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Charging Electric Vehicles Part 1: Charging Stations

October 21, 2019 Featured, Transportation No Comments

Though I’ve had a couple of car-free periods, I’ve owned a car most of the nearly 37 years since I got my driver’s license. All my 17 vehicles have had an internal combustion engine (ICE).

I’ve wanted a hybrid, plug-in hybrid, or electric vehicle (EV) for a while now. We even had a Tesla Model S at our 2014 wedding.  Eventually we’ll have a more more fuel efficient vehicle.

A friend’s new Tesla Model 3 on South Grand

More and more friends now have EVs. Recently a friend picked me up for lunch in her new Tesla Model 3 (shown above). Another friend and his wife are new owners of a Chevy Bolt. As an apartment dweller the idea of home charging seems challenging, if not impossible.

Last month I shared the following on this blog’s Facebook page:

Would be nice to see a former/current gas station in St. Louis go this direction…“The first gas station in the U.S….

Posted by UrbanReview ST LOUIS on Friday, September 27, 2019

Here’s a direct link to the CNBC article.

The St. Louis region has hundreds of current and former gas stations, it would be nice to see just one make the switch. But where? With most EV owners charging at home at night, with some able to  at work during the day, is there a need for such a charging station?

I remember when this former BP gas station was built at Lackland & Midland, it closed sometime between 2008 & 2012.

One thing is certain, as society switches from ICE vehicles to EVs many more gas stations will close. There just won’t be the need for some much of our metropolitan area devoted to refueling ICE vehicles.  Perhaps as we transition from ownership to autonomous vehicles, that we just summon as needed, current gas stations will become places for these vehicles to wait for the next customer.

The St. Louis region does have EV charges spread around, but many are hit or miss. If everyone is charging at home and their EV gets over 200 miles on a charge why bother with public charging stations? Well, an owner might drive more miles than originally planned. Others might be visiting St. Louis and want to add to their available distance.

A Chevy Bolt EV charging at 620 Lucas in downtown St. Louis.
Google Maps & PlugShare.org list this auto body shop at St. Charles Rock Rd & Hanley as a place to charge your EV. Perhaps when they’re open…

With EV prices now within reach of Millennial and Gen-Z buyers they’ll become more common. More manufacturers are releasing EVs, or will within the new few years. These include a second Porsche EV, the first of five Volvo EVs, and future ID models from Volkswagen. Ford is planning several EVs, including a Mustang-inspired crossover.

To facilitate sales when EVs arrive in Ford showrooms, they recently announced access to a charger network:

Ford doesn’t currently offer any electric vehicles, but it announced Thursday that, once it does, it will offer the largest North American network of electric vehicle chargers of any automaker — including Tesla.

Unlike Tesla, though, Ford didn’t build this charging network on its own. Working with EV charging companies Greenlots and Electrify America, Ford has created what it calls the FordPass Charging Network. When needed, users will be directed to one of the network’s chargers using an app or in the vehicle’s central touch screen. (CNN)

It’ll be interesting to see if two years of free charging helps move Ford EVs. In a future post I’ll look at issues & solutions regarding home charging, including at apartments and on street. I’d also like to do a post on redeveloping former gas stations.

— Steve Patterson

 

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