EV Nation Articles
Loud Statement at the Quietest Rally
- Written by Margaret
- Hits: 2616
October 16, 2011, Santa Monica, California
What an impressive gathering today. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 200 electric vehicles gathered in Santa Monica for one of many
nationwide National Plug In Day events. It certainly looks like a shift has been made and we are all responsible to keep the momentum going.
After several heart-felt speeches on national security and reliance on foreign energy sources, the masses of real, average plug-in vehicle owners
mounted their steeds and galloped down Main Street. Couldn't help laugh at this quiet protest rolling down the street. It was great.
One spectator asked how long it takes to charge and what we do when we are taking a long trip.
I have had months now to come up with the right answer, "I take my Prius."
Is it time to start charging for public charging?
- Written by Jeff
- Hits: 1669
Like most people who have been driving EVs for a while, I have come to expect the opportunity for free charging while driving around. In fact, I was pretty opposed to system like Chargepoint's which have set up an infrastructure around charging for juice like a gasoline pump. However, recent events have changed my thinking on this.
The recent issue of AB 475 in CA which I believe is a very poorly written bill attempting to address problems in the current EV code. See http://www.pluginamerica.org/drivers-seat/why-were-asking-governor-veto-ab-475 from much more detail. Plug-In electric vehicles of many types are coming and are out in the wild now and the current parking and charging code needs to be amended to adapt to these vehicles. One of the main points brought up by Chevy Volt proponents, is that there exists a bias against them in the traditional BEV world to the extent that people may unplug their Volt in order to charge a BEV which is perceived to need it more. While I believe this is not at all a likely or common issue, I acknowledge the issue and see how some could feel this way.
Secondly, we are seeing the current public charging infrastructure, which was never adequate, strain under the weight of all the new cars in some places. LAX and Santa Monica are ground zero for this phenomena. There has not been a time in recent weeks where I have seen charging available either at LAX or Santa Monica Place mall for J1772 vehicles. The demand has now outstripped supply. This is leading to stronger and more strained feelings brewing within the EV community. Witness the recent issue on the MyNissanLeaf forum where someone allegedly unplugged a Leaf which really needed the charge to supply a vehicle which may or may not have needed it. This is clearly is not cool practice and should be condemned but the tone of the forum very quickly started to feel like an ugly mob justice mentality that could turn very bad. See for yourself how you feel about the thread as a community member http://www.mynissanleaf.com/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=5352.
This is only going to get more ugly with the masses of cars like the Plug-In Prius which is soon to hit the road. That car has a very limited EV range and must use the gasoline engine and is certain to build resentment among some in the BEV community who depend on public charging.
I have also long thought it a shame that public charging is so often in the closest parking spots. I don't mind walking and see how having the EV parking in the closest spots creates artificial resentment and demand for people who don't need a charge but are just lazy. But there are practical reasons why this can't change in many cases.
So what can we do? In this case, I do think market forces can really work with this. Though we have been accustomed to thinking of all public charging as free, free fuel is certainly a perk that other vehicles do not get from the public. There are clearly cases where this makes sense. I would not argue that businesses who want to provide free charging to bring in high value customers should stop that. But when it comes to the real public use of funds, we should use our money well. In places where we would like to drive up demand and create incentives for buying BEVs, let's build infrastructure.
However, in places where use is already under pressure, let's increase charging supply and capacity, but I do believe the time has come to start charging some amount for use of public charging. You want to make it so people will use it when they need it and it is not a huge penalty. So, the cost could be similar to the cost to charge at home. But enough that people who don't actually need a charge don't always use spaces just to get a free benefit. I rarely need a public charge myself, but find myself saying "Why not, it's free" more than I would admit. At that point I am removing the opportunity from someone who needs it. I do use the "EV Sharing Protocol" (one reason I heavily oppose AB 475) but I still may put someone who NEEDS a charge out of sorts.
So I believe it is time for the free electricity pipeline to be re-examined as areas like LAX become strained. Let's also get more charge points out there. But lets let the market mature and make sure everyone has a good experience.
Leaf and the Amgen Tour of California
- Written by Margaret
- Hits: 3784
We are big cycling fans both as riders and spectators here at EV-Nation. We also own a Nissan Leaf and as Nissan was the official sponsor car for the Tour (even though it doesn't really have the range to make many stages ironically) it was doubly interesting for us. The Tour started out at Lake Tahoe which should have been amazing and beautiful. However, it was sadly snowed out. By the time the tour arrived very near our home in Paso Robles, though, the weather had once again become gorgeous. Margaret picks up the story:
Thursday, May 19: Paso Robles, CA
So we joined the Tour of California in Paso Robles. Unfortunately, due to rough winter weather earlier in the year, the Pacific Coast Highway was closed near Bixby Bridge and the iconic California Coast stage was re-routed. This meant the long anticipated run through the vineyards was not to be. However, we did get to follow our “tradition” at Villa Creek on the square. Drinks and snacks while watching the boys on TV pull hard into town. Then a quick stroll to the finishing straight as they flew by. Sagan took the stage. Very exciting. Bummer for Freire.
Friday, May 20: Solvang, CA
Much discussion about where to watch the Time Trial. Decided on our “traditional” spot, up Baseline with a view of the corner on Refugio. Great coming and going. So, we didn’t have the complete start and cell was dodgy. There was a lead motorcycle for most riders with a team car behind. Except for poor Zabriske. Almost missed it was him. But you can’t missed that calm, clean style.
We were laughing that the Leaf was the official pace car, given it can’t even go a full stage on one charge. We thought it’d be funny if they scatter Leafs across a stage and picked them up along the way. The TT allowed the race to use the cars and we did see several go by at least 4 times. Go Leaf.
Big Day in the Next Era of Electric Vehicles
- Written by Jeff
- Hits: 3960
Yesterday I was able to participate with 42 other Electric vehicles and other enthusiasts at the combination Southern CA GM Volt meetup and EV Rally. Friends on the GM Volt Consumer Advisory Board extended an invitation to all of the EV enthusiast community to join them. The rally start point was at the ironic location where the EV1s were originally put on trucks to be taken to their doom. More than a dozen Chevy Volts, 10 Teslas, RAV4-EVs, Mini-Es and others hit the highways to Irwindale where Edison has a consumer education center.
Back in the Electric Saddle Again
- Written by Jeff
- Hits: 1766
So it has been about 6 months since I gave up Mini-E 148. I can say I have missed her and she will always hold a special spot in my brain. That car was the intro to the whole electric vehicle idea. I am a convert now and have been ready to roll.
Today I took the first step on the next adventure for my family in our new electric Nissan Leaf. The Leaf isn't everything I wanted in an EV. I would have liked some more range, I want the Mini-E regen braking, the styling isn't perfect for me. However, it is a really nice car from the little time we have spent together. We are going to log some good electric miles and get to know each other. Once I have more to say I will write up some notes.
I picked up the car from Santa Monica Nissan as the first customer of Plug-In-America's own Paul Scott. I can say he was giddy as a young boy at christmas the day the first Nintendo came out. He has waited a long time for this day and I was glad to be a small part of it. Over the next few weeks, many more people, including some completely new to electrics will be joining us. Really a remarkable few weeks.
Here are Paul and I at the lot. The entire staff there was totally jazzed about the car, and couldn't wait till their next truckfull.