Hybrid Gas Stations?

Hybrid Gas Stations?

The one thing I've never understood is why gas stations haven't started putting in charging stations. Every gas station has electricity, and I would think it would be trivial to add a charging station or two at each gas station.

I guess they want to maximize oil profits, but it would seem like a good business decision to use their existing infrastructure to building out a nation-wide charging solution and be miles ahead of any other venture (like BMW's solution).

No one seems to want to speed up the transition to electric vehicles, except Tesla. Everyone else appears to be talking the talk, but not walking the walk. Is it fear or is it not wanting to cannibalize their existing business model?

gerardP | 2015年2月3日

I think you last eight words summarize the key reason, but there may be another reason: recharging electric cars takes time, that means a lot of parking space-time is occupied for a small return. My guess...

Red Sage ca us | 2015年2月3日

250,000,000 ICE vehicles on US roads. 16,000,000 new ones sold each year. Not even 1% are plugins of any type.

The best selling plugins all have gas tanks. Each of them is outsold by stablemates that only run on gasoline.

Gasoline vapor can catch fire from static electricity alone.

Owners of fully battery electric cars never want to set foot in a gas station again for the rest of their lives.

That's why.

vandacca | 2015年2月3日

Red Sage, With those numbers, it's hard to image why they would install EV chargers. I wouldn't expect them to be forward-thinkers.

However, I would think that gasoline vapour would be more of a problem with ICE vehicles that contain a half-dozen or so devices that intentionally creates sparks to ignite fuel. EVs should be more safe I would think?

But, would you not want the convenience of stopping at any gas station to recharge your battery? They are plentiful, so finding one would be very easy.

josephkane | 2015年2月3日

The oil companies own the gas stations...mortal enemy #1 of electric cars.

grant10k | 2015年2月3日

It takes upwards of half an hour to charge a car, it makes very little sense to put in charging stations at gas stations, where they want you in and out as fast as possible. That parking spot being used up might cost them more in lost soda revenue than they would make selling electricity.

Plus you don't really need an existing infrastructure to put in automated charging stations. Just put them in lesser used parking spots near regular stores/restaurants where patrons are expected to stay a greater length of time. It would be the vending machine model.

I think you would see charging stations near department stores, malls, parking garages, and hotels. Just not in places where you're not expected to loiter for half an hour.

Brian H | 2015年2月3日

Gas stations make most profit on sundries and snacks anyway. The profitability of electricity sales is irrelevant.

Svenssons | 2015年2月4日

@josephkane: Gas companies knows what is coming soon, they are not stupid. Statoil, Norway’s largest oil and gas group have sold their chain of gas stations to Alimentation Couche-Tard.

Gas stations used to be the same as the local car repair shop and could serve every car model. Now they serve the customers and is only selling gas to get customers. A change away from selling gas will be swift when they can get customers to the stores by other means.

In Sweden more and more gas stations need to close or move because of the risk of petroleum gas in urban areas. | 2015年2月4日

Brian is correct. If it increases the sale of lottery tickets, cigarettes, junk food and other such items, a charging station will appear at gas stations with convenience stores. The electricity might even be free with the purchase of a corn dog.

vandacca | 2015年2月4日

In Canada and parts of the North East US, there are many service-areas conveniently located adjacent to the main highways. They usually have gas, a StarBucks (or Tim Horton's in Canada) a news-stand and usually a 2nd restaurant chain. Oh, toilets too, of course.

In Ontario, Canada, they recently re-vamped all the service stations (called "onRoute"), yet they failed to put in charging stations, which surprised me (although they have some very nice signs that say "Future home of Electric Vehicle plug-in Charging Station"). Any service area with sit-down areas to consume food would be perfect for a charging station, as travellers will often take 30 minute stops to get food and relieve themselves (not necessarily in that order).

I would expect that EV owners charging their vehicles would consume more food/drink while they wait for their vehicles to charge.

Small gas stations, deep within towns may be a less practical location to install a charging station, as they are less frequented by long-distance travellers and may not have extra services like convenience stores or restaurants.

grant10k | 2015年2月4日

@george, I just don't see it. Unless they can charge a car in 2 minutes, I doubt it's service they're going to offer. Every gas station I've seen only has about 15 parking spots at most (not including pumps), and it's not super rare to them all full on a busy morning.

Then you have to do something with the customer waiting for his car to charge. You don't want them wandering around the store, having finished their corn dog 28 minutes ago.

I'd bet Target, McDonalds, and Walmart would be much more interested in charging stalls than BP.

Also, probably those ginormous travel gas stations you see way down on the highways between cities. The ones that service trucks and have an attached Arby's and shower. They'd offer electrons for sure.

grant10k | 2015年2月4日


Pretty much that. Beat me to it. | 2015年2月4日

I live in the suburbs in the mid-atlantic, and I would not really say where I am is a high EV adoption area. However, there is a hybrid station close to my house that I drive by every day. I am really curious what the economics of it are because it has 4 free L2 chargers that are not within walking distance to anything other than the station convenience store. I've never seen anyone using the chargers, but there are a number of plugshare comments so they are generating some traffic.

It puzzles me because it is not really convenient to any major road, and probably the last place in the area I'd expect to see this pop up. As others have mentioned, L2 charging at retail strips and malls makes the most sense. It's just too much time to kill if there's nothing to do. If it was feasible to supply L3 of some kind at a particular gas station, that would reduce charge times enough to make sense. Gas stations are not built with the intention of having the customer hang around for hours at a time. | 2015年2月4日

Au contrare, Monsieur Grant ( you didn't know I speak a form of Canadian): if you make money on the goodies (doughnuts in Canada) sold in the store, you want EV drivers who have to kill 20-30 minutes as opposed to ICE people who just swipe their credit card and beat it after 5 minutes, never even entering the store. If you make a little money on gas, you want high throughput at the pumps. Not so the charging station that is cheap to set up and takes little space. In fact in time they might start tearing out those hazardous and filthy pumps in favor of charging station parking spaces.

grant10k | 2015年2月4日

I guess we're just going to disagree on this issue.

As a customer, I would not want to be stuck at a gas station for 30 minutes. I get my corn dog, and then what? There's no place to eat it except my car. So now I'm just in my car for 25 minutes using my gigabits watching TV. Now, if the charging station were at a nearby strip mall, there's a bookstore, a computer shop, and like 10 restaurants. All connected by large sidewalks. If either location were an option, I'd pick the strip mall every time. The gas station would not be hurting for my business either. I get something there at least every other day, and only get gas once or twice a week.

Putting myself in the shoes of the gas station, I would not want a customer hanging out for 30 minutes. Hell, if we install enough charging stations it might be 4 customers at a time. It's not that they won't leave either. They can't leave for 30 minutes. The parking space is valuable too, and a charging car's spot might service 6 normal cars in the time it takes to charge up one. Plus that customer takes up floor space in the store.

I know some businesses really do want you in and out as fast as possible. Waffle House has a neat trick where after you eat your meal they offer you your next drink refill in a to-go cup, which is a polite way of saying "Please leave" without actually kicking you out in favor of the next customer. Gas stations are happy to sell you food, but there's a reason they don't provide tables and chairs to eat them on.

Svenssons | 2015年2月4日

At charging stations, convenience stores will not be the only service and as a customer you will not only get fast junk food. Charging stations will mostly be used then the driver is traveling long distance or been driving a lot between several locations.

My ideal charging station will have restrooms, convenience store, relax area with armchairs, sofas, a coffeehouse and some nice place to eat a real meal. To top it of it would be located at a scenic area. It would not have any gas or other fuel that smell.

I could buy a newspaper or magazine together with maybe some snacks to bring in the car, eat something good and have a coffee and relax, charge my battery while the car gets charged.

Most my charging will be at home and no need for a charging station for the car. If it is a nice place I might drop by even if my car do not need charging.

AA_4_Tesla | 2015年2月4日

Also in Tesla's case, there's not really any need to piggy-back on existing infrastructure.
As Red pointed out, 250,000,000 ICE in the U.S. served by about 121,000 gas stations. Works out to roughly 1 station per 2000 ICE vehicles.

Assuming Tesla needs a slightly higher ratio, maybe 1 per 500:
70,000 vehicles: 140 superchargers
150,000 vehicles: 300 superchargers
500,000 vehicles: 1000 superchargers

However, I wouldn't entirely rule out some states mandating access to charge spots similar to the free tire fill spots.

Red Sage ca us | 2015年2月5日

Which is why I don't understand how some are predicting long lines at congested Superchargers. If worldwide sales of Generation II vehicles reaches 200,000 per year, and one Supercharger is built for every 150 of them sold, the ratio of Superchargers to Tesla vehicles will be much more convenient than gas stations from the very start of Generation III.

Red Sage ca us | 2015年2月5日

By the time that there are 2,000,000 Supercharger capable Tesla Motors vehicles on US roads, that will amount to... 0.8% of the national fleet of vehicles in operation.

A similar proportion of Supercharger locations, compared to 121,000 gas stations, yields 968.

But if there were 2,000,000 Tesla cars in the US, there would probably be 5,000,000 worldwide. And of those, perhaps 1,800,000 would be Generation II cars. At 1 Supercharger for every 150 of them, that would come to 12,000 locations around the world. And the US share would be 4,800 Superchargers.

Thus, there would be one Supercharger for every 416 Tesla drivers among an installed user base of 2,000,000 in the US.

vandacca | 2015年2月5日

I want to make two points that I feel people have failed to realize:

1.) Tesla wants other companies to invest in the charging stations because it's a monumental task to put out enough chargers to make it practical and convenient to make long-distance trips. That is why Tesla open-sourced their super-charging patents, to allow others to build out high-capacity charging stations too. Even if there are paid-for super-chargers out there, it may be the difference between an 8 hour trip (paid super-charger) or a 20 hour trip (lower-capacity chargers).

However, I don't think Tesla is holding their breath waiting for others to build high-capacity charging stations, so they are slowly building it out, not expecting others to pitch in. That may change when/if the Model III comes out and is insanely popular.

But even so, Tesla is currently building out the minimum number of super-chargers to be able to travel the country, which would mean that a Tesla owner would have to plan ahead and base their travels around the super-charger locations. If other companies could fill-out the available high-capacity charging stations, then a Tesla owner would simply drive to their location with little planning and conveniently stop along the way as they do today. Fortunately, today's plan-ahead requirement is made easier with their on-board 17" computer.

2.) Not only do you want enough super-charging stations per 1000 owners, you also need to have enough super-chargers to blanket a country (along major highways) to make reaching all destinations possible. Its very difficult in the U.S. because it's such a huge country, but it's even worse in Canada because not only is it a much larger country, it's less densely populated. The number of super-charges to blanket the country is the lower-limit of required super-chargers, even before you consider the customer:super-charger ratio. | 2015年2月5日

That settles it. I'm moving to Luxembourg as soon they get a Supercharger. | 2015年2月5日

Oops. I just checked the Supercharger map. It looks like they have two in Luxembourg already. I wonder if you can get corn dogs there.

ian | 2015年2月5日

Those are some good points Red. I think those worried about long lines at Superchargers are also considering how much longer it takes to Supercharge a Tesla than it does to fill a gas tank.

Red Sage ca us | 2015年2月5日

The thing is... By the time that there are 2,000,000 Tesla Motors vehicles on US roads, there will also be higher capacity battery packs available. If people fall into the habit of charging 50% -- 20%-70% or 30%-80% -- the longest regular stop would be 20-30 minutes in urban areas. Charging sessions of 45-60 minutes might take place more often during road trips.

But once the majority of battery packs allow on the order of 200 miles of range to be added in twenty minutes, people will be less likely to wait the full length of time in any case. This will become the new form of 'splash and dash'.

Beyond all this, JB Straubel still envisions a time when the longest wait time is fifteen minutes to charge. He is bullish that because of the improvements he has seen in only the past ten years, it may be possible to achieve the mythical five minute fill up with an EV far sooner than anyone imagines.

vandacca | 2015年2月5日

I can't wait for the day of the 15 minute charge!
Heck, I can't wait for the day I actually drive a Model-X.
Come to think of it, I can't wait for the day that I actually get to see what a production Model-X looks like!

ian | 2015年2月5日

+1 RS!

+1 vandacca!

I agree with both. Just playing devil's advocate. ;-)

Jonathangarner | 2015年2月5日

I envision most Tesla owners using the Super Chargers only when going on road trips. I plan to drive my MX 50 - 200 miles per day and simply plug in when I get home. I'll treat it like my iPhone. I drive a Honda Fit a EV with only 80 miles of range and don't use public chargers that often. Am I missing something?

vandacca | 2015年2月5日

No @Jonathangarner, you're not missing anything. I think the consensus is that the super-chargers (or any charger outside your primary home) is meant for long road trips. The point is, the more chargers there are, the less planning one has to do in organizing their road trip. I hope one day there will be as many super-chargers as there are gas stations so that spontaneous road trips are possible.

Red Sage ca us | 2015年2月5日

Nope. You have it right. I agree.

Some are concerned that there will be masses of freeloaders who tie up urban Superchargers 'for hours' when the Model ≡. I rather consider that an irrational fear. Tesla Motors will certainly be able to guage which cities will require enhanced Supercharger coverage based solely on Reservations for Model ≡. So, they'll either expand existing Superchargers or add new ones as needed or prognosticated, ahead of deliveries.

Brian H | 2015年2月5日

Red et al.;

Remember that the station/car ratio you quote is for ICEs which can only fuel at gas stations, while most Teslas charge at home almost all the time. | 2015年2月6日

I don't get it. Superchargers are for road trips and to allay range anxiety. Cheap electricity and laziness will cause most charging to be done at home. One potential fly in the ointment is apartment and condo dwellers who may not have access to an outlet while parked overnight. About 65% of households in the US are owner occupied. About 40% of the renter-occupied homes are single family or mobile homes where charging at home will be straightforward for the most part. Therefore 80% of the households in the US pretty much have access to dedicated charging. Condos may or may not be a hassle to get an outlet. I have have lived in three condo buildings. Two had dedicated garage space with electrical service.

That's a pretty good reason zillions of Superchargers won't be needed in the US. China and Europe may be different stories.

vandacca | 2015年2月6日

George/Brian, you are both 100% correct.

However, the main downside of EVs is range anxiety and long recharge times, both related to long road trips. This discussion is primarily how to address that last negative point regarding Teslas. Super-charger stations is part of the solution, but not a complete solution, due to small numbers of them. I don't think that Tesla alone can solve that issue, at least not in the near future. If they went at it alone, I would expect it to take them 5-10 years to blanket the U.S. with super-chargers and 20-25 years to cover the rest of the world.

I am just puzzled why people can not see how easy this issue is to address with the existing infrastructure of gas stations. It's not a technical problem, but rather an economic/political problem.

vperl | 2015年2月6日

Good example DC Fast Chargers and CHAdeMo at none Supercharger locations. Great example multiple DC/CHAdeMO STATIONS in one spot, so when the Adapter is free ranged and easily available, one can expect the station to be in operating condition.

On Oregon coast there are a few stations, but very crowded, or not working. You have to plan carefully, but visiting the Oregon coast is done.

Tesla cannot do it all, and the Tesla Destination team cannot do it all. If you stop at Tesla Destination charger each location has its own restrictions.

Years to come someone will start a real dependable EV charging business that is quick to keep the units working and safe to use..

Go for it.

Red Sage ca us | 2015年2月6日

Brian H & georgehawley: Oh, I certainly agree! There will be no need for a Supercharger 'on every corner', as Naysayers expect should be the case 'just like gas stations'. At the same time, there will be no 'shortage' of Supercharger access, as frightened and/or skeptical Enthusiasts work themselves into a frenzied concern over long lines 'at the pump'.

vandacca: I, too, considered the notion of Tesla Motors partnering with firms such as Sheetz or TravelCenters of America to aid in the adoption of electric cars, allowing convenient access to Superchargers and facilities while on the road. I originally thought about it when considering how to make a Tesla designed electric semi-truck for transporting cars from Fremont to locations nationwide. But then upon further reflection, I realized that a model similar to what Walmart does would work better for them, by having private distribution centers 'Tesla Waypoints' for those drivers instead. Once I came up with that idea, it wasn't long before I could see there was a marketing benefit to having Tesla specific locations across the nation that pandered specifically to their customers perhaps called 'Tesla Depots'.

Ultimately, these firms are firmly entrenched in the petroleum industry. It is literally their lifesblood. Just as is the case in the traditional automobile industry, and 'independent franchised dealerships'. As a result, even though there is potential to make things easier, Tesla must instead take the hard route for the sake of security.

Besides, yes, it does send the 'wrong message' to partner with companies that sell so much petroleum fuel. If they evolve on their own to support EVs, cool. If they end up ignoring the future, sticking to the past, and find that is their downfall, so be it. | 2015年2月6日

I have an idea for a combination charging cable and gas hose. You can pull up to a pump/charging station in either an ICE or an EV and be satisfied. If someone tries to hold you up as occurred at the Barstow Supercharger, there will be a flamethrower switch whereby an electric spark ignites a flow of gasoline. Use with caution.

grant10k | 2015年2月6日


"I am just puzzled why people can not see how easy this issue is to address with the existing infrastructure of gas stations. It's not a technical problem, but rather an economic/political problem."

That's why I don't think you're going to see many charging stations at normal gas stations. It's technically very easy to install a charging station, and the gasoline infrastructure yields no benefit.

A gasoline station needs many things. At the very least it needs a supply of gas, a place to store it, and an employ on site in case something goes wrong with the flammable liquid that they sell out of hoses. The stations need to be placed where people live, work, and every so often between major destinations.

Charging stations on the other hand, only requires electricity, and an unmanned charging station a fourth the size of a vending machine. The stations don't really need to be near where people live because people can charge at home. That home charge could probably get people to work and back, and I doubt you're going to see many people who enjoy being delayed 30 minutes to/from work to charge up. It would make more sense to install a few charging station in things like parking garages where people work, which is something I've already seen at a few office buildings.

Between cities, the best place for a charging station would be areas where weary travelers want to get out and walk around anyway. This means rest areas and truck stop / travel centers. Those are the gas stations that would absolutely benefit from charging stations.

In summary, think of charging stations like vending machines that never need to be restocked. Gas stations exist because you can't buy gas directly from the refinery, but electricity is already piped into every building everywhere. Power lines are the existing infrastructure to capitalize on.

ian | 2015年2月6日

That idea shouldn't be too hard to patent George! Ha! ;-)

jjs | 2015年2月7日

Yes I agree with ian. Should be clear sailing to patent that one. I seriously doubt you have an competition for the patent. ;) | 2015年2月7日

Lots of ideas. Not all of them good.

Brian H | 2015年2月7日

I have this image of a Tesla driver standing around the power vending machine and feeding it a quarter every ½hr or so ... | 2015年2月7日

Oh Brian, so plebeian.

The Tesla driver's executive assistant handles the small change..:-))