UK Wants To Require EV Chargers At Gas Stations

2 days ago by Mark Kane 60

Renault ZOE

The time when electric vehicle fast charging stations are available at every gas station is coming.  And through new legislation, the UK could be the first country with such a network.

Plug-in Electric Car Registrations in UK – May 2017

The idea in the UK is to enable the government to set hard requirements for gas stations and motorway service centers to install charging stations and/or hydrogen dispenser (given the cost and usage rate of fuel cell stations…they will all be EV chargers).

If the project legistation is approved then a common technical and operational standard will be needed.

While we certainly endorse the idea of more fast chargers, the problem with many gas station locations is that they don’t offer many auxillary services and products for EV owners to kill a half hour or so.  Still, we will take them where we can get them right now!

Regardless of the government’s involvement, Total and Shell in the UK have already announced intentions to begin installation of charging points at their stations.

source: WardsAuto

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62 responses to "UK Wants To Require EV Chargers At Gas Stations"

  1. Brian says:

    That’s how it’s done.

    I don’t know about the UK, but in the US most gas stations have a restroom and a convenience store. An acceptable way to spend a 20 minute break in the middle of a 300-mile journey.

    1. Ocean Railroader says:

      We do have a few gas stations that are next to restaurants.

      I really do wish Walmart and Target along with Kroger would step up and start building DC fast chargers at their places though.

      1. Brandon says:

        For retail stores, I would question wether they themselves would be able to install HPFC (150+ kW) chargers that are really what’s needed for the next generation of electric vehicles. But a network operator partnering with them (like EVgo does) would work fine IMO. What I’m saying is that a big enough fast charge network provider is needed (like Electrify America) to pull this off.

    2. Shane says:

      Since Americans don’t like being forced to do anything, just add DCFC/Supercharger to the list of requirements for advertising on the blue interstate service signs.

    3. Peter says:

      The thing is that for every day commuting BEV are charged ar home and maybe at work.
      The only time you need fast charging is when you are on a roadtrip. Those petrol station are often open 24/7 and live on selling snacks, sandwiches, soft drinks and coffee. They will add charging to there facility as they will sell more to BEV owners. It is as simple as that. Money talks.

  2. Taylor S Marks says:

    Gas stations don’t make money from fuel though – they make it from the convenience store and fast food inside.

    Remove the gas from gas stations, and many (not all) of them would be fairly pleasant little stores.

    1. ffbj says:

      The main reason you buy stuff there, which is overpriced, is due to the fact that most people are putting gas in their vehicles and need to pick up a few things.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        There is a reason they call them “convenience stores”. It’s convenient to pop into the store, grab what you want, and get out within 5 minutes or less. Convenience is worth paying for, and not having to walk for two blocks to find your item, and another two blocks to the checkout line, and not having to stand in line at the checkout for 10-15 minutes… that’s a convenience.

        Contrariwise, if the EV driver and/or passengers are forced to hang around for 20-40 minutes while the car charges, they might as well go to a real grocery store, find better selection, and pay a lower price.

        Not to mention that convenience stores are not very “convenient” if you want a place to sit while you wait!

        A gas station/convenience store may not be the worst possible match to a public EV charging station, but it’s certainly not much better than the worst.

        1. Asak says:

          In the near term that may be so, but it does provide a path forward for gas stations. In the long run they can convert to being more EV centric.

          On top of that gas stations have the advantage of usually being sited in locations along the highways. It’s not that uncommon for there to be other shops in the vicinity, so I wouldn’t say it’s all bad.

      2. Martin Winlow says:

        Well, of course! So what better customer could they want than an EV driver stuck on their premises for 20 to 30 minutes!

    2. Joe says:

      This is generally the case in the UK. All local fuel stations are either attached to a larger supermarket (e.g. Tesco), or have a small “convenience store” attached (e.g. Tesco Express). There’s often other services available like tyre pumps and car washes. I’ve been hoping the UK would adopt something like this. So many houses have unallocated street parking, and many of the UK public don’t even know you can charge at home from a 13A plug. This will surely speed up adoption of EVs here.

    3. Mikael says:

      More and more stations are becoming store-less and are only making money out of selling gasoline.

      Even if you have a store next to it most people don’t bother going into it anyway.

      1. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Perhaps that’s true where you live. (Norway? Sweden?)

        Certainly not true here.

        1. Mark.ca says:

          The only fuel station i have ever seen in my entire life that was not attached to a store was the one built by US in Afghanistan for $43 mil. …very revolutionary and futuristic, google it.

          1. David Cary says:

            Ok- I can show you 2 off the top of my head.

            The first is a BJs fuel stop that is 1/2 mile from the BJ’s. I think that counts. This in a medium density suburb in NC.

            The second is on Hwy 17 near the coast. It is a large station and has a bank of vending machines and that is it.

            That was in 1 minute of thinking about it.

            The modern trend in my area is to build them in a corner strip mall. So my closest one is that way. There are several restaurants and a grocery store (with internal Starbucks). Looks a lot like Charlotte’s supercharger location. Which isn’t bad. I stop there and they have a salad bar with some hot food in the grocery store. There is a coffee shop etc.

            1. Robert Middleswarth says:

              I expect locations like that will get very low use but those type of locations are disappearing. The margin for a gas stations has been shrinking for years and they need other things to keep themselves afloat. This is without EV slowly cutting into the number of people who need gas on regular bases.

        2. Martin Winlow says:

          And 100% not correct in the UK where there has been a very sustained move towards petrol stations providing really quite good convenience stores as well as basic hot food provision along with the ubiquitous ‘posh (ie expensive) coffee’. Many of the big supermarket chains have been cashing in here by supplying the branding and stores for big chain petrol companies eg Tesco (Esso) and M&S (BP).

  3. unlucky says:

    Doesn’t really make sense.

    Spend the money where it works best. Gas stations aren’t automatically the places where chargers work best.

    Additionally, if the stations didn’t put this in to make money and don’t make money they won’t bother keeping them working. Think of how well the tire fill stations at gas stations are usually maintained.

    1. Bacardi says:

      One of the few times I agree with you…The one place that MIGHT make sense are those huge trucker friendly right off the highway gas station/rest stops like Love’s which often have a restaurant or two attached…

      1. Liz in Dallas says:

        Agreed. A big rest stop in the middle of nowhere is a great place for a charger. But to require them at cramped urban gas stations seems counter productive.

      2. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

        Yes, because truck stops generally have a place to sit and eat. Or just sit. Some even have services; I saw one with a barber shop, altho that shop wasn’t open at the time.

        A cramped convenience store with no place to sit isn’t a place most people would want to be forced to wait 20-40 minutes.

        1. Bacardi says:

          If some country mandated chargers at gas stations you’d imagine the majority would prefer to sit in their car and goof around with their phones…

  4. notting says:

    Fast-charging EVs will require better power lines, maybe even more power line infrastructure outside the gas station.
    And I know many gas stations which don’t have some parking lots aside the petrol pump.

    notting

  5. Dickp says:

    This absolutely doesn’t make sense, except for motorway service stations. It’s a sigh of assuming that’s gone before should be replicated for EVs. Charging stations should instead be deployed in supermarket car parks, work car parks, retail parks – essentially anywhere people drive to anyway and leave their cars for an hour or two. Who wants to linger at a suburban petrol station for ages? Not me!

  6. Brian says:

    Ok, multiple people have mentioned chargers at shopping locations (supermarkets, Walmart, etc). Those are fine for slow-medium speed charging. But we ALSO need quick charging. Currently, it’s about 30 minutes to top off most EVs. Soon that will be down to 15-20 minutes. This is when it begins to make sense having them at gas stations. Gas stations are already built at easy on/off points to major travel thoroughfares. A natural place to fuel ANY vehicle be it gas, diesel, electric, or hydrogen.

    1. unlucky says:

      Some gas stations are already built at easy on/off points to major travel thoroughfares.

      And some aren’t.

      The point would be to put the chargers where they make sense. Every gas station doesn’t make sense.

      Do people really stop for a quick 15-20 minute top up? Why? If they can charge that quick then they could instead go 30 minutes half as often. Add in the drive time and it’s a big win.

      1. Brian says:

        “Do people really stop for a quick 15-20 minute top up? Why?”

        Why? Because by then the car’s battery will be ~80% full and the charge rate will be tapering down. Better to get back on the road to the next QC.

        I’m talking about the near future here, where cars will support 200+kW QC. In 15 minutes, you get 50kWh. That’s enough to travel 150-200 miles. (yes, the math is more complicated than that, but you get the idea hopefully)

        1. unlucky says:

          I don’t really see us getting tech to fill a car 80% in 15-20 minutes. A 200kW charger simply isn’t going to charge a 50kW or 60kW battery at that rate. It’s not a charger limitation.

          1. Brian says:

            You may be right. I prefer to remain optimistic. I’m not talking about 2-3 years, though. This i s a long term process requiring investment. They wouldn’t be talking about 350kW charging if no one could ever use it, though. For a 67kWh battery (total – like the Bolt probably has), 200kW is 3C charging. High, but not absurd. For a 100kWh battery (like the top-of-the-line Model S has today), that’s 2C. Right in line with typical max charge rates.

          2. Roy LeMeur says:

            “I don’t really see us getting tech to fill a car 80% in 15-20 minutes. A 200kW charger simply isn’t going to charge a 50kW or 60kW battery at that rate. It’s not a charger limitation.”

            Tesla does this.

            Also… It’s kWs and kWhs. Not knowing the difference is like a car salesman not knowing the difference between horsepower and how much fuel the fuel tank holds.

            1. Ambulator says:

              No, the Bolt actually has a 50 kW or 60 kW charging rate battery. It also has an advertised 60 kWh capacity.

            2. unlucky says:

              No, Tesla does not do that.

              Tesla never made a 50kWh battery. And they don’t charge 60kWh batteries at a rate which would put in 48kWh in 15-20 minutes.

              http://insideevs.com/supercharging-tesla-model-s-60-kwh-versus-85-kwh-video-graphs/

              In 20 minutes they put in about 90 miles, that’s about 25.7kW. It’s not 48kW.

              You’re right about the hs in the battery capacities. But you won a tiny battle and lost the war.

              1. unlucky says:

                And look at that I left off two more hs. I’m incorrigible.

          3. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

            unlucky said:

            “I don’t really see us getting tech to fill a car 80% in 15-20 minutes. A 200kW charger simply isn’t going to charge a 50kW or 60kW battery at that rate. It’s not a charger limitation.”

            Not in the next year or two, no. As you say (or imply), the battery packs in today’s EVs can’t be charged that fast, even if the charger could provide power that fast.

            But it seems to me that competition will inevitably drive down charging time. In fact, it has already driven it down substantially compared to first-generation EVs.

            We’ll need better batteries, perhaps solid state batteries, to get charging times down to 10 minutes or less. But I think it’s inevitable that future EVs will charge that fast. A Tesla engineer said some years back that they want to get it down to 5-10 minutes, and I think that will be the long term goal.

            Get charging times down to 10 minutes or less, and a convenience store + charging station will be a viable economic model to rival the convenience store + gas station.

            1. unlucky says:

              I think the primary value of higher power chargers will be to fill larger batteries in reasonable times. It won’t be to charge tiny batteries at over 3C.

              Right now companies are concentrating on pack capacity. That’s where the money is. I don’t really see a lot of industry effort to be put into charging small packs quickly. It’s a lot harder feature to market (i.e. get value for) than just adding capacity which adds charging speed (in mph) and range.

              I say this knowing that Hyundai did seem to concentrate on fast charging for their current car. And by current I mean nearly mythical since they don’t seem to be around anywhere. But I also think they aren’t getting all that much market value out of it and I expect them to concentrate more on higher-density packs in the future.

              And just to go back, I really blew my first post. Due to the comment of “topping off” I took the comment as meaning people come in and charge for about 15-20 minutes when their car is largely charged already. So basically, hitting the charger every couple days to tack on say 30 miles (charging is not fast when near full). And I wondered why people wouldn’t come in half as often and get double the range addition, but in less than half the time due to the faster charging at lower SoCs.

              But honestly, after seeing the other comments and re-reading mine I don’t think my post makes all that much sense. I think I focused on the idea of topping off too much and created a pretty nonsensical hypothetical scenario. At least I explained my reasoning now I guess.

    2. Vexar says:

      So… Tesla superchargers along Interstate 80 are at or near the Hy-Vee grocery stores. They have bright, clean washrooms, an in-store kitchen of sorts (cafeteria or sit-down restaurant or both), usually a coffee counter and a seating area.

      I think this is ideal and prefer the Hy-Vee stops over the mall stops, partly because of their hours compared to a mall. I remember on one stop a kid on the ride with me found an end-cap which was selling Hot Wheels cars and they were selling Tesla cars for $1. Such a good deal!

  7. EV4Life says:

    Way to go England
    Find a way to put chargers exactly at the places where NOBODY wants to go. This is stupid legislation.
    I want to charge where I will be stopping anyway, so outside my grocery store or movie theatre, the mall or restaurant, you know, places that DON’T have the stench of gasoline.

    1. Brian says:

      Right. Because on a drive from London to Liverpool, you really want to stop for a movie or some grocery shopping while your car charges.

    2. JeremyK says:

      If I have a 200+ mile EV, I won’t need a “top off” charge when going to the mall to watch a movie. I need to charge while on a 300-500 mile road trip. In those situations, charging stations are needed EXACTLY where gas stations and restaurants are located: just off the exit/entrance ramps to the freeway.

      1. unlucky says:

        Where some gas stations are. But not all of them. Mandating gas stations accommodate those who want to install chargers may make sense. Mandating them at every gas station doesn’t. Because so many gas stations aren’t exactly where you would use them.

        1. Asak says:

          The thing about a gas station is you know it’s always in a location accessible by car. Other types of shops such as grocery stores aren’t always. Some urban stores have no parking, for example. So, you can specify all gas stations without having to come up with any other criteria.

          I also don’t think it’s totally off the wall to assume a location that was considered good for a gas station is also good for recharging. Maybe it’s not true in all cases, but it’s true often enough to give the idea merit.

  8. bjrosen says:

    This is an awfully inefficient way to build out a charging infrastructure, it would be better to provide generous tax incentives to businesses that install chargers and then let the market decide where to put them.

    The main problem is that there will be too many chargers by a factor of 50. EVs are mostly charged at home, that’s one of the best things about them, yoru car is always fully charged in the morning. The only time you need to charge at a public station is when you are traveling long distances so putting them on highways makes sense but putting them in neighborhood stations doesn’t except perhaps in big cities where it’s harder to install private EVSEs. But even in cities you probably don’t want to put most of them at gas stations. Level 2s in garages and parking lots are a better match for commuters. Level 3s in shopping centers and supermarkets also make more sense than at gas stations because you are already going to spend the 30 minutes to an hour that you need to charge the car. Which brings me to another point, siting EVSEs is much easier than siting gas stations. A gas station requires several huge tanks buried in the ground, those tanks are filled with a toxic liquid so there are environmental concerns which make gas stations expensive. EVSEs only require a wire and a few feet to space, you can put them anywhere that you can park a car. The critical problem with EVSEs is the time it takes to charge not their location so it’s best to put them where people are already going to be spending the time.

  9. (⌐■_■) Trollnonymous says:

    If the gooberment here in the US made that mandate, all Gas/Fuel stations will scream “Goooberment overreach!” and it will all get hung up in court.

    Personally I’d prefer not to sit at a stanky gas and diesel station for 20+ minutes.

    This is where someone should prop up charge stations with other businesses next to them by the Freeway. Like have 6 Chad/CCS and 8 AC L2 10-20KW chargers then have Starbucks, In-Out or some Boba Tea houses and throw in some real Chinese food like Panda Express……lol

  10. David Murray says:

    Sorry, but I could not possibly support such legislation. That’s a big expense, if we’re talking DC fast charge stations, which is the only kind that would make sense at a gas station. I can’t imagine forcing small businesses to endure such an expense/ .

  11. zzzzzzzzzz says:

    It is already done in Russia for couple of years – gas stations are required to have a charger. Who cares what charger and for what purpose, as there are virtually no plugin cars there :/ Some extension cord from shoddy outlet may qualify :/

  12. Fred says:

    In Europe supermarket chain LIDL has started to install 22Kw DC at their stores. Kind of a good idea if you’re going to spend time in the store (an hour or so), and buy a few items. Makes sens. Gas stations should have super fast charging (150-350Kw DC). Soon all cars will have at least 50Kwh batteries. So you’d probably need to charge at least 35Kwh to continue your journey. If that can be done in 15min or shorter, you’re basically on par with gas if you are reasonable about how much time you spend in a gas station.

  13. Bacardi says:

    To the customer, it doesn’t seem like the most ideal location…

    However, it’s also about exposure…If every time you stopped at the gas station and see a charger whether it’s being used or vacant you chip away at both “fear of the unknown” EV stigma and range aniexity…

    Additionally you’re essentially forcing gas stations to invest into alternative fuels so the hope is eventually they become popular and some gas stations will actually decide to spend more on the charging experience to give the customer the best EV charging experience possible…

  14. Pushmi-Pullyu says:

    Yeah, they should do that just like they required livery stables to install gas pumps back in the Model T days.

    Oh, wait…

    It’s just a stupid idea, all around. EV drivers are not gonna want to hang around a gas station for half an hour or more, and the typical gas station owner won’t want the limited space in their parking lot taken up by a single customer sitting there for half an hour or more.

  15. Jason says:

    Use case #1, I can charge at home. The only time I charge away from home is when I travel, so I need chargers at regular intervals along the highways, and at a convenient location at the destination.

    Use case #2, I cannot charge at home. I need to be able to charge regularly during the week, the logical places for me are at work (while my car is parked 6-8hrs can be slow charge) and other places I park for a period of time, eg: super market, movies, etc. Generally this would be convenient at a parking garage, etc. On trips it is the same as #1.

    Do I want to go to a gas station to charge? Not really, except on the highway drive as indicated by #1. At this stage most EV drivers are laughing at the poor sods who have to “fill up”, so hardly want to rejoin them, do we?

    Electricity is everywhere, come on, it is literally everywhere you go. A 15A charger is <$500, cheaper if they are mass produced and installed. You can easily install them at parking meters. $0.50 per hour parking + $0.50 for charging, useful for EV's and ICE equally. 15A puts at least 15km/hr charge, so pottering around town you get your charge as you stop and it was cheap and it was convenient.

    Same for business, provide incentives for them to install 15A chargers and it becomes a value proposition. To start you don't need to do every parking spot, but over time you can scale it easily.

    How about we ask these legislators if they drive an EV. From the sound of some of the crazy ideas that come out I am guessing they don't even drive an EV to understand the paradigm shift that EV's bring to the idea of how to charge them.

    1. unlucky says:

      Installing them at parking meters is not as easy as you think. The cost of trenching to get power to the location is rather high. It’s much higher than the cost of the EVSE.

      I also think that scaling to power a parking lot isn’t as easy as you think. Doing a few spots really isn’t bad. But if you start to power a significant fraction of the spots (say 20% in your 15A case) you can reach a situation where you now are proving more power to the parking lot than to the building it serves. And of course that means you spent more money getting power to that lot than you did to the building. It can really add up.

      I’m all in favor of AC charging solutions for those who can’t charge at home. But we do have to realize the cost of doing so is not minimal but is significant.

      1. zzzzzzzzzz says:

        California utilities are ready to raise rates for these apartment and workplace chargers. Cost? Spent 200 million, want some billion more :/ One charger may come for over $1000.
        https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/california-utilities-seek-1b-to-build-out-electric-vehicle-infrastructure

        And these narrow-minded fanboys talk about cheap EV infrastructure all the time. It is major money pit if you can’t charge in your own garage. And you need to have excess of these chargers, because if you can’t charge this night as all chargers are taken, you may need to go to work by feet in the morning :/

  16. Dickp says:

    Exactly. Here in the UK public top-ip charging is needed because a large percentage of us live in home with no private charging options -our cars are stored on the street overnight. We could get round this problem by using lamp-post base charging, but that’s going to lead to arguments because one person will probably end up hogging a charger all night.

    No, the best place is at work, supermarkets, etc that can top you up as and when you need to, and fast charging in motorway service stations when you’re making a big trip.

    This is bleeding obvious to everyone but our political leaders, yes?

  17. Roy_H says:

    Worst idea ever. Another example of clueless politicians making laws to show they are pro-green without thinking the process through. There are plenty of examples above why.

  18. Devin Serpa says:

    Who the hell wants to go to a fuel station, that’s why I got an EV, to get out of those hell holes.

    1. Martin Winlow says:

      In the UK:-

      They are generally right on the main thoroughfares therefore ideal for use both by both long distance EV drivers and locals for ’emergency’ use (and, I suppose, also those without charging facilities at home or work but less so).

      Everyone already knows where they all are (locally).

      They already have 3 phase power.

      They almost *all* have some sort of food provision and lots have loos.

      Many of them (most of the bigger ones with convenience stores attached) are open for extended hours if not 24 hours.

      Planning permission and other regulatory issues concerned with installing a RC would be minimal.

      I could go on but you get the picture.

  19. one says:

    Local, small gas stations= bad idea and also, not going to happen
    Motorway service stations= absolutely, yes

  20. John Jenkins says:

    That would be great as they are just building a large Starbucks at my local petrol station. I can sit inside having my iced tea with a bacon & sausage roll while the car charges.

  21. David Cary says:

    A law like this don’t right would be good for gradually putting urban gas stations out of business. Which is perfect.

    A phase in period of 10 years with large rural stations doing it first. Easy enough to define large and rural is not that hard either. And the rural can include something like – within a quarter mile of an interstate. Nearly all large rural ones are anyway.

    It probably makes sense to legislatively push the small stations in urban/suburban areas to close faster than markets conditions would. Otherwise they persist as money losers for longer than needed and become places for less than savory people to hang out near. Not to mention, the advanced notice – 10 years – allows them to not spend money on upgrades and try to come up with an exit strategy.

    I’m sort of surprised to see the lack of vision here. The gas stations won’t be pumping gas forever. They will obviously separate the two (EV charging and gas pumping).

    In my area, the Sheetz have charging stations. Nicely located, restaurants, bathrooms, places to sit.

    We obviously live in different areas with different gas stations and attached stores. So our vantage point is different.

  22. Charles Jack says:

    Not the greatest of ideas. Charge stations currently present THE ideal promotion for mostly retail shopping areas, be they malls or intown store clusters. They naturally draw a more upscale and affluent customer base. Gas stations? Not so much. Knowledgeably posted by a Volt owner.

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