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Discussion Starter #1
One of the most common criticisms made against non-Tesla EVs (in California, anyway) is that they aren't able to drive the "fastest" route between Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area. Well, that is about to change. ChargePoint has been installing their California Energy Commission (CEC) grant-funded sites along the I-5 corridor between the Bay Area and Los Angeles. The gap along I-5 was (previously) was over 300 miles.

Now, at a new site in Santa Nella (my regular refueling stop when I was driving my Volt along this route), ChargePoint has brought three 50 kW DC fast chargers online, reducing the gap to 238 miles. They have four more sites planned along I-5 between Santa Nella and Valencia, but only one of those sites needs to go in for the I-5 to be a serviceable route for the Bolt EV (and other 200+ mile EVs).

 

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While this is really good for the I-5 corridor, this is a perfect example of why gas is still king in the bulk of the US. The charging infrastructure simply isn't in place yet. It will get there but it's not there yet.
 

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How many stalls per site and will they be fully maintained?
Has ChargePoint found a reliable CCS DCFC charger model? I wish ChargePoint would buy Tesla stalls and install them with CCS plug... Slap ChargePoint logo and call it done. Tesla makes the most reliable fast chargers...
My experience with CCS chargers that they don't last long, and it takes a while for a maintenance person to fix it...
 

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Discussion Starter #4
How many stalls per site and will they be fully maintained?
Has ChargePoint found a reliable CCS DCFC charger model? I wish ChargePoint would buy Tesla stalls and install them with CCS plug... Slap ChargePoint logo and call it done. Tesla makes the most reliable fast chargers...
My experience with CCS chargers that they don't last long, and it takes a while for a maintenance person to fix it...
Luckily, your experiences aren't universal. The Tritium chargers ChargePoint used can be a bit finicky, but they are overall reliable.

As I stated in the video, this site went from a proposed single 50 kW unit to three 50 kW units. I think they will do something similar for the remaining sites (they have a similar three-charger site under construction in Stockton right now), so I think we can expect a minimum of three 50 kW chargers at each of three to four more sites along I-5.

Because ChargePoint sells both the hardware and a service plan, the experience at different sites can vary greatly. If the site didn't pay for the service plan, then you will often see chargers go down for extended periods of time without being repaired (Greenlots does this as well). However, due to the fact that these are CEC grant sites, I think ChargePoint is on the hook for providing full service.

I do wish ChargePoint would have been able to use their new Express Plus chargers (they are building them in-house) for this corridor because they are more appropriate for supporting highway travel. They have similar power splitting capabilities to the Tesla Supercharger hardware; however, they are certified to provide between three and four times more power per plug than the Superchargers are currently capable of outputting.

As it stands, I see these as being backup and overflow chargers along the I-5 route in the not-to-distant future. Recargo will be putting in another site in Gustine just a few miles south of ChargePoint's Santa Nella site. That Recargo site should have around four 200+ kW chargers, and it seems that they are planning on charging much lower fees.

Also, though we haven't seen the official locations or plans yet, Electrify America is planning on putting their larger highway charging sites along that portion of the I-5 corridor. If what I've heard is true, they should be ten to fifteen 150+ kW chargers per site, and sites located every 40 to 50 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
While this is really good for the I-5 corridor, this is a perfect example of why gas is still king in the bulk of the US. The charging infrastructure simply isn't in place yet. It will get there but it's not there yet.
Sure, however public fast charging alone doesn't account for why so many people are still driving purely gasoline vehicles. I think the actual reason is: we simply aren't making enough electric vehicles. Production rates are a problem even for EREVs, otherwise we would already have millions more of them on the road.

Now if we continue to make a bunch of short range electric vehicles, yes we'll eventually run into an issue with a lack of public charging support. But as long as the average electric vehicle range increases to ~300 miles, just the public fast charging infrastructure that has currently been proposed would be enough to support 40% to 50% of the population transitioning to electric vehicles. And even though Tesla wants to operate from behind a walled garden, their planned Supercharger Network would be able to support another 20% to 30% of the population on top of what the public charging network could support.
 

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Recargo will be putting in another site in Gustine just a few miles south of ChargePoint's Santa Nella site. That Recargo site should have around four 200+ kW chargers, and it seems that they are planning on charging much lower fees.

Also, though we haven't seen the official locations or plans yet, Electrify America is planning on putting their larger highway charging sites along that portion of the I-5 corridor. If what I've heard is true, they should be ten to fifteen 150+ kW chargers per site, and sites located every 40 to 50 miles.
As part of the Cycle 1 plan, Electrify America is putting in locations all along I-5 from the Oregon border to the Mexican border. Cycle 1 highway locations have between 4 and 10 charging spaces. These are all scheduled to be built and available by June of next year.

Recargo’s is building 22 CEC-grant locations almost all of which are along US-101. My impression is that most of those charging spaces are likely to be 100 kW.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Recargo’s is building 22 CEC-grant locations almost all of which are along US-101. My impression is that most of those charging spaces are likely to be 100 kW.
Yes, it will be interesting to see the difference between the Prunedale site (which received additional MBARD funding) and the sites that didn't. Based on my discussion with Carl, it doesn't seem that Recargo wants these sites to be static (e.g., possibly upgrading the 200 kW chargers at Prunedale to 400 kW). Prunedale exceeded expectations, so it will be interesting to see what follows. I might check to see if they've made any progress at their San Luis Obispo site on my next journey north.

Either way, 100 kW is much more appropriate for highway corridors than 50 kW at this point. In a couple of years, we might have the conversation about 100 kW being too slow, but for now it should be the minimum.
 

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The Tritium chargers ChargePoint used can be a bit finicky, but they are overall reliable.
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Not sure if I ever used a Tritium DCFC charger - but I did sample ~5 different models with my Spark EV, maybe 80 total charging sessions. The 20KW one (hardly to be called supercharger) breaks a lot. The 50kw one that Edison deploys for free breaks a lot as well. My favorite Edison free 50kw site (11170 Nebraska Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA ) is currently broken.
Hopefully those Tritium DCFC chargers come through.
One sad thing about CCS charging is that the cord is very long - some CCS cars have plug on the left, other right, some back, others front. I have a suspicion that the long cord what breaks the CCS DCFC station a lot. Tesla supercharger cord is short and very purpose built...
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Not sure if I ever used a Tritium DCFC charger - but I did sample ~5 different models with my Spark EV, maybe 80 total charging sessions. The 20KW one (hardly to be called supercharger) breaks a lot. The 50kw one that Edison deploys for free breaks a lot as well. My favorite Edison free 50kw site (11170 Nebraska Ave, Los Angeles, CA 90025, USA ) is currently broken.
Hopefully those Tritium DCFC chargers come through.
One sad thing about CCS charging is that the cord is very long - some CCS cars have plug on the left, other right, some back, others front. I have a suspicion that the long cord what breaks the CCS DCFC station a lot. Tesla supercharger cord is short and very purpose built...
I don't know that I've ever heard someone refer to the 24 kW chargers as "superchargers." They are simply DC "fast" chargers. They aren't really fast, but they are about three times faster than L2 AC, so it is at least fast by comparison. I don't think the Bolt EV's display even registers 24 kW chargers as "fast" chargers. Rather, I believe it refers to them as "medium" charging.

The 20 kW to 50 kW class of public DCFC can get away with a longer cord because the power levels are lower, but the longer cord really isn't necessary. The EV driver can either pull in nose first or back in. For reference, the faster public DC chargers (often referred to as "ultra fast DC chargers") do have shorter power cords. Check out the cords on the Recargo site with 200 kW chargers:

 

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For reference, the faster public DC chargers (often referred to as "ultra fast DC chargers") do have shorter power cords. Check out the cords on the Recargo site with 200 kW chargers:

That looks better. The shorter the cord the more current can flow the more KW can be charged at. I hope those are not some publicity stunt.
I have seen cars run over the long CCS DCFC cords. Very disappointing...
I hope these are reliable because (1) reliable fast chargers + (2) many stalls + (3) many sites are needed to enable non-Tesla across USA choose you direction travel. Remove any of the 3 and there is no trips across USA...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
That looks better. The shorter the cord the more current can flow the more KW can be charged at. I hope those are not some publicity stunt.
I have seen cars run over the long CCS DCFC cords. Very disappointing...
I hope these are reliable because (1) reliable fast chargers + (2) many stalls + (3) many sites are needed to enable non-Tesla across USA choose you direction travel. Remove any of the 3 and there is no trips across USA...
I'm not sure why you think this is a publicity stunt. The public DC fast chargers that are already in the planning and construction stages are more than enough to support fast, cross country travel (I note fast because it's always been possible to cross the United States in an EV).

In fact, at its current build out rate, the public DC fast charging infrastructure is being constructed FASTER than the Tesla Supercharger Network is growing. Choose any metric you like. Total "stalls." Total chargers. Total output power. This isn't a "publicity stunt."
 

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I'm not sure why you think this is a publicity stunt. The public DC fast chargers that are already in the planning and construction stages are more than enough to support fast, cross country travel (I note fast because it's always been possible to cross the United States in an EV).

In fact, at its current build out rate, the public DC fast charging infrastructure is being constructed FASTER than the Tesla Supercharger Network is growing. Choose any metric you like. Total "stalls." Total chargers. Total output power. This isn't a "publicity stunt."
That's good. I would love to see a plentiful and redundant CCS DCFC charging network at some point.
I would also love to see 1 type of charging plug, standard 800V batteries, etc. Some day.
However, right now a Bolt cannot make it to Las Vegas from Los Angeles at speed limit + 9mph, 100F outside.
I could not make it to Vegas from Palmdale by taking 14N, unless I go longer way through Victorville, CA that's only 50 miles away from my home, and then drive slow to Vegas.
Los Angeles CCS charging network at this time is a joke... Coming from somebody who used Los Angles CCS DCFC stations to its full extent, and Los Angeles is in top 5 electrified cities in USA... By extension, the rest of CCS network is a joke (at this time). I treated driving my Spark EV to Los Angeles how one treats flying a plane - have a charging contingency plan that I would execute quite a bit because of broken CCS stations.
Yes, CCS DCFC map in Los Angeles on Plugshare is lit up like a Christmas tree. However, on average each site has 1 to 2 max plugs per site, and they are broken 20%-30% of the time. So it cannot be relied upon.
Tesla superchargers are well thought out and purpose built, very reliable, and well maintained. They happen to charge at ridiculous rate as well. No joke.
Throwing lots of money at something at once may end up being a colossal waste of money with no results to show. For example, California bullet train that I voted for in 2008 (Prop 1).
Let’s wait and see. I would love to be proven wrong in 3 years.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
However, right now a Bolt cannot make it to Las Vegas from Los Angeles at speed limit + 9mph, 100F outside.

I could not make it to Vegas from Palmdale by taking 14N, unless I go longer way through Victorville, CA that's only 50 miles away from my home.
Neither can any electric car currently sold, including any of the Tesla models.

Now, if you're saying we can use chargers along the way, well that's a different story. In that case, the Bolt EV definitely can. It looks like EVgo ran into a permitting issues while upgrading the Baker site, but it should be open again in the next week or so. It has been open consistently from June until late October.

I actually think they could have been able to keep the site open (with the two 50 kW chargers live) if an EV driver hadn't unwrapped the 150 kW charger and decided to use it when it clearly wasn't open to the public yet. That's why we can't have nice things.


It would be nice to have a bit more redundancy along that route (in particular, chargers at Barstow/Yermo and Primm), but they aren't necessary to drive that route with the flow of traffic.

Los Angeles CCS charging network at this time is a joke... Coming from somebody who used Los Angles CCS DCFC stations to its full extent, and Los Angeles is in top 5 electrified cities in USA... By extension, the rest of CCS network is a joke (at this time). I treated driving my Spark EV to Los Angeles how one treats flying a plane - have a charging contingency plan that I would execute quite a bit because of broken CCS stations.

Yes, CCS DCFC map in Los Angeles on Plugshare is lit up like a Christmas tree. However, on average each site has 1 to 2 max plugs per site, and they are broken 20%-30% of the time. So it cannot be relied upon.

Tesla superchargers are well thought out and purpose built. No joke.
Charging with anything in Los Angeles is a joke, including Telsa Superchargers. Too many of the public DCFC sites and the Tesla sites are free. Too many owners have short-range electric vehicles that make them rely too heavily on the public DCFC network. Too many EV taxi, Lyft, Maven, Uber, etc. drivers are using the free public DCFC network. There are too few parking spaces in general, so anyone with a plug will park in any EV space, even if they can't charge there.

My rule for using public charging in LA county is: Don't.

Let’s wait and see. I would love to be proven wrong in 3 years.
You won't even have to wait 3 years. About six months should do it.
 

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Sure, however public fast charging alone doesn't account for why so many people are still driving purely gasoline vehicles. I think the actual reason is: we simply aren't making enough electric vehicles.
I think significantly more widespread adoption is being hampered by a lack of awareness. Very few people I've met are aware of the availability and capabilities of the current crop of 200+ mile EVs. Close behind that issue is price, IMHO.

Things may be different in California, but that's my observation up here in British Columbia.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I think significantly more widespread adoption is being hampered by a lack of awareness. Very few people I've met are aware of the availability and capabilities of the current crop of 200+ mile EVs. Close behind that issue is price, IMHO.

Things may be different in California, but that's my observation up here in British Columbia.
I think that's probably right. If I had to do a tally, I think six or seven of my coworkers now drive plug-in vehicles solely because I spoke to them about their options. Essentially, they weren't aware of many of the vehicles that were available to them.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
The two 50 kW chargers in Baker at EVgo are back online. The 4 new additional high-power chargers are not yet publicly available.
Yet EVgo's latest press release is stating their sites offer up to 350 kW of charging power. There's no one that can call them on it at the moment, but it would be nice to at least see the 150+ kW chargers in Baker open to the public.
 

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Yet EVgo's latest press release is stating their sites offer up to 350 kW of charging power. There's no one that can call them on it at the moment, but it would be nice to at least see the 150+ kW chargers in Baker open to the public.
I believe one of the two new ABB chargers at Baker will support 350 kW when it finally comes online.
 
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