EV Charging Infrastructure Falling Behind

This past week, my wife brought a local news report to my attention.  The report stated that ChargePoint had recently installed 19 EV (electric vehicle) chargers near a parking garage in downtown San Luis Obispo.  At first glance, I thought it was wonderful news.  I always enjoy seeing positive news about EVs.  However, the more I thought about these new chargers, the more I thought how they are basically useless for today’s EV owner.

When EVs started to take hold more than 5 years ago, with the exception of Tesla, the range of the average EV was around 100 miles.  With limited range, EVs need destination charging stations located at places where the EV owners want to visit.  If I had an EV that had around 100 miles of range, I would need a charger, like the new ChargePoint chargers, in order to drive from my home to San Luis Obispo and back.  With the increased range of EVs today, the 19 new ChargePoint chargers are basically obsolete.

The new ChargePoint chargers deliver a maximum 6.6 kW of AC power.  For the average EV, charging at that rate provides about 25 miles of range per hour of charging.  ChargePoint charges $1.50 per hour to charge at these chargers.  The charging fee increases to $4.00 per hour for any charging time over 4 hours.  That’s equivalent to paying around $2.00 per gallon for gasoline, if you charge for no more than 4 hours.  It’s not a great price, but it is a good price.

The problem with these types of chargers is that, if you own an EV that has over 200 miles of range, there is no point to using these chargers.  My EV has a full range of about 300 miles.  If I am traveling to San Luis Obispo from my home, which is about 35 miles away, I can easily drive round-trip without recharging.  My home charger is 9.5 kW and I pay about $0.18 per kWh.  I get 38 kWh in 4 hours at a cost of a little over $6.  The ChargePoint chargers deliver about 26 kWh in 4 hours at a cost of $6.  It’s less expensive for me to charge at my house than to use the ChargePoint destination chargers, and my house is a lot more convenient.

If I am traveling a long distance with San Luis Obispo as my destination, it is likely that I will need more of a charge than I can get at the ChargePoint chargers.  For a longer trip, I would need a DC fast charger or a Tesla Supercharger.  If I need to recharge, getting 26 kWh in 4 hours is not sufficient.  When traveling, fast charging is necessary, unless you plan to stay overnight at your charging destination.  Using the ChargePoint chargers would not work for overnight charging because of their 4-hour charging limit.

Perhaps you are seeing my point now?  Someone had to pay to install these 19 destination chargers.  If they are useless to most of today’s EV owners, what was the point of installing them in the first place?  The only place where it is reasonable to have such low-powered destination chargers is at a location where an EV owner would be parking for more than 4 hours, such as at a hotel.

There are a few locations in my area that have destination chargers available for use at no charge.  It makes sense to plug into a free destination charger while shopping.  It is what is known as convenience charging, as opposed to necessity charging.  If I shop at a location that has a free destination charger, I will plug in if a charger is available.  It does not make sense to use a paid, low-capacity destination charger when I don’t need to charge.

A DC fast charging station would have been more useful at the San Luis Obispo location.  A couple of years ago, I visited the city of Victoria, BC while driving a Tesla Model S.  At that time, there were no Tesla Superchargers in Victoria.  However, there was a DC fast charging station in a parking garage at a shopping center I visited.  When I arrived at the shopping center, my car had about 25% charge in the battery pack.  I was parked there for about an hour and charged the car to almost 90% at a cost of about $8.00 USD.  In that situation, a low-powered destination charger would have been useless.

People who don’t drive EVs will probably view the new ChargePoint chargers in San Luis Obispo as something positive.  From my point of view, they are a missed opportunity.


Apparently, if you blow smoke at US citizens long enough, they eventually believe it

The news so far this year has been dominated by the shut down of the U.S. government caused by President Trump’s insistence that a physical barrier be built along the US/Mexico border.  Trump has been pushing for a wall ever since he started running for president almost 3 years ago.

When Trump was running for president, he insisted that the wall was needed for security and that he guaranteed Mexico would pay for it.  Mexico has stated on numerous occasions that they have no intention of paying for this wall.  Since Mexico won’t pay, Trump has insisted that U.S. citizens should pay for the wall, to the tune of $5.7 billion.

As a U.S. citizen, paying taxes to the federal government is mandatory.  Unfortunately, the federal government too often misuses the money we pay to them and, apparently, nearly half of the citizens in this country are alright with that.

An ABC News story this morning, along with other news sources, reported that support for a border wall has increased during the past year.  Last year, 34% supported building a border wall.  Now, 42% support building the wall.  It’s a small wonder that the government is able to waste taxpayer money so easily.  All that is needed is for Trump and the Republicans to continue their insistence that we are being overrun at our southern border and, apparently, people eventually believe it.

Actually, none of this really surprises me anymore.  I was watching TV the other night and saw an advertisement for the continuation of a series on TLC, Seeking Sister Wife.  You have got to be frickin’ kidding me!  So, a reality show that is basically about polygamy is popular?  If you look at the number of mindless TV shows that are popular in this country, it’s not hard to recognize how we have found ourselves in this situation.

Protests in France reinforce that most people just don’t get it.

The president of France, Emmanuel Macron, was rebuked this week by thousands of protesters, who are angry with a new carbon tax on gasoline and diesel.  The Champs-Élysées looked a bit like a war zone yesterday after protesters set vehicles on fire.

President Macron justified the tax by saying that France needs to move to clean, renewable energy and not to rely on fossil fuels.  I think his justification is sound.  The problem is that most people don’t agree that the use of fossil fuels is bad.  Personally, I’m surrounded by people, who have no interest in abandoning their use of fossil fuels.  They see no need.  Putting gasoline in their cars is how they’ve always refueled and they are not interested in changing.

An analysis from President Trump’s own administration this week reported that climate change will continue to fuel weather extremes, which will result in bigger disasters from hurricanes, floods, wild fires and droughts.  Most people just don’t get it.  It is not logical that we now have wild fires that wipe out whole cities and that is the new norm because people want to continue to use fossil fuels instead of a clean alternative.

I started driving an electric vehicle in July of this year.  My electric car is mostly powered by electricity generated from solar panels on my house roof.  If I were not using solar power for my car, a month’s worth of electricity would cost me around $25 for my normal driving.  The only regular maintenance I have to do with the car is to rotate the tires every 6,000 miles.  There are no oil changes.  The car’s electric motor is more powerful than most internal combustion engine cars and the power is instantly there when I hit the accelerator.  Electric cars are so much more efficient than gasoline or diesel cars, and yet, most people prefer driving a car that runs on gasoline or diesel.  The choice of the majority has sentenced all of us to the climate future we face.

Why are so many United States citizens so gullible?

I am very thankful that election day is only a few days away.  In the past few weeks, the annoying advertisements for prescription medications have been replaced by annoying political advertisements.  Very few advertisements tout just the position of a candidate or proposition.  A large number of the advertisements supporting a particular candidate are directed at the opposing candidate.  There are allegations galore of why the opposing candidate is the wrong person for the elected position.

I was watching the news this evening and the station had reporters asking likely voters who would get their vote.  I was amazed at the response by one gentleman.  He quoted, verbatim, a moniker the Republican candidate labeled the Democratic candidate in his attack ads.  The Republican had labeled the Democrat as “Dr. Tax.”  This likely voter proudly declared that there was no way he was voting for “Dr. Tax.”

When I heard the interview, I just shook my head in disgust.  As far as I’m concerned, the ads from both the Democrat and the Republican in this particular race are way out of line.  Unfortunately, the ads apparently do get traction with people, which is why they are done.

An idea occurred to me this evening.  I think the majority of the citizens of this country are swayed by what they watch on TV and they apparently cannot separate truth from fiction in what they see.  President Trump was on a TV show called The Apprentice and, apparently, a lot of people watched.  I never did.  A good portion of what the citizens of the United States believe to be true comes from what they watch on TV.  It’s no wonder that we, as a country, are so screwed up.

What am I missing?

The news continues to demonstrate that a lot of the human race has been and continues to be quite barbaric.  Saudi Arabia has been the major news story this week concerning the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi national, who was living in the United States and was a journalist for the Washington Post.  Khashoggi was apparently planning to get married.  To that end, he went to the Saudi Arabia Consulate in Istanbul, Turkey for some kind of documentation.  If you are not aware of this story, you can read a news article that came out yesterday from the Associated Press, Saudi account of Khashoggi’s killing is widely denounced.

It is not very surprising to me that agents of Saudi Arabia would brutally murder an outspoken critic.  It is also not surprising that the regime of Saudi Arabia would put forward an explanation for Kashoggi’s death, which reminds me of a lie that a child might concoct to cover up some wrong doing.

Also still not surprising to me is the response by President Trump to this despicable act.  Saudi Arabia is in the process of purchasing $110 billion in arms from the United States.  President Trump, being the lover of money that he is, has refused to denounce Saudi Arabia and he has said that he believes Mohammed bin Salman’s explanation that Kashoggi’s killing was an accident.  Again, this is not surprising since Trump also did not question Vladimir Putin’s assertion that Russia did not meddle in the 2016 United States presidential election.  Trump has received a lot of money from Russia, so it follows that he is not going to question a source of money.  I wonder if Trump is really that gullible or perhaps it’s just the money?

What escapes my understanding is that there are still a lot of citizens of the United States, who continue to support Trump.  Not long after Trump was declared to be the 45th president, I wondered how long it would be before he was removed from office or resigned.  I have lost hope that either of these outcomes will occur.  We are now about a year away from the 2020 Presidential Campaign, so it seems likely that Trump will complete at least 4 years.  It also wouldn’t surprise me if he got elected to another term.

Trump’s lies and treachery are very obvious to me.  How can there be people, who do not see this?  Clearly, I must be missing something.