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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello community,

I'm from India and EV's are just showing up here. We have 1 electric car on sale and lots of electric motorbikes.
I'm also the owner of my EV website - PluginIndia.com - which caters to our community.

I wanted to know, In the USA, do businesses support the EV community by installing EV charging points for their customers?
Or is it upto the community to approach businesses.

What i realized is that 'Businesses/Vacation Homes/Shops/Resorts/Hotels' are places that can easily install level 2 charging stations. All they need to do is install 15 Amps sockets and provide some parking space for electric vehicles.

Thus began my quest to work on a fun project - Setting up, what i call - Community Charging Stations.

The government and the automobile companies can only do so much. But the community can surely help by installing these normal points, right?
If this takes off, then no OIL company can stop us and people cannot have an excuse that EV's are limited, Because the beauty of an electric vehicle is that we already have the infrastructure to fuel these efficient and clean vehicles. So why not use that infra?

Here is my blog on what i went through in setting up 5 of these stations after talking to so many businesses!

http://www.pluginindia.com/blogs/setting-up-community-charging-stations

Also how popular are Level 2 15 Amp sockets in America?
Can any businesses install it?

And are there such community clubs who are doing the same in America? I would love to get to know them and take tips.
 

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Check out plugshare.com to see a map of the US with charging stations.

It's a noble idea to set up a charging network. But remember that businesses are open for the purpose of selling stuff and making some money(profit), it's hard work for them and they are not going to be interested to waste their time helping out folks with free electricity and bathroom facilities.

It would be a huge convenience for EV drivers if they added outlets and make them available, but what's in it for them--what's the return on investment, and why should they supply free electricity? i think if you can figure out some way for them to make some money, even if only just to cover the cost of electricity, then there may be some interest.

Tesla put up their supercharger network with some stations in dull, out of the way locations with no nearby facilities--just get a charge and go.

A restaurant or convenience shop that sells snacks, drinks and tobacco would seem to be an ideal location. This is more along the lines of Jack Rickard at EVTV.me and may be more of a win-win for both sides.

Good Luck to you, kb
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Check out plugshare.com to see a map of the US with charging stations.

It's a noble idea to set up a charging network. But remember that businesses are open for the purpose of selling stuff and making some money(profit), it's hard work for them and they are not going to be interested to waste their time helping out folks with free electricity and bathroom facilities.

It would be a huge convenience for EV drivers if they added outlets and make them available, but what's in it for them--what's the return on investment, and why should they supply free electricity? i think if you can figure out some way for them to make some money, even if only just to cover the cost of electricity, then there may be some interest.

Tesla put up their supercharger network with some stations in dull, out of the way locations with no nearby facilities--just get a charge and go.

A restaurant or convenience shop that sells snacks, drinks and tobacco would seem to be an ideal location. This is more along the lines of Jack Rickard at EVTV.me and may be more of a win-win for both sides.

Good Luck to you, kb
Hi,

Thanks for replying. Yeah, i agree businesses wont care about offering this service unless there is something in it for them.

That is why we have decided to let the business decide if they want to offer a community charging station as a free service or a paid station.
They can then decide the rate, if its paid.

Actually the idea is for the EV community to approach these businesses and ask them about setting up a Level 2 station. The community bands together and pays for the installation (which is not much), test the station and publish the station to the wider community via a group or a website (in my case)

Ultimately what matters is that the EV community will have connectivity to that spot, which was not there before. Or in other words, without that new community station many EV owners wont think of driving to that weekend spot, now will do with confidence.

But again, this will really help if more people are enthusiastic in approaching more businesses around cities and setup these stations.
Once we have Red dots on a google map around the city. Many people who wont buy an EV will gladly do, now that their range is increased dramatically due to these community charging stations!

I still feel its the community that can do more than corporations and government for this movement.

Anyway, i keep rambling! Thanks for reading!
 

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A 240V 15A service can supply only 3.6 kW, which means a 1 hour charge will only take you about 10-15 miles, so you would either need to spend a few hours to get a full charge or at least an hour just to top off to get home or somewhere that offers a faster charge or where you plan to stay awhile. If electricity costs are $0.15/kWh then an hour of charging at a Level 2 station would about $0.54 and hardly worth the hassle and expense of even setting up a coin operated "parking meter".

It would probably be best to offer snacks or entertainment (maybe even a slot machine) where the EV owner can spend the time and a lot more money than what might be made on the electricity. Of course you could charge a lot more than the going rate, but then it might become competitive to a point of zero or negative profit, whereas the food/entertainment can stand on its own merit and compete on the grounds of quality and uniqueness.
 

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It would probably be best to offer snacks or entertainment (maybe even a slot machine) where the EV owner can spend the time and a lot more money than what might be made on the electricity. Of course you could charge a lot more than the going rate, but then it might become competitive to a point of zero or negative profit, whereas the food/entertainment can stand on its own merit and compete on the grounds of quality and uniqueness.
Exactly. There is not much money in selling electricity, but EVs in need of recharging can be turned into customers who patronize your business for an hour or more. An EV charge costs less than a tip in a restaurant.
 

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Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
Hi guys,

Yes. Most of these stations will be used to top off charge and head home.

I do understand that there is not much money is just selling electricity.

That is why, we let the business decide on an agreeable rate for the service, if its a paid station.

Here are 2 examples of community stations near my city of Pune
http://www.pluginindia.com/community-charging-stations-pune.html

The first station (Smoky Mountains Charging Station (Khandala/Lonavala)) is setup by an owner of a garage. And he has set flat rates for various times, which is more than the electricity cost that would be consumed.
That is understandable as he is a small business and he would be making space for EVs to charge in his garage and he would like to make some money.

The second station (Lavasa Charging Station) is setup by a giant company, who are selling real estate in a mountain town.
They are offering this as a service and are charging a nominal fee for electricity. They dont care bout making money out of this.

Am sure there will be a third category of businesses, who can offer this as a free service.

Its a mix really.
 

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I wanted to know, In the USA, do businesses support the EV community by installing EV charging points for their customers?
Or is it upto the community to approach businesses.
There are a few businesses that do. The idea being it will attract customers eventually. But with a 70 mile range on even the less expensive OEM EV's it is not often needed to charge anywhere except for at home.

Also how popular are Level 2 15 Amp sockets in America?
Can any businesses install it?
The most popular Level 2 charge points are 30 amps 240 volt which can do 25 miles per hour recharge if the charger in the car can handle it (7200 watts). These could be installed as up to 72 amps at 240 volts but there are no cars that have chargers that can accept that much (17.3 kw) except for Tesla which can be ordered with a second 10kw charger for 20kw. Just because the EVSE can supply it does not mean the vehicle can use it. I have never seen a Level 2 15 amp EVSE. I charger from 120vac at 12 amps which is a normal wall outlet in my garage. I have never needed public charging. I would use the Tesla Supercharge network for taking road trips if Tesla would let me.
 

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I have had an electric car for two years and I only charge 2 places:

1.)Home
2.) Work

What's the reason for charging places in other locations?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have had an electric car for two years and I only charge 2 places:

1.)Home
2.) Work

What's the reason for charging places in other locations?
Yep me too!

That works beautifully :)

But then modern EV's go around 100-150 km on a single charge.
Which indicates that any trip with distance above 50-75 km would induce range anxiety.

There are cool weekend spots / day trips to be made within a range of 100-200 km outside cities. We cannot go there. We cannot showcase our wonderful, efficient vehicles on these trips.

This is where community charging stations come in.
What if we surround cities with these stations setup by the EV community by talking to businesses.

Thus a map with RED dots all around cities would help existing EV owners and would also tempt more people to go for EV's as these stations would increase the range of most production/conversions EV's and thus make them more useful.

I do feel a good EV community can do more than what government and auto companies do. Thus the idea of community charging stations.

After all we need to see more EV's on the road. That must be the goal.
Making a better tomorrow by avoiding OIL.
 

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Without really fast high power charging stations, there is still the drawback of having to wait an hour to charge your vehicle to go maybe another 20 miles, which takes less than 1/2 hour unless you are sightseeing on back roads. So if you will be spending 2/3 of your time at charging stations, it severely limits their practicality except as an emergency measure.

I see a couple of options. One is to have on-site energy storage capable of high burst power, probably in the form of battery banks or pumped water. In this way grid power can be used continuously to keep a reserve energy that can provide at least 50 amps at 240V (10kW) which can give several times the charge in the same time. If you can go 1 hour on a half-hour charge, I think that would be sufficient. For such charging stations, a premium would need be charged, of course. But the capital cost would simply be that of a medium size solar installation, maybe $2/kW, and a 100kW facility would be plenty.

Another option is to equip EVs with an auxiliary battery pack that is easily removable and replaceable, perhaps about 3.5kW per module (240V @ 15A). Charging stations could keep these charged up by drawing grid power at a constant rate and utilizing peak demand optimization. A 3.5kW module is probably the size of a suitcase and may be 50 pounds or less so it can be fairly easily handled by one person, perhaps with a simple lifting crane, and could be switched out in 5 minutes and would give 10 miles range where an equivalent charge at that rate would take an hour. Multiple packs (or larger ones) could be used. Each pack would have its own metering system to monitor usage and SOH of its cells and you would pay a differential based on the relative condition of the packs that are switched.

You can still offer a free low power charging station, but consider that people will need something to do if their charging time is greater than about 15-20 minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Without really fast high power charging stations, there is still the drawback of having to wait an hour to charge your vehicle to go maybe another 20 miles, which takes less than 1/2 hour unless you are sightseeing on back roads. So if you will be spending 2/3 of your time at charging stations, it severely limits their practicality except as an emergency measure.

I see a couple of options. One is to have on-site energy storage capable of high burst power, probably in the form of battery banks or pumped water. In this way grid power can be used continuously to keep a reserve energy that can provide at least 50 amps at 240V (10kW) which can give several times the charge in the same time. If you can go 1 hour on a half-hour charge, I think that would be sufficient. For such charging stations, a premium would need be charged, of course. But the capital cost would simply be that of a medium size solar installation, maybe $2/kW, and a 100kW facility would be plenty.

Another option is to equip EVs with an auxiliary battery pack that is easily removable and replaceable, perhaps about 3.5kW per module (240V @ 15A). Charging stations could keep these charged up by drawing grid power at a constant rate and utilizing peak demand optimization. A 3.5kW module is probably the size of a suitcase and may be 50 pounds or less so it can be fairly easily handled by one person, perhaps with a simple lifting crane, and could be switched out in 5 minutes and would give 10 miles range where an equivalent charge at that rate would take an hour. Multiple packs (or larger ones) could be used. Each pack would have its own metering system to monitor usage and SOH of its cells and you would pay a differential based on the relative condition of the packs that are switched.

You can still offer a free low power charging station, but consider that people will need something to do if their charging time is greater than about 15-20 minutes.
Wow! Making a home made quick charger!
That would be a fun project.

Pumping 50 Amps @ 240V would really speed things.
What is needed to setup such a 'home made quick charging station'?
Would a Tesla Powerwall act as the battery bank and how do we make it capable of high burst power?
Am just curious.

Also 50 Amp @ 240V also wont hurt the battery as much as these CHADemo stations that powers as much as 62.5 kW maximum power (at 125 A and 500 V). Right?
 

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The charging station just signals the maximum current it can supply, while the charger in the car actually limits the charge current. Just like a simple 6A battery charger can plug into a 20A 120V socket. The charging station could have a current limiter and certainly must have some sort of overcurrent and short circuit protection in case something goes awry once the negotiation has completed and power is supplied to the car's charging connector.

Most EV battery chargers that I am familiar with can accept a DC as well as an AC voltage source. The EMW charger has a PFC front end that regulates the incoming supply to about 350 VDC, and that is ideal for most battery packs of lesser voltage, since a buck switching supply is used. The charger is essentially a switching supply similar to those used almost everywhere, and they first rectify the AC, so plugging into DC is fine, and you don't need PFC.

So, a 350 VDC battery bank at the charging station would be all that is needed, and it can be sized for the expected duty cycle of people using it. A typical charge might be 30A at 360V or 12 kW for 15-20 minutes, for about 3-4 kWh or 10-15 miles of range. If customers come in once every hour, you may need a 5 kW charge from the line, or about 20 amps at 240 VAC, for the 40 minutes between visits, so a 6 kWh pack would be sufficient (just barely). If the proprietor had his own EV with a modest 24 kWh pack, it would be plenty for a single charging station in use continuously during busy times, and then could be fully recharged overnight when there are fewer customers.

You could also have a mobile charging station in a small truck and offer road service calls (for a reasonable fee). People would have much less range anxiety if they know that a charging truck could be a phone call and 15 minutes away, almost anywhere. And the ultimate would be a heavy duty drone that could fly into remote areas to give you a "hot shot".
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thanks for the information.

So essentially this is what i understand (Sorry am an electric noob)

Input is a 240 V, 15 Amp socket which is found in all businesses
Current Output could be boosted to 30A at 360V or 12 kW or more
A Battery pack is used to draw in extra current which facilitates high burst power

Let me know if i understand this right so far and please correct me if am wrong. Also here are some Questions.

So power chord that goes into the DC quick charge port of the Electric car is from the battery pack and not the grid, right?

This battery pack could be Lead Acid too? Or Does not have to be Li-Ion?

The grid charges the battery pack overnight or in between customer visits.
Is that right?

I like this product - JuiceBox - an Open Source Level 2 EV charging station that can charge your car at up to 15kW / 60A.
Link here - This JuiceBox Level 2 charger

How would u rate this product? No battery needed just fast charging!
The caveat is that, this achieves the high burst power from a NEMA 14-50 outlet, which is a 50 Amp, 240 V socket.

By the way, The idea of using a Heavy duty drone to offer mobile charging is wicked! :D


The charging station just signals the maximum current it can supply, while the charger in the car actually limits the charge current. Just like a simple 6A battery charger can plug into a 20A 120V socket. The charging station could have a current limiter and certainly must have some sort of overcurrent and short circuit protection in case something goes awry once the negotiation has completed and power is supplied to the car's charging connector.

Most EV battery chargers that I am familiar with can accept a DC as well as an AC voltage source. The EMW charger has a PFC front end that regulates the incoming supply to about 350 VDC, and that is ideal for most battery packs of lesser voltage, since a buck switching supply is used. The charger is essentially a switching supply similar to those used almost everywhere, and they first rectify the AC, so plugging into DC is fine, and you don't need PFC.

So, a 350 VDC battery bank at the charging station would be all that is needed, and it can be sized for the expected duty cycle of people using it. A typical charge might be 30A at 360V or 12 kW for 15-20 minutes, for about 3-4 kWh or 10-15 miles of range. If customers come in once every hour, you may need a 5 kW charge from the line, or about 20 amps at 240 VAC, for the 40 minutes between visits, so a 6 kWh pack would be sufficient (just barely). If the proprietor had his own EV with a modest 24 kWh pack, it would be plenty for a single charging station in use continuously during busy times, and then could be fully recharged overnight when there are fewer customers.

You could also have a mobile charging station in a small truck and offer road service calls (for a reasonable fee). People would have much less range anxiety if they know that a charging truck could be a phone call and 15 minutes away, almost anywhere. And the ultimate would be a heavy duty drone that could fly into remote areas to give you a "hot shot".
 

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Thanks for the information.

So essentially this is what i understand (Sorry am an electric noob)

Input is a 240 V, 15 Amp socket which is found in all businesses
Current Output could be boosted to 30A at 360V or 12 kW or more
A Battery pack is used to draw in extra current which facilitates high burst power

Let me know if i understand this right so far and please correct me if am wrong. Also here are some Questions.

So power chord that goes into the DC quick charge port of the Electric car is from the battery pack and not the grid, right?
Yes, the battery pack is needed for the high burst power.

This battery pack could be Lead Acid too? Or Does not have to be Li-Ion?
Yes, lead-acid would be perfectly OK, as weight is not an issue, and charging is not as critical. It's also much cheaper as an initial capital expense, and is recyclable, but Li-Ion may be cheaper in the long run.

The grid charges the battery pack overnight or in between customer visits.
Is that right?
Yes, the charger can be connected continuously, and it will draw only what is needed to keep the pack full, but will also supply a good portion of the burst charge.

I like this product - JuiceBox - an Open Source Level 2 EV charging station that can charge your car at up to 15kW / 60A.
Link here - This JuiceBox Level 2 charger

How would u rate this product? No battery needed just fast charging!
The caveat is that, this achieves the high burst power from a NEMA 14-50 outlet, which is a 50 Amp, 240 V socket.
Be aware that this product is designed and built by EMW, and their charger is to a large degree dangerous junk. I am now trying to implement a retrofit to those chargers to make them relatively reliable and safe, and in the case of the two I have from customers, just getting them to work.

I have looked at the schematic and PCBs for the EMW JuiceBox and I found a number of design flaws and questionable safety issues, so I would not recommend it. There seem to be other devices available that are reasonably priced and probably better designed. Read the thread on EVSE for more information and my own suggestions for improvement.

By the way, The idea of using a Heavy duty drone to offer mobile charging is wicked! :D
It may not even need to be that heavy to supply enough "juice" to get out of a tough spot. If you are off-roading and run out of charge, you are probably no more than 5-10 miles from a main road where a larger truck could supply all your needs or provide a tow to a mains charger. The off-road route might be 5-10 miles, but perhaps only a couple miles "as the crow flies", so the drone might only need to carry a 20-50 pound battery pack a short distance to where you are. It could drop it off for you to connect to your vehicle and bring it back, while the drone could fly back on its own power unloaded, or just ride back with you :) .
 

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Been using my Premium JuiceBox for over a year now and very very happy with it and no issues. It has been the only EVSE that has not failed that I have used. No other EVSE has lasted more than a year. So far I'm still going strong with the JuiceBox. It is light weight and weather proof. It handles the 6kW charger on board the Leaf. My charge time is about 4 hours daily after my normal drive routine. I do about 50 miles a day, 5 to 6 days a week. With the new Leaf I am very pleased that the EVSE does a great job. With the 6kW charger my turnaround time is twice as good as the old Leaf with only the 3.3kW charger on board. Fast charging is nice.
 

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It might seem like I am trying to trash EMW and Valery, but I only want to point out problems that I see. It seems that the EMW website no longer lists the charger among its products, and only the EVSE and accessories appear. If you try to find the technical information such as schematics and detailed assembly or BOM, the link is a dead end. I obtained schematics and source code and other documents for the EVSE last year, but they have been either taken down or hidden, even though this is supposed to be an open source project like the charger.

The EVSE is a very simple device, so there is not much that can go wrong if it is properly assembled with good components. IIRC my concerns were about the lack of fuses or a disconnect interlock contactor, and the pilot signaling and sensing circuit seemed suspect. So, it may be OK, but "buyer beware".

I found the following link only via a general on-line search:
http://emotorwerks.com/products/onl...bled-and-tested-emw-smartcharge-12000-charger

Actually. there is a side panel on the products page where you can select charging systems, and some schematics and build info may be available. But not for the EVSE.

Here is the dead link: http://emotorwerks.com/tech/electronics which is on this page:
http://emotorwerks.com/home/latest-news/85-emw/emw-products/133-emw-juicebox
 

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It might seem like I am trying to trash EMW and Valery, but I only want to point out problems that I see. It seems that the EMW website no longer lists the charger among its products, and only the EVSE and accessories appear. If you try to find the technical information such as schematics and detailed assembly or BOM, the link is a dead end. I obtained schematics and source code and other documents for the EVSE last year, but they have been either taken down or hidden, even though this is supposed to be an open source project like the charger.

The EVSE is a very simple device, so there is not much that can go wrong if it is properly assembled with good components. IIRC my concerns were about the lack of fuses or a disconnect interlock contactor, and the pilot signaling and sensing circuit seemed suspect. So, it may be OK, but "buyer beware".
Yup, the chargers just did not fly. Lots of pissed off people about the charger. The EVSE on the other hand has shown to be fine at least for now. Much better than the other two I had prior. The second one had to be replaced under warranty but they would not replace the second one that failed because it was like 2 months out of warranty. It just flat out would not work and the components were fully sealed and potted and no chance to check components and replace a bad piece if possible. The first EVSE I got failed within 2 weeks of arrival. But it took 9 months to get the EVSE. Worked perfect for 2 weeks. Then it would or would not work depending on how it felt that day. Mostly it did not work. Took another two years to secure a refund. I still have it ready to ship back to the company if they ever contact me to confirm the shipping location. But I at least got my refund. Some never did get their refund. They are no longer in business. Still did not figure out what screwed up. I took a look but it all looks just fine. I had to use my super slow emergency EVSE from Nissan for a bit while my JuiceBox was built and shipped. That was a fine experience.
 

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Pumping 50 Amps @ 240V would really speed things.
What is needed to setup such a 'home made quick charging station'?
Would a Tesla Powerwall act as the battery bank and how do we make it capable of high burst power?
Am just curious.

Also 50 Amp @ 240V also wont hurt the battery as much as these CHADemo stations that powers as much as 62.5 kW maximum power (at 125 A and 500 V). Right?
In the US a residential power service is almost always 240 volt and 200 amps. This means the max you can possibly do is 48000 watts (240*200). And you can't actually draw that much for several reasons, one of which is because you need some of it to operate the residence. Lets assume you can use half of it and you have a vehicle with a 300 volt battery. This means we have 24000 watts and at 300 volts we could see a charge current of 80 amps at the car battery. In reality the most that could be done would be about 90% of that or 72 amps. A little more when the pack is empty. For most people this would be perfectly fine. Charge time for a Leaf with a flat battery would be about 90 minutes and less than an hour to get to 80%. But all this is meaningless because the onboard chargers cannot do 24kw. But you could build a stationary charger that would plug into the Chademo port on the car and go at nearly 24kw.

To exceed that in a home is going to require using a battery storage system and moving the power from the stationary storage battery into the car. And it is going to be somewhat expensive. My batteries can accept charge at 300 amps. At the moment I have 52 cells so the nominal voltage is 166 volts. This means I would need a charger connected to a bank of batteries that can handle 49800 watts. This would be a full charge in less than 30 minutes.

Having said all that I don't see any need for it at all at home. I just plug it in to an outlet before I go to bed at night and it is charged when I get up in the morning. It is easier on the batteries too. The only place where you need the Level 3 quick chargers is along the highways so you can take road trips.
 
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