NRG eVgo Installs 15th Freedom Station In California; Increases Pace of Construction

MAR 15 2014 BY MARK KANE 18

The all-electric BMW i3 gets energized at the NRG eVgo Freedom Station in San Diego

The all-electric BMW i3 gets energized at the NRG eVgo Freedom Station in San Diego (the one with combo charger)

NRG eVgo announced that it’s increasing the pace of construction of quick charging stations called Freedom Station in California.

The status for now is 15 available and 31 more under construction or currently being permitted. All 46 are in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco areas.

One big hurdle was recently removed as there are now partnerships and agreements in place to have more than 200 fast-charging Freedom Stations. Finding the right places for install them was one of the first tasks.

Terry O’Day, Vice President of NRG eVgo in California stated:

“We are making great progress building a comprehensive infrastructure that will make owning an electric vehicle even more convenient and fun. As this network is built out, it will make buying an EV attractive to even more drivers across California. The pace of construction has significantly increased. We have been encouraged by the support of partners like Simon Property Group and Kimco Realty Corp., the nation’s largest owner-operators of retail shopping centers, to deploy Freedom Station sites across the state giving us more than 200 potential fast-charging stations throughout California.”

Progress is being made in other areas of the California Public Utility Commission settlement, which requires some Level 2 charging points:

“Also advancing charging at apartment communities and workplaces, eVgo has more than 50 sites under contract representing over 400 parking spots and recently announced a partnership with Sequoia Equities, a leader in multifamily investment management, to provide EV “Level 2” charging infrastructure at 28 apartment communities across the state. Additionally, NRG has completed site assessments and construction drawings for hundreds more sites, which could ultimately result in 2,000 more EV-ready parking spaces.”

The whole network should be ready by the end of 2016 and it seems it will cover just selected areas rather than routes:

By the end of 2016, the eVgo Freedom Station network will support California EV drivers in the greater San Diego area, the San Francisco Bay Area, the Los Angeles Basin and the San Joaquin Valley. This expanded network means improved air quality, less dependence on foreign oil, a lower total cost of ownership of vehicles, and overall—a better, cleaner California.”

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18 Comments on "NRG eVgo Installs 15th Freedom Station In California; Increases Pace of Construction"

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Waste of resources to put so many in the large cities right now where people are charging at home anyway.

They need to focus on the spaces in between LA and SF so that’s it’s possible to tracer further between cities and still make it back.

Tesla got this part right.

There are currently NO Chademo chargers between all of SF and LA… that’s 500 miles…….

I disagree completely. That strategy makes sense for a Tesla with 200+ miles of range. But Leafs and other EVs with less than 80 miles often need a charge in the city too. I can’t realistically drive from my home in Forth Worth to North Dallas and back without charging somewhere in Dallas before coming home. Fortunately, there are enough DC chargers in Dallas that a 10-minute stop at one is all I need to complete the journey.

+1. Totally agreed with David. I’d never think of doing a 1000-mile trip stopping every 50-some miles for 20 to 30 minutes. Sure, a corridor between SF and LA would be nice, but I wouldn’t use it myself. (heck, for those distances, I’d rather fly anyway). On the other hand, I’ve been in plenty of situations where the mere PRESENCE of quick-chargers nearby allows me to do more with my vehicle. E.g: I’m at work (where I can’t charge), kids at the daycare/school, more than enough range to get everyone back home. A friend 15 minutes away invites me for lunch. Still within range, but now what if the daycare calls that my kid is sick, or any other unplanned errand becomes necessary? Hmm, now I might end up short. So… Visit friend, and risk having to borrow a vehicle later? Or just err on the side of caution and pass? With QCs nearby, no such dilemma, I just go. Worst case, I’d have to stop 10 minutes to regain those 25 miles or so I’d have “lost” at lunch-time. No problem at all; after all, most drivers spend twice as much time pumping gas every month. The lower the… Read more »

I disagree. The 101 corridor should have quick chargers. Not only does it allow transit between the Bay Area and the LA basin, but it also allows people on the Central Coast to get around just like people do in the more major metro areas. I propose the following cities:
Salinas (60mi from Downtown SJ)
King City (47mi from Salinas)
Atascadero (62mi from King City)
Santa Maria (48mi from Atascadero)
Santa Barbara (63mi from Santa Maria)

I only propose Santa Barbara because its only DCQC is at the Nissan dealer. Once you get to Ventura, you’re into the eVgo network. I would also suggest one in San Luis Obispo because it is a more common destination for Central Coast locals and would allow for more convenient out and back trips. It would also allow trips up Highway 1 to Hearst Castle and back.

101 does not make sense. Most of the traffic between LA and SF travels the I-5 corridor, which also takes less travel time.

You’ve just reinforced my point. People drive I-5 because they want to get there in the minimum amount of time. That’s just not going to happen in a 80 mile range EV like the Leaf, even with DCFC. Putting DCFC on I-5 would be useless because there are only through-travelers to use the chargers. Installing DCFC on the 101 corridor makes more sense because people that are willing to go that way care about more than just getting across the state in the shortest time. On top of that there is more local population along that route to use the chargers.

Lets get real about long distance in an 80 mile all electric car. Every stop along the way takes 30 to 40 minutes. TO get from Santa Maria to Santa Barbara in 63 miles means a substantial mountain pass. That would require more of an hour for a full charge than an 80% half hour charge. You list five stops and most people would need a sixth from Santa Barbara to LA. People starting in SF would need one more. That is seven charges in one trip! The charging would add 3.5 to 5 hours to this trip. Once, maybe – regularly, I think not. For more details go to http://www.sustainableclub.org/sustclub2013_015.htm

This is what does make sense for fast chargers. They expand the EV range out to a regional area. Between regional and local driving the EVs work for millions of drivers.

Focusing on getting this to happen will build the EV base and drive the costs down. With lower costs more people will be able to buy a vehicle with 150 mile range and that can take long distance trips.

Then too, keeping the electrical fuel cost down is key to this being an attractive option. NRG needs to show they are on track to do that before I can praise them too much.

While I would also like to see (and use) QC charging between LA and the bay area, the value proposition for a QC site is difficult to make in remote locations. Lots of EVs in megacities provides opportunity to recover costs. With continued EV adoption, successful installs should spread along cities on the 101 freeway corridor, allowing better intercity travel.

Agree that Tesla has a good system for their product, but a different financial model and customer.

Absolutely, the “California charger desert” is in the central valley. It impacts travel between SF/SJ and LA, and between SF/SJ/Sacramento and Oregon. That last is interesting because Washington and Oregon are fully equipped with fast chargers on the interstate, even though they have less EVs than California.

I’m sure an independent charge outfit like eVgo is considering the maximum profit per charger, as they should, but there are lots of reasons why at least a minimal I-5 charge network makes sense:

1. There are going to be people like myself who would use the I-5 to ferry a vehicle. I have family in both cities.

2. If the press is to be believed, the range on these vehicles is about to go up, perhaps double. For a 150 mile range leaf, I-5 transport does in fact make sense.

3. If California is serious about supporting EVs, helping out with an I-5 corridor makes sense. I’ll bet in fact that eVgo gets government help already.

NRG eVgo deserves credit for choosing sites that are well placed near major travel routes, with lots of attractive on site dining/shopping/entertainment choices. While expanding the range for EV drivers with home charging, these sites also enable those in local Multi-Unit Dwellings without onsite charging to drive an EV.

Yes, so far all the eVgo stations in San Diego are well placed near major travel routes.

There needs to be an explanation of the monetary charges for this in the article.

What are the fee structures??

The cost of the DC fast chargers is the elephant in the room. A half hour charge from NRG costs about $11.00. The typical power transfer for that is about 12 kWh of DC charge (based on data from a nearby fast charger). Using the typical EPA miles per kWh of 3 miles per kWh* that is 40 miles of range. 40 miles would be a lot of range for a gasoline car on one gallon – that looks like $11.00 a gallon to me. There are free chargers at a nearby Nissan Dealers and a Tesla charger is also due soon. There is a fast charger in Thousand Oaks that charges $8.00 per charge. Fast chargers serve several good purposes and a few in strategic locations will help. for more info see: http://www.sustainableclub.org/sustclub2013_014.htm Installing lots of them with these sorts of electrical fuel costs does not make sense to me. Installing lots of them now before they can include the SAE Combo Plug makes even less sense to me. There are ways to cut these costs that depend on the location, the billing system and the equipment. None of that is ready for full scale deployment and will be… Read more »

The 900 Gorilla in all of this is what could happen to them if say Nissan doubled EV range to 150 miles. Along with Mitsubishi raising the range in their i-MEv to 120 miles this could cause trouble for the local networks unless they are along long range routes. The good news is that as of now it shouldn’t be to bad when the ranges double do to the push to put them outside of cities.

Kosh, eVgo is installing Freedom Stations in the San Joaquin Valley, so if you really want to drive the 400 miles down 99, stopping 8 times for 30 mins to 1 hr for each hour of travel as you wend your way down, you’ll be able to. The possible exception is Tejon/Lebec just before or after the Grapevine. Maybe Flying J will add QC to their Shorepower NEMA 14-30 outlets.

Do you have some perspective cites in the valley that eVgo has listed? I’d be interested in how the 99 corridor is going to look (why 99? I guess because that is where the cities are.. the I-5 only has Colinga).