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Is It a Good Option or Can It Cause Trouble
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Sharing Charging Stations
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There are far more EVs on the road than there are charging stations to serve them at any one time. Add to that the idea that the charging stations will need to become a source of revenue for most of the locations that host them and there is a need to figure out how to get the best use out of each station.

The gas station model is one where vehicles are serviced in a reasonably short period of time and then the next one moves in to get fueled. Everyone knows the score and gets in and out as quickly as they can in a convenient manner. That almost works for a DC fast charge that takes 20-30 minutes until you look at the details. Public charging just takes a longer period of time so the gas station model will not work given the current state of the art.

What does work is to have charging stations in parking areas. If there is a large enough electrical supply then it would be possible to have a charging station for every parking spot. Given that is not the case there needs to be a way to combine convenient parking with effective availability of charging stations.

One approach is to have a few charging stations in one area and ask EV drivers to move their vehicles whenever they get fully charged. Since many EVs get filled up in two hours and less under typical circumstances that may not be convenient for people staying in the area for longer periods of time – like a full working day or while enjoying dinner and a movie.

There is a more advantageous option which is to build sharing of charging stations into the public system. Sharing charging stations involves being able to park in a spot next to the EV charging spaces and use the charger when another car is fully charged. This is widely used practice that may become a problem if code enforcement becomes narrowly defined and starts to view EVs as potential revenue sources along the lines of the proverbial speed trap. That becomes antagonistic to EV adoption.

That is already becoming an issue as spelled out in the related article about EVS getting a ticket. The legal and policy side of that is explored in more detail in another article in this month’s newsletter.
How Sharing Charging Stations Works
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Copyright 2014 Russell Sydney, All rights reserved.
Articles on Related Subjects

·         Charging stations are installed so that the charging cable can reach as many parking spots as possible

o   This means separating the chargers by two spaces or more.

o   It helps to put the chargers on parking lot dividers so the cable can reach two lanes of vehicles.

o   This means that a regular charging station can reach as many as six parking spaces.

·         The spaces directly in front of the chargers are the only ones that need to be designated as EV only parking (two spaces per charger would be nice but let’s not get greedy).

·        EV drivers need to be able to tell when another driver’s car is fully charged.

o   Most vehicles have indications that we can learn to read.

o   The Tesla Model S has the ability to indicate when it is fully charge by the light around the charge port but that light goes out when the car is locked. It would be better if that charge indicator light stayed on whenever the vehicle was charging.

o   Some charging stations show when a vehicle is fully charged. It would be best if that was easily done on all charging stations.

·         Drivers can then take the charger when the charging is done.

This takes a little knowledge and planning. It requires very small additional expenses for extra conduit, trenching and wiring. It increases the availability and use of the chargers by two to three times without causing the drivers any extra hassle.

This is another area for community outreach and education. That is the sort of activity local advocacy groups can make happen. It also means getting the legalities handled correctly and putting policies in place as the next article in this series will discuss.
EV's Getting Tickets
Sharing charging stations is a relatively easy and low cost solution to the limited supply of chargers. It substitutes knowledge and understanding for expensive equipment. Here is how that works:
Charging Station Legalities and Policies
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