On The Scene: California’s First Curbside Fast Charger


Curbside Fast Charger - Image Credit: Matt Falcon

Curbside Fast Charger – Image Credit: Matt Falcon

Here’s the U.S.’ first curbside DC fast charger in the flesh.

Friend of InsideEVs, Matt Falcon, snapped these images while charging his LEAF:

Here’s the photos I took at the quick charger near SurveyMonkey’s HQ.  The cable’s kind of short for the Leaf, but I’m just glad it was there – I pulled in at 0%!

When we reported on this curbside fast charger more than one month ago, we wrote:

Palo Alto, California has officially become home to the state’s first-ever curbside DC fast charger.

Nissan tell us that the unit is CHAdeMO-only (notice the Nissan LEAF grabbing some juice) and that it’s a Nissan-donated DC charger (props to Nissan again for its continued effort to support the EV charging infrastructure rollout).

Near the DC fast charger (though out of view of the camera) are some Level 2 ChargePoint stations. ChargePoint tells us that its pair of Level 2 units are located as follows:

“…curbside – next to the DCQC & another in the parking garage.”

As for location, Nissan’s Paige Presley (corporate communications specialist who’s darn good at what she does) tell us:

“It’s on the corner of Lytton and Alma, right by Survey Monkey’s offices.”

Curbside Fast Charger - Image Credit: Matt Falcon

Curbside Fast Charger – Image Credit: Matt Falcon

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31 Comments on "On The Scene: California’s First Curbside Fast Charger"

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This picture illustrates exactly why I believe charge ports should all be on the passenger side (or very front/back as secondary locations). When using street parking chargers, you’d have to pull the cable all the way around (and be on the live traffic side) to use it.

At home, you can position your charger wherever you want, so side doesn’t matter. But in cases like this, it really does. For both safety and ease of use.

Yeah, but as a driver then you’ll always have to walk to the other side to charge it.

Charge ports on both sides would seem best but I guess they don’t want the extra cost of that.

Having had an engine block heater for years with the plug at the grill, I got in the habit of draping the cable over the driver side mirror, otherwise I’d forget it was attached. I’ve never ripped one out, but I have dragged the cable a few feet.
I’m all for driver’s side convections!

I don’t know about other EVs, but my Leaf won’t let me move at all without unplugging first!

In all the places I’ve seen block heater plugs in Canada, they were always at the front, and the parking accommodated that position.

The first thing they teach you in driver’s ed is that you should be doing a circle check visual inspection of your vehicle and surroundings before you get in and drive.

All the more reason to encourage you to get some exercise for both your charge and safety/maintenance 😉

What about curbside fast chargers that are located on the driver’s side of a one way street?

Street chargers are rare. One way streets with left side parking rarer.
The combination of the two seems ridiculously low to even be considered.
But if so, then front/back is the ideal place, no?

I vote for wireless charging 🙂

Nope. If there wouldn’t be that stupid tree, the car could simply parked 1 m more back…majority of chargers will be in front of the lot (have ever seen a large parking deck with side parking lots?), so front is exactly the right place to plug it in.

Very much so agreed. It only took one shot at it with the backup camera (the bottom of the monitor’s image is the bumper, so I backed up right until it almost hit the tree’s fence), but it was still a bit of a stretch on the cable. Ironically, getting rid of that tree – or rather, placing it on the opposite end of the parking space – would make it a perfect fit. Kind of a case of lack-of-planning on that Nissan-branded charger, but not one that can’t be fixed. Fair chance that it’ll be fixed soon, too. 🙂

What about Portland, Oregon’s “Electric Avenue”?
Not just one DCFC, but a whole street of curve-side DC Fast Chargers! (era 2011)

Street Map:

10 Lessons Learned from Portland’s Electric Avenue:

Unlike gas vehicles, an EV is very clear about how much range you have before you leave home. Knowing where you are going, the math is rather simple.

This situation is like driving a gas vehicle until you reached E before looking for fuel away from home. When you have a fueling station in your garage. But now you must find a gas station before you are stranded.

This just seems like an unnecessary, self-created crisis to justify the need to use a public charger.

Unless the owner just bought an EV with a battery that’s too small for their daily commute.

I bought a car covering maybe 95% of my usage. Occasional quick-charging, like here, bumps this up to ~98% — about as good as a single vehicle can get.
(the remaining 2% include moving large items like furniture and traveling with a large group and/or abroad, not something I’d want my daily driver to be capable of when it’s trivial to borrow/rent a more adequate vehicle, have stuff delivered or fly commercially anyway).

No crisis at all, but, at least or me, a deliberate economic decision — and so far, one I’m very happy with.

For those rare longer drives or those “just in case” which almost never materialize, it’s much cheaper — and greener — to quick-charge instead of paying for, and dragging around all year long, a much-larger battery or an ICEV.

+1 … I was hoping to have a QC this weekend for a 90 mile round trip in my 60 mile range iMiev. Plugshare showed it was broken. My backup was only an L2, but thankfully wasn’t far from where I would be for a few hours. The iMiev’s passenger side inlet with street side parking/charging worked out quite well, but only two hours of L2 (the limit for the EVSE) was cutting it a little close for me: I got home with just 1 mile range left!

Poor Ford propaganda agent…

Actually… /ahem

I’ve been driving a Leaf for over 2 years now, and it was an unusual circumstance (not having been plugged-in the night before due to having just moved) that left me looking for THIS specific station. It was a free station, and I knew I could make it there for the photo op. I reached “very low battery” several miles before, and had trouble finding the exact location around all the wackadoo streets surrounding the area. That took it down from 3% to about 0%, but never actually reached the dreaded “turtle”.

The Leaf performed flawlessly, as always.

We’ve been using this curbside DCQC in downtown Orlando since June:

PlugShare map

Holy cow! 13 cents/kWh for a DCQC?!? That’s what I pay at home! Our public chargers are 49 cents/kWh!

I was thinking the exact same thing. Anybody know if its 20 kw or 50 kw?

This charger reports a max output of 100A and 500V, so 50kW. Our last ‘fill up’ was 14kWh and cost $1.82, so yeah 13¢/kWh.

Definitely 40kW (maybe 50, but I’ve only seen 40 in Leaf Spy with this same charger model). It gave me a little over half a charge in the 15-odd minutes I was sitting there. 🙂

It sounds like the charger can do 50kW, but only at 500V. The Leaf charges at closer to 400V, so it would be 100A / 400V = 40kW. That’s the reason for the difference.

Too bad it is not a combo Chademo/CCS DC charger.

Agreed, the headline looks wrong. The text more correct refer to this setup as “the _state_’s first-ever curbside DC fast charger.”

Oh, whew! And here, I thought Canada was doing something better than America, since half of our DCQCs in BC are like this.

But I’m glad that you cleared that up. Everything’s back to normal now! 😉

Is that a BMW i3 behind the Leaf?

Yes, it is. The i3 cannot use the Nissan-branded Sumitomo fast charger.

The i3 sold in Japan would, too bad it’s not available in the US.

Anyway, there’s at least one L2 at the same location; that’s probably what this i3 is sipping…

Not impressed by this. Most chargers in this area (Silicon valley) are in parking areas such that more than one car can have access to the charger at once. That allows people to move the charger when complete. This install does not allow that.

ITT: nobody notices the “Nissan of Clovis” plates. Oh yes… the Leaf CAN do long distance travel as well. 😉

Sorry I’m late! What’d I miss? …Oh, shoot…

Aweome it’s open, was under trash bag for months.

Let’s learn what holds up stations from being open and apply that knowledge.