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Discussion Starter #1
I know people have talked about the idea of having recharging stations at work and other places (malls, grocery stores, etc). So here is my question, what rate ($/kWh) would you be willing to pay at one of these charging stations?

Assumption:

At $4/gal, the breakeven point of gasoline and electric for the Volt is $0.40/kWh

--Would you be willing to pay above the break even point of gasoline prices (at that current price)?
--Would you be willing to pay above the break even point if the source were renewable?
--Would 220Volt (3 ½ hour charge time) be acceptable?
--Would you be willing to pay a membership fee? Say $200/year and $0.30/kWh at a charging station
 

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I probably would not use a public charging station. I'm retired and I don't go to the same location every day. I'd rather recharge at home and fall back on gas or E85 for the occational long trip.
 

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I wouldn't use it. I'll charge at home and work. (I own the company so I can easily get power to my car.) On longer trips, or if I forgot to charge, I'll just let the ICE kick in. It needs exercise anyhow.
 

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I know people have talked about the idea of having recharging stations at work and other places (malls, grocery stores, etc). So here is my question, what rate ($/kWh) would you be willing to pay at one of these charging stations?

Assumption:

At $4/gal, the breakeven point of gasoline and electric for the Volt is $0.40/kWh

--Would you be willing to pay above the break even point of gasoline prices (at that current price)?
--Would you be willing to pay above the break even point if the source were renewable?
--Would 220Volt (3 ½ hour charge time) be acceptable?
--Would you be willing to pay a membership fee? Say $200/year and $0.30/kWh at a charging station

I don't think you are talking about quick-charge stations so I think you will need to rework your business plan. You will not be able to charge much more than local grid rates. Why? Because what are you actually offering to the customer? Your infrastructure cost are almost nothing. What, you are running? A power line out to a parking lot? Big deal. If you charge too much A) nobody will use it and B) your competitors will only come in with cheaper rates because the barriers of entry are so low. John across the street will allow people to park in his yard and only charge half of what you charge and he will still be making out. Understand?

If you are talking about a quick-charge station than that is a different game. You are providing the customer the ability to drive long distances and charge at a quick-rate. The infrastructure is more expensive and the location can secured from competition (within reason) The barriers of entry are much greater and your business will only grow as the number of BEV increase.
 

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I don't think you are talking about quick-charge stations so I think you will need to rework your business plan. You will not be able to charge much more than local grid rates. Why? Because what are you actually offering to the customer? Your infrastructure cost are almost nothing. What, you are running? A power line out to a parking lot? Big deal. If you charge too much A) nobody will use it and B) your competitors will only come in with cheaper rates because the barriers of entry are so low. John across the street will allow people to park in his yard and only charge half of what you charge and he will still be making out. Understand?

If you are talking about a quick-charge station than that is a different game. You are providing the customer the ability to drive long distances and charge at a quick-rate. The infrastructure is more expensive and the location can secured from competition (within reason) The barriers of entry are much greater and your business will only grow as the number of BEV increase.
Texas, I think your misunderstanding the business opportunity mikejz is trying to assess. Quickcharge not needs expensive and unproven technology on the providers side, it needs innovation and undoubtably expensive components on the vehicle side. I believe mikejz, and please correct me if I'm wrong, is looking at the very real and presently implementable creation of for profit charging stations for existing and announced plug-in vehicles. This could have value at workplaces for those that have commutes greater than 20 miles or for those that don't have access to plugs at home. It could be at outlet malls and other destination locations that many people drive more than 20 miles to get to. It could be at highway rest stops, highway-side restaurant chains like Cracker Barrel and (perhaps most importantly) at public parking spaces. I think this is a very important question. This is what will help effectively double the Volts AER for all of the situations mentioned above and many more. This is what will make the Volt practical for apartment dwellers and others that don't have access to charge from home.

I would probably not have much need because my commuting is so short. On the rare occasions when I could use the charging:
-I would be willing to pay an equivalent to $4 gas
-It should be able to charge as fast as my car can take
-I would not be interested in a membership

I would be very happy to have the opportunity to charge, when it makes, rather than burn gas. Running on electric is my main reason for desiring a plug-in and I thought that was true for everyone supporting the Volt.

I think 2 rates could be offered: slow charge for long stops or overnight charging at lower rates(hotels, parking garages, etc) and max charge (roadside restaurants, shopping malls, etc) at equivalent to $4 gas. This would make it more affordable to own a Volt for people without the capability to plug-in at home. These would be by far the best customers.
 

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I thought I read on Tesla's website at one point in time that an 80% charge can be obtained over lunch. I don't see that now, but if I can jump from 30% to 80% over lunch (even if a higher voltage), then I would certainly pay higher rates. 8 KWHs ($0.76 in my city) is the min. Gas (50 MPG / 40 mil per charge = 0.8 gal/charge) would be $3.20 assuming $4 per gallon. If some drive in had solar carports, I would pay the $3.20, even if they are not producing enough, so long as they are making the most of their space. If it is grid electricity, I would want the recharge be closer to $2..kinda like a tip at a dinner.
 

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Koz, I think if you re-read my post you will see I did understand what he was trying to propose. I assumed he was talking about standard charging stations, not quick charge stations. I added the quick-charge topic just because I feel that is a business plan that would be more successful. I know we disagree on this.

I just don't feel business owners will be able to charge much more for electricity than what they pay for it (grid costs) for standard 110 V and 220 V charging. The infrastructure is simple and anyone that is connected to the grid can do it. Why would I pay a lot more? Sure, I may be stuck and have to but most people will find their way to the cheapest price eventually. With GPS systems getting more and more sophisticated they will likely give the driver that needed information. I love the idea of having charging stations at every parking lot space, taxi stop, hotel, work place, etc. Just remember that the price of that energy (the new world currency) cannot be jacked up much higher than what they are paying for that grid energy. That is the most important point to consider when writing up a business plan for this project.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
At this point really I would say I’m sticking my toe into the water as far as feasibility.

The main thing I’m trying to come to terms with is whether there really is a market for such a technology.

I’m avoiding rapid charging right now because it seems to be something that would be limited to pure-EVs that would have >200 mile range, and therefore the need for rapid charging would likely be limited to highway rest areas and the details on such technology are not clear. (If we’re dealing with megawatt swings in demand, this is going to be more complicated than simply charging stations)

While I’m still working on the details of my idea, the main thing I’m trying to think of is whether it even makes sense to sell electricity. After all, a full charge of a Volt will cost less than $1, it seems like a feature companies, hotels, or parking garages could afford to simply give away as a benefit. After all, downtown parking in most cities costs more than $10/day and most companies spend over $1 on coffee for their workforce.

On the other hand, in regard to Texas’s comment that ‘energy..cannot be jacked up much higher than what they are paying for that grid energy.’

I think about the cost of food at a baseball park ($50 at Yankee Stadium for 3 beers and a dog:eek:), Internet at a hotel (I paid $10/day! yuck:(), or a Coke at an Airport ($3:mad:), and I sometimes think there might be that ability for a pricing premium;)
 

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Ugh. I agree with you about the movie theaters but be careful. People might just decide to go somewhere else when they feel they are getting ripped off. We all understand that taking a date to the movies and spending that much for food is a friggen rip-off but that’s the same at any movie theater, ball park, airport, etc. Noticed how you said "yuck" and got mad? Is that how you want your customers to feel about your product or place? Not me. You can put your expensive charging stations at your hotel and I will simply charge my customers what I pay for the electricity plus the nominal charge of maintaining the charging station (minimal). Heck, I will even advertise it and steal your customers. Thank you very much! :)

That is the situation you have to carefully consider. I feel you are talking about the same situation that gas stations face. They have to stay very close to each other in terms of price or people will go somewhere else. Of course you may have a slight captured audience situation (charging takes time) but I think it’s too risky of a business proposition to expect a high margin for electricity. You might even have people unfolding solar panels or guys with generators sitting outside your establishment offering cheaper charges. If you create an opportunity for others to walk in and make a quick buck, they will grab it. It's the American way! lol.
 

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The main thing I’m trying to come to terms with is whether there really is a market for such a technology.
Love your use of emoticons.

I there will unquestionably be a market for charging that will run in conjunction with plug-in car adoption, but I guess what your trying to determine is who can participate in this market. Power companies will surely be interested. They could easily install equipment for minimal or no charge and make money on the charging. More likely for public parking facilities and other large intsallations with regular users.

I do think the captive audience pricing you've alluded to holds to some degree. I don't see people choosing a different restaurant, rest stop, employment, mall, or other venue to save a buck or two for a convenience charge. Now, someone who has a choice of where he parks every night may choose one place over another for a lower charge rate but he will be looking at his total parking + charging costs.

Perhaps if you get in early and forge good binding partnerships (major mall developers, national chain restaurants, state FDOT's, etc) you can gain an advantage over the power utilities. Hilton or Hyatt, I forget which one, reached a deal with Tesla to install their 220V chargers at a couple of their hotels in CA.

Texas,
Don't get me wrong. I would love to see fast charging emerge. Safe, available, and reliable fast charging for cost effective 200+ mile BEV's would be the end game. Even Hendler would admit Hydrogen for cars would be fools gold at that point. I just see this and standard charging as two separate and distinct markets. Standard charging just happens to be the one that is viable now and I think it can make a HUGE impact on the adoption of plug-ins.

It would be great if mikejz and/or other private entities facilitate it's implementation. If we wait for the government alone, and most utilities for that matter, they will still be studying it 10 years from now. GM people at Volt nation, I think John Laukner, had a gleam in their eye when mentioning a third party's public charging system.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Think about a vending machine though. I figure a 2L bottle of soda like costs about $0.25 wholesale. You sell it for a $1. You think that’s a rip off, right?

Now the vending machine uses about $1/day in electricity and cost $4,000—which you financed with a 10 year loan at 9.5%. (For sake of argument assume a 10 year life expectancy for the machine). That means that I would have to tell 110 bottles a month just to cover the direct operating expenses. (Include overhead and period restocking costs and it is likely to go to 200-250 bottles a month just to break even)

That is my thinking with charging stations, yes the demand is there, but is the business rational there too? Think about a charging station at an office complex. It will likely only be used once a day by one driver 250 days a year. Assume an average sale of 6 kWh @ $0.35/kWh (Eqiv to $3.50/gal gas) with a cost of $0.12/kWh—so a 290% markup. Over the course of a year your gross margin will be $345 per outlet per year.

$345 is iffy. When you figure you’ll have to bill that consumer and pay credit card processing fees, man a support line (there will surely be someone who does not get the whole idea of plugging something in), lease the space for the charging stations, amortize the charging stations (like a few hundred a piece), finance the initial installation, adverting, etc. Also what happens if gas goes back to $3 or $2.50? @2.50 gas your break-even would only be $0.25kWh.

Gas stations have the advantage of basically selling the gasoline at cost and making their money on the impulse buys inside. With a charging station, that does not work.

The benefit of electricity is that it is so cheap; the problem is that because it’s so cheap, it’s hard to really resell it in a retail sense.
 

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There you go! You just figured it out. A charging station slash vending machine for soda, condoms, whatever. Brilliant! That way people can charge up at the normal fee and not feel ripped off (remember, some might have to plug in because there is no other choice - people that buy popcorn don't have to buy it - big difference). Then, because the customer is already authenticated, they can then get a delicious soda or whatever without even slipping in a dollar. Build it! I shall now name it: Vendacharge.
 

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Probably not a big business opp for a while

I believe most people would wait and charge at home (overnight) when we will presumably have cheaper power (In MD with the time of day usage meters, electricity is much cheaper at night).

I believe some employers will offer free charging to staff (at least for the early adopters) as an employee perk and to look "eco-friendly" which is the new buzzword.

I spoke with someone from Paul Scherrer Institute recently who told me the lab setup free charging stations for people who commute in with electric vehicles.
 

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Where the real money is.

My preference for recharge is to do it at home, in the evening. It is an inconvience to have to go out. I would invest $2,000 for that convenience.

Today, most "service stations" sell their gas at cost. They get their money by getting the people into their stores to sell milk, lottery tickets, cigarettes, and so forth. Charging stations would keep people in their stores for a half hour or more. Similarly for other merchants and service providers. It would be a competitive advantage. Alaska has been providing this service (electric to keep the batteries warm) to the public for decades.

For areas with high real estate values, Coastal Florida, Downtown Las Vegas, major cities, etc, the biggest cost is tying up the premium parking space for a half hour plus. Do you know what you have to pay for parking in downtown Chicago?

The real service would be in charging EEstor caps with a 200kW HV supply in 2 minutes.
 

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Science of Recharging

Coming in a little late here, but since everyone has analyzed the financials of recharging I thought I would cover the scientific side of things.

Assuming you want to get from 30% to 80% over lunch, you need 8kWh of energy transferred to your Volt battery.

For a quick 1/2 hour lunch you need a 16kW electrical supply, and for a luxurious 1 hour lunch you need an 8kW supply.

Using simple electrical formulas (Power = Volts x Amps) we see that for the 1 hour lunch at 8kW and a 120V supply we need to draw 66.7 amps. 66.7 amps will require at least #8 wire, preferably #6 wire. A three conductor #6 weatherproof and reasonably tough cable will be about the size of a garden hose and will require a large-pronged connector on the end, with a correspondingly large receptacle built in to the car. Then to safeguard for those who will insist on connecting and disconnecting it under load more pins will have to be added to shut off the supply before an arc can be drawn to keep people from getting hurt. Think of an arc welder plug.

If we increase to 240V we can drop the current to 33.3 amps which is a little more reasonable but we are still talking about a connection like your dryer or electric stove here.

Now say we have solved the connection problem and can provide 8kW for the masses. Here we are at your typical chain restaurant at 12:00 noon and the place is packed and there are 100 EREV's in the parking lot all getting a quick charge. The distribution system to the parking lot is providing 800kW, almost a megawatt!

A typical household running a few lights, a TV or two, a washer or dryer or electric range, and a forced air gas furnace might draw 10kW on average. The system at the restaurant is capable of powering 80 homes, a small subdivision! Do you think the restaurant, or any other business is going to provide that as a convenience for their customers? We have not even mentioned the insurance liabilities when Joe Schmoe is allowed to handle 240V connections in the pouring rain on a daily basis.

To get the current and wire size down to a reasonable value we would have to go to 480V which is far too dangerous for people to handle.

This is why GM has stated a 5-6 hour charge time in your garage. All you need is a standard 120V outlet on a 15 amp circuit with a typical #14 3 conductor outdoor extension cord providing 1.3-1.6 kW of power - equivalent to running a hair dryer overnight. This will give you your 8kWh. By the same token we could park in a modern parking lot with plug-ins available, drop a few coins in a slot, plug in to our car's receptacle and receive about 1.5kW safely while we are parked there to get a little boost that might get us home without using gas.

Parking lots will still need to install expensive megawatt distribution systems but they can pass that along to the consumer cheaply in their parking fees.

Please don't go over my numbers with a fine-toothed comb and pick them apart - I just wanted to provide a quick and dirty idea of the realities of the situation.
 

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I wouldn't pay more than 10% above the cost of off peak electricity at home. I wouldn't even think of paying the equivalent of $4 gas.

I would just charge at home and use extended range for the rest.

To me, one of the biggest selling points of PHEV tech is that it will save me money because electric is WAY cheaper than gas. Why would I then turn around and pay just as much for electric?

Besides, no quick charge station is going to be as fast as filling up an 8 gallon tank that will get you 400 miles!

The only other place I would think about charging would be work where I assume I could work out a deal with my employer to just plug my car into the side of the building. Maybe a membership fee at work that would cover the projected cost of 1 re-fill per day. Even that's not a good deal because my battery would likely be half charged when I arrive at work anyway.

.85 cents per charge * 30 days / month * 5/7 days per work week == > $18 / month.

Round it up to $20 and I'm in!
 

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Coming in a little late here, but since everyone has analyzed the financials of recharging I thought I would cover the scientific side of things.
Nice reality check. Too many people talk about EVs the way they would like them to be and not the way current technology will allow them to be. This is the beauty of the E-REV design. People can use their car just like a cell phone. drive around and do whatever the way they do now and then plug it in at night for the next day. Super easy. No anxiety. Lots of savings. This is why I'm not a huge fan of BEVs and think that at this point in time, the E-REV will change the way we drive.
 

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Nice reality check. Too many people talk about EVs the way they would like them to be and not the way current technology will allow them to be. This is the beauty of the E-REV design. People can use their car just like a cell phone. drive around and do whatever the way they do now and then plug it in at night for the next day. Super easy. No anxiety. Lots of savings. This is why I'm not a huge fan of BEVs and think that at this point in time, the E-REV will change the way we drive.
How about the way 10 year old technology allowed them to be?

http://www.evnut.com/rav_longranger.htm

When you don't need it, you leave the ICE/generator at home.
 

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At this point really I would say I’m sticking my toe into the water as far as feasibility.

The main thing I’m trying to come to terms with is whether there really is a market for such a technology.

I’m avoiding rapid charging right now because it seems to be something that would be limited to pure-EVs that would have >200 mile range, and therefore the need for rapid charging would likely be limited to highway rest areas and the details on such technology are not clear. (If we’re dealing with megawatt swings in demand, this is going to be more complicated than simply charging stations)

While I’m still working on the details of my idea, the main thing I’m trying to think of is whether it even makes sense to sell electricity. After all, a full charge of a Volt will cost less than $1, it seems like a feature companies, hotels, or parking garages could afford to simply give away as a benefit. After all, downtown parking in most cities costs more than $10/day and most companies spend over $1 on coffee for their workforce.

On the other hand, in regard to Texas’s comment that ‘energy..cannot be jacked up much higher than what they are paying for that grid energy.’

I think about the cost of food at a baseball park ($50 at Yankee Stadium for 3 beers and a dog:eek:), Internet at a hotel (I paid $10/day! yuck:(), or a Coke at an Airport ($3:mad:), and I sometimes think there might be that ability for a pricing premium;)
Remember to take into account the maintenance, installation, and administrative costs. There's a number of companies doing what you propose already, one such is Elektromotive and another is Plug and Power.

In the United States, I would say you might want to target apartment complexes, where people would not normally be near an outlet, yet need to charge their vehicle. If you can produce a unit for under $1,000, meet all the safety standards, keep maintenance under $50/year, and reduce or eliminate administrative costs you could be in business. If a person is buying a PHEV and has to purchase an outlet, they need to factor that into their purchase, so it can't cost them $2,000 or $4,000 and $500/year in maintenance, it's just not feasible for most people.
 
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