ECOtality’s Blink Network Struggling – Stability Sought Before Expansion (News Video)
A regional report in the Seattle area filed by King5 (below) outlines how the CarCharging Group is having some difficulties in keeping the struggling Blink Network operational since they bid $4 million dollars at ECOtality’s bankruptcy auction last year.
ECOtality was originally allotted more than $100 million dollars in 2009 to dot the country with public DC fast charging infrastructure, but in places like Seattle, many of those units have yet to appear, while in other instances the ones that have – are no longer operation.
In greater Seattle, 22 fast charging units were planned – 11 were installed, 5 of them are operational today.
CarCharging has taken the first steps in making things right as a regional representative from Car Charging Group has been assigned to manage the network.
Blink Network’s General Manager Jim Stanley told King5 that the first priority for the CarCharging Group was on the inoperative units first:
“So we’re getting that network back up and running in healthy working order,” said Mr. Stanley. The Seattle NBC affliate then asked if the group was going to follow through on ECOtality’s original plans – to which the representative replied, “Growth is definitely part of the equation for us. I can’t comment on specific sites that were targeted by ECOtality.”
InsideEVs contributor Jay Donnaway (who is also a Seattle EV Association, Tacoma EV Association, National Electric Drag Racing Association member) makes an appearance in the King5 report. But as is to be expected on a short news segment, not all of his comments and message got through.
Fortunately, we are not time constrained here (or on a deadline or any kind), so Jay has kindly outlined the situation with the Blink network for us below, and his recommendations to new ownership (CarCharging Group) as representive of a consulting client who hosts three L2 Blink EVSE
I jumped onto the current wave of EV adoptions fairly early, buying a Mitsubishi i-MiEV in December 2011, and have accumulated over 34,000 electric miles since. (that story here).
As a relatively high-mileage EV’er driving the lowest-range EV in the EV Project area, I wanted to both support and take full advantage of public EVSE installations, so I traded up to a CHAdeMO-equipped i-MiEV in May of 2013 and wound up spending over $30 per month with the Blink Network alone, particularly for fast charging.
Using even the partially-completed DC fast charging network increased my monthly mileage from an average of 1279 to 1459 miles, an increase of 14%, and made usage of a backup gasser very rare indeed.
The Blink network never reached it’s deployment goals, installing only half of the promised stations in the Seattle region.The deployments didn’t make particular geographic sense either, with three fast chargers in the Hwy 167 suburb of Auburn, but none in Tacoma. I chalked that up to growing pains, which of course became much more painful with the demise of EcoTality.
In the course of representing a consulting client who hosts three L2 Blink EVSE and still has not received a revenue-sharing payment, I finally made contact with a new regional representative from Car Charging Group, who has apparently been tasked with covering everything from San Francisco north.
I presented this positive development in a Blink status report to the Seattle EV Association, which resulted in the above story from King 5 News, the Seattle NBC affiliate.
I believe that it is unreasonable to expect someone in San Francisco to adequately manage the entire Pacific Northwest, so am calling upon the Car Charging Group to provide a field representative based in the Portland-to-Seattle corridor, and to get these stations in working order post haste.
Based upon a review last of stations via Blink website and Plugshare, last week 23 of the DCFC in the Blink Network of 94 DCFC were offline, either in software fault, or mechanical issues with (both) connectors. For WA State, there were only 5 working DCFC out of 11. There were originally 14 installations, but three no longer even appear on on Blinks own network map:
Additionally, two of the remaining working DCFC in WA have issues with one of the two CHAdeMO connectors.
Blink had committed to installing at least 200 DCFC. This included installing 26 DCFC in the region they negotiated with WSDOT (the donut-hole from Olympia to Everett on the West-coast Electric Highway), and Vancouver, WA (has two of 2 non-working Blink DCFC). With the increasing growth of EVs, now 10,000-strong in WA, there are often queues at a number of DCFC locations.
The Seattle EV Association is calling upon WA state to help ‘rectify’ the DCFC situation with some of the over $1 million in annual registration surcharges now collected from WA EV owners. I am calling upon the Car Charging Group to provide a field representative based in the Portland-to-Seattle corridor, and to get these stations in working order. It’s nice to finally have a real person to call, but one based in the Bay Area cannot be expected to cover Washington and Oregon as well.
– Jay Donnaway (Seattle EV Association, Tacoma EV Association, National Electric Drag Racing Association)
Check out the full King5 story here