East Coast Gets First DC Charger Along Express Charging Corridor

AUG 17 2015 BY TOM MOLOUGHNEY 52

An i3 sits next to a 24kW DC Fast Charge unit during the announcement of the BMW, VW & ChargePoint joint venture earlier this year.

An i3 sits next to a 24kW DC Fast Charge unit during the announcement of the BMW, VW & ChargePoint joint venture earlier this year.

It’s been seven months since BMW, along with Volkswagen and ChargePoint announced a joint venture which would install roughly 100 DC fast charge units on the East and West coasts. While there’s been a lot of work identifying potential locations and negotiating with site managers, there hasn’t really been any tangible progress that electric vehicle owners could see.

The plan is to create “Express Charging Corridors” on both coasts, with DC Fast Charge stations placed no more than 50 miles apart. The East Coast Corridor will connect Washington DC to Boston, Massachusetts and the West Coast Corridor would extend from San Diego, California to Portland, Oregon.

There would be two kinds of DC Fast Charge stations utilized. The stations placed directly on the highway locations of the corridors would be 50kW units, most of which will be dual head CCS & CHAdeMO stations. Then, on secondary locations slightly off the direct corridors, 24kW CCS-only units will be placed. While these 24kW units aren’t necessarily quite fast enough to be convenient for long distance travel of hundreds of miles, they are very useful for intercity travel and charge at three to four times the speed of standard level 2 public charging.

*Editor’s Note: This post appears on Tom’s blog. Check it out here.

ChargePoint's East and West Coast Express Charging Corridor Infographic

ChargePoint’s East and West Coast Express Charging Corridor Infographic

I applied, and was recently approved under the program guidelines to have one of the 24kW units installed on my commercial property in Montclair New Jersey. I’m currently awaiting the permits to be approved and hope to have the station installed and working before my National Drive Electric Week event on September 12th.

Always the competitor, I was also hoping to be the first East Coast public location in the program to get a station installed, but I’m actually happy to report that won’t be the case. That’s because a friend of mine and fellow BMW i3 owner, Bruce Redman Becker has beaten me to it. Bruce, an architect and developer, is responsible for 777 Main Street in Hartford Connecticut, a newly developed 285 unit apartment building with a 250 car parking garage. In describing the location to me, Bruce had this to say:

“The site is just two blocks from exits off I-91 and off I-84. We have one SAE combo DC fast charger and 10 level 2 chargers (3 duals in the surface lot and 2 duals up the ramp within the covered garage). Power for all 11 Chargepoint chargers comes from a 400kw fuel cell adjacent to the chargers that also provides renewable clean energy to heat and power the apartment towerโ€ฆ.We have three coffee shops on our block, including a Blue State Coffee on the first floor of 777 Main opening in September. And there are over a dozen great restaurants nearby as well as a great camera shop, CVS, banks and the Hartford Atheneum museum to enjoy while charging.”

An i3 using the DC Fast Charger at 777 Main Street, Hartford Connecticut

An i3 using the DC Fast Charger at 777 Main Street, Hartford Connecticut

So while none of the main corridor, 50kW units have been installed yet, it seems the secondary, 24kW stations are beginning to materialize here on the East Coast, which is welcome news.

I know some i3 owners have been frustrated by the seemingly lack of action with regards to the DC Fast Charge roll out, but I also know first hand that BMW and ChargePoint have been working very hard to locate potential locations, negotiate site agreements and collect bids for the installation. They’ve been at it for half a year now and I believe we’re going to begin to see some real progress made in the next couple months. Getting the first one up and running can sometime seem like the biggest hurdle in programs like this. Well, now that that’s done I’m optimistic that in the next six months we’ll see dramatic progress made on both coasts.

Three 24kW DCFC units have been up and running at BMW Headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ since January. They are open to the public and free to use.

Three 24kW DCFC units have been up and running at BMW Headquarters in Woodcliff Lake, NJ since January. They are open to the public and free to use.

dc

Plugshare App Showing New DC Charger

Categories: BMW, Charging, Volkswagen

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52 Comments on "East Coast Gets First DC Charger Along Express Charging Corridor"

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sven

777 Main Street:
“Power for all 11 Chargepoint chargers comes from a 400kw fuel cell adjacent to the chargers that also provides renewable clean energy to heat and power the apartment tower.”

So all the EVs that will be charging here will be filling up with electricity generated by a hydrogen fuel cell.

How do the EV owners at InsideEVs feel about charging their EVs with hydrogen fuel cell generated electricity?

sven

Opps. I forgot to add this link with video and pics of the hydrogen fuel cell.

http://www.courant.com/real-estate/hc-777-main-street-apartments-hartford-20150109-story.html

Bill Howland

“…Runs off of Clean & Renewable…NatGas”

In what sense do they (hate DisQus))) mean that and do they have an absortion chiller for the summer?

sven
Bill, This “renewable” PR is a real whopper of a lie. I did a little digging and found the unvarnished truth. ๐Ÿ™ Actually, the quote above said that the hydrogen fuel cell “provides renewable clean energy.” I thought this meant that the fuel cell runs on biogas, but that is NOT what it means! Connecticut is a hotbed for fuel cell tech/research, and the home of many of the largest fuel cell companies. It appears that in Connecticut, fuel cell lobbyists got the state government to change the definition of what is a “renewable energy facility” to include fuels cells that run on fossil fuel “natural gas or pure hydrogen POTENTIALLY derived from renewable resources”!!! Oy Vey! From the article below: “Fuel cell technology . . . is defined as a Class I renewable energy facility by Connecticut law.” “. . . fuel cells . . . will use relatively inexpensive, clean, and available natural gas to fuel an ultra-efficient, renewable generation technology. In Connecticut, the reasons for the Class I renewable energy facility distinction include the ability of fuel cell technology to operate on natural gas or pure hydrogen potentially derived from renewable resources.” “Connecticut’s forward-looking policy, which uses… Read more »
Bob

Sound very odd to me: “The hydrogen comes from natural gas, but the fuel cell yields more energy from it than natural-gas powered energy systems.”
I understand that it gives some green credibility to the building (wrongfully in my opinion).
But how can it make financial sense to use Hydrogen for stationary power???

sven
It makes financial sense for this residential rental building because fuel cells generate electricity and heat, and the heat is reclaimed by the fuel cell system. Combined use of heat and electricity gives this particular fuel cell system 90% peak efficiency from the natural gas feedstock. In the Northeast electricity is very expensive, and this fuel cell system also eliminates costly demand charges from the electric utility that this rental building might otherwise incur. The average rate for electricity in Connecticut is currently $0.23 per kWh. Distributed power generation via hydrogen fuel cells is as efficient or more efficient than power from a natural gas power plant, and on top of this there are no transmission losses. According to Wikipedia, the practical efficiency of a Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cell is in the range of 40โ€“60%. When natural gas is steam reformed, the hydrogen generated includes H2 from the natural gas and additional H2 from the steam. Distributed fuel cell power is growing at a rapid pace mainly with large stores such as Walmart and Ikea, factories and industrial sites, hospitals, universities, tech companies, server farms, etc.. With regards to power plants, in the near future hydrogen fuel cell power… Read more »
sven

…the very same electricity used to pump natural gas, and any water consumed in steam reformation (assuming it exists).

sven

Wrong again. The Hartford water system is gravity fed from two reservoirs in the northwest hills of Connecticut.

http://www.themdc.com/what-we-do/drinking-water

***mod edit (staff) – pls be careful with responses in respect to individuals IDs***

Bill Howland
I don’t know what they do in Connecticut but around me (Western NY) they use Natural Gas engine screw compressors to compress the gas in Rural areas. In Urban areas, the gas is simply regulated DOWN and needs no further mechanical compression to get to homes and businesses. The only exception is when one of these silly Mario Cuomo inspired (the idea which bankrupted our formerly low cost utilities) ‘competitive power’ plants, the majority of which run at 35-40% efficiency and simply threw out all the remaining heat, since their whole business plan was simply to capitalize on the BONANZA given them by state governments, making extra electricity we simply didn’t need. When all these silly plants were built, the existing power company’s plants COULD HAVE shut down for the weekend (they couldn’t actually since it would be too much of a strain to start them up again for monday) since there were no customers for the power. Of course, even these plants are shutting down now since substantially all the factories have left and now there’s no need for the electricity anyway. I thought I was ‘helping’ the utility by running 2 ev’s, but then National Grid tried to… Read more »
sven
Bill, New England’s electricity prices are high also because there is a big shortage of natural gas pipeline capacity to feed both power plants and home/business heating needs, and prices freaking sky rocket during every winter cold snap. In addition to New Englander’s switching from fuel oil to natural gas for home and business heating, New England closed just most of their coal and fuel oil power plants, and a nuclear power plant, replacing them with natural gas power plants. In winter, New England’s extreme reliance on natural gas for power supplies has often collided with the surge in demand for heating with natural gas. “The problem with electric prices and winter natural gas use is that it pits heating users against power generators. Heating customers have firm contracts for gas, which ensure that they will have fuel whenever they need to turn on their furnaces. Generators, generally speaking, use interruptible contracts, which as the name implies can be interrupted if there is low supply. In response, generators are forced to buy fuel on the open market.” I can personally vouch that NYC residents also see a big spike in their electric rates during a winter cold snap, since the… Read more »
sven
Bill Howland

Ok Sven

CHecked out your links and they are 41-42% efficient (not too shabby), and they make 140 deg waste heat along with a bit less 250 deg heat, which could be used by a single-stage adsorbtion unit (not hot enough for a dual-state, but then it too has left over useable heat.

A 400 kw unit would provide much more juice than a 281 unit apartment building could use, but if they have net metering in Connecticut, it all makes sense, provided they can use all that waste heat, which in the spring and fall I bet they can’t. But the cheap natural gas compared to the pricey juice makes the project all worth while. Especially if the thing can work for 8 years unattended.

You mean ‘distributed fuel cells are losing money at a rapid pace.’

http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2014/03/20/the-little-secret-that-fuel-cell-companies-dont-wa.aspx

Walmart, Ikea, factories and industrial sites are installing Bloom’s NATURAL GAS fuel cells, because they’re not total morons.

https://energydeals.wordpress.com/2011/01/05/fuel-cell-companies-and-the-agony-of-defeat/

Meanwhile, stock markets are rewarding Ballard for gnawing off its own limbs, rather than get caught in the trap of hydrogen cars. When will you, too, give it up, sven?

Bill Howland

I’m wondering what the basic efficiency of this fuel cell is, whether it works directly on natural gas, and I’d presume they use SOME of the waist heat for water heating for the apartments.

But I also wonder if they have an Adsorbtion Chiller to use up the rest of the waste heat for air conditioning in the summertime,
in other words, use the ‘hottest’ heat to run the chiller, and then use the ‘luke warm’ entrails to finally heat the apartment hot water.

At least Disqus is letting me type today.

wraithnot

The fuel cell system runs on natural gas and the waste heat is utilized. Seems pretty reasonable to me. Much better than trying to use hydrogen stored at 10,000 PSI to run a car.

Kaiser

In what ways is it better?

Dramatically better. High temperature fuel cells transfer energy far more efficiently than PEM (hydrogen) fuel cells- that’s the whole point of waste heat recovery. Hydrogen fuel cell heat, OTOH, is like trying to pay the bills picking up pennies instead of dimes.

And this is all aside from the dramatic efficiency gains of impurity tolerant temperatures (NOT hydrogen) and dramatically lower pumping and storage losses… and dramatically lower leakages plus embodied energy in hydrogen material degradations… and economic inefficiency due to losing natural gas industrial scaling.

Once again, “hydrogen cannot compete with hydrogen sources.” Turning natural gas into hydrogen is like changing a dime… to four pennies.

sven

High temp fuel cells run at 500 to 1000 degrees centigrade and need an hour to reach operating temperature before they can start generating electricity. They run too hot and they take too long to start generating electricity for an application such as a residential apartment tower which has highly variable and frequently fluctuating power demands.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuel_cell#Comparison_of_fuel_cell_types

Bill Howland

You make it sound like a nearby utility doesn’t exist. Net metering in NYS handles this.

sven

I guess if they didn’t oversize the fuel cell, you could run it flat out 24/7 and just adjust the power output level (if solid oxide FCs allow you do do that). Net metering in excess of net zero usually pays very low wholesale rates for your excess electricity. If the building generated in excess of net zero of their annual electric use towards the end of the year, building management wouldn’t want to generate power for the electric utility and be paid at the much lower wholesale rate, especially if it would result in a loss per kWh generated. I’d assume is such a case, the building management would want to shut of the fuel cell instead of generating additional excess electricity, at least until the new annual period begins. There is the possibility for demand charges if there is a surge in electric demand when the high temp solid oxide fuel cell was off and needed an hour to heat up before it started producing electricity. But since this is NOT a high temp solid oxide fuel cell, it’s all just hypothetical.

An interesting application. Is the hydrogen made on site, or is it piped in?

At least no worries if the local grid is knocked offline by a storm. ๐Ÿ™‚

sven

On site. Doosan says it uses a “fuel processor” to convert pipeline natural gas to hydrogen, but they don’t say how. I assume the fuel processor steam reforms the natural gas.

http://www.doosanfuelcell.com/attach_files/link/How%20a%20Fuel%20Cell%20Works.pdf

Badly. Converting natural gas into hydrogen introduces a conversion inefficiency, as the Second Law dictates it must.

JakeY

There is no conversion necessary. It uses a fuel cell from FuelCell Energy, which is a SOFC (Solid Oxide Fuel Cell). This type of fuel cell can take natural gas directly (as well has hydrogen).
http://www.fuelcellenergy.com/advanced-technologies/solid-oxide-fuel-cells/

sven

This article and the video/pics says it’s a Doosan fuel cell, which is a hydrogen proton exhange membrane (PEM) fuel cell that steam reforms natural gas into hydrogen. (Additional links in my comments above)

http://www.courant.com/real-estate/hc-777-main-street-apartments-hartford-20150109-story.html

http://www.doosanfuelcell.com/en/solutions/inside.do

sven

This is the datasheet for the Doosan PureCell Modell 400, the only fuel cell system that Doosan makes.

http://www.doosanfuelcell.com/attach_files/link/PureCell%20Model%20400%20Datasheet.pdf

JakeY

The Doosan fuel cell you link is not a PEM fuel cell. It is a PAFC (Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell). Again, nothing to do with the PEM you see in a Mirai for example.

sven

My bad. You are absolutely correct, it is a Phosphoric Acid Fuel Cell as stated in the last paragraph in the PDF below. But that same PDF shows that it has a fuel processor that converts natural gas into hydrogen to feed the fuel cell stack. The second link below shows that the natural gas is steam reformed into hydrogen.

http://www.doosanfuelcell.com/attach_files/link/How%20a%20Fuel%20Cell%20Works.pdf

http://www.doosanfuelcell.com/en/solutions/inside.do

Hilarious…that you think this is a hydrogen energy system!

All energy is sourced from outside natural gas… unless you mean steam reformation, in which case a large input is coal. You have NO clue how much embodied energy is necessary to render and deliver clean water.

JakeY

This system runs on natural gas, not hydrogen. Think Bloom box, not something like in a Mirai. So it doesn’t mean what you think it means.

sven

No, it reforms natural gas to make hydrogen which runs PEM fuel cell. See my comment directly above in response to your previous comment.

A solid oxide fuel cell that runs on natural gas would not work well in this application. Solid oxide fuel cells run at 500 to 1000 degrees centigrade, too hot for use in a large residential apartment tower. Solid oxide fuels cells also need one hour to heat up before they reach light off temperature and can generate electricity. They work well when there is a steady need of electricity, like a data center or industrial setting. This application in an apartment tower has highly and frequently variable power needs that must be met immediately, and can not wait an hour for the fuel cell to reach operating temperature.

Anonymous

They’re pretty behind if they want to keep up with the Tesla SC.

Oh look, someone got their marketing mixed up.

Not only is the i3 not intended for this style of driving, it isn’t really intended for the US. The fact that these L3 chargers are being installed at all is goodwill on the part of BMW. For now, that is. It’s possible they and/or VW Group have bigger plans yet unheard.

Dan

I wish you guys would read up on your acronyms before you use them. The SAE J1772 has three charge configurations AC Level 1, AC Level 2 and AC Level 3. AC Level 1 sends 120V single phase AC power to the car, AC Level 2 sends 240V single phase AC power and AC Level 3 sends 240V three phase power. I don’t know of any cars currently capable of accepting a AC Level 3 charge. The SAE J1772 Combined Charging System (CCS) has two additional charging standards, DC Level 1 and DC Level 2, Both the DC Level 1 and the DC Level 2 provide 480V DC power to the car but the Level 1 is only rated for about 25kW whereas the Level 2 is currently rated for up to 100kW. Ford has indicated that want to raise the DC Level 2 standard up to 150kW. Anyway, what you are calling a Level 3 charger is actually a DC Level 2 charger. Since the CHAdeMO charger does not comply with SAE J1772 standards then the level designations do not apply to CHAdeMO chargers.

Bill Howland

You are saying others are being sloppy, when you are being sloppy with the voltages yourself.

Regardless of the “standards” which I think are horrible anyway (and so does Andy Palmer, btw), Level 3 is commonly known by every EV’er in the states as being a DC battery level output.

Your information just HAS to be wrong, since this DC may come from either single or 3 phase sources, since obviously the car doesn’t care where the dc comes from.

What’s wrong is 240 volt 3 phase is antequated and rarely exists in either Europe or the states.

Now some utilities still offer it in the states. (Mine doesn’t, only offering either 208 or 480).

Europe and the majority of the rest of the world use 380-416. This also provides 220-240 volt single phase but 240 volt 3 phase on such a configuration is impossible without a transformer or phase converter.

Bill Howland

You also say 480 volts DC is provided to the car. This is also in general incorrect because the battery is at a range of voltages in most cars.

People in general accept the myth, since they think ‘240 is level 2’ therefore ‘480 is level 3’.

Even though, 480 volt 3 phase is usually used for these fast chargers, not all of them use it, and it has nothing to do with what is going on at the car anyway. The voltages will be different in the general case, and even raw 480 rectified is not 480 dc.

Bill Howland

“FORD wants 150kw”

Oh really, they’re just about to run out eh? and desperately need 150kw? Name me 5 ford vehicles which currently use 15 kw.

Dan

Google is. There are lots of articles online discussing Ford’s interest in 150 kW charging.

Bill Howland

Precisely my point, it shows how silly they are.

Dan, your description is difficult to follow, and somewhat wrong. Yes, the folks at SAE changed the “L” designations in 2011-2012 time frame. Previously, it was simply: L1 – AC charging at 120 volts (typical 12 amps max, 1.44kW typical) L2 – AC charging at 240 volts (80 amps max North America only, 30 amps for the rest of the world). This is considered Type 1 in Europe. (19.2kW max NA, 7.2kW rest of the world) L3 – DC charging – 500 volt max DC, 125 amps typical, up to 200 amps (100kW max) You, of course, are confusing the AC input voltages into the DC charger with what is output. The DC charger could be capable of ANY input voltage, AC or DC. There is actually a DC input / output CHAdeMO operational in SoCal. Typically, the high power available is: 1) U.S. – 480 volt three phase (277v per phase) 2) Canada – 600 volt three phase (347v per phase) 3) Europe – 380 to 400 volt three phase (220-230v per phase 4) U.S. – 208 volt AC (commercial, three and single phase) 5) Japan – 100v, 200v or 400v Regardless of the input, the output will always… Read more »
Dan

You guys are spreading mis-information. See the following Green Car Congress article on the definition of the different SAE J1772 standards, http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/10/j1772-20121015.html

You’ll have to be a bit more specific. We understand that SAE changed to a new, complicated and dumb method to identify DC and AC charging.

The old method worked great.

Dan

There is no such as a Level 3 charger. Is that specific enough for you?

Dan

There is SAE j1772 AC Level 3 standard but no vehicle that I know of that charge using this standard. What are you going to call the AC Level 3 chargers when vehicles start getting built around the standard, Level 4 chargers? Even though there’s no standard yet there’s talk of building DC Level 3 chargers. What are you going to call DC Level 3 chargers when and if they come out, Level 5 chargers? What is wrong with accurately call CCS chargers DC Level 2 chargers? Is it really so hard to say DC before Level?

Anon

I suppose once US CCS Fast Chargers become more common, Tesla Motors will announce an adapter, like they did for CHAdeMO?

There are about 2000 CHAdeMO stations in the USA, and those use exactly the same plug in Japan, North America and Europe,

CCS has about 200-ish in the U.S., and the overwhelming majority are combined with a CHAdeMO plug sitting next to it. The CCS plug is not the same in Europe as North America, and isn’t used at all in Japan.

These CCS only stations are generally quick low powered (25kW really means 60amps maximum at a typical Tesla battery voltage of 300 to 400 volts is 18kW to 24kW).

In addition, CCS uses a patented Power Line Control that Tesla would likely have to pay a royalty to use. Both Tesla Supercharger and CHAdeMO use CAN bus control, as does virtually every car built in the last 30 years.

So, in summary:

1) No market in Japan, limited market in North America, larger market in Europe (but a different plug), no market in China (or anywhere else on planet earth)

2) Patented communication not used by any car or other charger protocol that likely requires a royalty.

3) CHAdeMO adaptor is viable with dual units that have both CHAdeMO and CCS (the majority of US installations by far are dual units)

By the way, Elon Musk and company gave an interview in Norway (or Germany) some time ago and were asked about the CCS compatible adaptor.

Their response was it didn’t appear that the CCS folks were very serious (as clearly CHAdeMO and Tesla is) about DC charging infrastructure.

Assuming that at the very least, CCS is at most CHAdeMO stations in the future, I would assume that they’d build an adaptor.

ModernMarvelFan

Love the hour pricing that prevents hogging. $1/hr and $24/hr after the first hour!

Just love it. Wish more places are like that.

Tess1988

How sets the price

Joe smith

That’s a ChargePoint mobile app screenshot and not PlugShare one. Doh!

sven

The ChargePoint website says this fast charger is “Always open”, but in the pic above there is a sign above the fast charger that says: Reserved Parking – Permit Parking Only – 6:00am-???.

So is this fast charger open to the public 24/7 or is it restricted at times?