Electric Charging Stations and Airports

You know that I believe that totally electric cars (Leaf) don’t really make any sense when hybrids abound and solve all the distance and charging issues. However, that having been said, there is infrastructure activity going nuts out there, and I’m sure we will see a dozen companies at the IPI show with charging stations lot owners can installed.

How do we solve this problem: A person drives in and parks their car at a charging station, plugs it in, and leaves for eight hours? That means that the station works for only one car a day. Even though the car can be charged in a couple of hours. How do you deal with that issue?

I have heard a number of ideas including charging a penalty (perhaps a big one) if the person doesn’t come back and move their car, and having e-car jockeys there to move cars in and out of the charging stations. Of course that will increase substantially the cost of the electricity. This solution may involve a lot of liability, much the same as a valet company has when taking the keys of a vehicle.

This came to mind today when I noted a request from my buddy Rick asking about features needed or not needed on charging stations. He is in the market. He is also going to install them at an airport.

The problem there increases considerably. It’s not a case of someone leaving the car for a few hours; the car would be left for a few days. Now he is considering these for their valet operation and that would be perfect. For an extra charge, your car could be “topped up” by the valets before your return. Perfect. But the idea of having them available in self-park lots seems a stretch.

Any of you suppliers out there have an answer to this issue, except of course, buying a charger for every slot in your parking facility.


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5 Responses to Electric Charging Stations and Airports

  1. Branden says:

    I work in a six-level parking garage, I assume these charging stations are rather expensive, so there is no possible way a company could afford them installed throughout a parking structure. the “valet” idea isn’t a bad one though, that would create a few more jobs within the company and might allow for a revenue increase as the rate for parking with charging/valet/whatever else will most likely go up with costs. just an idea.

  2. To my knowledge, Hybrid cars have been designed as an interim solution while EV technology and their infrastructure is developed significantly over the next five to 10 years. It is expected that over this period, EVs will grow significantly and become a major purchase consideration by car buyers.
    It is clear that car parks have a significant role to play in cities and towns as a optimum place to charge these vehicles. Many of these EVs chargers are now available and affordable and will become a good source of future income to parking owners / operators.
    The problem mentioned by JVH regarding parking periods, can be overcome by educating and directing drivers to different levels of the car park / garage for higher increased charging times. for example the first two levels can provide charging up to 2 hours with an increased charge for overstaying, the next two levels can provide up to four hours parking and so on.
    One of the key areas that owners and operators will have to establish is how many EVs charging points can be accommodated by their existing power supply. Typically in most cases the number of charging points that can be installed will be low, but the numbers can be improved significantly by having smart power controls and reducing existing electric power use from the lighting system and switching to more energy efficient LED lighting.

  3. Bugsthefarmdog says:

    Having the benefit of being an “old guy” who has been in the business over 40 years, I chuckle at all the schemes I’ve seen over the years. I’ve seen electric cars and charging stations come and go before folks. They didn’t work 10 years ago and nothing much has changed since then.
    Think about it, we don’t have the electrical generating capacity now thanks to the greenies. Remember the California brownouts? And with the Japanese tsunami, we aren’t going to see any new nuke plants, so why would you think we can build new coal burning electrical generating plants to charge clean electric cars? What about wind and solar? Ah, the wind doesn’t blow and the sun doesn’t shine at night. D’oh!
    Under existing conditions, fully electric cars that need to be plugged in to recharge are a toy for the well healed enviro-snobs who are more interesed in theirimage rather than their enviromental footprint. The reality is that someone has to breathe dirty air from a coal fired power plant in order to charge an electric car.
    It’s a shame that our government is again going to subsidize the installation of poorly thought out technology like charging stations. We’ve gone down this road before. Why do we have such short memories and misguided visions?

  4. JVH says:

    Manny — I’m not too sure your “interim solution” is going to work out. The issue is battery size. Basically bettery technology hasn’t changed much in 100 years. In small countries like the UK where people don’t drive long distances, a 100 mile range could be OK. (Assuming it doesn’t get cold). However here in the US where many people drive 150 miles a day on their commute, it makes no sense. I agree with Bugs — Didn’t work 100 years ago, didn’t work 50 years ago, didn’t work 20 years ago, and frankly, I don’t have much hope for it now. JVH

  5. John, you and Bugs may not have much hope for EVs, but let’s be a bit more rational here. According to current research, 80% of Americans daily commute to and from work every day is less than 40 miles, so even with current limitation on EVs range, the vast majority of American drivers could use an EV for their daily commute and charging at home or at the parking lot.
    Battery technology has also developed significantly over the last 10 years increasing driving ranges from around 30 miles to the 100 miles now achieved.
    New types of battery technologies have been trialed in the last 12 months with one such test on a normal five seater vehicle on a public road in Germany achieved a distance of over 600 Kms (380 Miles)and even more amazing, the battery is capable of fast charging in less than 20 minutes.
    You may don’t have much hope, but i do!

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