ChargePoint: Here Are 5 Tips to Combat Charge Rage

FEB 13 2014 BY ERIC LOVEDAY 33

ChargePoint CT4000

ChargePoint CT4000

Remember that charge rage” story we presented awhile back?

Cadillac ELR connected to ChargePoint

Cadillac ELR Connected to ChargePoint

Well, “charge rage” has gone viral now with seemingly ever news outlet in the world presenting some coverage on the topic.

“Charge rage” even grabbed the attention of ChargePoint, who responded by putting out this list of 5 ways to counter “charge rage:”

1. Scale Up

Workplaces have recognized they need one charging spot for every two EVs. This allows people to plug in when they get to work and then move their charged car at lunch so others can plug in during the afternoon. As EV popularity rises, it’s also important to anticipate the future need for charging stations. Don’t just install the number of ports needed now, pre-wire and install for what you will need in the years to come.

2. Location, Location, Location

ChargePoint Charger

ChargePoint Charger

Install the stations in a place that multiple parking spots can access the port. Ensure there is adequate signage that makes it clear the parking spots are for plug-in vehicles. For drivers – don’t hog an EV parking space – only park in designated charging spots if you need to charge.

3. Valet ‘Bowl’

Many companies have a bowl at the front desk where employees leave their keys so that their car, once charged, can be moved to make room for another employee.

4. Get on the List

Companies have found that creating a community dashboard or email list connecting EV drivers within a company is a good way to ensure cooperation and efficiency in getting everyone plugged in and charged.

5. Book Your Spot

Some companies treat EV parking spots like a conference room. Also, through ChargePoint, companies can also set up a reservations feature that drivers can access on the mobile app and website.

For the most part, EV drivers are very respectful and we’d like to keep it that way! Don’t unplug people even if you’re in desperate need for a charge. On the other hand, if you don’t need a full charge, leave a note letting folks know it’s OK to unplug you.

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33 Comments on "ChargePoint: Here Are 5 Tips to Combat Charge Rage"

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never heard of it

I think the newer Chargepoint EVSEs that allows 1 car to charge at 30A or 2 cars to share and each charge at half that speed is a great way to go. Does anybody need 30A for a full workday? I think not.

I hope the next step is an EVSE with 4 handles that charge 4 cars at 8A or 10A, and rather than moving cars around every 2 hours, they can stay plugged in all day.

At what point is a simple outlet a better option?

It is NOT. Wrapping up cords, pluggin/unpluggin in the rain sucks and potentially unsafe….

Agree. People offering standard outlets as a plausible alternative seem to not be very familiar with their many pitfalls.

As someone who used exclusively outlets for over a year, I am familiar with their inconveniences, but calling them pitfalls as if they are not acceptable is a bit extreme. I was really addressing the fact that somebody is going to pay for all of these EVSEs to be installed, and it would cost a lot less to install a string of 15A outlets, and let the EVs use their own L1 EVSE. If you keep going down the path of less current per car, it becomes harder to justify the expense. The EVSE itself does not get significantly cheaper.

I believe most company would be more afraid of the potential liability associated with potential shocks to employees who plug in. Of course, GFCI would reduce some of the concerns but it is still a potential. L1 EVSE are relatively cheap and requires no more wiring than a 120V outlets and those EVSE can be bought for less than $500 each. I would think most companies would be willing to shell out $500 for reduced liability…

It is doable and I have been using it for over 2 years… And it sucks in the raining season…..

It can work well enough inside a parking garage, or sheltered parking structure.

+1

I see your point.. If you keep reducing the power eventually you wind up at L1 performance. 120V outlets is certainly cheaper, but definitely puts more hassle on the driver plus wear and tear on their portable EVSE, and dare I say risk of theft or vandalism.

But when you work for a company like mine that has NOTHING… a 120V outlet starts to look pretty appealing.

meh. pretty minimal. And as to a valet bowl – there’s no way I’m leaving my keys for some one to grab.

Frankly for the workplace, the best idea is to just install regular power outlets and make everyone have some sort of charger with their car. Even 110V would be ok. Easy to add capacity when the number of EV owners increases. It’s a lot less expensive for the business and doesn’t require a chargepoint account. I don’t suppose chargepoint would suggest THAT idea though.

They could add dozens of 220 volt outdoor outlets to these parking lots in the form of having them come out of the streetlights that are in the parking lot. Such as you have four outlets in the base of streetlight where it’s possible to have four cars near it to be able to plug in to it.

Brian / SeattleTeslaGuy

At work an outlet is good enough for most people if you can secure the portable EVSE.

Consider the new tiny TurboCord EVSE. It would be ideal to have a lockable box with a 240V outlet inside, so nobody can swipe the TurboCord.

The Tesla version (UMC) locks to the car. Don’t know about other ones but I’d be surprised if they all don’t have some security provision. More secure than a valet bowl, for sure…

The Nissan Leaf’s EVSE also can be locked to the car. It is still prone to vandals, but not to theft.

Valet bowl? I don’t think so.

I get tired of people leaving their fully charged cars blocking the chargepoints for hours on end.

After a grace period, there should be a fee that increases the longer a fully charged car is plugged in to encourage people to move their vehicles.

It takes 5 ways to alleviate the problem?

I have 1 way to solve it all.

CHARGING MONEY FOR IT!!!!

Charge 150% of what company is paying for the electricity and then like a cafeteria service, only those truly “need” it will use it. If the company want, they can take the “profits” to expand the charging spots. That will eliminate all “charge hogs” and those people who “depend” on it will use it anyway….

Amen. I’ve long been puzzled by folks who think public chargers should be “free” … meaning, someone else should pay for it. That being said … the plant where I work (couple thousand employee) has four dedicated EV parking spots serviced by two ChargePoint units. To my knowledge, they have *never* been used. Why? First, it’s a hassle. One needs to get special approval from our facility people, plus pre-register with ChargePoint, and maybe even pre-pay (can’t remember). Then once “blessed” to use these chargers, they cost more per KWH than the L1 chord in my garage, plus there is a 40 cent surcharge per usage. For a Volt owner like me who usually drives fewer than 40 miles each day, it makes no sense. Ditto for anyone with an EV who has sufficient range to commute using their own electricity. Electricity where I live is pretty cheap … so 40 miles of range only costs about $1. If my plant offered free 110V outlets that I could use, then I *might* use them, but still probably not. Why? Because I would need to buy a second (crazy expensive) L1 chord or carry my L1 chord with me on every… Read more »

Chord = two or more musical notes played together
Cord = the cable on your EVSE 😉

Workplaces should provide lots of level-1 charging. Make people stay at work all day if they want a decent charge. 🙂

Level 1 (120V) charging is the best solution for workplace charging. J1772 L1, which is current limited to 12A, will always give about 5 miles per hour of charging, or 40 miles a day, irrespective of car. L1 charging is far cheaper than L2, also. The best solution IMHO is to have a few L2’s for paid “premium” charging, and many free L1 outlets.

Do you seriously think in 3 or 4 years people are still going to be “swapping cars at lunch”?

Open-Mind … the problem is more complex than freeloaders who think “someone else should pay for it.” From what I hear, charging users make it worse, because users expect good service when they pay rather than receive a favor.

In California, charge rage is a real problem, because
– there are many EVs
– people have long commutes
– many people live in apartments/condo’s where they cannot charge

Your employer spent more than $10k on the two chargepoints and installation. Even if they get used every day at 150% of the electricity rate, those machines cannot pay for themselves, so management will be understandably reluctant to install more units, and the paying users are not happy either.

I should have added … you are correct that charging for electricity drives away the opportunistic folks who do not really need to charge, but what really causes the rage is too few chargers.

If at your work the EVSEs are never used, it is because nobody really needs to charge. But when a lot of people need to charge, too few chargers cause problems, and increasing the price does not fix it.

Increasing price will FIX it.

Look at the popular IKEA chargers in Emeryville by the SF Bay is a perfect example. Back when it was FREE, there is NEVER any open spots. Now it is charging, the spots are only occupied by about 50% most of the time.

It works. Of course if the company is charging extreme amount (which is what it charges in the “open mind” description) then it would defeat the whole purpose.

As far as making money goes, if the station is left unused, the the company will end up paying for even more money.

Bad comparison … I doubt the folks using chargers at Ikea were the Ikea employees. You did not fix charge rage here, you chased away some opportunistic shoppers.

This won’t be a problem for very long. It’s just this first phase of low range, sub 100 mile EV owners and 20-40 EV mile plug-in hybrid owners,that are looking for a plug everywhere they go.

When the next gen 120 – 200 EV mile BEVs and 50-80 EV mile plug-in hybrids are available in the next couple years, and owners lease the right size range for their commute, there will be little to no need to charge at work, but only at home on a daily basis.

So if your work commute 70 miles round trip, why set yourself up for a nightmare by leasing an 80 mile EV as a commuter car. It’s not a good fit. If you can’t wait for an actual 100 mile EV, then lease a 20 – 40 mile plug-in hybrid and benefit from the close to 100mpg until then.

Would you buy a car with a small gas tank that only held enough to get you to work, but not back home, actually planning on buying every single day??? Why expect to with an EV?

Hear hear! I agree. This phenomenon of public L2 and charging rate is a temporary situation. However, it is a very necessary one in order to get cars on the road with today’s technology. It warrants consideration, especially in high-uptake areas like the west coast. Heck, even here we have 8 charging stations for 5 drivers, one more almost definitely coming in the spring, and the rate has been accelerating!

Bloggin

L1 and L2 is the electrical power that is supplied to every building. So whether you are going to the movies, shopping, work, church or gym, your destination has L2 power available.

We just have not found a way to make it widely and cheaply accessible, which means we must refine the ideas on this page such as like more EVSEs, more plugs, etc.

If people want to buy cars with long range, it is up to them, but I hope we keep on making L2 charging available for those who prefer driving lighter and more efficient vehicles, and make it easy for them to top up the battery at many places.

Longer range EVs make even more sense for many people.

I have co-workers who have 80-100 miles commute (40-50 miles each way). They are very interested in EVs b/c those long range commute will bring the biggest saving by switching over to EVs. They don’t have EVs today b/c they are worried about charging at work.

By having a work place charging that they can depend on, it will make the spread of EV even more popular.

Just imagine if Steve Marsh doesn’t have a plug at work, would he still have a Nissan LEAF?

I think we are in agreement. “if Steve Marsh doesn’t have a plug at work, would he still have a Nissan LEAF?” I think we both would answer that “No”.

I think in the future there will be many more EV choices than today, with ranges long and short, and people can buy what they want.

EV charging at work will become as common as a company provided cafeteria, and I think it is an important driver for EV adoption.

Today at my office some people bring their own lunch, and some buy at the cafeteria, and it is totally OK to do either.

Wrong. The vast majority of plug-in drivers don’t need to plug at work, either because they can easily do the round-trip on one charge (wisely, they wouldn’t have bought the vehicle otherwise), or have an hybrid anyway.

I’ve seen Google’s parking lot: anything that can is plugged in, from Plug-in Priuses to Teslas. It’s certainly not because all those people have 200+mile commutes, or are so low on gas they need the equivalent of an extra quart (11 miles at 50 MPG).

People plug in because it’s free. Larger batteries will only make this worse, as those cars will remain plugged in for longer.

As others have said here, unless there is one plug per car, an easy way to avoid having freeloaders hog EVSEs all day is to simply charge for the privilege, at least as much as it’d cost to charge off-peak at home.
This is surely not something ChargePoint wants to advertise though, as this simple measure would cut the need for workplace EVSEs quite dramatically.

Well said! + 1,0000

More chargers and some small fees will get rid of “free loaders”….

At $0.20/KWh, it would be still cheaper than running on gas but more expensive than charging at home. So, all BEVs who don’t need it won’t use it. But all PHEV would since it is still cheaper than gas. That end up saving more gas. Also, since PHEV generally have smaller battery, they won’t “hog” the spot nearly as long their charging is relatively fast. (assuming people move their cars when they are done. That can be “encourage” by charging additional fees for “hogging” after it is full). BEV owners who “need” it will use it b/c they “need” it and it will benefit them b/c those who don’t need it won’t hog it.

Yup.
And, coincidence, a nice write-up validating all this was just published on this site:
http://insideevs.com/lessons-learned-from-6-years-of-workplace-charging/