The Truth About Cars » charging stations The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 27 Jul 2014 14:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » charging stations Nissan UK: Leaf Dominated EV Sales In 2013 Fri, 20 Jun 2014 12:00:43 +0000 2013 Nissan Leaf. Photo courtesy Nissan.

Though consumers in the United Kingdom may not have been too interested in electric vehicles last year, Nissan says the majority of those sold belong to the automaker.

Just-Auto reports out of the 2,507 EVs sold in the U.K. in 2013, 73 percent — 1,830 — belonged to the Nissan Leaf. The automaker added that the nation’s EV market continues to be “well-supported” by incentives and breaks on taxes and congestion pricing.

Meanwhile, charging the Leafs continues to be made easier thanks to expansion of the charging network. In 2011, only 752 units were available along the roadway; today, 5,731 thus far. Fast-charging Chademo stations also are on the rise, beginning with 60 in 2013 and growing to 232 currently. Nissan expects 500 of the fast-charging stations to be available all over the country by 2015, with 90 percent of all service areas in possession of a Chademo.

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Tesla Charging Station Coming To Carl’s Jr. In Gila Bend, Arizona Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:18:43 +0000  Gila Bend 2

Pity poor Tesla Motors. The General Motors recall crisis has knocked the electric automaker out of the auto industry headlines. There were times when half the news stories on industry feeds like this one would be about Tesla. TTAC is here to help get the company back on track to maintaining their 3:1 News Stories-To-Cars Sold Ratio.

The above picture was taken in the parking lot of a Carl’s Jr. fast food restaurant in dusty, desolate Gila Bend, Arizona. If you have ever been to Gila Bend you can attest to the fact that the shot is actually in color.

It was quite a jolt to spot this under-construction Tesla Supercharger station in Gila Bend this week as I was headed towards California. It proves Tesla is well on its way to building a coast-to-coast network of charging outlets. Gila Bend sits between San Diego and Tucson on I-8 at the turnoff for Phoenix, so West Coast owners on their way to Phoenix can stop here or at the Hilton Garden Inn in Yuma, Arizona to “fill up.” (Curiously, Tesla’s website currently shows no San Diego chargers or any in Tucson.)

I am sure that part of Tesla’s strategy to is locate its Superchargers at the most upscale establishments available with easy access to the interstates. In Gila Bend the best place in town is this greasy burger chain. It will certainly be a new experience for Tesla drivers to eat a Western X-tra Bacon Thickburger or walk next door to the Love’s Truck Stop during their 75 minute stopover. Certainly, members of the Tesla Motors Club are excited about Gila Bend.

If Tesla should ever go out of business, perhaps due to having no traditional dealer network as Mercedes-Benz USA CEO Steve Cannon suggested yesterday, or due to an end to their subsidies from the government, their charging station stanchions will become as collectable as Route 66 signs.

I want one from Gila Bend.

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Tesla S Goes AWD, Comes With Cheaper Batteries, Upgraded Firmware Mon, 10 Feb 2014 16:03:58 +0000 tesla-model-s-03

During a Tesla townhall meeting at the automaker’s European headquarters in Amsterdam, CEO Elon Musk announced to owners that an all-wheel drive version of the vaunted S would arrive in showrooms by the early months of 2015 at the latest.

The arrival comes on the heels of the Model X SUV, which will come standard with the AWD system when it makes its showroom debut in 2015. The system utilizes two electric motors, each driving the front or rear wheels while pushing the electric SUV from 0 to 60 in under 5 seconds for the Performance option. Power for both the X and S models will come from higher-capacity battery options, eventually including those made with cheaper batteries from Tesla’s “giga factory.”

Planned to be the largest battery plant in the world, the factory will be built in the United States sometime soon, and will be able to recycle older battery units in-house with refitting visiting Teslas with newer packs. The eventual goal is to drive battery costs down by as much as 30 percent to 40 percent while pushing 30 gigawatt-hours of production capacity, just in time for Tesla’s $30,000/200-mile EV debut in the near future. More information will be announced in March, when Musk will also divulge the location of the new factory.

For current owners, a firmware upgrade will be available in a few weeks: Version 6.0 adds real-time traffic data, more control over ride height and suspension settings, and other improvements. Down the road, owners can also upgrade their seats for greater comfort, while future owners of S and X models will have those seats as standard equipment.

Finally, owners will be able to go coast-to-coast thanks to Tesla’s Supercharger stations, whose transcontinental network was completed recently — with a transcontinental road trip to celebrate the occasion — and is now adding capacity at a rate of five of the charging stations coming online per week. The chargers are expected to recharge batteries at a max of 135 kW current.

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Early ELR Adopters Receive Free Charging Stations Wed, 29 Jan 2014 18:00:56 +0000 2014 Cadillac ELR

If you should become one of the early adopters who purchase a Cadillac ELR soon, the brand has announced that they will throw in a free charging station as a gift for paying $75,000 over the next 36 to 72 months for the luxury plug-in hybrid.

Normally, the 240-volt charging station would be installed at an owner’s home starting at $1,000, with financing available for installations between $1,000 and $3,499 spread over 24 months at 0 percent and $0 down, and 2.99 percent over 84 months with $0 down for installations above $3,500. The price range is determined after Bosch Certified Contractors look over factors affecting installation, including age of the home, location of installation, permits et al.

On top of the incentive, ELR owners will also acquire the services of their own ELR Concierge Representative, who will help their owner with information on battery care, home charging, service scheduling and other concerns regarding their purchase.

No word on when Cadillac will cease offering free stations, though the $699/month lease incentive for well-qualified consumers currently on offer will end on January 31 of this year.

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Plus ça Charge: Electric Touring Sat, 16 Feb 2013 20:59:50 +0000

Note the date of publication is 1914, not 2013

While following the he said he said back and forth between the New York Time’s James Broder and Tesla’s Elon Musk, over Broder’s unsuccessful drive from New York to Boston in a Tesla Model S, it seemed to me that one important factor affecting consumer acceptance of EVs is being obscured by all the Sturm und Drang of the NYT and Musk both working this story for maximum bad publicity for their respectless enterprises. That factor, ironically, is why Tesla set up the media road trips in the first place, the fact that EVs will need a publicly accessible charging infrastructure if they are going to be seen as anything other than town cars. The Model S press trips from DC to Beantown were supposed to demonstrate Tesla’s expanding network of locations equipped with Tesla’s “Supercharger” quick charging stations.

That need for public charging stations has been obscured by other issues in the discussion of electric cars, which it seems to me have been focused more on range than anything else. Tesla is not unwise to create it’s own charging infrastructure for its customers because the simple fact is that if you could recharge an EV as quickly and as conveniently as you can refuel a gasoline or diesel powered vehicle, and if you could find a charging station within your EV’s range, range becomes more of a non issue. Let’s face it, how many owners of gasoline cars really consider range on a single tank of gas when buying a new car? As long as you can get ~300 miles between fill ups, the vast majority of car consumers don’t really care about range. Gas mileage yes, but I’d bet that total range is only important to a minority of gas/diesel drivers.

This is nothing new. Like 3D photography and movies, this is not the first go-round with EVs. Electric cars and were marketed more than a century ago, at the dawn of the automotive age and soon enough electric car companies, electric component makers, trade organizations, tire and battery companies, and publishers rushed in to help EV owners find a charge.

The EV side of the auto industry understood that drivers of EVs would need public charging facilities at the same time that it promoted electric cars as suitable for touring. The Electric Vehicle Association of America even published a charging station guide to the Lincoln Highway, America’s first attempt at a coast to coast road. Since the longest distance between charging stations was about 120 miles, well beyond the range of any contemporary electric car, it’s doubtful than any early electric automobilists completed the entire route, but the EV industry did what it could to dispel the image that electric cars could not be taken on long trips. Tesla is doing the same today.

The fact that the Electric Vehicle Association agreed on a standard charging plug that was used by most EV makers made things a little easier. In the photo above, the charging port on a 1922 Milburn Light Electric is being held open so you can see the terminals in the photo above. The photo below shows a similar charging port, though closed, on a 1914 Detroit Electric runabout.

By 1912, the Detroit Electric Car company, the most successful of the first wave of EV makers (it has only been in the past year that the Nissan Leaf surpassed the Detroit Electric as the most successful EV ever, in terms of total sales) had both standalone charging garages as well as combined sales branches and charging stations in Detroit, Manhattan, Chicago , Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Cleveland, Evanston, Kansas City, and Minneapolis.

In 1914, the New York Electric Vehicle Association, in conjunction with Automobile Blue Books started publishing route guides for “electric touring”, that mapped the locations of charging stations and provided suggested touring routes.

The guide was updated, apparently annually. In an emergency, drivers of electric cars could get a charge from electric streetcar or trolley wiring – as this Tom Swift story relates.

While General Electric sold  mercury arc rectifier based residential chargers to EV owners, the majority of the more than 14,000 chargers that GE sold a century ago were sold to public facilities like hotels and parking garages.

The Exide battery company, perhaps the major EV battery maker in the early days of the automobile, set up its own storage and charging garage (many city dwellers didn’t have residential parking for their cars) and “battery depot” in New York City.

In addition to public charging facilities, taxicab companies that operated electric cabs set up their own charging garages and had chargers installed for their drivers’ use at hotels they serviced.

As was shown 100 years ago, broadscale consumer acceptance of electric cars needs a publicly accessible charging infrastructure. It’s unfortunate that the war of words between Mr. Musk and the New York Times is obscuring rather than illustrating that need.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS

electriccars1898 Zemanta Related Posts Thumbnail electrictouring electrictouring2 electrictourbook electrictourbook2 electrictourbook3 chargingstation1 chargingstation2 chargingstation3 chargingstation4 DETROITanderson2 554430_366376610077220_1990719520_n books mercuryarcrectifier-550x393 cabchargingcurbside chargingplug_3_r chargingplug_r chargingplug_r2_r


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Plus ça Charge, Plus c’est la Même Chose Pt. 3: Tesla’s Supercharging Stations Wed, 26 Sep 2012 15:16:10 +0000
A few months ago, BMW announced that it was throttling back (or should that be rheostating back?) on it’s “i” branded EV program, in part due to a lack of public charging station infrastructure. A company that sells as many gasoline and diesel powered cars as BMW does can afford to temper its enthusiasm for cars that run on electrons. A company that only sells battery powered electric cars, as Tesla does, doesn’t have that luxury.

If a lack of charging stations limits the rate of acceptance of EVs by consumers, well then, the businesses (and governments) with an interest in the growth of EV sales will just have to create that charging infrastructure, so Tesla just opened the first four of what is planned to be a nationwide network of more than 100 high speed charging stations that will let most Tesla Model S owners recharge their cars quickly, for free. While the notion of refueling your car at a station owned by the car’s manufacturer might seem a bit unusual, after all we don’t buy gasoline at Ford or Toyota filling stations, the idea is not really a new one, at least as far as electric cars are concerned. Tesla’s automaker owned charging stations were predated by over a century.


Electric cars were first popular a hundred years ago, and finding a place to charge your car was an issue then as well as now. Of course there weren’t gasoline stations on every corner then either so it wasn’t as much of a competitive disadvantage. Some people charged their cars at home – most urban areas of the United States had electric service by then. By 1914 General Electric had sold tens of thousands of mercury arc rectifier based EV chargers. Most of those chargers, it turns out, were installed in public charging stations, usually located in parking garages or at hotels. Some hotels also had dedicated curbside chargers for use by electric taxi cabs.

Until Tesla sells a few thousand more cars, the Detroit Electric, manufactured by the Anderson Carriage company and corporate successors, will still be the most successful electric car ever sold, at least in terms of units sold. About 20,000 Detroit Electrics were sold between 1907 and 1939. As a matter of fact, the Detroit Electric’s fortunes more or less parallel the early history of electric cars, peaking between 1910 and 1920, eventually overcome by the rapid technological improvements in internal combustion engines.

Just as Tesla is opening up a network of EV charging stations, a century ago Detroit Electric operated public charging stations for their customers (and others as well since most EVs of the era used a standard charging plug). Tesla is said to be locating their stations near trendy restaurants. A hundred years ago Detroit Electric also tried to accommodate their generally affluent customers (electric cars were significantly more expensive than typical gasoline powered cars) by locating company owned charging stations near where their customers lived, worked and played. In Detroit, there was a Detroit Electric showroom, repair garage and charging station near the foot of Woodward, another just across the bridge from the Belle Isle island park, and a third near the exclusive Boston-Edison residential district, nor far from where Henry and Clara Ford lived. Clara was not fond of “explosion” automobiles and like Helen Joy, the wife of Packard chief Henry Joy, Clara had her own Detroit Electric. The building for the charging station near Belle Isle still stands and is used by a theatrical prop company.

The charging stations were large, about 17,000 sq ft, and could accommodate charging more than 100 vehicles at a time. Detroit Electric offered a service where owners of Detroit Electric cars paid $35-$40 a month and their cars would be picked up, charged, washed, polished, given a complete mechanical inspection and then delivered back to the customer’s house. According to one inflation calculator, that works out to ~$800-$900 a month.

By 1912, Detroit Electric had sales branches and charging stations in Manhattan, Chicago , Boston, Brooklyn, Buffalo, Cleveland, Evanston, Kansas City, and Minneapolis. Route guides were published, showing the location of Detroit Electric and other public charging stations to show that electric cars were not just suitable for city use, by the Electric Vehicle Association, Goodrich tires and the Automobile Blue Book publishing company. The EVA even published a route guide for charging stations along the Lincoln Highway, America’s first transcontinental highway, though few EVs could have made the trip, as there was one leg with 190 miles between charging stations, a distance beyond the range of any electric cars made at the time. EV drivers were resourceful, though, and in a pinch they’d get a charge from the power cables used by electric streetcars.

Hope and the future promise of battery electric cars spring eternal. In the Feb. 1913 issue of Country Life in America (that also has an ad for REO automobiles penned by Ransom E. Olds himself), the publication’s automotive writer, one Ryland P. Madison, discussed the problems and promise of EVs in a manner that could be be repeated almost verbatim today:

Their well-known deficiency is a lack of ability to carry sufficient storage capacity to give long mileage at high speeds or under heavy loads… In the last three years there has been a marked improvement in storage batteries – so great that some engineers believe that electrics will be the universal car of the future.

Ronnie Schreiber edits Cars In Depth, a realistic perspective on cars & car culture and the original 3D car site. If you found this post worthwhile, you can dig deeper at Cars In Depth. If the 3D thing freaks you out, don’t worry, all the photo and video players in use at the site have mono options. Thanks for reading – RJS


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Toyota iQ EV Won’t Be Offered For Private Sale. Public Charging Chaos To Blame? Tue, 19 Jul 2011 15:06:33 +0000

UPDATE: Toyota confirms:

Recent reports have incorrectly stated that the 2012 RAV4 EV will only be marketed to fleet and car sharing programs.  We’d like to set the record straight.  The 2012 RAV4 EV will definitely be sold to the general public.  We anticipate robust public interest in the RAV4 EV and are keen to inform consumers that their future vehicle options include a battery electric Toyota.

Toyota is the only manufacturer bringing two battery electric vehicles to the market in 2012 – the RAV4 EV and the Scion iQ EV.  While the RAV4 EV will be available to the public, the Scion iQ EV will be marketed to fleet and car sharing programs only.

A number of major auto outlets got clowned yesterday when a Pike Research blog item seemed to quote Toyota Business Planning Manager of Advanced Vehicle Marketing Geri Yoza as saying the Tesla-developed RAV4 EV would not be sold to private customers, but would distributed to fleets and car sharing services. Not so, it turns out, as Toyota has corrected the Yoza quote by confirming that only the electric version of the iQ city car will definitely not be offered for public sale. But by the time Pike Research got its facts straight, the misinformation had ben regurgitated by the biggest names in car blogging, and had even made its way over to the other side of the Atlantic. The worst part: the real issue brought up in the Pike Research piece was largely lost in the autoblogosphere’s rush to prove Mark Twain’s adage that “a lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.” And, as usual, the slow-dressing truth is a lot more interesting than the globe-trotting lie…

In the absence of any coordinated EV range-extending strategy (such as Project Better Place’s battery swap network), an ad-hoc system of public chargers is America’s only answer to the deep flaws in its new automotive crush, the EV. Thus far, EV buyers will largely have to rely on home charging, with either a standard 120V plugin or a 240V “dryer socket” for faster charging. But already public money is being spent to set up DC fast chargers, which cost $80k per unit, but charge ten times faster than a so-called “level 2″ (240V AC) charger. But not only do these chargers need their own batteries to manage peak-use energy draws and grid chaos, but no automaker supports their use in a base-level factory-stock car. That’s right, your local government may well be putting up these public charge stations at $80k a pop even though no car can actually use them without at least ticking one box when you order it from the factory (DC charging compatibility is a $700 option on the Nissan Leaf). What’s wrong with this picture?

More germane to this piece, what do the wasteful or far-sighted (depending on how you look at it) EV-promoting practices of local governments have to do with Toyota’s EV product plans? Everything, it turns out. The DC rapid chargers use a technology known as ChaDeMo, which has not yet been ratified by the all-powerful Society of Automotive Engineers as the DC charging standard. Since Nissan only offers ChaDeMo compatibility as an option, and Mitsubishi is the only other automaker to commit to selling a compatible EV in the US, the standard isn’t going anywhere with SAE. And so Toyota, fearful of getting caught in a bad bet if the SAE chooses an alternative standard, is not fitting its Tesla-developed RAV4 EV or iQ EV with a DC fast-charging port until the SAE commits. And the SAE may well be leaning away from ChaDeMo…

Is this why the iQ EV won’t be sold publicly? Or is the problem that Toyota sees the tiny EV as too small and too expensive to sell reliably in the US market? After all, the RAV4 also won’t get a rapid charge capability, but then we haven’t heard specific plans for range, price or production volume (let alone location) for the RAV4, so we’d argue that reports that “Toyota will launch three plug-in vehicles next year” are highly misleading. The Prius PHEV seems ready to roll, but the iQ and the RAV4 are likely to be small-volume ventures, and with the iQ already relegated to a fleet-only role, it’s tough to see Toyota giving the RAV4 (which, unlike the iQ it did not develop itself) free reign for public sales. As a fundamentally conservative company, things like unresolved fast-charging issues as well as the unproven status of the RAV4 EV’s Tesla batteries are not the kinds of things that Toyota just ignores. Since the Prius PHEV doesn’t need fast-charging, expect that to launch as normal, but don’t hold your breath for private sales of any Toyota pure EV (at least in any kind of meaningful volume) for at least another few years.

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London Olympic Committee: EVs Are Gimmicks Fri, 20 Nov 2009 22:26:44 +0000 We are not amused (courtesy:Reuters)

We didn’t want a big fleet of electric vehicles. We’re only just over two years or so away from the games and time is running out to create a viable network. Many of the vehicles will be used for around 18 hours a day. It’s hard graft, and we knew BMW could supply the vehicles to meet these demands.”

Paul Deighton, CEO of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) explains to Autocar why the games won’t be relying on electric vehicles in 2012. Nissan had presented a bid to be the games’ official vehicle supplier which proposed using Leaf EVs for over half the planned fleet. A “small proportion” of BMW’s winning fleet proposal will be electric MINI Es, and all proposals were required to achieve a fleet average of 120g/km of CO2. But that hasn’t stopped Nissan from getting petulant.

Nissan spokesfolks tell Autocar:

As part of our proposition, more than half of the vehicles we were going to supply would have been Leafs. Through LOCOGs decision, London has missed out on a significant opportunity to build confidence in electric vehicles in the UK. We have the vehicle and we had the chance to do something with it in the UK.

Nissan reps went on to say that the chances of quickly implementing an electric infrastructure in the UK have taken “several steps back.” London Mayor Boris Johnson, who has committed to installing 25,000 EV charging stations across the city by 2015, tried to see the upside.

We hope that BMW, through this sponsorship agreement, will take the opportunity to demonstrate their long term commitment to electric vehicles and showcase their new MegaCity [aka BMW's long-rumored Neo-Isetta EV] car at the 2012 Games.

In an industry that always has something around the next corner, it’s interesting to see a window emerge for the viability of electric vehicles. After all, if the Olympics thought an EV-heavy fleet was practical, they’d have done it. Having attended an Olympic conference on sport and the environment (don’t ask…), I can say there’s not an eco-gimmick that PR-happy organization won’t try. The city of London was behind the idea. Unless BMW put a 7-series in every LOCOG member’s driveway, Nissan’s EVs simply weren’t up to snuff.

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