The Problem Is Not Range Anxiety, It’s Charging Chaos: A Report From A Nissan LEAF Adventure

3 years ago by Assaf Oron 67

Last month we once again became part of the InsideEVs sales scorecard statistics, signing up for a 2-year 2014 Leaf lease. Interestingly, in July 2014 our lease was one of 3,019 Leaf sales, whereas in August 2012 when we first met Da Leaf, we were one of 685; quite a progress, no?

So perhaps it’s a good opportunity to share the story of our most ambitious day trip with our beloved 2012 ocean-blue Leaf, now back in Nissan’s hands and hopefully finding a new home soon (I’m spying on it every other day… haven’t seen it sold yet).

The story starts in late December 2013, when we made a two-night holiday hop to Portland (in a stinky old ICE car, b/c I deemed the trip infeasible given our winter range). Midway between Seattle and Portland lies the mysterious wonder of nature known as Mima Mounds (which are low, flat and domelike natural mounds up to 150 feet wide).

It was our first trip there, the weather ended up being reasonable, and the walk was great. During our walk we met a nice elderly ranger, who strongly recommended coming back in May, when the mounds are in bloom and there’s a festival called Prairie Appreciation Day.

The Mima Mounds, December 2013

The Mima Mounds, December 2013

And so our adventure was conceived. The Love of my Life thought, “I want to go there in Spring!”, and I thought, “We can go there in our Leaf!”.

The festival took place Saturday May 10. In the week prior, I haunted the Plugshare website and plotted our attack. The Prairie Appreciation main location was some 85-90 miles drive from our home, with zero charging opportunities at the destination itself. But the Tumwater L3 station, just outside Olympia, is 70 miles away – perfectly situated.

In fact, if all goes well, the 80% there should suffice to get us to Mima, then back all the way to the L3 at Fife outside Tacoma, with 40 miles remaining to get home. A 180-mile day trip with only 2 QC stops? Sounds great.

This ceremony took place at the dingy Tumwater quick-charge stop (PRNewsFoto/Nissan North America)

This ceremony took place at the dingy Tumwater quick-charge stop (PRNewsFoto/Nissan North America)

But there were still wrenches waiting to be thrown into my little plan. First, according to Plugshare, the Tumwater charger was out of order. The most recent entry (around May 5) said a tech was on his way from California. On Friday May 9th, I called the operator Aerovironment, and they confirmed that a tech fixed the issue a day earlier. Station was operational, even though Plugshare  still didn’t have any up-to-date positive user report.

If Tumwater falters, our fall-back would be the L3 at Olympia Nissan, a couple of miles off the highway. After some checking it turned out that the Olympia L3 is now operated by ChargePoint and costs money even for Leaf drivers. I have the ChargePoint card, but since I’ve never needed to use a ChargePoint station I haven’t bothered to put down the $25 needed to activate it, and was reluctant to do so at this time either. If push comes to shove, I hoped I could manage the activation over the phone in real time.

The Fife Blink location (for the way back) nominally has two QC spots, but one of them was reported broken. The other one seemed to work with daily “all OK” entries.

On Saturday we set out of home around 11 (this is early for us!). In previous highway excursions we’d driven the Leaf as if it was ICE, i.e. ~65 MPH and sometimes even 70. But having learned from the sages at MyNissanLeaf, I knew how to drive this time: cruise control set to a rock-solid 55. It felt a bit strange; at one point a Model S zoomed by, seeming to laugh at us. But it did stretch the range. We rolled into the Tumwater station with 7 miles on the Guess-O-Meter…. only to see another Leaf there, apparently it has just gotten in because it wasn’t even charging yet!

Like all Aerovironment stations in Washington, Tumwater is single-charger so there was nothing to do but wait and chat with the other Leaf driver. Turns out he was a complete newbie, he still had the dealer’s temporary permit. He was en route from Auburn to Centralia to watch his grandson play soccer there, and his car computer “told him to pull over and charge” at Tumwater. A stupid instruction, since there’s only 65 miles between Tumwater and Centralia, and that town has its own L3. Being a newbie, he had to register with Aerovironment de novo. His entire phone process took some 15 minutes, plus a few minutes before we got there when he was waiting for them to answer. This was followed by less than 15 minutes actual charging.

Our buddies for the day-trip, Israeli expat friends with a Toyota Highlander, set out from Seattle some half-hour after us. I had thought we’d reach the Prairie more-or-less together, but now I called and let them know we’re delayed. Being the amazingly good sports that they are, and always looking for a good laugh, they decided to stop by and keep us company while telling EV jokes. They rolled in just as we started the process ourselves.

I called Aerovironment and paid over the phone. I was registered to the system, so it was shorter for me, but still took some 7-8 minutes (as a bonus, I discovered they charge tax on top of the $7.50 for a total of $7.79). At last we started charging, while passing the time with our amused friends and taking trips to the really, really stinky restroom in the gas station’s convenience store.

Suddenly our friend said “it says ‘Charge Complete’!”, but it was a bit soon. The AV charger claimed it filled our Leaf from 23% to 89%, to the tune of 11.4 KWh. Those numbers didn’t add up. Even assuming we had some 10% undeclared emergency stash in our battery beyond the 7 miles on the dial, I still expected getting at least 13-14 KWh from this session. There was reason to suspect we’d only been charged to ~70% instead of 80%.

By the time we left Tumwater, we’d spent well over an hour there. We had to rush to the festival location, getting there shortly after 2 PM, when the official closing time was 3. We didn’t quite get to all the booths which are literally scattered about on the hills (it’s a really great festival, by the way, highly recommended). But we still enjoyed ourselves. Afterwards we decided to add a 3-mile round-trip detour to the “official” Mima Mounds visitor site, where the mounds are most TeleTubbies-like – and then headed back.

The Mima Mounds in their spring glory, May 2014. I could have sworn I took a pic of our Leaf here - it was the furthest it had ever traveled with us. Oh well.

The Mima Mounds in their spring glory, May 2014. I could have sworn I took a pic of our Leaf here – it was the furthest it had ever traveled with us. Oh well.

When we hit the I-5 again we saw our problem: the G-O-M (and also the bar indicator) suggested we are a good 5+ miles short of reaching Fife. Evidently the Tumwater L3 *did* shortcharge us. I slowed down to 52-53 MPH – can’t really go any slower without becoming a freeway hazard, this stretch of highway has a speed limit of 70 – but things didn’t get better. Given the negative experience at Tumwater on our way in, stopping there again for an extra boost was out of the question.

Instead, my wife spotted on her Android Plugshare a conveniently located 4-plex L2 near Sears in Lacey, a few miles ahead just off the highway. With two growing boys in tow, we had no shortage of new clothes they might need. So for 55 minutes we wandered the halls of Sears, emerging with at least one article of clothing for each of us, to reunite with our Leaf, 15% better than before (blink, $1). By now it was getting dark.

We arrived at the Fife L3 – possibly the busiest one in the state – with 8 miles on the G-O-M. Indeed, only one charger was working. Fortunately there was no one ahead of us this time, the charge costs a straight $5, is card-operated with no need to call, and the L3 plug is of the new improved push-in type. Meanwhile we spent an enjoyable pizza dinner with some live rock music at Louie G’s some 10 minutes walk away; turns out it was battle of the bands night or something.

By the time we got home it was after 11. Of the trip’s 12 hours, only 4.5 hours or so were spent at our destination. Sure, some of the dead time en route was converted to reasonably useful and even enjoyable ends (shopping, dinner with live music). But still. That was a destination that in an ICE, PHEV or Tesla would have taken under 1.5 hours drive each way, and on the merits it shouldn’t have taken more than 30 minutes extra each direction with a Leaf.

What’s wrong? It’s not range anxiety. It’s Charging Chaos. I won’t provide a litany of all that’s wrong in the “system” that’s supposed to enable a trip like we’d taken – you can figure that out for yourselves. Rather, I prefer to focus on a vision of how things can and should be.

Sub-100-mile, and ~100-mile BEVs are here to stay. There are already ~60k of them on US roads. Even when 120-mile-plus affordable BEVs become reality – oh, I’d love to get us one – shorter range BEVs will continue to be an excellent economic and environmental choice, besides all the BEV oldies and beaters that should become part and parcel the permanent motorized scenery.

For these BEVs, quick-charging makes the occasional long day trip, or road trip, a viable experience, even an enjoyable one if the stops are in a pleasant enough location. Reliable quick-charging can embolden BEV drivers to get rid of their “insurance” ICE vehicles, which often sit and do nothing except for such trips.

True, there are local heroes like Steve Coram, who already take any length of BEV trip on the existing system, come what may. But there are far more people like my family: road-trip-curious, but would like some minimum standard of reliability and convenience. For this silent majority, we will need (in decreasing order or priority):

  1. Reasonably-spaced QC locations along major highways – in the beginning perhaps every ~20 miles, but eventually at least every 10 miles.
  2. Each location should be multiple-charger, like the Tesla Superchargers. Well, at least two QC charging spots per location, for starters.
  3. Plug-and-play operability. Just like one expects to pump self-service gas after swiping a card or sliding in a bill, the current situation with QC operators is simply ridiculous. So I applaud the Nissan initiative for a single cross-network charging card; it’s a first step in the right direction (still waiting for that magical card, a month after we got the car…).
  4. As non-CHADeMO vehicles multiply (I believe there are already a thousand or so SAE Combo vehicles out there – Spark EV and BMW i3), QC stations should become multi-standard.
Our 2012 Leaf in its last adventure: Lake Dorothy trailhead, some 65 miles and 2000 feet up from home, the last 10 miles on dirt roads.

Our 2012 Leaf in its last adventure: Lake Dorothy trailhead, some 65 miles and 2000 feet up from home, the last 10 miles on dirt roads.

This is a classic case of “If you build them, they will come”. 

The initial push for charging stations in 2010-2012 had focused too much on L2 chargers. It turns out that the best place for “slow charging” is at home, and the second-best at work. The glut of unused L2s in strange locations (like that Lacey 4-plex, a total overkil) has provided ammunition to anti-EV advocates, but has also masked the real lack of near-highway L3s.

In our state, all the major L3s have been around for a couple of years. The two locations we used on that trip, are the only ones on I-5 between Seattle and Centralia; that’s about 100 miles with some of the highest Leaf concentrations in the country. Going east of Seattle on I-90 is even worse, there’s nothing until Snoqualmie Pass which is right at the boundary of a 2011-2 Leaf range.

Meanwhile, charging networks are still looking for a viable business model; this probably explains why they have been unwilling or unable to accommodate the surge in Leaf sales by building more L3s. Even the newer EVGo is reluctant; see the smarmy response their rep gave an Oregon driver wondering about that elusive northern-Califonia gap.

So this is where leadership from other interested parties is needed: government, EV makers and – yes – electrical utilities. They have, or should have, a clear interest in EV expansion. Building a network that makes any QC-equipped BEV road-trip capable, will immensely help that.

Back in May, I emailed a shorter description of our adventure to the Washington Governor’s office. Gov. Inslee has been a clean-energy advocate long before entering office, however we haven’t seen a lot of EV infrastructure progress so far in his tenure, because he’s been sandbagged by two turncoat Democrats who set up a coalition with the GOP in the State Senate. It’s sometimes amazing how a couple of idiots can derail the work of so many good people.

My letter also wondered, how come if we pay an annual $100 EV surcharge, we’re not seeing QC stops pop up every other week. The Governor’s office referred my letter to the DOT, who responded in quite a bit of detail. Here’s a key quote from the letter, signed by Tonia Buell, Project Development and Communications Manager, Public-Private Partnerships, Washington State DOT:

Thank you for your suggestions. We agree that the DC fast charging network needs to be strengthened and expanded to better serve electric vehicle drivers in Washington.

The problem is finding the funding to build out the infrastructure. The 12 DC fast charging stations in the West Coast Electric Highway network were federally funded with US Department of Energy grants through the American Recovery and Reinvesment Act [that explains it… – AO].  Those limited funds were short-term and are no longer available.

The $100 EV registration renewal fee is deposited into the motor vehicle fund to be used only for road maintenance and operations. Legislative approval would be needed to change the use of the funds. There is a proposal in the next transportation package bill that would temporarily divert that funding to an EV Infrastructure Bank for charging infrastructure. [Transportation package was aborted by the State Senate; the state hasn’t had a transportation package in years – AO]

We continue to seek other financial solutions…

Well, regardless of which state you’re in, a viable QC network is not a far-fetched idea. Once a semblance of a reliable network exists, the word will spread and people will use it. Until then, it’s quite an adventure out there… go ahead and try it – it’s really great – but do you homework and be ready with back-up plans.

Oh, and try to leave home before 11. We’re still working on it.

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67 responses to "The Problem Is Not Range Anxiety, It’s Charging Chaos: A Report From A Nissan LEAF Adventure"

  1. Taser54 says:

    The only EV charging service that will work is the subscription service. The build out will be much like the cellular networks in that there will be networks clustered around cities until there is a critical mass reached in subscribers, allowing expansion to occur in more rural areas.

    There will be, of course, some infrastructure installed by the states, but as we see, funding is limited.

    1. Assaf says:

      I agree, but when you need to subscribe to 5 different providers, each of which is good for an insufficient set of chargers, it is not workable IMHO.

      But here’s a good point, that I realized after sending this article to Jay: urban QCs are actually very important, because they make BEVs feasible for people living in apartments. There’s a recently-fixed dual-Blink QC next to a Fred Meyer 2 miles from our home, in a relatively low-income neighborhood.

      Right now AFAIK, Leafs and BEVs in general are still not on the radar of lower-income consumers. But soon enough they will. I can easily envision someone living in one of the many apartment complexes near that Fred Meyer, with a monthly Blink (or similar) subscription, QC’ing it to 80% whenever they go grocery shopping. No need for home charging or anything.

      1. Koz says:

        Feasible for those that drive very little unless it is a Tesla sized battery. There would need to be to many of them and it still be too inconvenient for almost all but the hardened EV enthusiast. I am grateful for all of the Leaf pioneers but it is just not a practical solution for many drivers nor Nissan. Even an enthusiast like yourself is only leasing short term. The residual values will be hammered and lease costs will have to raise significantly unless Nissan wants to subsidizing the Leaf even more. I expected they have had a 30kwh usable battery by now.

        1. Assaf says:

          I don’t get what you’re saying.

          The reasons we are leasing are

          1. The tech is still young and fairly rapidly improving, don’t want to get stuck with an outdated model, and

          2. I want to get as many BEVs on the road as I can with my own power. Leasing accomplishes that, assuming the maker sells the returned lease (which AFAIK is happening).

          “Residual values” are a bogeyman. They are calculated from the pre-subsidy price. If you calculate them from the real price Owner 1 pays, they’re not so bad.

        2. Residual values on LEAFs today exclude a $7,500 federial incentive on new Nissan LEAF purchase/leases. Once Nissan sells/leases, 200,000 PEVs in US market, the incentive will no longer be available on future purchases.

          By October I estimate there should be over 66,700 LEAFs delivered; representing 1/3 of the quota. In 2015 over 100,000 Nissan PEVs will be on US roadways … 1/2 of quota.

          So want will happen to residual values of used PEVs when a new one will cost $7500 more?
          Hint: Nissan just announced a replacement battery upgrade will cost $5500.

          Without timing belts, water pumps, transmission and other mechanicsl concerns … a used LEAF could be increasingly attractive transportation. With 55,000+ LEAFs now and 100,000+ LEAFs later next year finding parts for a used LEAF should not be a problem.

          While a LEAF can require some preplanning and patience for trips over 150 miles, it is a great regional vehicle for travels under 150 miles. Trips under 60 miles can be accomplished daily from hoe without any local public infrastructure (100% home charging).

          Today the biggest need for public infrastructure is DC Quick Charging to ensure timely and reliable travel in the 60 to 150 mile range of regional metro centers. DCQC needs to deliver Charging Confidence, not Charging Uncertainly … PEVs are here and being driven in larger numbers ever month, not here is charging infrastructure that doesn’t produce some level of anxiety.

          “Charger Anxiety” is the real issuse, not range anxiety!
          (please correct those that confuse the source of EV anxiety)

    2. Dave R says:

      As a LEAF owner, I can tell you that subscription services for charging are the absolute worst option.

      From best to worst, here’s my preference for billing structures:

      1. Charge by the minute (behind this would be charging by larger increments).
      2. Charge by energy dispensed.
      3. Flat session fee per use.
      4. Free stations.
      5. Flat subscription based monthly fee.

      Subscription based fees are at the bottom of the list for two reasons:

      1. It is a horrible deal for people who are occasional users of the infrastructure.
      2. It encourages subscription payers to hog stations (unless it also includes a time-based fee to use).

      By far the best solution is to charge people by how much they actually use such infrastructure. If you want to provide incentive for people to use your network a lot, simply give customers a discount once they exceed certain usage thresholds.

      1. Aaron says:

        I completely agree. My list is in the same order as yours. I use public charging stations maybe 1-2 times a year. Even those times I probably could have made it without the little mental safety buffer. Subscription-based charging stations may make sense if you charge publicly a lot, but it makes it difficult for those of us who don’t.

  2. GeorgeS says:

    A good early sunday morning read Assaf.

    Those mounds look a lot like the ones around Pullman Washington where I visited this summer.

    The Pullman mounds are fine dirt ground up and created by receding glaciers from the ice age and then blown like “sand dunes”.

    I’m off this AM on a 200 mile round trip in the Volt…..no charge stations required 🙂

    1. Assaf says:

      Enjoy!

      The Volt was not relevant to us as a 5-person family… discovering that the 2014 Leaf unlike the 2012, is really a “4.5-seater” rather than a full fledged 5-seat one, was the biggest bummer with our new car.

      1. David S. says:

        What do you mean by that? Is the back seat smaller in the 2014?

    2. David says:

      You can easily make the 200 mile drive in any ICE, including the Volt.

      1. Oil4AsphaultOnly says:

        Considering the site that you’re commenting on, I’d consider you a troll. Be gone thee!

    3. Thanks for explaining how the mounds are formed, George.

  3. James says:

    The promised “electric highway” here in Washington State sure sounded wonderful a few years ago. Obviously, when governments are relied upon to build out a fueling infrastructure, this is what you get – in reality.

    It’s why I went with a Volt – and wait patiently for a Tesla Model III. BMW i3s, LEAFs and iMievs are great city cars/second-third cars and that’s realistically what they are good for.

    Doesn’t this just make the Supercharger network look fantastic?

    I call upon EV car clubs and advocates to contact corporations and their local businesses re: installing charging stations to increase business and create a green image and example in their communities. These types of campaigns can bear much fruit, but relying on governments for your charging infrastructure is futile at best. L3/off-highway stations at regular intervals along major interstate arteries will take conviction and cooperation from actual manufacturers of the cars they refuel. So far, Tesla is the only game in town in that arena.

    1. Assaf says:

      Um, actually it is not the government that built those chargers. It’s private companies with government money.

      I have a feeling that if it *was* a govt. agency building it, we’d be much better off.

      But in 21st Century America that’s like proclaiming faith in the Devil incarnate 😉

      1. Thanks Assaf, for the insightful story and additional details in comments.

        In the case of the EV Project envisioned by the Dept. of Energy; ECOtality received grant money that required 50% matching funding. The matching funding for the majority of Blink charging hardware installed were the site property owners. This is unfortunate in PEV drivers only got ~99 of the 250-300 DCFC promised, but hosting sites received faulty equipment that was overpriced, is costly to maintain and very unreliable.

        When the Dept. of Energy awarded the sole grant to ECOtality, it also awarded project management and oversight for the project. It’s to late to fix mistakes made with the EV Project, but there are a couple valuable lessons.
        1. testing and qualification of EVSE for reliability and serviceability (perhaps this should be part of CHAdeMO certification)
        2. better management, accounting and oversight of grant projects … shouldn’t allow 90% to be spend when only 50% of installations started.

      2. BraveLilToaster says:

        No, you wouldn’t be better off. For reference, see British Columbia.

        We’ve been promised some 20+ DCQCs, with 12 provincially-funded chargers to start, and more to come, funded by the federal government.

        So far, after two years of promises, we’ve *finally* gotten 8, with two or three stuck in some kind of red tape hell. One of which was where the municipal government, upon whose land it was supposed to be installed, just said “nuh uh!” and we’re now stuck with a big, fat no-man’s-land between the Greater Vancouver area and the Okanagan, where half the rest of the DCQCs are. On the other side geographically speaking, we have a ferry system in the way that (also funded by the government) has recently jacked up fares and reduced service.

        By comparison however, Washington’s DCQCs have had the small problem of changing hands thanks to bankruptcies, and the further small problem of Chargepoint’s negative cashflow problem, which may mean that they might not be around for very much longer. But at least they got built, and built in a timeframe that doesn’t resemble the process that built those dirt mounds the author visited.

        On the complete other side of the coin, Ontario, another prime target market for EVs, complete with government incentives on the cars themselves, has managed to install a whopping *two* DCQCs, without *any* promises about whether further expansion will ever be done. Or Saskatchewan, which has no incentives *and* no infrastructure to speak of, and no interest in changing any of that.

        So no, you wouldn’t be better off if some quasi-socialist government system came along and made noises about what they might someday do. Or not. Ask us again in 5 years, and we’ll see which one works out better in the end.

  4. CherylG says:

    A very good article that brings up a lot of valid points. I would also include in your list of charging chaos other things we’ve all experienced, like spots being ICE’d, spots being hogged for hours after a vehicle is fully charged, and broken charge points which you touched on. There’s nothing worse than rolling into a charge point with a few mikes remaining and finding that spot is ICEd or broken or blocked by a PiP that has been plugged in for 5 hours, something you can readily see at a ChargePoint station.

    The lack of leadership, Balkanized networks, and 3 competing charging standards this late in the game is a big issue, especially for mainstream consumers who just want to get where they’re going without any drama or delay.

    1. You actually drive an EV, Cheryl?

      1. GSP says:

        My first thought as well. Has CherlG gone over to the “dark side” by buying an EV? If so, she will never go back, I am sure! (No one has) 🙂

  5. DonC says:

    Great article. Fun reading.

    The problem is the cars. BEVs are simply not good for long distance travel. Some of this will change as range becomes longer. I don’t expect the next generation of BEVs to have a range less than 150 miles. That will expand the trip zone, though it won’t address the more fundamental problem.

    The fundamental problem is that QCs are not quick. The name is in fact an oxymoron. Compared to a gas pump, a “quick” charger is slow as molasses. Having spent time waiting around hot parking lots wishing I was somewhere else, the whole QC charging effort is a misguided waste of taxpayer dollars.

    When BEVs have a 300+ mile range a charging infrastructure will be necessary and helpful. Until then they’re pushing on a string.

    1. Assaf says:

      @DonC,

      I beg to differ.

      Most people’s out-of-town road trips rarely exceed 200-250 miles round trip. Beyond that, it’s more torture than trip.

      Additionally – again – most people do enjoy a stretcher after being stuck in a car for 2 hours or so.

      Also, as BEV numbers increase (as we hope and see!) you *will* need way more QC stops anyway, just to accommodate the increase. Hence, no working QC spot in a location that’s not totally stupid, is a waste of money.

      btw, in my experience, the charging is almost always quicker than advertised.

    2. Balderdash. The Tesla Model S, a 250 mile BEV, is competely capable of making long distance trips without any inconvenience at all. I drive up and down the west coast regularly, and document with articles and photos.

      I meet plenty of people with 60 kWh Model S’ who seem to get along between Superchargers just fine.

      It can be done. It just has to be done right.

    3. BraveLilToaster says:

      No it’s not. If you had a gas car with an 80 mile range and today’s gas infrastructure, but you paid 1/8th as much for gas, would you truly care that much?

      Your response would probably be something along the lines of “Well, I have to fill it up a little more often, but it’s not *that* big of a deal”.

      Now what would you say if you had to wait an extra 15 minutes at the pump?

      “Well, I have to *wait* a little while longer, but since the cost is so cheap, it’s worth it”.

      Someday, I dream that quick chargers would be even *more* common than gas stations, in part because they’re cheaper to build and require far less real estate. Even Tesla superchargers require half the land of an Esso station, and the Tim Horton’s that are the actual moneymakers at those stations would be more than grateful that you’re staying an extra 15 minutes.

      This is the real promise of EVs. Some day, the infrastructure and the initial price point will catch up to gas, and then it’ll be all over. The best part is that it’s almost there already.

  6. philba says:

    Well, as the owner of a Tesla with almost a 300 mile range, I have a different perspective. Interestingly, right now I am sitting in a hotel for in the Methow valley having driven several hundred a Miles to get here.
    1) EV range is crucial. Full stop. Sub-100 mile range is crippling EV uptake.
    2) fueling/charging is a different model from ICEs. Forget the gas station model. Only EV touring needs that kind of charger.
    3) government is not the answer. Look at the complete waste of money on building out an infrastructure.
    4) private money built the infrastructure of the cascade loop. (Thank you Plug-in North Central Washington!!). 70A chargers every 50-70 miles. Even a LEAF can do it. Sun Country in Canada built a coast to coast network without a dime of govt funds.
    5) Vehicle makers need to setup networks – Tesla is the model here. There is no viable standalone charging business to be had.

    1. Assaf says:

      @philba

      1. As I said, I’d love to get a longer-range BEV. But that’s because we see ourselves as a 1-car family (technically it’s 2, but the ICE hardly moves). For the vast majority of urban/suburban commuting vehicles, anything beyond ~80 miles is used very occasionally, often less than once a month. To use an analogy I like, it’s as is you are carrying an 80-liter rucksack everywhere just because you do a backpacking trip once a month when the weather is good.

      Like I said, affordable BEVs do need longer range. But that means short-range BEVs will become *dirt* cheap, and everyone except ICE fanatics will get such cars if that’s what they do most of the time. A simple and rather inexpensive QC infrastructure can help people with limited means, keep those as their one car – besides being useful for longer-range BEVs as well.

      2. I’m not talking about a QC stop every 10 miles in the Dakotas. I’m talking about major corridors in highly populated areas, where people day-trip rather often between cities and other destinations.

      3-5. In fact, the Highway 2 QC chargers (the more-complete part of the loop you mentioned) are part of the 12 Stimulus-funded network mentioned in the DOT letter. And the Highway 20 ones are yet to be built, last I checked. In short, without Federal money you’d still have practically zero ChaDeMO locations outside the cities in Washington. And I’ll be very surprised to discover that some sort of govt. money (direct or indirect) is *not* involved in every single QC location built in the country.

      My hat is off to Tesla and their Supercharger network. But solutions for the 1%-5% at the top have been made possible because this layer has become so much wealthier over the past 40 years, and also – uhm uhm – because governments still subsidize the Model S to the tune of at least $7.5k-$10.5k per unit.

      I support these subsidies, but taking them and then bragging about “not needing government money” is pretty silly.

      As I said, there are multiple stake-holders here, not least of which is the public itself, and hence public money is actually key to making this happen. Just like with every single other national infrastructure network.

      1. SeattleTeslaGuy says:

        I firmly believe that anything less than 200 mile range is causing most people to not purchase EVs. Yes, you are in the vanguard but it’s not about early adopters, it’s about the mass market.

        QC/FC/whatever won’t solve the problem. It helps long distance travel but local travel is a big issue. Your argument is that 80 miles is ok for most local daily travel. That is true. But I have different point of view – weekly and monthly travel is different. I drive less that 20 miles a day but once every couple of weeks, I easily rack up at least 100 miles. I also like to have a buffer of spare miles for when an emergency or unexpected event occurs. I believe the next gen of EVs will have around 200 mile range and the current crop will either get upgraded or sold for cheap. The market simply won’t tolerate sub 100 mile cars.

    2. ggpa says:

      philba

      I have a longer post below … Your 5 points are the usual EV owner lament. You are asking others to take the first step, while we wait for chargers to be as ubiquitous as gas stations.

      I see the same argument over and over. In your case you want “vehicle makers” to take the initiative. Others want the government to do it … etc etc

      I think we should lose the “I will not leave home until someone else build many chargers everywhere” mindset. Meanwhile chargers sit idle all day long. I cannot find the link but recall a writeup that ChargePoint chargers get used once per day on average.

      We will all plan long EV trips and travel further if we know are able to plan our charging in advance with more certainty.

      My post below argues that it is time to quit complaining and start using the internet and computers to reserve EV charging slots, and start travelling.

      If we start using EVSEs, more of them will be added. Simply waiting is not the answer.

      1. Assaf says:

        You should make a distinction between QC and L2.

        The L2s are sitting idle. The QCs, in particular the ones on highways, get used quite a lot.

        1. ggpa says:

          I responded to your distraction below …

  7. Markh21518 says:

    I like the how the Leaf has pushed the EV world forward. I wish we could agree on a charging standard, I am the opposite to wanting L3 everywhere. I have a Volt and the city government has put in L3 that goes unused. I need a L2 and they didn’t put in L2 just L3, so I’m blocked out they just catered to Leaf owners since they are ChaDemo. Why didn’t they put in L2 that way we all could use it. Sorry that you want to road trip in a city car but installing L3 without L2 for just Leafs or maybe 1 iMev in the state is not fair.

    1. David says:

      Maybe the Volt should support CHAdeMO. Why is GM pushing a new standard rather than using the defacto standard CHAdeMO? Seems that your complaint should be with GM.

      1. Taser54 says:

        GM is not pushing a “new standard”. GM is building cars to “the standard” for North America and Europe. Remember, GM had a inductive charging standard (Mangne-charge) which was already 50kw in 1997. It was supported by Toyota, Nissan, and GM.

        It was CARB that forced conductive charging in 2001 and it was CARB who fractured the standards as they are today. CARB squandered a decade of inductive charging development.

        1. GM currently does not offer vehicles in Europe with the European “Type2” standard “Mennekes” connector (the IEC_62196 standard).
          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEC_62196#Type_2:_VDE-AR-E_2623-2-2

          Currently the on GM PEV being offered in Europe is the Volt with a J1772 connector (requiring an adaptor cable to plug into public Type2 charging stations).

          GM’s BEV is not even offered for sale in Europe, and has no option to plug into CCS Combo charging stations deployed through Europe, should someone decide to import a Spark EV. (The SAE CCS connector is only offered on vehicles sold in the 8 CARB ZEV states).

          WARNING: Driving a SAE CCS only equiped PEV outside a Section-177 ZEV state will result in Charger Anxiety!

          What I hate about standards and standards committees is their focus one one standard and no pragmatism to operate with other infrastructure. All standards support 240V AC charging and 100-600V DC charging, so why not having a digital portal that allows any charger to talk with any PEV?

          FYI: Just think where we’d be today if each website had a different protocol for encoding pictures on the Internet? The standards problem is not an issue with the plug, it’s the lack of communication!

  8. ggpa says:

    The Problem Is Not Range Anxiety, It’s Not Charging Chaos either, It is Charging Uncertainty. EV owners should get real about this.

    Most EVs trips are limited by how far we can go and make it back home. Charging on the road is an adventure, to use your word, and people stay away because they are uncertain whether they will be able to charge and complete their trip.

    Today is the first day that the 49ers are playing a game in their new stadium. Every single seat is sold. Many people will travel several hours in a car or airplane to attend the game. They _only_ did that because they had a ball park ticket, so they knew their seats at the game were guaranteed.

    It is strange that we have a mechanism to deal with limited availability when it comes to ball park seats, or airline seats, or opera seats, or movie seats, but our brains freeze over when it comes to EV charging.

    This is a chicken and egg problem. EV owners are sitting at home and waiting for more chargers, and politicians will not fund more chargers because they will (correctly) say that the existing chargers are rarely used.

    http://insideevs.com/75-of-the-1392-public-chargers-in-london-go-3-months-without-getting-used/

    We can wring our hands and lament the lack or chargers and wish for more funding … but until then, we should become smart and manage the chargers that exist.

    1. Assaf says:

      “Certainty” is always a fiction in human life.

      As a case in point, with all our extended family in Israel, I travel there every other year and my wife every year (btw, that’s by far our biggest CO2 footprint activity ;( ).

      Since 2009, the majority of such trips had some major mishaps, in particular missing a connection or having the connection canceled.

      I guess many of those flying in to the 49ers game today might get bumped off their flight, or be late, or get stuck behind an accident on some highway.

      What we need is a *reasonable* level of convenience and certainty, no one can really expect more than that.

      1. Assaf says:

        Regarding unused chargers, that’s once again conflating L2 and QC.

        QC chargers reasonably located, *do* get used and a lot.

        L2s are much easier and cheaper to install, and there was a misplaced focus on L2s only when Stimulus money was available (2009-12) but BEV, in particular Leaf, driving and charging habits were not known yet.

        Whoever gives up after the first try, will get nowhere. Try again.

        1. ggpa says:

          Your statement “QC chargers reasonably located, *do* get used and a lot.” … how come we do not read about this? How come nobody is building more?

          Please link to any information you have, or are you merely citing your limited anecdotal observations? And even if your observations is true, it does not contradict my point in any way.

          My point is that we cannot wait for “enough chargers”, we should schedule and manage the ones that exist to reduce charging uncertainty.

          Nothing in your non-sequitur comment in any way contradicts that.

      2. ggpa says:

        Very philosphical, but if I read this then it seems you agree with me “What we need is a *reasonable* level of convenience and certainty, no one can really expect more than that.” … or not?

  9. wraithnot says:

    After taking a number of road trips in my 85 kWh Model S, I completely agree with your assessment of public EV charging. I had a poor experience with Blink driving through Arizona last December: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/25400-Blink-let-me-down-BIG-TIME-today

    As it turns out the Blink card finally did arrive in the mail- in February.

    The one time I had a problem at a Tesla supercharger, I basically had a team of people working through the night doing everything they could to get myself, my wife, and our friend back home: http://www.teslamotorsclub.com/showthread.php/31852-12V-battery-issue-stranded-at-Mt-Shasta-supercharger

    It appears that companies that took government money to install EV chargers don’t really have good incentives to actually make sure the users have a good experience. Tesla has a great incentive to make sure its users have the best possible experience and it really shows.

    The supercharging network from the SF bay area to Seattle already works great for the Model S- my wife and I took a trip to Seattle last weekend, never had to wait in line at a charger, and planned things out well enough that the car was always ready before we were done with our meal, shopping trip, bathroom break, etc.

    It sounds like the CHAdeMO network doesn’t work quite as well for LEAF owners. Perhaps a bunch of LEAF owners could organize a kickstarter to fund an organization to install chargers in optimal locations. That way the chargers would be run by a group that answers directly to EV owners.

    1. ggpa says:

      “It appears that companies that took government money to install EV chargers don’t really have good incentives to actually make sure the users have a good experience.”

      +10

      IMHO ChargePoint is one of the biggest offenders, see http://insideevs.com/constellation-technology-ventures-invests-chargepoint/

      1. wraithnot says:

        The closest ChargPoint station to where I live (Montecito Plaza in San Rafael CA) bills for a minimum charge of 4 hours and yet the dedicated spot next to the charger was labelled “1 hr max”. Either ChargePoint didn’t actually want people to use the station or they didn’t really care one way or the other. I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt and assume the latter.

        1. In fairness to ChargePoint it’s the hosting property owner that sets the fee structure for their charging hardware.

          However as a charging network provider of charging station information, ChargePoint should be validating and communicating the constraints associated with a location they list. (providing timely feedback and updates to both drivers and holsters)

  10. Dr. Kenneth Noisewater says:

    Sounds like a pretty neat adventure, if you’re into that sort of thing, but I reckon that intercity/long trips really need both adequate range (200mi+) and adequately fast fast charging (120kW+) for most people to consider an EV as their only vehicle. With LiIon batteries, as Tesla has shown pretty inarguably, range and charge speed scale with the size of the battery, so below the 50kWh usable/60kWh size you have a runabout that’s not suited to intercity/long trip use by ‘normals’.

    And this doesn’t even include the inadequate ‘fast’ charging that isn’t Tesla Supercharging: 50kW is wildly inadequate for intercity/long trip pit stop charging for ‘normals’, 120kW (which can dump 100mi/30kWh into a 60kWh battery in maybe 20 minutes) spaced <=100mi apart will work for many, 250kW (which can dump 200mi/60kWh into a 120kWh battery in maybe 20 minutes) will work for just about all.

  11. Residual values on LEAFs today exclude a $7,500 federial incentive on new Nissan LEAF purchase/leases. Once Nissan sells/leases, 200,000 PEVs in US market, the incentive will no longer be available on future purchases.

    By October I estimate there should be over 66,700 LEAFs delivered; representing 1/3 of the quota. In 2015 over 100,000 Nissan PEVs will be on US roadways … 1/2 of quota.

    So want will happen to residual values of used PEVs when a new one will cost $7500 more?
    Hint: Nissan just announced a replacement battery upgrade will cost $5500.

    Without timing belts, water pumps, transmission and other mechanicsl concerns … a used LEAF could be increasingly attractive transportation. With 55,000+ LEAFs now and 100,000+ LEAFs later next year finding parts for a used LEAF should not be a problem.

    While a LEAF can require some preplanning and patience for trips over 150 miles, it is a great regional vehicle for travels under 150 miles. Trips under 60 miles can be accomplished daily from hoe without any local public infrastructure (100% home charging).

    Today the biggest need for public infrastructure is DC Quick Charging to ensure timely and reliable travel in the 60 to 150 mile range of regional metro centers. DCQC needs to deliver Charging Confidence, not Charging Uncertainly … PEVs are here and being driven in larger numbers ever month, not here is charging infrastructure that doesn’t produce some level of anxiety.

    “Charger Anxiety” is the real issuse, not range anxiety!
    (please correct those that confuse the source of EV anxiety)

    1. ggpa says:

      I agree with your statement about “Charger Anxiety”. Do you also have a solution in mind?

      And by that I mean a more creative solution than the regular gripe … “it is someone else’s responsibility to provide multiple chargers in every location so EV drivers can charge anywhere, any time”

      1. GSP says:

        I don’t know what Brian has in mind, but the only economic model with today’s low number of PEVs is Tesla’s model of spending their entire advertising budget installing and maintaining QC stations.

        Someday when there are tens of millions on EVs on US roads (maybe 100M will be needed), then independent companies could make a profit selling quick charging.

        GSP

        1. ggpa says:

          What you mention is Tesla subsidizing chargers, by treating it as advertising. Other suggestions have been for government subsidies, or auto maker subsidies, or employers subsidizing it as an employee perk … All these ideas have one thing in common: they assume money is must be lost in charging cars.

          The funny thing is that we are talking about electricity, which is already present everywhere, in every single building. And yet we cannot find a really cheap way to charge cars???

          I trust this will be solved with some out of the box thinking.

          You can scroll up and see my suggestion that we cannot sit around and insist others should provide lots of chargers, we have to find ways to schedule and manage the ones that exist to reduce charging uncertainty.

        2. Currently there are ~600 CHAdeMO chargers installed in US. At ~$60,000 per DCFC to install would need a budget of $36 million. Spread across ~55,000 LEAFs on the road amount to ~$655 each. (A DCFC per every 92 LEAFs)

          Not sure what good economic model is, but charging stations with two or more charge points reduces many issues related to a DCFC going offline, and eases congestion at peak time. I do like the concept of linking number of DCFC in a region to the number of PEVs equipped to charge in the region. A regional plan and coordination does help increase geographic coverage for a given number of DCFC.

          The question becomes finding a balance of PEVs per DCFC and having a reasonable budget. Perhaps a DCFC per 200 PEVs? At $60,000 per DCFC, it amounts to $300 per PEV … either included as part of purchase, funded through user fees, or another business model.

          With 85-90% charging accomplished at home, how much* would PEV drivers be willing to pay for something use to charge only 5-15% of EV miles driven per year? (note this doesn’t include network, or service expenses)

          *keep in mind the onboard 6 kW AC LEAF charger is about $2500-$3500.

  12. Congratulations on the purchase of your new Leaf Assaf, and on your adventure. I appreciate your taking the time to write it up.

    You’re a pioneer, so you get to experience all the inconveniences of those who blaze the trail. Fortunate for those who come later that you and Steve Coram and Jerry Asher are out there and writing about it.

    Within a few years though, the landscape will be very different and these difficulties will make entertaining stories by the fireside.

    Low cost 200 mile BEVs will happen. Strategically placed QC between major metro areas will happen, initially on the coasts. It will happen because if the major auto manufacturers do not make it happen, they will see their market share continually erode to manufacturers who can make and sell a vehicle with 1/4 the fuel cost.

    Right now, it’s frustrating that the only car that can accomplish this costs $70-120k. But all regular readers of this blog know when that price point comes down to $35k it will be Katie bar the door.

    Auto manufacturers may not create the infrastructure directly, like Tesla has (although they will lose a fantastic branding opportunity if they don’t). They may, like BMW, work to bring the cost of QC down to the point that business owners all over spontaneously install the as a way to “get on the map” and attract customers. Just like wifi.

    But they will have to make it happen or their car will not be competitive. And I don’t think they’ll let that happen.

    1. GeorgeS says:

      I’m not sure a 35K$ 150-200 mile BEV is going to be a hot seller. We keep saying that and I pretty much have gone along with it but now I wonder.

      After all the Volt lists at 35K and all you here from non EV types is that “it is too expensive”…..and the Volt essentially has unlimited range.

      So offering a non EV person 150-200 mile range with an insufficient charging network for 35K$ isn’t a slam dunk from a sales point of view.

      1. You have a very good point George. But I was hinting at the Tesla Model III, which will compete with a BMW 3 series, which seem to sell very well at that price point. There are a few assumptions that we can make about the Tesla which will not gimp it’s sales:

        It will be beautiful
        It will perform very well
        It will have loads of interior space for its size and price range (i.e. no compromised trunk space)
        It will have a border to border and coast to coast fast charge network that is 3x as fast as the competition and most importantly, strategically placed (not at dealers, well off the highway)

        Yes, I agree that any manufacturers that can’t keep up with this standard of excellence will have trouble making anywhere near an equivalent level of sales.

        1. GSP says:

          The availability, reliability and dependability of the Tesla SuperCharger network are unmatched by any other QC network. You can count on charging when you arrive, without waiting except for rare high traffic situations.

          This will be a big enabler for Tesla’s sales.

          GSP

  13. Stimpacker says:

    This is exactly what I griped about many times (most recently in couple days ago in another article here).

    Folks keep applauding new BEV models/manufacturers (i3, Audi) but all but Tesla fail to solve what I call CHARGE ANXIETY. This article calls it Charging Chaos.

    I support BEVs but my requirements for one is that it needs to offer an experience as close to an ICE car.

    1) Be able to drive normally, matching freeway speeds. That calls for 65-70mph here in CA. Even the trucks on the slow lane travel at 65mph minimum. To creep at 55mph like the author here is SUICIDE.

    2) Sufficient range to get around town in a suburbia setting. The Leaf meets 90% of this requirement. It cannot get from one end of town to the other end and back again.

    For any BEV to be able to replace an ICE, it cannot be simply a 200mile BEV. It is the charging network that has to be done right. The author here stated most of what it needs to be.

    1) Convenient location
    2) Multi bay
    3) 24/7 accessible
    4) Easy to operate
    5) Compatible
    6) Competitive pricing

    The current network of L3 DCFC’s here in California are anything but that. Most are at Nissan dealers. Frequently ICEd, unsupportive dealers, 1-bay that is randomly bad and lately, frigging expensive.

    All this contributes to CHARGE ANXIETY.
    1) Will it be open when I get there?
    2) Will it be working?
    3) Will it be blocked?
    4) Will I be able to get it to start?

    1. ggpa says:

      “This is exactly what I griped about many times”

      Instead of feeling entitled and griping repeatedly about what others should provide, you could try coming up with a useful solution.

      1. protomech says:

        Probably the only workable solution is the one Tesla employs; i.e. top-down QC rollout and maintenance. It’s much easier to “hide” a $2000 network fee in the $70k+ Tesla Model S than the $22k+ Nissan LEAF. Perhaps the LEAF fee could be reduced to $500; over 60k vehicles sold, that would fund a $30M charger installation program.

        Assuming $60k per two-charger installation, including concrete / wiring / charger cost / a couple years of maintenance and electricity .. that gives 500 location installs.

        Install every 40 miles across 10000 miles of interstate – east and west coast, one or more cross-coast corridors, that’s 250 installations.

        Install the rest in major US markets in proportion to population and LEAF sales; continue to update as vehicles are being sold.

        It’s curious that Tesla seems to be having more success negotiating SC installs at unaffiliated locations than Nissan at their affiliated dealers.

    2. Assaf says:

      Calling 55 MPH highway driving “suicide” is a bit much, don’t you think?

      My brother drives an ICE car – always has – and makes it a policy to drive 50 MPH, out of safety considerations.

      It’s fun to cruise along at or above the average driving speed, which is usually at least 5-10 above the speed limit, but driving at or somewhat below the speed limit is totally fine.

      1. Aaron says:

        Statistically speaking, it is more dangerous to drive below the speed limit than above.

        I am passed like crazy on Texas freeways if I do the speed limit (60 MPH in the city). I only drive that slowly if I have to make it a longer distance, such as the airport. If I’m driving somewhere closer where range is not an issue, I’m up with traffic at 70-75 MPH.

    3. ModernMarvelFan says:

      That is why GM is sticking with Volt until the infrastructures are in place.

  14. imiev Watson says:

    This business of charging stations was never considered when we only owned a Chevy Volt, charge exhausted — we just started using gas. As soon as we added our Mitsubishi iMiev, we became aware of charging stations. It’s crystal clear where and how they should be placed. L1’s should only be deployed at factories of employers that have large employee rosters. An eight hour charge on L1 while working is fine. L2’s should be deployed at movie theatres and shopping centers, grocery stores, sit-down restaurants, sports stadiums and ball-parks where people go and generally spend 1-4 hours. Makers of EVSE’s should market these to businesses to put in place for their customers. Free L2 charging would encourage me to shop here instead of there, visit this movie theatre instead of that one. L3’s should be located every 50-75 miles along major routes and interstate freeways. The location should offer something for the driver to do for 30 minutes. The industry (Car makers, EVSE makers) should be courting McDonalds like nobody’s business…I’m talking free cars for all their executives because McDonalds already has a nationwide network located every 50-75 miles on major routes, in every small town, with something for the driver to do for 30 minutes. Mcdonald’s would benefit from driver’s who want a cup of coffee or a smoothie or a Big Mac to fill their tank while they fill up their car’s tank. The sales benefit alone should be enough for Mickey-D’s to jump on board if they can see the future growth in EV’s. Government incentives couldn’t hurt.

    1. GSP says:

      Great vision for L1, L2, and L3 charging. This is what is needed, with *reliable* L3 quick charging.

      GSP

  15. imiev Watson says:

    This business of charging stations was never considered when we only owned a Chevy Volt, charge exhausted — we just started using gas. As soon as we added our Mitsubishi iMiev, we became aware of charging stations. It’s crystal clear where and how they should be placed. L1’s should only be deployed at factories or employers that have large employee rosters. An eight hour charge on L1 while working is fine. L2’s should be deployed at movie theatres and shopping centers, grocery stores, sit-down restaurants, sports stadiums and ball-parks where people go and generally spend 1-4 hours. Makers of EVSE’s should market these to businesses to put in place for their customers. Free L2 charging would encourage me to shop here instead of there, visit this movie theatre instead of that one. L3’s should be located every 50-75 miles along major routes and interstate freeways. The location should offer something for the driver to do for 30 minutes. The industry (Car makers, EVSE makers) should be courting McDonalds like nobody’s business…I’m talking free cars for all their executives because McDonalds already has a nationwide network located every 50-75 miles on major routes, in every small town, with something for the driver to do for 30 minutes. Mcdonald’s would benefit from driver’s who want a cup of coffee or a smoothie or a Big Mac to fill their tank while they fill up their car’s tank. The sales benefit alone should be enough for Mickey-D’s to jump on board if they can see the future growth in EV’s.Again if Mcdonalds offered these free for their customers they shut out their competition for the EV consumer.Finally Government incentives for businesses that offer free EV charging for their customers couldn’t hurt. Perhaps a tax credit based on KWH’s used.

  16. Anton Wahlman says:

    This seems like a regression to the experience ca 1912. I understand that it will change over time, but for long distance travel today, any $15,000 gasoline car is infinitely better. Electric cars are great for urban activities, but not very cost-effective for long distance travel. The battery must cost a fortune to enable you to drive 200+ miles on a charge.

  17. Electric Ray says:

    Well, well, well. Looks like its time for me to roll out my tired old canard and advocate for swappable batteries. Again. The dream was that every EV battery pack would be standardized at least in configuration of pack size and connectors, so any BEV could pull up to a swap station (preferably an obsolete gas station converted to providing refreshed battery packs charged by solar during the day odor off-peak electrons at night) and drive off with a full 100, 200 or 300 mile pack for $10, $20, or $30. The packs themselves would be shared somehow (owned by the US Govt?) or something like how you plunk down a deposit when renting VHS tapes but just pay for the rental. I’m clearly old school.

    In my day we had to worry that the (always free) charger would be the right configuration: small paddle inductive, large paddle inductive, Avcon conductive, or at least a 240v 14-5 NEMA outlet, as I used to carry my little Avcon EVSE behind my seat in my Ford Ranger EV (and still do!).

    Then had to worry that if the charger was working, the right configuration, some other EV1, RAV4EV, Think! or another Ranger would be hogging it.

    The fact that manufacturers couldn’t agree on a charging standard in 1996-2004, then did for L2 but not for L3 now is depressing to say the least.

    However, an interim solution my be feasible. With the advent of L2-capable cords as a standard accessory on new BEVs, the current L2s should be ripped out and replaced with multiple 240v outlets at minimum costs at shopping centers, office buildings, practically any commercial centers and multi-tenant buildings. These should be free to all users, as the new cords can have adapters that could fit all NEMA configurations. Yes, its a pain to wait for L2 but if they were everywhere, you only need an hour or so to top off.

    Then the funds for future L2s could be diverted to L3s with multiple configurations for QC as necessary.

    Do you really think 50 years down the road we will still have this EVSE/charger/plug hot mess? Not trying to be Pollyannaish but just optimistic; electric motor cars with a high efficiency fuel cell (not hydrogen, but a battery is a type of fuel cell, yes?), briefcase to suitcase-sized, swappable in 90 seconds. Tesla sees the future already, although without the universal standardization part.

    All problems with these ridiculous EVSE issues solved.

    Maybe just 20 years down the road?

    1. Assaf says:

      1. Tesla demo’ed its battery-swap over a year ago.

      To this day, I don’t think they have a single operational such station. There was talk of one opening midway between LA and SF, but it’s not there yet AFAIK.

      2. Better Place, besides making every other error in the book, also underestimated the cost of such stations, thinking it would be $0.5 million. They ended up paying at least $2-3 million per station.

      You can build at least 20 4-plex QC stops, for the price of one battery-swap station, and probably also at 1/10th the time.

      Battery swap, just like H2 fuel-cell, is all about making EVs identical to ICE because of the assumption that no consumer habit/expectation can ever change. That’s a faulty assumption, and it leads to solutions that are engineering-feasible, but economically absurd for the general market.

      1. Electric Ray says:

        All true, and great points, but I love the idea of turning gas stations into swapping stations some day. Think suitcased-sized 9 volt batteries (just configuration, not the voltage) that plop out of the bottom of your car, and are mechanically replaced with a fresh one. It just seems right. Yes, technology has to catch up, and standards developed.

        I’m also waiting for the hyper-loop to take me between LA & SF in 30 minutes…

  18. ModernMarvelFan says:

    I think it is oversimplying by saying this is the result of charging anxiety instead of range anxiety.

    They are related. If gasoline cars have only 60 miles range and gasoline stations are spaced apart, you would have range anxiety as well.

    The Range Anxiety is the result of lack of the range vs. the coverage of range recovering stations, gas or electric doesn’t matter.

    If everyone has 300 miles EV range and charging stations are 20 miles apart, then you won’t have range anxiety either.

    If everyone has only 50 miles EV range and charging stations are 5 miles apart and takes only 5 mins, then there is no range anxiety either.

    The anxiety is the lack of something. That is a combination of lack of range and lack of capability to “refill/recharge” reliablely and quickly.

    Those two have always been the factors that cause “range anxiety”.