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Richard230
28 August 2010, 1418
Upon returning home from a camping trip last week and getting caught up on my newspapers, I noticed an article about plans to install some 5000 public EV charging stations in California. These charging stations will be partially funded by a $4 air pollution fee that motorists pay as part of their yearly vehicle registration. What caught my attention was the photo showing one of these stations. The electrical outlet did not appear to be the standard 110/120 volt outlet like you have at home in the US.

That got me to thinking that these charging stations were not going to be very helpful for charging our motorcycles, which all seem to use a standard three-prong 110/120 V plug and ground. The article went on to say that most Nissan Leaf drivers are expected to buy a 220/240-volt charger to install in their garage at a cost of around $2,200 for the outlet (no doubt it will cost more in my area). This would reduce the time to fully charge a Leaf from 20 hours to only 8 hours. The public charging stations to be installed in transit hubs, shopping malls and parking garages in the Bay Area and around California would be 220/240 V devices. Motorists would swipe a credit card and pay $5 to $10 (this seems a little pricey to me to travel a maximum of 100 miles) to fully charge a car - depending upon the time of day and the cost of PG&E power.

50 public high-speed chargers of 480 volts would also be installed, which would fully charge a Leaf within 30 minutes. The article goes on to discuss the future of electric cars in general and how government is trying to make them easier to use.

Anyway, reading that article makes me think that these charging stations are not going to help electric motorcycles much, what with all plug-in bikes that I am aware of, using a 110/120 V charger. So where do we stand? Will manufacturers starting offering 220/240 Volt on-board charging systems that will be compatible with the new charging stations - requiring us to retrofit our homes with a 220/240 volt outlet? Or will we be cut out of the ability to use these new 5000 charging stations?

electrician
28 August 2010, 1452
There are already charging stations installed in California. They are all over. Here is a web site that shows where they are and if they are working or have any problems with them.

http://www.evchargernews.com/

Richard230
28 August 2010, 1802
Thanks for that link, Electrician. But looking at the California map it appears than there are no charging stations with standard household outlets. They all use large or small "paddle types", which I assume electric motorcycles could not use. Or am I wrong?

I also notice that a significant number are "down" or otherwise not working. It would appear that maintenance is going to be an issue for these public charging stations - especially if you are really going to need one to get back home.

electrician
29 August 2010, 0622
Yes, there are a number that are not working. I assume that when more electric vehicles get on the road there will be more stations and they will be better maintained. Some of the charging stations have a 115 volt outlet co-located with them, but you are right all have paddle type plugs. If this becomes the standard and are used everywhere, then we would have to carry an adapter for our bikes. Not a real big deal.

Richard230
29 August 2010, 0653
I am not familiar with the paddle system. From your comment Electrician, I take it that they can be connected to a 3-prong 110/120 V plug and all we would have to do is to carry around a paddle when visiting a charging station. Is that correct? That sounds OK to me.

Of course, if plug-in cars become popular, then the next problem would be fighting with soccer moms over the charging station. You know how the driving public feels about motorcycles when they get in their way. I'll bet cars will move into our space and our plugs will be pulled out and their plugs connected, similar to what autos will do when a motorcycle occupies an entire parking space and they want the spot too.

Thalass
29 August 2010, 0700
I honestly don't know why north america went with 110v in the first place. 240 gives you twice the power for the same current. Which is why an EV in Australia will always charge in half the time of one in Canada/USA.


A voltage converter wouldn't be too difficult to assemble, though there would be losses of course. As long as you could get your hands on the plug they're using for these stations, and built the converter with appropriate safety measures (current limiting, etc). You could make up a charge cable for those points, in addition to the regular extension cord you carry around anyway. A bit of a hassle, but it would open up many more charging opportunities.

electriKAT
29 August 2010, 1030
The paddle chargers are inductive. They were used with the RAV4 EV, the EV1 and cars of that era. They will not work with a conductive charging system like we use now. The J1772 (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&cd=1&sqi=2&ved=0CB0QFjAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fen.wikipedia.org%2Fwiki%2FSAE_J17 72&rct=j&q=j1772&ei=yZd6TNH-CtLWlAejsaDFAQ&usg=AFQjCNFUE-n8Ud5U1U0Rle_4_wE5Y3IyPQ&cad=rja) plug has been approved as the standard for EVs of the future. I don't know if the electric motorcycle manufacturers are planning to adopt it, but it would make sense as that's what the charging stations will use. They may also sell retro fit kits for for current motorcycles. Fortunately, 110V outlets are still pretty common for us early adopters. They don't have to be official "charging" stations.

electriKAT
29 August 2010, 1043
So that all of us that have been conditioned to pump gas will know how to use it. I don't know how we've survived all of these years not knowing how to plug in appliances. The battery on my laptop is about to die, so I may not be able to get back on elmoto, ever. Goodbye cruel world!

Richard230
29 August 2010, 1521
I agree it is cute - but it looks a little large to me. It is tough enough to find a location to carry an extension cord.

electrician
30 August 2010, 0821
There is no real standard for charging electric vehicles yet. Telsa, Chevy, and Nissan all use different connections. There has to be some common way of charging electric vehicles. Once this happens then the electric motorcycle world can adapt to whatever the standard becomes.

NonPolluter
30 August 2010, 0949
For electric bikes, scooters, and motorcycles, imo there are already enough quasi-public 110V electric outlets everywhere that are "available".

All we do is to ask the owner (mall security or community center admin, in advance, for example) and in most cases we are allowed to charge. Even ferries have outlets for chargers.

Richard230
30 August 2010, 1342
For electric bikes, scooters, and motorcycles, imo there are already enough quasi-public 110V electric outlets everywhere that are "available".

All we do is to ask the owner (mall security or community center admin, in advance, for example) and in most cases we are allowed to charge. Even ferries have outlets for chargers.

The problem I see with that idea is that you need to find a location to park your bike while it is charging so that the extension cord will not cause a tripping hazard or the vehicle blocks a pedestrian pathway. The other problem is the length of time that the motorcycle will need to be parked in one off-parking lot spot to charge when using 110 V. Unless you are on good relations with the business, you might get the comment that they can't help for "liability reasons". I guess we will see how this shakes out.

My recommendation would be that anyone who finds a sympathetic business that is willing to accommodate charging an electric motorcycle should post the name and location of the facility here. Eventually it might be worth creating a forum for these locations.

electriKAT
30 August 2010, 1343
I agree it is cute - but it looks a little large to me. It is tough enough to find a location to carry an extension cord.

You don't carry that part around with you. That's the part you plug into your vehicle, like a gas nozzle.



There is no real standard for charging electric vehicles yet. Telsa, Chevy, and Nissan all use different connections. There has to be some common way of charging electric vehicles. Once this happens then the electric motorcycle world can adapt to whatever the standard becomes.

Not true. Tesla hasn't started using the J1772 YET, but I am sure they will. Chevy and Nissan will be using this connector in the Volt and LEAF. I agree that motorcycle manufacturers will probably adapt.