Town considering EV chargers -- Advice?

Town considering EV chargers -- Advice?

The town I live in is seriously considering putting in EV chargers in a parking lot right in the middle of town. It's a small town in New Hampshire, population of about 6,000. We have the only Tesla in town at the moment, but there are a few in the area and some other EVs around. We're close to a popular lake and ski area, so travel and tourism brings folks through town. The Town Manager and others are very supportive of renewables and such, but there aren't a lot of folks familiar with EVs and the needs of EV owners. My wife and I are helping folks understand the possible benefits of offering EV charging as well as how to make it most attractive and useful to EV owners who might be drawn to town.

What would you share with them? Best reasons to offer charging? Best ways to make it attractive and leverage it to draw people to town? Things to avoid? Preferred charging solutions?

brando | July 23, 2017

work with Tesla for SuperCharger -encourage business owners to consider -business people consider cost/benefit

Destination chargers best, right?

our downtown chargers worthless -wastes parking space, real waste of money (25,000 people) Level 1
everyone within 10 miles of downtown
i.e. consider 1 hour it will get how many miles of distance? worthless right? unless supercharger

Seems small need in such a small town (solar on school building?)

Earl and Nagin ... | July 23, 2017

A few recommendations:
What is goal?
1) Charging for locals who live in apartments or condominium where it can be difficult to install chargers?
2) To enable commuters to charge while working?
3) To attract visitors to come to time and spend time?
4) To attract travelers to stop by to charge on their routes?
5) Airport or train station charging?
6) To appear green?

1, 2, and 3 can be easily handled with Level 2 (240volt, 20, 40, 50, or 100 amp breakers yielding 16, 32, ~40, and ~80 amp charging rates). These are relatively cheap to install and operate but their ~10 to 600 mile per hour charging rates mean that folks need to park there for a long time. Waiting to charge just makes no sense so chargers should be placed near apartment complexes or large employment centers is necessary so people can go about their regular live or business while charging. Pricing can't be too much higher than normal electric rates in the area since for 1 and 2, these people will be doing this for all of their driving fuel and for 3, high prices won't be much of an attraction. This can be challenging since such pricing leaves little margin to recover the expense of installation of the charging stations. Subscription systems, perhaps with a monthly or annual fee will probably work for 1 and 2. 3 requires support for per-kwhr charging. Imposing time limits, in my opinion, is an undesirable idea as it makes EV usage a hassle because people need to 1) wake up at night, 2) leave work, or 3) interrupt their shopping/entertainment to move their car. Sure it lets more people use the infrastructure but it limits EV usage to fanatics that will embrace the hassle and won't lead to widespread benefits of EVs over ICE.
Implementation of Level 3 DC Fast Charging can be helpful here as well. Place them near short term shopping opportunities including coffee shops, fast food restaurants, grocery stores, or other places who will benefit from short term regular visits.
One needs to install enough of these to meet the needs since a person needs to be sure there will be a place to charge or he/she will be in a tough situation. A mix of Level 2 with a couple of Level 3 for backup can help reduce the number of extra Level 2 stations needed.
4) Except for hotels for which Level 3 is a good option, fast Level 3 or DC Fast Charging is the only choice here since travelers can't afford to take many hours out of their trip to charge. Somewhat of a premium can be charged for the electricity since people won't be counting on it for the majority of their vehicle fuel. They must be located relatively convenient to highways and facilities which travelers need including 24-hour restrooms and fast food. The rule here is faster is better. A 20 kW cheap CHAdeMO will attract desperate EV drivers if it is the only thing around but, as soon as anything faster is available, it will be avoided in favor of the faster chargers.
Level 2 chargers are great for hotels. 20 or 40 amp ones are good for PHEVs or for cold areas where they are needed to keep batteries warm in winter. True road-worthy EVs really need to get a few hundred miles in 8 hours of sleeping, thus requiring 50 amps or more.
5) Airports need 2 types of charging: DC Fast charging in short-term parking to enable folks picking up travelers to charge quickly and get back on the road. They are also good as backups to slower charging. Long-term parking can most cost effectively be served by simple 120v outlets with waterproof cover boxes (AKA Level 1). Since cars that need to charge will be parked for a day or more, these cheap outlets will suffice. Costs are low to the airport since all EVs come with a way to charge at 120v. Each outlet needs to be connected to its own 20 or 15 amp breaker since the EVs will draw that much power.
6) I don't have time to deal with this farcical use of resources
General rules: More than one is necessary in case one has maintenance issues that would leave people stranded. These won't be a huge money maker directly. It is the value of having them to businesses and residents that makes them worthwhile. Try to ignore slick tongued salespeople who will tell you how much money you'll make if you have them install their networked systems. The networked chargers can be good since they handle operations though.

SamO | July 23, 2017


Start here. You can apply for your town at the bottom of the page.

Tesla’s Supercharger and Destination Charging networks are continually expanding, offering Tesla drivers unparalleled convenience and comfort. Charging facilities installed on your property attract Tesla drivers to your business, providing both new and repeat customers.


The other options is Destination Charging

For properties where people stay for several hours or overnight, the installation of Destination Charging facilities is recommended. Qualified properties receive their first two Tesla Wall Connectors at no cost, on the condition that they are installed in visible or convenient locations.

stevenmaifert | July 23, 2017

Because Tesla uses a proprietary connector, Tesla chargers are not ideal. Install something all EVs can use. One or two L3 combination CCS/CHAdeMO chargers and 3-4 L2 chargers with the J1772 connector, centrally located. There are adapters Tesla owners can use on those chargers, but I know of only one provider that sells an adapter that allows you to go the other way and it's expensive:

carlgo2 | July 23, 2017

Only actual Superchargers should be considered. Trickle chargers are worthless and hurt the EV cause. It is only a matter of time before large Supercharging stations will be required, like the ones Tesla has shown sketches of.

If truly fast charging becomes available smaller stations will do for a small city, can always add on later.

Fine if people want to put up destination chargers at hotels as only overnight use works with slow, home-type charging.

kdufort | July 23, 2017

Really appreciate the input thus far!

@Earl -- Your input is particularly helpful given the way you tied it back to specific goals and scenarios, and included the rationale for each. Thanks!

Earl and Nagin ... | July 23, 2017

Thanks. My efforts were successful! You clearly understand the main point of my input which is to think it through.
How long do the site owners want people to be at the charges and how long do the people charging want to be there? The kind of charger needs to be acceptable to both parties or you might as well no even bother.
I've see way too many well-intentioned but not thought-out efforts that resulted in lots of money being spent on nearly useless EV charging stations. The worst I've seen is an interstate rest stop in New Kent, VA where someone went to a lot of trouble to manufacture fancy charging pedestals that just contain 120 v outlets. These charging rates of maybe 4 miles per hour mean you'll sit there for an hour just to get to the next exit at a miserable rest area where neither you or anyone else benefits from your being there. There were similar sites installed by Chargepoint along I-80 in the Davis, CA area.
Other bad ideas:
- making people stay with their car while charging as LADWP has in Los Angeles
- only installing one charging station and not maintaining it, meaning no one can count on it
- time limits on sitting on a charger in airport long term parking lots
- having charging only in valet parking (valets seldom know how to start a car charging)
- putting chargers in non-reserved parking spaces right next to the entrance to a store or building (they will always be ICEd)
Another suggestion. If the city does not have municipal codes that enable ticketing of vehicles not parked for the purpose of charging, then put signs up that state:

No Parking
(electric vehicles
parked for the
purpose of
charging excepted)

This will allow ticketing those parking illegally using normal parking codes but exonerate those charging.

reed_lewis | July 24, 2017

I disagree on the usefulness of 240V chargers. If you are just 'going through' where you only plan to sit in the car waiting for charging, then Superchargers are of course best. But if there restaurants and stores in the downtown that are draws for people to come to, putting 240V 30A (7.2 kW) chargers can be beneficial for all.

The one thing I would suggest is to put in J-1772 instead of Tesla charger ports. There are a lot of other EVs out there, and since Tesla can use them also, it is preferable to have that.

Also make sure that it is port of Chargepoint. That way people can see whether they are available before arriving.

carlgo2 | July 24, 2017

E&N, yes, only good chargers. The trickle chargers actually hurt the EV cause. Unfortunately the people who get these installed think they are doing a good thing, but simply don't really understand the realities.

r-l, sure, there is some usefulness to 30A chargers, but there is always this scenario presented where Tesla owners park and dine, shop, do leisure things. Do they really? Or, maybe they do this now and then, but most of the time people want to get to where they are going.

Earl and Nagin ... | July 24, 2017

I have to disagree with Chargepoint. While the ability to tell whether in use or not can be nice:
a) they don't share their APK so 3rd party charging sites can't tell if in use.
and, most of all:
b) My experience is that many Chargepoint stations are broken much of the time and Chargepoint's useless response is that maintenance is up to the site owner. In my word: Chargepoint only wants to run the data network to collect the money, not make their chargers work.
I prefer to know from Plugshare that there's a good, reliable Clipper Creek charging station that someone has reported working recently. Seeing an unoccupied Chargepoint on their website means nobody is using it but that often means its broken.
To the issue of 240 v (level 2) chargers, I agree that they can be a draw to a retailer but the traveler won't count on it.
I concur that J-1772 is better for the site owner with the exception that Tesla provide destination chargers for lower costs. A balance of both types is ideal.

SUN 2 DRV | July 24, 2017

I think Reed might have meant Plugshare (instead of Chargepoint)...

RanjitC | July 24, 2017

If you want to attract business a Tesla supercharger may be better than Chademo as few tesla owners have the Chademo adaptors, and fewer leaf owners drive long distances.

Earl and Nagin ... | July 24, 2017

That is definitely true, depending on how far away they want to attract people from. If they want to enable customers from 40 miles away to come and know they can make it home, the CHAdeMO or CCS are best since Tesla drivers can make it without charging while a Leaf or Soul EV driver can't. If they're attracting drivers from 100 miles or more away, then I agree that a Supercharger makes more sense.
The question is more with the 240v (level 2) charging connector, not DC Fast chargers like CHAdeMO or Supercharger. All EVs, including Teslas can use J-1772 but only Teslas can use Tesla Level 2 chargers.

Al1 | July 24, 2017

You mentioned you are close to a popular lake and ski area. How close? Would tourists stay at a local hotel and drive to the lake and back? If the distance is small enough Tesla destination chargers will be very welcome at local hotels and restaurants.

However if it is still an hour of driving or so anything less than Tesla supercharger means cars will have to stay in town for a few hours. I doubt they will. So I would recommend trying to have Tesla build a supercharger in your town.

Other charging options may work only if there is something worth tourist's attention in the town. It's hard to suggest anything without knowing local details.

Why don't you guys issue a local permit to Tesla boring company. You'll make it into headlines for sure. And then if Tesla for whatever reason decides to accept it, well the town itself will become a tourist destination. Who will care about the lake?

Al1 | July 24, 2017

A hotel with solar roof can become an excellent tourist attraction on the way to the Lake and back. Electric car show plus multiple destination chargers.

PS: But I will start with Supercharger. Tesla needs lots of them.

reed_lewis | July 25, 2017

I was thinking Chargepoint. Plugshare does not allow real time status. Chargepoint does.

As to stations being down, it all depends on the station owner. Whether it is a simple Cripple Creek charger, or a Chargepoint charger, if the station owner does not care, it i will eventually fail.

But I think that having good 240V chargers with at least 7kW of power available in a city/town center is a good thing. If there are restaurants, shopping, etc. people will stop and charge for a couple of hours. The average small EV will be able to almost completely charge in 2 hours, and Tesla owners will get 50 miles of range.

Superchargers are nice, but the initial and ongoing expense involved in installing them is much higher than 240V chargers.

And city run chargers should always have J-1772 plugs. Even if there are Tesla plugs also, there needs to be plugs for other cars.

reed_lewis | July 25, 2017

If a downtown has compelling things to go to, then people will stop. I know I have stopped in smaller towns that have J-1772 chargers and explored the stores and restaurants that are available even if I really did not need a charge to make it where I wanted to be.

I guess it all comes down to whether the town is a destination, or a VIA point. If the town is only a VIA point, then DC chargers (whether CCS, CHAdeMO, or Tesla SC) are the best thing. If the town is a destination, then Level 2 A/C chargers are the choice. I submit thought that the town would be better served by Level 2 A./C chargers because people would dwell longer which is the whole point isn't it? If people arive and leave in 30 minutes, then the town has paid a lot of money for DC fast charging with no additional revenue coming to the local businesses. Most people will just sit in their car.

kdufort | July 25, 2017

@AI1 -- Points for creativity on The Boring Company idea! And while I'd love to have a Supercharger right here in town, I'm sure we'd be waaaaaay down the priority list for sites.

@reed_lewis -- I think you're right about the Level 2 Charger for this particular situation and others like it. The nearest Superchargers to the area are about 35 minutes and 50 minutes away and there aren't (currently) a lot of destination chargers around. I suspect folks vacationing in the area would appreciate a Level 2 charger option and there are definitely some things to do downtown for a couple of hours.