California Issues $9 Million In Grants For DC Fast Chargers

APR 19 2016 BY MARK KANE 22

ChargePoint Express 100

ChargePoint Express 100

The California Energy Commission announced nearly $9 million in grants for the installation of new DC fast chargers.

Installations have logically been selected along major state freeways and highways from San Diego to the Oregon border.

Four companies were granted dollars in the program:

  • Chargepoint Inc.
  • EV Connect Inc.
  • NRG EV Services LLC.
  • Recargo, Inc.

The goal of the project is 61 DC fast chargers over 41 sites and additional 40 AC charging points. The type of chargers wasn’t specified in the press release.

If we are doing the “maths” on the cost per fast charger (assuming 10k per L2), as per the norm, the government hand-out is not all that efficient – coming in north of $140,000 per site…roughly triple the average cost per private installation of a DC fast charging station.

“The grants went to four companies: Chargepoint Inc., EV Connect Inc., NRG EV Services LLC. and Recargo, Inc., which will install 61 DC fast chargers at 41 sites along major routes on Interstate 5, Highway 99 and Highway 101. Fast chargers allow vehicles to fully charge in 20 to 30 minutes. Additionally, 40 sites will have one Level 2 charger, and one site will have two Level 2 chargers. Level 2 chargers allow most vehicles to go from zero to full charge in four to eight hours.

Several plug-in electric vehicle charging networks currently operate in metropolitan areas. However, private industry has been hesitant to develop sites along highway corridors.”


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22 Comments on "California Issues $9 Million In Grants For DC Fast Chargers"

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Hmm, $200 million for hydrogen stations and a measly $9 million for quick chargers…

Oh well, I guess it’s only fair since hydrogen stations cost over 20 times more than multi stall quick charge stations;)

The $200 million for H2 stations is over 10 years, making it $20 million per year. The $9 million DC fast chargers is only part of the grants for one year.

Yes, and only for one year. Don’t expect to see another one anytime soon.

Waste of money. Force the CCS revision first.

Chargepoint DC is CCS

The current CCS spec is a joke with a 200 amp limit. It’s a waste of money. Either wait, or force the issue… get SAE (which includes the automakers) to revise the CCS spec for real L3 charging and then throw public money at it. Before that, it’s a waste.

Do you think they will read your comment and change their minds?

I person think this CSS replacing Chamo is more of a case that the other car makers who are not Nissan want to throw a red herring at EV sales and electric car charger construction. The reason why I say this Chamo still out numbers CSS three to one and on top of that most of the new CSS chargers being build are only 25 kilowatt ones or duel chargers being built along side the Chamo ones.

It’s not a complete waste of money. Most of the cost is site prep and utility provisioning. The grants specify installation of electrical service that can handle higher power stations than what is available today. I don’t know the details off the top of my head, but I think it’s 250KVA-500kVA service. 250kVA would support two 150kW chargers and a 500kVA transformer can support at least 6 SuperCharger stalls.

Of course, the 50kW chargers that will be initially installed will not be useful long term, but we have to start somewhere. The site prep is the most important thing.

I believe the documents do specify dual standard, and enough electrical capacity at the install for future upgrades to higher Kw rates. Still, the grant amount does seem high. I can maybe see $30K for the chargers themselves and say $50-70K for trenching, electric service, space, etc. but that still leaves 40K to spare.

For the amount they are granting, they should make the recipients offer free or reduced price charging for at least the first year.

Also, would really like to know where exactly these are going. We have some major stretches of highway that are still completely without EV infrastructure. If they don’t put these where they’ll fill in those gaps, it’s all for nothing.

This was a GOVERNMENT grant. Ever read the fine print in a government grant? Well over half your budget is for “grant compliance” costs – various progress reports, inspections, certifications, and final reports, studies, etc.

In addition, there is this thing connected to State of Cal and Federal construction money called “prevailing wage”. You have to pay all workers at the top union pay scales, keep very detailed payroll reports, etc. Usually doubles the labor cost over private construction.

The same probably applied to all the grants for building the hydrogen stations. Could have been done for 1/3 the cost with purely private money.

So between skilled and successful labor union lobbyists (what, you thought only conservative “big business” lobbied politicians?) and the cost of extremely-detailed accounting we taxpayers expect when our money is spent, the price tag for publicly-financed construction soars.

Everyone hollers about “why doesn’t the government just do XXXX?” But when the price tag comes in at triple the cost of just letting the “invisible hand of the private market” do the work, they holler, “Why does it cost so much?”

Sorry, like having cake and eating it.

The I5 Grapevine is a big obstacle for EV travel. They need to put DCFC on both sides of the long grade. Otherwise there is no way for the current 100 mi EVs to travel outside of the LA area towards the Bay Area, etc, in the I5. Then they will need charging stations before, in, and after Bakersfield, conveniently spaced to enable travel from Southern California to Northern California.

This is what I’m waiting for as well. I live in the southern San Joaquin Valley and have driven the Grapevine in a Leaf. Very challenging as things stand now.

They should also work a deal with Shorepower to tap into its existing power pedestals at the Flying J truck stop in Lebec/Frazier Park at the top of the Grapevine. Those things have 110, 220 and even 380 volt 3-phase power outlets, so the capacity is already there. It would be cheap and easy.

Well, the 100 mile EVs are pretty useless for long-distance travel.

Yeah, I know . . . it can be done but you have to be an EV zealot willing to spend many hours charging. That’s never going to get the broader market to go EV. PHEVs and 200+ mile EVs are the only way plug-ins will grow to the next level.

There were grants issued in April 2014 for the stretch of I-5 from Stockton to Lebec, but they’re not active yet. However, they only got $500,000 for multiple sites. The grants issued today are funded much higher, so hopefully they will be installed faster.

I suspect part of the cost goes towards operating costs since charging networks don’t make any money.

Here’s a map which shows all projects, but if you click through you can find many $170k EV charging pending projects that are no doubt part of this. I found a bunch on highway 99 that will be very nice to have.

That is probably a good guess, I remember reading the hydrogen grants also include a cut for operational costs.

Checks out that Chargepoint CCS charger . . .

“ChargePoint Express 100
Innovative features of the Express 100 include:
Speed: A 24kW output station that charges at a maximum rate of 100 RPH (miles of Range Per Hour).”
Meh. Less than half the rate of the outdated 50KW spec. :-/

“Connectors: Compatible with current and upcoming DC capable EVs from Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, GM, Porsche, Volkswagen and others.”

Oh please tell me about these upcoming DC capable vehicles from Audi, Chrysler, Daimler, and Ford. :-/

“Form Factor: Slim design with wall mount and stand options, allows you to install the Express 100 virtually anywhere.
Low Cost: State-of-the-art power conversion electronics make this one of the smallest and lowest cost DC fast chargers available.”

I guess it is small & cheap. But that advantage doesn’t seem to be getting them installed all over the place.

That list of EV makers in the Chargepoint literature is the list of everyone involved in supporting the CCS standard. It includes all the US and European auto makers, whether they actually have an EV out on the market now or not. The Japanese makers are all Chademo. The Korean mgfrs are on the fence.

FYI, even Tesla has joined Char1N, an EU-based entity with members of essentially everyone behind the CCS standard. It’s purpose is to expand the CCS standard to 150 kW and on up to 300 kW. GM is a non-named member of CharlN, as they own Opel, which is a member.

“Checks out that Chargepoint CCS charger . . .”

It’s not clear to me that they are actually installing that model — it may just be a photo chosen by InsideEVs to decorate the article.

I would hope the actual unit is:

Electrical Output

Output Voltage
200 – 500V DC
50kW (@ 400 – 500 V)

Output Current
125A max

Oh, I don’t think they are installing that one. I think they have to install dual Chademo/CCS models.

I was just checking out that chargepoint charger. One of the ‘medium speed’ DC chargers. It would be nice if those started getting installed at lot of places. Much faster than L2.

The Express 100 “medium speed” chargers are popping up at a lot of BMW and VW dealers, at least in the SF Bay Area. BMW has their own branding but VW is keeping the ChargePoint branding on the stations.