Electric Vehicle Charging Stations – Should you install one?

October 26, 2008 at 11:00 am 1 comment

Here in California we are trying to be the “greenest” of states and to that end one of the movements a foot is the pushing of electric cars either of the hybrid or plug in variety. There are already by current count 1000 charging stations throughout the state with more being added.

Well this week I got a request to install a charging station for an employee at the non-profit I work for and was taken by surprise actually.  Probably because I was presented with this request after the employee in question had already purchased the vehicle and I found out that she had been draping an extension cord our of a second story window for several days to fulfill this need.

In doing some research on the subject I find that there is already quite a bit of exisitng infrastructure out there with the required building code in place (http://greenbuildings.santa-monica.org/pdf/es8.pdf) at least in Santa Monica anyway.  There is also an exisitng program by the California Air Resources Board (CARB): http://www.arb.ca.gov/msprog/zevprog/factsheets/evinformation.pdf

Recently the City of San Jose has teamed up with a green technology start up, Coulomb Technologies (http://www.coulombtech.com/) to install a network of curside charging stations. An article on CNET.COM has some of the details: http://news.cnet.com/8301-11128_3-9996353-54.html

Excerpt: “The company’s products include 110-volt outlets that can be outfitted in public and mounted on poles, such as streetlights.

Coulomb is designing ChargePoint Network stations to scale to the national level, with a projected need of two stations per car, as electricity-powered vehicles become popular. Each Smartlet station would cost between $1,000 and $2,000 for a business or municipality to set up.

This is the first place I was able to find a potential cost for my employee’s request.

The current indication is that all of the charging stations found in California are free to use, except that they are often located in private garages such as those attached to hotels, convention centers and the like where a charge for parking applies.

There are faily comprehensive lists and maps to guide users of these cars to sites where they can recharge their cars and a couple can be found here: http://www.hondaev.org/chg.html and here: http://www.evchargernews.com/.

If you are interested in providing one of these charging stations there is a company called Clean Fuel Connections who can be reached at (888) 890-4638 or http://www.cleanfuelconnection.com/

While I am not sure what I am going to do in my own case I am intrigued by the possibilities presented and as I do more research I will update this topic.

As always I thank you for your time and interest. Please take the time to Digg, Stumble Upon or add to the other social network of your choice to help me spread the word about these issues. Please forward any questions or suggestions to: askthefm@gmail.com

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Entry filed under: Planning, Technology. Tags: , , .

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. CelticSolar  |  November 9, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    You might check with shorepower too. They have installed plug-in points along I5 for semi-trucks and they have installed vehicle charging stations in Oregon and New York.

    The bulk of the cost is running the service, so if you can get the parking spot next to the utility entrance, it can reduce the cost significantly. If you don’t need anything metered or networked, the physical Vehicle Plug-in is is not expensive, they have them in RV and camping grounds all over. Although, the units for plug-in vehicles are under a different electrical code.

    If you do install it, you can do a press release and promote your business. Especially if you can tie it in with green building. If you do the press release, be sure you are buying at least some green (wind) power from your utility so you can say you are helping your employees commute greenhouse gas free.


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