Pennsylvania Turnpike to Add Much-Needed Charging Stations at All Service Plazas


The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has decided to install charging stations for electric vehicles at four of its 17 service plazas by  Summer 2013.  Eventually, all 17 of the Turnpike’s service plazas will be equipped with charging stations.

Eventually, All 17 Service Plazas (Marked With Red Circles) Will Have Charging Stations

Eventually, All 17 Service Plazas (Marked With Red Circles) Will Have Charging Stations

The first stations, to be installed sometime this summer, will be at the King of Prussia plaza in Montgomery County, Bowmansville plaza in Lancaster County, New Stanton plaza in Westmoreland County and Oakmont Plum plaza in Allegheny County.  The locations of these plazas will be familiar to anyone who travels along the Turnpike on a regular basis.  But for Turnpike newbies, here are the exact locations:

  • New Stanton (Milepost 77.6 Westbound)
  • Bowmansville (Milepost 289.9 Eastbound)
  • King of Prussia (Milepost 328.4 Westbound)
  • Oakmont Plum (Milepost 49.3 Eastbound)

It’s unknown at this time if there will be a fee for charging as no pricing guidelines have been announced.  We do know that the Turnpike Commission is paying $500,000, Pennsylvania’s state Department of Environmental Protection is paying $1 million and charging station provider Car Charging Group is covering $1 million to cover all the costs associated with the Turnpike’s charging station installs.

We believe some quick-charge stations, as well as Level II units will be part of the package.

Pennsylvania’s highly trafficked Turnpike is in need of charging stations, as are most parts of the US not on the West Coast.

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10 Comments on "Pennsylvania Turnpike to Add Much-Needed Charging Stations at All Service Plazas"

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I wonder how much these will actually get used? I mean, unless your BEV can make it the distances between these charging stations, what good are they? Sure a Volt or other PHEV could stop and plug in while going to the rest room or having a lunch-break, but you aren’t likely to pickup much juice during that time.

You are thinking of this wrong. Most people don’t regularly drive from Philly to Pittsburgh, but rather hop on the turnpike for a couple of exits at a time. These are the people who will be best served. Remember, QCs turn the Leaf from a local vehicle to a regional vehicle. It doesn’t make it a long-distance car.

A more local (to me) analog is the NYS Thruway. There are rest stops every 40 miles. In order to drive from Buffalo to NYC in a Leaf, one would have to QC at every single one of them. But that’s not how the Thruway is used. To drive from NYC to Albany, one would only have to QC twice for about 20-30 minutes each.

2.5 million / 17 stations = $147,000 per plaza. Seems like some expensive chargers.

If you can vaporize concrete with your eyes, by all means come on down and undercut (literally and figuratively). By the same logic, Mayor Bloomberg didn’t pledge 10,000 chargers in NYC, he pledged _up to_ 10,000. He’s trying to get ahead of the game, having architects include conduit, trenches/raceways/trays, passthroughs, etc. in new construction. Pulling copper at some point would then be a breeze, versus boring through concrete (including rebar hiding somewhere) and excavating trenches (including other utility lines hiding somewhere).

Now you know why retrofitting buildings and hard-surface landscaping makes about as little sense as retrofitting cars.

Agreed Kdawd..

I only hit pennsylvania’s north west corner, and they just have lavatories, not full service plazas in that corner of the state going from Buffalo to Cleveland. But I notice (I’ve at one time or another looked at every one), they all have either 200 or mostly 400 amp single phase electric services running a few street lights, a couple of vending machines, and flourescents for the lavortories and in some cases lobbys. Looks like to me even the 200 amp poorest stops could handle one or two 30 amp chargers on the wall, and if the total installation cost was over $3000 for the 2 chargers i’d be really surprised. Just order a model with a 25 foot cord so that it can make it to the parking spot. A wall mount is easy since you just run bx over to the breaker panel, no digging needed.

I’m not so familiar with the PA Tpk. Can one access the eastbound facilities when going westbound? I’m guessing not (otherwise they might not have labeled it eastbound), but shared-by-both-directions services always seemed pretty logical in terms of cost to me.

Yes and no. The building and food court services are shared by travelers in both directions. But the parking lots are separate, so people cannot make a U-turn via the rest plaza. However, they are typically only separated by either a chain link fence or jersey barriers. The gas stations tend to be located next to the barriers, so I assume they share the same underground tanks.

I’m sure it would be fairly easy to figure out a way to share EVSEs between east-bought / west-bound traffic.

I’m 10 miles from the Bowmansville exit (30-40 from King of Prussia) and each is very much isolated to the side of the turnpike. One definitely cannot drive to a rest stop on the other side nor legally/safely walk. I guess they didn’t build them with EV charging needs in mind ;). But, I’m just thrilled they are building them and have officially announced opening them (after over a year after the initial announcement) this coming summer!

I live about 25 miles from the King of Prussia rest stop. It is only accessible westbound.

Seeing as Tesla is looking at the KOP mall as a gallery location (unconfirmed rumor) I expected a Supercharger to go in that rest stop. Unless they install both… What a great idea.

Steven, I talked to Tesla on Sunday, they are coming to K of P.