Some EV Drivers Discovered A Repair For A Frequent Charging Downside, However Electrify America Does not Like It
As we’ve defined earlier than, the longer term isn’t as brilliant for CHAdeMO vehicles as it’s for CCS vehicles. Electrify America isn’t constructing any new CHAdeMO stations. Infrastructure Invoice funds require a station have a minimal of 4 CCS stations per website, spaced roughly each 50 miles alongside main highways. A few of these stations will in all probability embody some CHAdeMO plugs, however state governments and their contractors/companions, aren’t required to place in something however CCS.
Large followers of CHAdeMO vehicles will let you know that their charging community remains to be rising, and that’s true, but it surely’s not rising on the fee of CCS or Tesla’s plugs. Which means in lots of locations, present stations are all there’ll ever be, and attrition on account of restore prices, disinterest in upkeep, and abandonment will finally reopen gaps within the community. In different phrases, the issues confronted by CHAdeMO vehicles at present are long-term issues that gained’t at all times be solved by future infrastructure progress.
This was one among a number of causes that I switched from a LEAF to a Bolt EUV final 12 months, however simply because I’ve personally moved on doesn’t imply all people desires to try this or has the power. I believe Electrify America and Congress made the correct name in not forcing continued CHAdeMO help, however that doesn’t imply we shouldn’t at the very least attempt to make life simpler for folks once we can.
One among these long-term issues is that Electrify America solely put in one CHAdeMO stall per website again once they had been doing CHAdeMO in any respect. Plus, the lone CHAdeMO plug shares an area with one other CCS plug, so it’s not a devoted spot. After I arrive at an Electrify America station with my Bolt, I can plug in at each stall. If there’s just one stall open, I don’t have to fret about whether or not it has a suitable plug. However, for the proprietor of a Nissan LEAF, there’s just one stall that may help their automobile, so if a CCS automobile is charging in it, they’ll’t cost regardless of what number of empty areas there are.
Curiously, that is fairly just like an issue many diesel drivers face. Whereas locations like truck stops have a devoted diesel lane on the pumps, most fuel stations solely have a couple of diesel pumps that even have a hose for gasoline. So, if a gas-powered automobile is already there and there are different fuel vehicles in line, you’ve gotta wait, even when there are different pumps open. Typically, diesel drivers take measures to discourage use of the pumps by fuel drivers, like placing an “out of order” bag over the fuel deal with (you may get these on Amazon). There are additionally stickers you should buy and follow pumps asking fuel automobile drivers to point out some courtesy.
Not too long ago, I got here throughout a put up on Fb (hyperlink is not going to be offered for causes that will probably be clear quickly) the place some LEAF drivers had been making an attempt to do the identical factor as diesel drivers. Their answer? Put a sticker on the lone CHAdeMO stall at Electrify America stations asking CCS drivers to make use of one other stall when attainable.
Right here’s what the sticker seems to be like when positioned on an Electrify America station:
Personally, I don’t see an issue right here. It’s not a nasty wanting sticker. It seems to be skilled, and prefer it belongs on the station. It makes a really well mannered request, and undoubtedly doesn’t give the looks that Electrify America is ordering anyone round. The station remains to be out there to CCS drivers, and solely asks them to make use of one other stall if out there.
However … I requested Electrify America reps what they thought of these stickers, and so they’re not comfortable about it.
“Electrify America doesn’t condone the stickers,” an organization consultant stated. “Charger use is on a first-come, first-served foundation. Any placement of unauthorized stickers or different materials is taken into account vandalism since we must have them eliminated and restore any injury.”
When advised about this, LEAF drivers I talked to on Fb advised me they figured this might be the response. However they weren’t prepared to provide Electrify America a lot good thing about doubt on this. Some stated they assume EA is messing over CHAdeMO drivers as a result of they didn’t purchase a Volkswagen (Volkswagen owns Electrify America), and others assume the corporate is just minimally supporting drivers as a result of Volkswagen was required to construct the corporate as a part of the Dieselgate settlement (and so they’re solely begrudgingly working a charging community).
I don’t personally assume that is true, however I can see why folks would really feel that method.
What I Assume Electrify America Ought to Do
I’ve stood up for the corporate quite a bit up to now. Individuals complain fairly a bit about Electrify America on-line, as a result of its stations typically have issues, however I’ve by no means been stranded by the community. They definitely aren’t as unreliable and untrustworthy as among the Tesla Stans say they’re. I’m not afraid in any respect to take street journeys in a CCS automobile, and no person needs to be.
However I do know this wouldn’t be true if I used to be making an attempt to street journey in an CHAdeMO automobile (one thing I’ve expertise with). Whereas a CCS station or two being down wouldn’t strand me in my Bolt, having the one CHAdeMO station go down would strand somebody driving a LEAF. They’d both must spend hours at a Stage 2 station or spend the evening at a lodge with charging. In some cities, the place there’s actually no place else to cost, they may must sleep of their automobile at an RV park to make it to the subsequent fast charger.
Sadly, I see one thing like “Electrify America is conscious of an issue at this station rendering the CHAdeMO station unavailable” quite a bit on PlugShare. If it’s some city charging website the place the motive force can simply go someplace else, it’s not an actual drawback. Nevertheless, when Electrify America is actually the one woman in a small city by the interstate, it’s a significant issue for CHAdeMO drivers.
Whereas I’d wish to see them add a second CHAdeMO plug so as to add some redundancy, I do know that’s by no means going to occur. So, Electrify America does have to get extra severe about repairing its stations extra rapidly, particularly when it’s solely the CHAdeMO plug that’s down.
It will even be a good suggestion to politely information drivers to point out extra courtesy, and that is vital for extra than simply the CHAdeMO stall. Individuals who pull as much as an EA station in a Bolt (which may cost at 55 kW most) and cost within the 350 kW stalls trigger a whole lot of bother for individuals who have faster-charging vehicles, largely as a result of they’re ignorant and don’t know they’re doing something discourteous. The identical is true for individuals who block the CHAdeMO plug when different stalls are empty.
I get that Electrify America doesn’t need different folks including stickers to its property, however that is one thing it needs to be doing itself already. There needs to be some steerage on the stalls requesting that individuals use an applicable plug for his or her automobile.
There also needs to be some steerage and warnings within the software program and app. For instance, when there’s one other open spot (that is one thing the software program ought to be capable of work out) and a CCS driver plugs into the CHAdeMO stall, a warning ought to pop up suggesting that the motive force transfer to a different stall if attainable. The identical ought to occur while you begin a session at a 350 kW stall and your automobile attracts lower than 150 kW. The software program ought to ask you to decide on a slower stall if it may well see that there’s one other one out there.
This could be a minor inconvenience for some drivers who’re accustomed to pulling as much as any stall, however it could even be a good way to coach drivers and assist them to be extra courteous to others.
Lastly, there ought to in all probability be a greater system in place for these instances when all of the stalls are full. The app ought to mean you can take a digital quantity, or there needs to be some strains on pavement directing folks to attend in line the place that’s attainable.
The price of doing issues just like the above wouldn’t be a lot, however it could result in a a lot better expertise for EV drivers as increasingly more EVs hit the street.
Featured picture: My LEAF charging at an Electrify America station in Lordsburg, New Mexico. Picture by Jennifer Sensiba.
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