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Discussion Starter #1
Had a bad experience with a couple of Washington DC ChargePoint locations today. My email to ChargePoint is below. Anyone having good luck elsewhere in DC? I found that the lot on the 500 block of 12th St NW is active and very accommodating. BWI rocks, too. Just noticed there's a new one on the SE side of Capitol Hill.
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I just had a bad experience with 2 of your stations in downtown Washington DC. The unit at 1707 L St is not operational according to the attendants at that station and hasn't been for a while, but your app and web site say it's active. The lot at 1331 L St is actually a private lot, but your app and web site say it's "unrestricted".
I just signed up for a ChargePoint card (and paid $5 for that priviledge). Now I'm regretting that.
 

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Had a bad experience with a couple of Washington DC ChargePoint locations today. My email to ChargePoint is below. Anyone having good luck elsewhere in DC? I found that the lot on the 500 block of 12th St NW is active and very accommodating. BWI rocks, too. Just noticed there's a new one on the SE side of Capitol Hill.
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I just had a bad experience with 2 of your stations in downtown Washington DC. The unit at 1707 L St is not operational according to the attendants at that station and hasn't been for a while, but your app and web site say it's active. The lot at 1331 L St is actually a private lot, but your app and web site say it's "unrestricted".
I just signed up for a ChargePoint card (and paid $5 for that priviledge). Now I'm regretting that.
with many chargepoints getting up and running there are bound to be a few inaccuracies. I think you're being too harsh.
 

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with many chargepoints getting up and running there are bound to be a few inaccuracies. I think you're being too harsh.
The frustration comes from seeing green/active stations on both the app and web site, and then getting shut down at two sites... all the while trying not to be late for a 9am meeting in downtown DC. So I had to visit three parking lots during rush hour to get one parking spot. I'm just saying, this app/service is being presented as a realtime update on the status of these charging locations (and maybe I was just unlucky with the two I tried), but two strikes right in a row seems like a trend.
 

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I don't think the criticism is too harsh at all. While being misled about charging stations is not particularly devastating for us Volt owners, it can be a major problem for Leaf and other future pure EV owners. Good stern criticism can hopefully lead them to develop the proper system to update their charging station status (private/public, functioning/not functioning, etc.) in a far more timely fashion. While I would not necessarily expect real time updates on whether the unit is working, it would seem to be reasonable to be able to get an update within 1 day of the unit going down.

Speaking of the BWI unit... how does that one work? I've parked there a couple of times since I had my Volt but both times I took my wife's car so that she could drive the Volt while I was away. Does it take credit cards or do you need a special card to access? Since I charge at home and work I haven't yet looked into public charging options and any info would be helpful. Thanks.
 

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I don't think the criticism is too harsh at all. While being misled about charging stations is not particularly devastating for us Volt owners, it can be a major problem for Leaf and other future pure EV owners. Good stern criticism can hopefully lead them to develop the proper system to update their charging station status (private/public, functioning/not functioning, etc.) in a far more timely fashion. While I would not necessarily expect real time updates on whether the unit is working, it would seem to be reasonable to be able to get an update within 1 day of the unit going down..
I was trying to find charging stations down around the Mall - - - specifically, by the Department of, ummm, ENERGY, for heaven's sake, but there apparently are none. How silly of me!

But I am interested in the card that lets you charge. Any more info on that? I see there is only one working charge point at Union Station. Not very practical for anything.

Ah, well, this is, after all, an alternate reality we live in here is D.C.

# 565
 

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Discussion Starter #6
On BWI... There are 4 spots in the daily garage on the first floor (below the 2nd floor where you enter). There were initial problems the first couple times I went, but now you just pull up and charge. They are ChargePoint units that normally require a swipe ChargePoint card or a MasterCard PayPass card, but these units don't require that. I heard they just turned on some stations in the Hourly garage, too.

If you have a MasterCard, you can request a free PayPass card which is what you need to activate the pay-for-charge ChargePoint units. Very simple. One swipe and the unit unlocks from the base holster. The most I have paid is $1/hr in downtown DC. Some are free and some are $0.55/hr.
 

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Wow! $1/hour is a bad deal! It would take $4 for a charge that would basically get you what $4 of gasoline would get you.

It's all cool to be green, but I am not going to go out of my way to find a charging location, which may not even be available at the time because there are so few of them, just so I can break even on a gallon of gas.

I am going on the record here today -- wait and see -- the charging infrastructure is going to be a complete train wreck going forward in this World! 1) Too expensive to install for the host sites, 2) No way they will have enough of them once Chevy and Nissan and Ford and Toyota puts hundreds of thousands of plug in cars on the road (unless every large parking garage has it's own full sized power plant), 3) No financial incentives for owners to deal with the mess ($1/hour is crazy, but wait until you see what EvGo wants to charge you!), 4) a whole slew of other problems I haven't even thought of yet.

Bottom line: Thank your lucky stars that you bought a Volt as long as you can charge at home or you have a special work charging arrangement! If you are one of the poor sods in an apartment or condo with poor charging prospects...too bad.


The most I have paid is $1/hr in downtown DC. Some are free and some are $0.55/hr.
 

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I think it will be like all things, a competitive market at some point. The infrastructure costs are not that great, the Kwh costs are not that great and assuming a 30% margin even at peak residential electric rates here the cost to charge would be about $0.25 a Kwh. Of course commercial rates are much less. So figure 3500 watt charge rate that works out to about $0.87 an hour. I don't see how that is excessive, even a $1 an hour is pretty doable for an initial charging infrastructure.
 

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I wouldn't go around saying that the infrastructure costs are not that great.

How much do you think it costs to put in 1 commercial 220V charger in a parking garage that was never intended to have one?

Then how much do you think it would cost for 50 of those chargers to be installed in that same garage?

I can tell you it's not 50 times the price of 1 when you have to supply that kind of total wattage to a structure that was only designed to have some 110V florescent lights.

And 50 chargers in one popular garage may not be enough in the near future with the flood of plug ins getting ready to hit the market.

You and the rest of the electric car world seem to be brushing off a real limiting factor to the success of this most recent EV movement.




I think it will be like all things, a competitive market at some point. The infrastructure costs are not that great, the Kwh costs are not that great and assuming a 30% margin even at peak residential electric rates here the cost to charge would be about $0.25 a Kwh. Of course commercial rates are much less. So figure 3500 watt charge rate that works out to about $0.87 an hour. I don't see how that is excessive, even a $1 an hour is pretty doable for an initial charging infrastructure.
 

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The infrastructure costs are not that great
The infrastructure costs are HUGE. It's easy from a personal perspective when you've already done it to consider that it's an easy thing to do but consider trying to install charging stations for the masses in an already built infrastructure that was never intended for such.

Forget about the installation of simply the hardware itself, how many EV's are you going to allow to charge simultaneously at a given location? 10, 50, 100? All charging at today's typical rate of 3KW/hr. And what about the next generation charging at 6kW/hr? What about the infrastructure to supply the current for this?

We've unfortunately got serious growing pains ahead of us if you want to be able to charge anywhere but home.
 

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Finally someone on here that realizes the problems ahead.

Lutz will also be remembered as a genius for pushing the Volt approach when everyone advised against it.

Home charging has proven just fine for the Volt since owners are averaging 1000 miles per tank. Putting a charger in everyone's home is a workable solution because they usually charge at night when their regular household usage goes down to compensate.

Public chargers everywhere are just a non-starter for probably the next 50 years.


The infrastructure costs are HUGE. It's easy from a personal perspective when you've already done it to consider that it's an easy thing to do but consider trying to install charging stations for the masses in an already built infrastructure that was never intended for such.

Forget about the installation of simply the hardware itself, how many EV's are you going to allow to charge simultaneously at a given location? 10, 50, 100? All charging at today's typical rate of 3KW/hr. And what about the next generation charging at 6kW/hr? What about the infrastructure to supply the current for this?

We've unfortunately got serious growing pains ahead of us if you want to be able to charge anywhere but home.
 
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