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Richard230
06 September 2010, 1922
A long article in the business “technology” section of the Monday issue of the San Jose Mercury News by Dana Hull, titled “All charged up and ready to go?”, was quite interesting. The article is about the infrastructure needed to keep electric vehicles moving.

A sidebar titled “Are you EV ready” states: “If you plan to buy an electric car, here are a few questions to consider: What kind of home charging system does the automaker advise you to get? Do you have a garage? How many miles do you expect to drive each day? Have you called your utility company and told them of your plans to get an electric vehicle?”

The article says that Nissan recommends a Level 2, 240 V, 40 amp, charging system for their vehicles. The charging dock will need to be hard-wired directly to the breaker box by a certified electrician and will require an electrical permit from the local building department. This permit may take between 30 and 45 days to issue. (Last year I obtained a permit from my city to install a 3” pipe through my 6” high street curb and it took 3 months to issue the permit and the fee was $400 for $100 worth of work.) Nissan has chosen Aero-Vironment, a SoCal company best known for its work on battery-powered planes, to install “home charging docks” specifically for their Leaf. The estimated cost for this installation is $2,200.

GM has yet to announce a company authorized to install its charging dock.

The article goes on to say that anyone who doesn’t have a garage to park their vehicle in while it is charging has a problem.

Pacific Gas and Electric expects to see 219,000 to 845,000 electric vehicles on the road within Northern California by the end of 2020. The utility company says that the SF Bay Area will be “ground zero” for electric vehicles. However, they are worried that too many EVs charging within the same neighborhood will fry their local transformers and they want to be notified of each customer who has an EV so that they can inspect their facilites and upgrade them if necessary. “Home charging is a shared responsibility” said Saul Zambrano of PG&E. “Our responsibility is to make sure the grid is safe.” (Apparently he didn’t say exactly what the customer is supposed to do to share this responsibility – no doubt that will come later.)

The article finishes up with a discussion of PG&E’s E-9 rate, which it says is mandatory for residential customers who plan to refuel an EV at their home. The charge is as little as 5 cents a kWh for charging after midnight. Customers need to contact PG&E to arrange to be on the E-9 rate schedule. That rate could change however, as the California PUC is examining EV rates and is expected to make a decision about them by the end of December.

EVcycle
07 September 2010, 0158
Interesting issues.

219,000 to 845,000 electric vehicles? That seems like a wide spread of difference.

I would hope that battery/charger technology would have improved by then so less power is needed to charge.

I would hope more people would have solar by then too.

I did see an program over the weekend that showed the Tokyo auto show and a car that charged in 15 minutes?

Glad to see that they are thinking about all of this. All I get around here is " What the heck is that thing?"

:)

Ryland
09 September 2010, 0646
Fast charging tends to be harder on the batteries and I see no reason that for home charging you would need a 15-30 minute charge, I have no issue plugging my electric car in over night or at work for 8 hours and charging it at a lower rate.
But really, if you have a street of houses that can handle everyone coming home at 6pm and turning on their electric range and flipping on a big screen TV and having electric water heaters turn on all around the same time because people are all showering around the same time charging an EV shouldn't be an issue.

Richard230
09 September 2010, 0735
Someone like me might think that PG&E could be trying to use the introduction of EVs to request power rate increases to pay for the upgrading and maintenance of their infrastructure that they should be accomplishing all along out of their own capital improvement funds.

EVcycle
09 September 2010, 0809
Someone like me might think that PG&E could be trying to use the introduction of EVs to request power rate increases to pay for the upgrading and maintenance of their infrastructure that they should be accomplishing all along out of their own capital improvement funds.

That crossed my mind ad well. We had a similar issue with our local SCE&G. They asked for a 10% rate increase and included new meters for Solar power homes among other reasoning in the request. Everyone balked at the 10% and it was knocked down to something like 5.8% which is all they properly really wanted anyway. :(