronics, a variety of appliances that did not exist at the time etc. As a result the electrical load now may be taxing the system to the point were you have to spend major money. For example upgrading the electrical panel, the distribution system in the building. Perhaps even the entry cables into the building.

Fear Mongering

Some people might say that we are just fear mongering and against electric vehicles. This is not the case at all. In fact we would like to purchase an electric car in the future when the prices are a bit more reasonable. The condo board would actually be remiss in its duties if they just allowed this owner to connect his car to the electric grid.

We think that the condo board should place a temporary band on the connection and recharging of electric cars. They should arrange for an assessment of what is needed. In addition also what the impact would be of connecting one car up to perhaps a maximum of 10 cars to the system in the condo. This would include upgrade costs as well as electricity usage costs. Armed with this information, they would then be in a position to decide on the best course of action for all owners.

Send your thoughts and opinions

Your opinions and thoughts on this subject would be useful to our readers. We are willing to even approve links to your own web site in return for a well written comment. Hence it should contribute to this issue and hopefully long term resolution of what to do about connecting electric vehicles to a common electric grid for recharging.


Recharging Electric Vehicles in Apartment Buildings

Recharging Electric VehiclesWhat do you do if you need recharging electric vehicles in the  apartment  building you live in. If the superintendent finds out and tells you that you are not allowed to use this electrical outlet, what do you do? This is a huge impediment to sales for electric vehicles that need to be recharged every night.

It is just one of the many problems that the fledgling  electric vehicle industry is facing. In our last post we talked about how to provide an electric recharging stations. Also how the infrastructure needs to be upgraded. In another post we discuss the same issue in condo buildings. Were owners of the condo would not allow one car owner to recharge his vehicle.

Recharging Electric Vehicles – Issue

People do not want to be bothered by these kinds of issues. The supply of power is going to be the single issue that will prevent many customers from getting on the electric vehicle bandwagon. The car industry needs to solve this issue. They need to try to resolve much of the negative words in the press. These are real problems that need to be solved and unless they are solved, the electric vehicle is not going to sell well.

Apartment buildings are even worse in some ways because owners do not want to incur any more cost that will impact their overall profit. Upgrading the electrical system to handle the increase power draw and adding outlets in the parking garage, not to mention the electrical usage are big negatives for the owners. They are unlikely to spend money until there is some perceived advantage for them such as competition or profit.

Profitable Recharging Stations in Apartment Buildings

The apartment building owner is motivated by profit. If we are to solve the recharging station issue for electric vehicles, the entire industry will need to figure this out. However we are focused on apartment buildings in this post, so we will stick to that subject.

The owner will need to spend some money to install electrical outlets at a number of parking spots in his parking garage. He will need to make sure that the electrical system can handle the increased electrical load. They may even need to upgrade some the circuits to handle this increase load. Load can be determined by the number of cars that would be charging at the same time. the cost of these upgrades must be amortized over some period so that he can recover his cost plus a profit. There is also the cost of electricity that is actually consumed.

With these two numbers the apartment building manager now knows what the cost will be to provide electric charging stations for electric vehicles.  He may or may not want to add an additional amount to this number so factor in his profit.  Sounds easy doesn’t it, but there is one more problem and it is very difficult to solve.

Not Enough Demand for Electric car Charging Stations

No apartment building owner is going to spend any money at this point. Especially for one or two vehicle owners that may want to charge their cars in his buildings. Right now he needs to recover his cost in a a reasonable time. He cannot charge all of the upgrade cost to one or two owners.

We think that this situation will gradually resolve itself over time as demand increases. Especially as availability of stations becomes a competitive issue. Governments can also help as well by offering incentives to provide these stations.  It may take 10 years to reach the tipping point. However we are very confident that we will get to a heavy concentration of electric vehicles. This will drive solutions that are cost effective for drivers as well as apartment building owners and condo’s as well. It will become common place to offer recharging stations in apartment building parking garages.

The auto industry has to get in on this and start doing some of the things needed to help the industry along. They need many locations to charge your vehicle were you pay for the power at reasonable rates.

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment Managers

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment ManagersApartment dwellers are looking for electrical outlets to plug-in their electrical vehicles to recharge them over night. Electric vehicles create issues for apartment managers and superintendents. Governments are pushing better utilization of our resources. Specifically to cut down on our dependence on foreign oil. Yet this is creating many issues for individuals who want to support the initiative.

They are coming face to face with the reality of where do they charge up their vehicle. If you live in a single family home or even a townhouse were you have your own electrical meter you have some control. There is no issue other than the basic economics of  recharging your vehicle. We urge you to do your own math as well to confirm your potential savings when you purchase an electric vehicle.

Electric Vehicles create issues for Apartment Managers

Life is never Simple and Straight Forward.

For apartment dwellers it is not so simple. Most people will park in a garage or even surface parking were there is no access to an electric plug of sufficient amperage. In those few places were there are plugs, many owners are objecting to paying for the increase in electricity that is being used. Some property managers have removed electrical outlets so they cannot be used to charge electric cars. In addition, the existing electrical system in older buildings may not be up to the standard and capacity needed to support more than a few cars plugged in to recharge.

Expensive upgrades are required. Who is going to pay for this expense. How will he recover this expense through the rent or other fee’s. At the very least, there may be only one electrical outlet in the garage. It probably is not close to the car owners requested parking spot. In some colder climates, electrical outlets are provided for car warmers and engine heaters.

Car Owner Volunteers to Pay His Share

One electric car owner has volunteered to pay for his share of the electricity based on the manufacturers anticipated usage and local rates for electricity. He even volunteered to double what he should pay from a theoretical perspective. The apartment building owner is worried. Even though this car owner is willing to pay , he may find himself committed to expensive electrical system upgrades. Or risk the wrath of the other apartment dwellers when the breakers let go and everyone is in the dark.

Early Days for Electric Vehicles

This is still very early in the product life cycle for electric vehicles. Hence the issues and problems are just now being realized. Many people with good intentions will purchase electric vehicles. Then  where do they recharge their vehicle. As a result their money is committed. They will solve these minor problems. All it will take is a competitive market for apartment units. For example an apartment owner advertising that they have parking stalls available for electric cars to get the ball rolling. It will become a competitive issue at some point to capture some of the best apartment owners. Those who pay their rent on time and cause few problems. I am thinking that if you can afford to purchase an electric car, you are making pretty good money. You will appreciate a higher quality of apartment.

If you would like to leave a detailed comment about electric vehicle recharging challenges, please leave one at the bottom of this post. You may agree with our opinion. Or perhaps not and have a different perspective on it. We would like to hear your opinions. We will even approve a link back to your web site for well written on subject comments.

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