Tag Archives: Public

Disco pants and haircuts….Yeah

In an earlier post I mused on how effective it is to have public chargers at motels and hotels. Other optimal locations for public charging are locations where people tend to stay for a few hours. These locations include:

We happen to take advantage of one of these types of locations this past weekend which worked out quite well: A Mall.
At the mall

This mall in particular lies slightly beyond the 1/2 “tank” range from our house and thus a short charge is required to complete the round trip. These chargers were recently added about 6 months ago (four Level 2 chargers to be specific). We took a little over an hour browsing and shopping in which time the car gained about 20% in battery charge (don’t know how many kWh that was because these were simple chargers–no card access required, no 800# to call, just plug in and they charge with just some status LEDs indicating charging, fault, ready, etc.). At the time all four parking spots were available which can be unusual for some areas of the country.

This is great as more and more companies realize the benefits of having a charger (shows a progressive business, encourages those who own EVs to shop there, etc.) we’ll see more of this–especially if EV sales continue to grow.


Win one for the Zipper…

Detroit really is a sports city: There are few other alternatives for entertainment other than movies, the occasional concert, travelling shows (Stomp, Mythbusters, etc.) and the rare play that makes its way here. Above all Detroiters love their sports teams (yes, even the Lions!). What better thing to do on a Sunday night, then take a trip downtown to see a Red Wings game.
Go Wings

Joe Louis arena, where they play, is right next to Cobo Hall where the North American International Auto Show was held. This proximity also makes the same parking structure/chargers convenient to going to Red Wings games as well.
Chargepoint map
(The blue “C” on W Congress St.)
Instead of turning left when leaving the parking structure to walk to Cobo you turn right and climb the ramps up to the arena.

Reading online about areas with a lot of EV adoption (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta) gives you the impression that there are more EV’s than public chargers can accommodate. Looking at the map above ~10 chargers are available in the dozen or so block area. Joe Louis arena seats approximately 20,000 people and these days is usually about 1/2 full. Given that EV adoption is a few percent of overall vehicle sales you’d think that there would be 10 to 20 plug-in vehicles attending any Red Wings game.

Knowing the above, we left plenty early to get to the game in order to snag one of the two spots at the Millennium Garage. Turns out I didn’t have to do so: The other charge spot remained free throughout the duration of the game. I guess the intersection of Red Wings fans and plug-in vehicle drivers is exactly one: me!
Chargepoint map
Further evidence of this was the large group of people ahead of us as we exited the arena and entered the parking garage. As they rounded the corner in the garage and saw my car I could hear one of the party loudly exclaim: “ELECTRIC!” (She said it very loudly almost shouting it).
When we made the trip down to the auto show it was a very cold January morning with a strong headwind for the ride home causing us to burn 22 kWh:
Trip Display
For this trip the temperature was a bit warmer (in the 30s instead of the 20s LOL) with very little wind resulting in us only using 20.5 kWh:
Trip Display
For some additional figures I reset the 2nd trip meter before returning home: This way I can break out the two trips:
Trip Display
The trip down to the arena used 9.1 kWh and the trip home used 11.4 kWh. On the way to the arena I was driving very conservatively, using minimal heat, etc. since I didn’t know if I could charge at the game or not. For the drive home I was free to use as much heat and speed as I wanted.
In addition, since the car was charged up when I started, I charged to full in the parking garage, and the charge station was a Chargepoint station I can also use this to calculate the efficiency of the charger in the FFE. According to Chargepoint the car consumed 10.887 kWh during that session. Thus the efficiency should be at least 83%. I say at least because I had remote started the car when the game ended so that the car would be nice and warm by the time we got there which means some of the 10.887 kWh was used to heat up the car for the 15 minutes or so it took us to get there.
In the end, though, the Wings lost in overtime. Although not the best outcome they still did get 1 point to try to keep the playoff dream alive…

Public Charging

A Chargepoint Public Charge Station

A Chargepoint Public Charge Station

Once you’ve driving your BEV around for a little bit you will, on occasion, have a need to grab a charge to make it home. In reality this is much like grabbing a tank of gas while you are out–although it does take a bit more time.

In the US there are two main public charging systems: Chargepoint and Blink. Unfortunately, at this time, the Blink network may disappear. Fortunately for me, however, my neck of the woods (SE Michigan) features quite a few Chargepoint stations:
SE Michigan StationsUsing a public station isn’t much more difficult than plugging in at home. The main difference is you have to first turn on the station. In the Chargepoint case this involves either using a Chargepoint card, using the app, or calling them (the phone # is on the station). Once the station is on just plug in and listen to the electrons flow (yeah ok its pretty silent).

When you setup your Chargepoint account you get a bunch of different options for notification. You can get a text if someone unplugs your car, when the charge is complete, etc. It is very fast too: Once I unplugged my car from a station to see what it would do even though the car wasn’t full yet. My phone got the text message as soon as the plug was disconnected from the car–I still had the plug in my hand when my phone got the text!

Of course using a public station does bring up an interesting discussion point: etiquette. What do you do if someone is already using the station you’re interested in, or are at?