My Plan for Charging Stations

My Plan for Charging Stations

First of all I couldn't even think of affording a Tesla....... :-)
But from what I've seen any plans for charging stations are grossly inadequate. But from what I see as needed is about 1000 stations or about 20 per state. At $25,000 per station it works out to $25,000,000. If we figure 25,000 cars sold in 2012 and 2013 that would work out to $1,000 per car. If you are going to spend $50,000 to $80,000 on a car wouldn't it be worth it to spend another $1,000 to know that you could go anywhere in the country? Having a system like that available would only release any range anxiety, and only make the car even more appealing. Even if a charger is not being used for years, just knowing it was there is comforting to know that I COULD go there. I've compared range with the maps and have figured that 20 per state is a good number. Less in smaller states more in bigger states. A couple in places like Yellowstone. and more popular places. Go on a map of some state that you travel, figure how you travel and you will see that that number is about rught.

David M. | 21 juin 2011

Your numbers are a little off. Tesla estimates selling 20,000 sedans per year beginning in 2013. Nissan had previously estimated delivering a total 250,000 vehicles by the end of 2014. Not sure about Volt, Toyota, or other plug-in vehicles planned to ship in 2012 and 2013. But by the end of 2014, you could easily see a total of 400,000 PEVs (or more) on the road in the USA. Prices will range from $30K to $130K. Battery range will vary from 40mi to 300mi. I believe I read that Tesla's new factory had the capability to produce 500,000 cars a year (previously).

In my opinion, cars with battery range less than 100mi are mainly commuting vehicles. Never intended for long road trips. If you are worried about range anxiety for long road trips, buy a hybrid, or use a 2nd household ICE vehicle, or rent a car. If you need to make numerous long road trips each year, a PEV may not be for you. There has never been a single car that is right for everybody.

With regard to Charging station infrastructure to support long distance travel, a good 3 year goal would be to pepper Level 2 & 3 charging stations every 80 to 100 miles along our major highway grid. Equally important is to get major hotel chains to adopt Level 2 charging stations. Also need L2 public charging stations at airports, places of work, and everywhere else you car might be parked for at least 3 or more hours.

Over the next 10 years, I predict you will see just as many plug-in hybrids (Volt, Fisker) as electric only plug-in cars (Model S, Leaf, RAV4 EV). So you will have lots of plug-in choice to satisfy your price requirements and your "range anxiety" fears.

Beaker | 21 juin 2011

I see smart restaurant owners installing solar over their parking lots with fast chargers. Which place would you pick to eat? the one with shaded parking where you can top off your battery while you eat, or the place next door?

daniel1948 | 22 juin 2011

David M hits the nail on the head. I also agree with Beaker that as more EVs hit the roads, restaurants (and I'd add shopping malls) will see the advantage of offering charge stations, either free or pay, depending on the business.

It's a chicken and egg thing. Which came first? Neither! They evolved together. Early adopters make do as best we can; progressive businesses see the advantages; more cars encourage more chargers, and more chargers encourage more people to buy EVs.

Note also that it's not enough to have one charger in a location. You need enough chargers to serve the number of cars. Nobody is going to plan a trip that depends on a charger that might not be available. This too will be installed gradually as businesses perceive a demand. I doubt I'll ever drive my Roadster farther than I can go and return on one charge, but in 20 years I expect long-distance EV trips will be common.

DartLady S77 | 23 juin 2011

How about a "gas station survival plan"? The gas station is everywhere, and as more and more EV's hit the road, they are going to need to replace the lost gasoline income. Seems a perfect place to install charging stations to me! Particulary at the truck stop type with a restaurant - I pull in, plug in, go eat and hit the road with some added range in my "tank".

There are already quite a few charging stations around, particulary in California and the west coast. The east coast is catching the wave now, as is Quebec. Check out this site for station locations:

In addition, most owners are willing to let you use their charge point (while you shoot the breeze, etc) until the infrastructure is more widespread and stable.

Volker.Berlin | 23 juin 2011

DartLady, this idea has been extensively discussed:

Summary: Charging routine will be significantly different from gas-filling routine. It is questionable if there is sufficient business for most gas stations to convert to charging.

Brian H | 23 juin 2011

It comes to this: do you think charge stations are a gas? Or do you get a charge out of gassing up?

Pick one.


hwye81k | 24 juin 2011

Roadster owners: Have any of you used the Blink charging stations?

Ramon123 | 25 juin 2011

I totally disagree with any claim that gas stations are not appropriate as charging stations. I agree that they are inappropriate for the crappy EVs that are out there now, requiring
hours to recharge. But a future for EVs only exists if charging can be accomplished quickly, and everyone knows that that day is fast approaching and in some cases already here (45 minute Tesla recharges, etc.). Gas stations are , of course, perfectly located
for cars to refuel, regardless of whether it is electricity or gasoline being poured into the vehicle. There is no basic distinction here - the operations are practically identical.
Nor is there any reason to assume that a gas station owner would
replace all of his refueling islands and pumps at once. The transition would be much more gradual and orderly. There are 265 million cars out there on the road and nobody is going to throw away a $40K car just to be able to be moved down the road by electricity rather than gasoline, regardless of how high the price of gasoline. It will take years before those gas powered cars need to be replaced, even if EVs were cheaper, an event that seems not coming to pass anytime real soon. I will be astounded if gas stations do not morph into recharge stations. To not do so makes zero economic sense.

EdG | 26 juin 2011

Maybe the gas stations you go to are nicer than the ones I see. In my area, I'd much rather go to a diner or a coffee shop with chargers located in the back parking lot (if they can't put them in front) to wait 45 minutes for a charge.

The gas stations near me haven't the room for people hanging around for that long, charging up their cars. Their real estate is small, and if they can't figure out how to move cars around more efficiently than they do now (I doubt they can do much), they'll have to make up the difference in the number of cars per hour served by charging (sorry) far more for the service to keep their finances.

I think many will die off, and the ones remaining will serve the ICE vehicles that will remain for quite a while. Snow blowers, lawn equipment, RVs and trucks will be needing gasoline and diesel, provided from domestic sources for us in the US.

Gas stations that have the acreage and the location at convenient spots for drivers can add sit down coffee shops to stay alive.

[ Maybe that 18 year old should buy Exxon-Mobil puts while he's buying Tesla calls? :) ]

daniel1948 | 26 juin 2011

A lot of gas stations now already have fast-food restaurants attached, and some even have sit-down cafes and large parking areas. These places, when located on highways, as they often are, are ideal locations to add charging stations. Small gas stations without the real estate will not be able to make a go of charging. They won't go out of business for a long time, as the electrification of our roads will be slow. But they are not good places for charging.

And I would not buy any puts on oil companies. Those folks are not stupid. They'll lobby for all they're worth to keep their advantages, but at the same time they're investing in other forms of energy. They know how much oil they have left and they don't aim to go out of business when it runs out.

Nicu | 26 juin 2011

I planned to stop talking about options here but I feel a bit provoked. I think it's a very bad idea to buy puts in an oil company. Those companies will decline, but not sooner than several years, even a decade. Before we run out of oil, it will get quite expensive and those companies will have it easy for several years (I would not buy call either, by conviction but also because it is too risky). People will change the old ways slowly, and only under constrain (economical or other).

I think Tesla will do fine for a few years as a niche player and they will be in pole position when the tech will allow it (tech pushed by Tesla itself to some degree) to take over the old ICE industry. 10% of electric cars on the road by 2020 would be fantastic, but I'm afraid it's still a bit of a stretch.

Volker.Berlin | 26 juin 2011

I totally disagree with any claim that gas stations are not appropriate as charging stations. (Ramon123)

Some may be more appropriate than others, but IMO that is not the point. The point is that 90% of all EV owners will charge in their own garage 90% of the time (figures exaggerated to emphasize point). Try that with gasoline! ;-) Effectively, there will not be enough business left to sustain the enormous infrastructure that is now in place for gas. The arguments you make may hold for the larger stations placed next to motor ways, that already are nice places to stay and eat, anyway. The smaller stations located all over the country and in towns of all sizes will not have any business in charging and will go away (albeit not within the next 5 years).

William13 | 26 juin 2011

I think that most of us are still thinking inside the old paradigm of oil. I believe that in ten and twenty years the charge stations will exist in similar numbers because cheap electric cars will still have relatively small battery capacities. Most people will have slightly improved Leaf type ranges. There will be fast charges available that are needed every 100 or so miles keeping stations in business for about 30 years until batteries are better and cheap enough that no or very few charge stations are needed.

daniel1948 | 26 juin 2011

Nicu said:

"I think it's a very bad idea to buy puts in an oil company. Those companies will decline, but not sooner than several years, even a decade."

I agree that it's a bad idea to buy puts in an oil company, but I disagree that these companies will decline. I think they will move into other types of energy and will thrive. OTOH I would not buy their stock either because any given company could be seriously hurt by fines or lawsuits from the next major oil spill. I am comfortable, however, owning mutual funds that include oil companies in their mix, due to the diversity of holdings. (I don't buy ANY individual stocks, except for the emotional pleasure of owning a piece of a company I like, and then I own very little.)

I agree with Volker that the business of supplying energy to cars will change radically due to the fact that most EV drivers will charge at home most of the time, and once EVs can drive for a full day on a charge, they will want to recharge on road trips where they sleep. I.e. hotels and motels.

But given the limitations of batteries, and the historical (slow) rate of improvement, I don't think EVs will account for a significant number of cars on the road until the average family can no longer afford to pay for gas. This, however, could happen within a decade in my opinion, though I'm pulling that number out of my hat.

As for "fast" charging of the Leaf variety, 30 minutes to 80% means that roughly, you spend 1/2 hour charging for every hour of driving. Serious EV enthusiasts will accept that. The general public will not accept that until they can no longer afford to pay for gasoline. Some will accept the Leaf as a second car for commuting while they keep a gas car for longer trips (I'll be keeping my Prius when my Roadster comes) while others will keep the mind set that every car must be capable of road trips. EV adoption will be slow.

EdG | 27 juin 2011

Sorry, the idea about the Exxon-Mobil puts was a Joke. I thought the :) was enough to label it as such. My bad.

Brian H | 27 juin 2011

As I commented just now in the grotesquely spammed General category, AutoWeek has an interview with Elon in which he speculates about spending a couple of million to establish a national network of (80?) $25K TM charging stations.

DC | 27 juin 2011

I think that those of you proposing that gas stations will convert to charging stations in the future are overlooking looking how your "refueling" habits will change. If you think about how you drive, most of the time your taking short trips and you might not have to get gas for a few days or week or two depending how often you drive. During that time you will be parking your car at home without refueling it, because most of us don't have gas stations at our house. When it does come time to fill up, you will get gas at some point along your normal driving route. This changes completely with an electric vehicle. You can charge every night at your home when your day is done. Therefore, if you're not making any trips outside of your day to day driving you will probably never have to visit a charging station. The only time you would have to go to a charging station is if you're making a extended range trip. In this case you are most likely travelling to some destination such as a hotel or some venue of interest. Therefor charging stations will have to be located at hotels and public places such a museums, sports stadiums, etc. The only time you would need a charging station similar to a gas station would be on a very day trip. So you will most likely only see them located on major highways. The town gas station will be a thing of the past. Think of it as you would your cell phone. You don't bring your charger with you to work everyday. You bring it if you're going to be gone for a few days.

David M. | 28 juin 2011

DC hits the nail on the head. Most Tesla PEV owners will only NEED to use a public charging station very rarely. I'd rather avoid the public charging station as much as possible. Opting to use a hybrid on long road trips.

Gas stations as recharging stations? Never! Gas stations are just about the nastiest places you could go for 10 minutes. I would never want to spend 1 or 2 hours there. Posted signs say breathing the air is hazardous to your health. Pump handles are nasty. Whoever thought of combining oil, gas, & food was off their rocker. Oil companies don't want your (plug-in) business. It doesn't have the profit margin they are accustomed to. And they cannot control electricity and pricing.

Very soon, we will see Level 2 charging at many hotels, airports, etc. (free for guests). I would pay a premium for the opportunity to use a Level 3 charging station along highway routes. Franchise opportunity?

Over the next 5 years, I predict EV cars will evolve as follows:
1. Plug-in Hybrids will account for about 65% of cars offered (with electric only range 30mi or less).
2. Electric only (longer range) Plug-ins will account for 20% of cars (average range will be 160mi+). (my choice).
3. Electric only Commuter plug-ins (ie. Leaf) will account for only 15% of cars offered (range less than 100mi). Marketed as a city car.

Until then, with 230 or 300 mile range from my Model S, I can meet 99% of all my charging needs at home.

Klaus | 28 juin 2011

Keep in mind the profit margin at a gas station is very slim. That is why they all, or nearly all, offer something other than gas, i.e. car washes, food, etc. The oil companies are the ones making the big money. If gas stations can make a similar profit selling electricity, then why not? the overhead is a lot less than all the equipment required to store, maintain, and sell gas.

Klaus | 28 juin 2011

PS: If I were in the market, I would invest in a high power charger (480v/70a) and let folks charge up in under 45 minutes (could be a lot less if you dont need a full charge) for a nominal fee while drivers get to strech their legs, use the facilities or grab a bite. As electric becomes more popular and gas less, adding chargers and reducing pumps would be the next step.

Douglas3 | 28 juin 2011

David M., you have it exactly right. I'm a Roadster owner and for almost a year I never charged anywhere but in my garage. For around town charging infrastructure is completely unnecessary.

I've recently started doing road trips, and now I would appreciate some charge points. Right now I'm using campgrounds that have NEMA 14-50 hookups for RVs. Chargers at highway gas stations would help. But I'd FAR rather stop outside a nice restaurant and have a leisurely meal while it charges on an HPC.

agileone | 29 juin 2011

The infrastructure will be coming sooner than later.

In Quebec, only Hydro-Quebec is allowed to sell electricity, so the solution had to come from them, and I must say I am impressed.
Restaurants, grocery & hardware store chains, and train stations will be equiped with 100 240V stations over the next year or so, with 400V coming later in 2012. 2$ a charge is not bad.
See :

These will take care of recharge while travelling...

So, I might just be ok with a 160mi battery pack...

InterestedParty | 29 juin 2011

I'm really looking forward to the day when EV's are not only economical, but practical. The Roadster is my future vehicle, one I have been looking at for some time.

I however am not as optimistic about wide spread charging stations in the near future or EV becoming a primary vehicle any time in the next decade.

Alternative vehicles are fragmented, hybrids don't need charging stations so they don't produce demand. Hydrogen and EV are going to be competing for market share come 2016 and honestly, I see hydrogen winning that war. Hydrogen is easier for gas stations to covert to, overcomes the time and distance restrictions of EV, and doesn't require larger lots, the materials to power it are theoretically more abundent as well.

Even with all that, pricing of vehicles is going to drive purchases, and purchases is going to drive infrastructure. Gas vehicles are going to continue to compete, all you have to do is get people to buy improved aero dynamic cars, or "ugly" and change gear ratios or "slower" you could attain 70 mpg freeway tomorrow on some of these vehicles. Ugly&Slower vs Price, majority of the population will be reduced to ugly, ugly can go across country without adding an additional couple of days. Really, we are still 80 - 100 year away from any kind of real "OIL" crisis. 100 years you go from the Model T to the F-Cell and Tesla, think what could be created in the next 100.

I see a decade passing before real infrastructure is place, the type that lets you go on a 500 mile road trip. I believe the EV will take second place to the HV. That 20 years from now, 65% of vehicles in western countries will still use gas at some level.

I see me driving a Tesla.... :D

daniel1948 | 30 juin 2011

The problem I'd have with charging at a camp ground is that 240-volts, 50-amps (from which we can draw 40 amps) takes 6 hours for a full charge on the Roadster, and the Roadster does not have room to carry camping gear. So I either leave the car at the camp ground unattended for 6 hours and take a taxi to a hotel and back, or I stand around, or sit in a car where the seats don't even lean back while it charges.

Okay for an emergency; not for a plan.

But with 245 miles of range, I can drive as far in a day as I'd ever want to drive in a car that is decidedly less comfortable than my Prius, which in turn is not as comfortable as many other cars.

Longer trips, I need more luggage space than the Roadster has. And when I need to stop for a rest, the Prius's seats lean back for a quick nap.

In 4 years of driving the Zap Xebra, I've never felt the want of a public charging station, and only half a dozen times, not counting 6- or 7-hour road trips, have I had to take the Prius because the Xebra didn't have the range. (I do have an after-market 40-mile pack in the Xebra.)

Bottom line: For me the Roadster is not comfortable enough to drive more than 245 miles in a day. So public charging is unnecessary. A car like the Model S, however, if it could be charged fully to 300 miles in half an hour at a roadside restaurant or rest stop, would work. Except that the places I go on those longer trips are out in the boonies where public charge stations are unlikely to come within a decade, and maybe two.

David70 | 30 juin 2011

Well, at least the Model S should have seats that tilt back so you could take a nap while charging in an RV park.

And I'm hoping it's more comfortable (especially leg room) than a Prius.

ncn | 30 juin 2011

With regard to Charging station infrastructure to support long distance travel, a good 3 year goal would be to pepper Level 2 & 3 charging stations every 80 to 100 miles along our major highway grid. Equally important is to get major hotel chains to adopt Level 2 charging stations. Also need L2 public charging stations at airports, places of work, and everywhere else you car might be parked for at least 3 or more hours.

This is similar to my thinking.

I actually figured out a few leisure road trips which I might theoretically take (starting in Ithaca, NY).

The first thing I need is charging spots at the destination hotels -- these could even be L1s, since I'll be there for days, but in big city parking garages, you can't even guarantee a single L1. So I think some serious effort needs to be made with downtown hotel parking.

Second thing I need is an L3 charger in Erie, PA. This is as far west as I can comfortably get from Ithaca without recharging. Erie actually has nice campgrounds, *and* they're within (long) walking distance of amenities like restaurants, but still.... 6 hours recharge. Cut that time down to 2 hours and move it downtown and you have yourself a practical solution.

Thinking more generally, I think one could plan out a network of L3s placed in cities, spaced out to allow for any 300-mile-range Model S to reach any point in the lower 48 states, and it wouldn't actually be very many; it would be few enough that they could all be up and running in a year. You could start filling in the middle for shorter-range cars after that.

OpenChargeMap is great, but like the other charge maps, you know what it shows? *No level 3 chargers in the US outside California and the East Coast*. In fact, no level 2 charges between Chicago and the East Coast, except possibly Detroit IIRC.

Someone needs to start putting L3 chargers along the New York-Chicago Toll Road systems, through Ohio, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and upstate NY. I imagine it wouldn't be a huge project -- less than 10 locations, probably -- for a large effective increase in comfortable road-trip radius for anyone in the Midwest or the Northeast.

EdG | 12 octobre 2011

Now that GM has announced an all electric version of its Spark (to arrive in 2013), it seems that there will be a bigger market for charging stations very soon. Even with a tiny number of EV cars out there now, charging stations exist. By 2013/4 the number of public charging stations will dramatically increase.

It doesn't seem like any EV manufacturers are putting in any ability to output power, whether to keep the fridge running during a blackout or to help a stranded EV motorist with a dead battery. ICE cars were never meant to have the ability to jump-start other cars; the ability was just there - at no cost. What would the cost or added value be for a car that could output power?

Robert.Boston | 12 octobre 2011

@EdG: your question has important implications beyond helping a stranded motorist. If EVs are going to achieve their real potential as part of the electricity grid & market, we need to have "VtoG" (Vehicle to Grid) capability or, more memorably "carbitrage" -- allowing EVs to charge up with cheap overnight power and resell that power during high-priced peak hours. If EVs were plugged in during the daytime, and able to discharge onto the grid, they would qualify as "spinning reserve" and allow grid operators to rely on our batteries for emergency system operations, instead of keeping fossil-fired plants at partial (inefficient) loadings to provide that same service.

Lots of potential here, and lots of ways for EV owners to create (and realize) value from the electric storage capabilities of their cars.

Brian H | 12 octobre 2011

Not as simple as all that. DC/AC conversion losses, and more. Who pays for all that equipment in the car/home?

Robert.Boston | 12 octobre 2011

The technical issues are trivial compared to the challenges created by antiquated regulatory structures, utility tariffs, distribution systems, and communications challenges.

petero | 10 novembre 2011

Tesla Rapid Charging Corridor LA to SF.

FYI. Courtesy of Earth Techling /Green Car Reports.

“In an official Tesla earnings call last week, Musk let slip where the first of these ultra-rapid charging stations would be: somewhere between San Francisco and Los Angeles. Musk joked that the massively powerful “Supercharger” 90 kilowatt charging stations looked a little like an advanced alien artifact, reiterating that the stations could easily add as much as 150 miles of range to a 2012 Model S in under 30 minutes. “