Vacation Weekend Reveals Future Charging Wants (Half 1)

Memorial Day weekend is a time for Individuals to hit the street and benefit from the begin of summer season. In accordance with AAA, an estimated 42.3 million individuals had been anticipated to journey this Memorial Day weekend, which is a 6% enhance over final 12 months. 37.1 million of these vacationers will probably be driving, a rise of greater than 2 million from final 12 months.

As electrical automobiles (EVs) change into more and more widespread, the variety of EV drivers on the roads throughout Memorial Day weekend can also be prone to enhance. This could result in elevated demand for charging stations at widespread locations and alongside highways, in addition to longer wait occasions for charging EVs once they arrive at their vacation spot. To keep away from delays and be certain that EV drivers have entry to charging stations once they want them, it’s necessary for drivers to plan forward and analysis charging station areas earlier than they hit the street.

Whereas this example may be difficult for EV drivers trying to take the Nice American Trip or see household in different states, it’s additionally a chance to find out about not solely the current, however the way forward for DC quick charging networks. The additional site visitors offers the community a glimpse at what on a regular basis future demand may seem like, and lets us know the place the primary issues are going to happen.

What we study right here most likely gained’t be helpful for charging networks which are nonetheless targeted on geographic growth, at the least not but. Tesla’s geographic unfold is such that the corporate can focus extra on increasing websites and growing redundancy, for instance, whereas Electrify America and different CCS operators typically have to focus extra on increasing into new areas to get individuals onto the community in any respect.

In different phrases, a community with bottlenecks sucks, however it’s rather a lot worse to have a community that doesn’t attain you the place you’re and/or attain your vacation spot.

To review this, I took a have a look at how Electrify America’s chargers had been coping below the stress of site visitors on Saturday (5/27) and regarded for full stations on its app. Then, I attempted to determine why the stations had been doubtless full when others weren’t. After I focus on a few of the full stations I noticed, I’ll attempt to attract some conclusions we will use for future community constructing.

Quartzsite & Casa Grande, Arizona

From my native and regional information, seeing Electrify America’s stations in Quartzsite and Casa Grande present as full by a superb chunk of the day wasn’t a lot of a shock.

Even throughout regular occasions, EV drivers are likely to complain about Quartzsite being full, because it’s on a really heavily-used stretch of street and solely has 4 stalls. Not solely is I-10 one of many main methods into Los Angeles, and California extra extensively, however it’s additionally the hall to Phoenix. California already has loads of EVs, however Arizona has additionally been fairly supportive of EV adoption over time, resulting in loads of EV drivers going forwards and backwards between Phoenix and Los Angeles.

Holidays are likely to make this drawback even worse, for drivers of every kind of automobiles. Many individuals moved from California to Phoenix over the previous few many years, and through occasions like Thanksgiving, it’s widespread to return house to see the mother and father and grandparents. Throughout holidays that draw individuals away from California, the alternative occurs, with one of many most important corridors out to go to locations just like the Grand Canyon and a lot of the remainder of the southern US getting clogged.

Casa Grande is in an identical place, however with one more problem added: the site visitors from Interstate 8. I-10 goes to LA, and I-8 goes to the Imperial Valley and San Diego. This implies the site visitors from Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Diego (and in all places between these locations) finally ends up getting funneled straight to that charging station when individuals wish to head to New Mexico, Texas, and the South. Like Quartzsite, this station has 4 stalls and will get clogged up on vacation weekends.

Inexperienced River, Utah

It appears apparent that locations the place interstate highways come collectively would find yourself with additional demand, however it’s necessary to remember how a lot journey occurs alongside many smaller two-lane highways. Inexperienced River, Utah was full on Saturday, and that’s as a result of I-70 isn’t the one main route within the space.

U.S. Route 191 seems to be like a minor freeway that connects rural cities in Utah, however you’d must zoom out on the map and discuss to vacationers to study that it’s extra necessary than it appears. In the event you’re touring by Texas and New Mexico and wish to head to Salt Lake Metropolis, Idaho, or mainly anyplace within the Pacific Northwest, US-191 is your street. Positive, you might undergo Denver or Las Vegas, however that’s fairly far out of the best way.

On prime of that, you’ll wrestle to drive from Phoenix to Salt Lake with out going that means, as a result of there’s a complete Grand Canyon in the best way. As soon as once more, you might go to Vegas and up I-15, however that places you on the identical busy street as individuals coming from EV-heavyweight California.

Lastly, US-191 in Utah has its personal widespread locations that put additional pressure on Electrify America’s 4 stalls in Inexperienced River. Not solely is there Moab (a very talked-about off-roading and scenic vacation spot), however there’s Arches, Canyonlands, and Mesa Verde Nationwide Parks and quite a few nationwide monuments and scenic state parks. Plus, 191 results in Monument Valley and the Navajo Reservation, plus the North Rim.

Given the key crossroads Inexperienced River is, it actually ought to have gotten at the least 8 stalls, if no more.

Las Vegas & Needles (I-15 & I-40)

I additionally seen that a few of Electrify America’s stations close to Las Vegas, NV, and Needles had been full, and even into the evening in some circumstances! I don’t suppose I have to get into nice element, because the final two sections most likely make most of it fairly clear why that is, however in a nutshell, it’s one other space that’s taking heavy site visitors from California out to widespread locations and the remainder of america.

In Half 2, I’m going to cowl yet another location that I feel’s instructive after which cowl some takeaways!


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