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Thread: Help me build a serious charging network from Los Angeles to Phoenix!

  1. #1
    Model S Sig Perf #698 Sig698's Avatar
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    Help me build a serious charging network from Los Angeles to Phoenix!

    Now that I've had my Model S and have been driving it for some time, I've gotten to know it a little better. I was originally planning to take it to Phoenix for an upcoming trip, but I've come to realize that this would become a rather involved, full day trip and it wouldn't make sense for me to dedicate most of my trip time to charging in RV parks and at 14-50 outlets in hotels considering the length of time of this trip.

    I make this drive fairly often and nothing would make me happier than to be able to do it gas free. After Tesla's reveal of their supercharger network map, it seems that they are leaving the I-10 high and dry and concentrating on the I-40 instead. I am now determined to work to help make the first leg of the 10 headed east a reasonable drive.

    I am already planning on installing a Model S HPWC somewhere along the path. My ideal location would be in Chiriaco Summit, around 150 miles from Los Angeles and just over 200 miles from Phoenix, both easy trips with the 85 kwh S. However, seeing as the town just got grid power 13 years ago(!) and, according to wikipedia, is run by only 2 people, I'm not sure they would have the resources/willingness to accommodate an charger, even if it is paid for along with the installation.

    This leaves the next best possibility in Blythe, CA. With a population of about 20,000 they seem like they would have a better choice of businesses that would be willing to donate a parking spot. It is similarly situated to the previous scenario, about 225 miles from Los Angeles and 150 from Phoenix, but around 240 miles from my starting point near Los Angeles. This should still be do-able, however probably not at the 80 mph with AC blasting that I would love to do!

    This is where I could use some assistance. First of all, I know there have been several Roadster owners who have successfully lobbied to have donated Roadster HPCs installed in commercial areas. Could anyone offer any advice as to what steps are needed to proceed? Did you contact municipalities or just the businesses themselves? I thought perhaps I could lobby the city of Blythe to pay for the installation under the motivation of bringing more business to the city while people wait to charge, but perhaps it would be better to lobby an individual business. Thoughts?

    My second question is what people's thoughts are on attempting to lobby cities or businesses to install their own HPWC or perhaps the Clipper Creek CS-100. The reason I've been so gung-ho about the Model S HPWC is that it seems to be the standard all future Teslas will use, and it doesn't seem terribly worth bothering with J1772 since Teslas are the only pure BEV cars that are currently capable of making long distance roadtrips as it is. I suppose anything is worth a shot, but if I could get my HPWC installed in Blythe and successfully lobby a city such as Indio (130 miles from LA, 100 miles from Blythe) to install a ~20kw charger, then it could make the trip truly painless and get a great infrastructure started for the 10 Highway.

    Those are my current thoughts; I know I've been rambling a bit and they're not terribly organized, but I would love to hear some feedback on this proposal. It seems as though a network of HPCs or 20kw J1772 chargers along the 10 would go a long way towards alleviating the lack of Superchargers, despite not being quite as convenient. Every 150 or so miles does indeed look like the sweet spot (just as the superchargers are aiming for) where one could drive however they wanted in an 85 kwh Model S without range anxiety, and would also let the 60 kwh people have something to go from as well. I'm eager to hear any thoughts, advice, constructive criticism, etc from other owners as well (and especially!) from anyone who has been part of a public charger donation.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sig698 View Post
    Now that I've had my Model S and have been driving it for some time, I've gotten to know it a little better. I was originally planning to take it to Phoenix for an upcoming trip, but I've come to realize that this would become a rather involved, full day trip and it wouldn't make sense for me to dedicate most of my trip time to charging in RV parks and at 14-50 outlets in hotels considering the length of time of this trip.

    I make this drive fairly often and nothing would make me happier than to be able to do it gas free. After Tesla's reveal of their supercharger network map, it seems that they are leaving the I-10 high and dry and concentrating on the I-40 instead. I am now determined to work to help make the first leg of the 10 headed east a reasonable drive.

    I am already planning on installing a Model S HPWC somewhere along the path. My ideal location would be in Chiriaco Summit, around 150 miles from Los Angeles and just over 200 miles from Phoenix, both easy trips with the 85 kwh S. However, seeing as the town just got grid power 13 years ago(!) and, according to wikipedia, is run by only 2 people, I'm not sure they would have the resources/willingness to accommodate an charger, even if it is paid for along with the installation.

    This leaves the next best possibility in Blythe, CA. With a population of about 20,000 they seem like they would have a better choice of businesses that would be willing to donate a parking spot. It is similarly situated to the previous scenario, about 225 miles from Los Angeles and 150 from Phoenix, but around 240 miles from my starting point near Los Angeles. This should still be do-able, however probably not at the 80 mph with AC blasting that I would love to do!

    This is where I could use some assistance. First of all, I know there have been several Roadster owners who have successfully lobbied to have donated Roadster HPCs installed in commercial areas. Could anyone offer any advice as to what steps are needed to proceed? Did you contact municipalities or just the businesses themselves? I thought perhaps I could lobby the city of Blythe to pay for the installation under the motivation of bringing more business to the city while people wait to charge, but perhaps it would be better to lobby an individual business. Thoughts?

    My second question is what people's thoughts are on attempting to lobby cities or businesses to install their own HPWC or perhaps the Clipper Creek CS-100. The reason I've been so gung-ho about the Model S HPWC is that it seems to be the standard all future Teslas will use, and it doesn't seem terribly worth bothering with J1772 since Teslas are the only pure BEV cars that are currently capable of making long distance roadtrips as it is. I suppose anything is worth a shot, but if I could get my HPWC installed in Blythe and successfully lobby a city such as Indio (130 miles from LA, 100 miles from Blythe) to install a ~20kw charger, then it could make the trip truly painless and get a great infrastructure started for the 10 Highway.

    Those are my current thoughts; I know I've been rambling a bit and they're not terribly organized, but I would love to hear some feedback on this proposal. It seems as though a network of HPCs or 20kw J1772 chargers along the 10 would go a long way towards alleviating the lack of Superchargers, despite not being quite as convenient. Every 150 or so miles does indeed look like the sweet spot (just as the superchargers are aiming for) where one could drive however they wanted in an 85 kwh Model S without range anxiety, and would also let the 60 kwh people have something to go from as well. I'm eager to hear any thoughts, advice, constructive criticism, etc from other owners as well (and especially!) from anyone who has been part of a public charger donation.
    Public donations are not as easy as they may seem. Many cities are weary of accepting these donations due to liability issues (i.e. your donated charger causes damage to a car). The second issue is that many private businesses and municipalities will not want to install proprietary EVSE's. One of the first questions you may get from local goverment is "What cars can use this EVSE?". If your answer answer is "Tesla cars only", I think you may get some pushback from local government. This issue is easier to overcome with private businesses but it is something to think about. Something else that you should also explore, is the possibility of installing J1772 Roadster HPC's. This solution is quite popular in California, along the 101. Many cars can utilize this type of solution, and Tesla does sell a popular adapter for the Model S.

  3. #3
    MSP#7577 **--** MX#1891 spatterso911's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PRJIM View Post
    Something else that you should also explore, is the possibility of installing J1772 Roadster HPC's. This solution is quite popular in California, along the 101. Many cars can utilize this type of solution, and Tesla does sell a popular adapter for the Model S.
    Sounds like a great idea...

    Much easier to sell to businesses.

    I'm working like mad to get my hospital to donate a couple of spots to allow charger installation. The COO is leery of committing the parking spots, though. I intend to be the squeaky wheel, however.
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  4. #4
    Sounds like Chiriaco Summit is the first place to try. Only two people to convince!

  5. #5
    TSLA will win Norbert's Avatar
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    In case it turns out to be difficult now, I'd expect it to be much easier in 6 or 12 months, when there will be thousands Model S owners (many of them in LA), and more recognition of the name "Tesla".

    Especially if LA continues to be a major demand area.

    (I doubt a lot of Leafs or Volts are going to try drive electric on that route, with max 6 kW charging. If there really would be interest from Leafs, they'd want a CHAdeMO charger, and ignore the J1772).
    Buying an EV is one thing, being able to drive it beyond city limits another...

  6. #6
    Senior Member jcstp's Avatar
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    Of what I read here Chiriaco Summit it must easy to convince this person!
    A driver staying there 1 hour or more will obviousle eat or drink something, and has possibility to visit his museum!
    By the way it helps keeping the military out of danger : no oil (he is is apparently vietnam veteran)

  7. #7
    mod squad bonnie's Avatar
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    I love this thread. We should all take responsibility for building out the network, finding the spots that work best for us. Kudos to you for taking the initiative.

    There are many people on this forum who helped to build the Tesla Highway -- you might get some good advice from them regarding how best to make this happen. ChadS was one of those people, is a TMC forum member and is also president of Plug-In America.
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  8. #8
    Member napabill's Avatar
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    Put me down in favor of Blythe! I travel between NorCal and Tucson several times a year, and Blythe is as far as I can make it using Superchargers. I have already made a reservation at the Blythe KOA to spend the night in late December. Would much rather stay in town. Maybe one of the local chain motels? Seems like some chains already do provide J1772 facilities.

    In any event put me on the committee. I'll be happy to help and/or contribute to the I-10 Electric Highway!

  9. #9
    Petroleum is for sissies ChadS's Avatar
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    Here's a few things I learned while trying to get Roadster HPCs installed:

    - as PRJIM notes, municipalities have a hard time taking donations. They also have a hard time installing non-standard chargers. They also tend to have no money sitting around for a new project (they usually have to wait for the next budget approval cycle), and move really slow. I do not see talking to them as a good way to get something installed. That said, often times they are supportive, can help with permitting and such, and may have already talked to local business owners and know who in the area might be interested. So it can be useful to talk to them.

    - non-standard EVSEs (like Tesla's, as opposed to a J1772 unit) sometimes have financial complications like not being eligible for tax credits or matching funds. While I think most of those incentives have dried up, as others have noted above there is always still the issue that a J1772 unit will work with more cars, so site hosts are more likely to be accepting. Still, if you offer them a free HPWC and note Teslas are the only cars that can get to their site anyway, they will sometimes be willing.

    - you may have to call a LOT of businesses to get somebody willing to install a free charger. Even if you offer to pay for installation, it's not as easy as you think. Typical conversation: "Hi, do you want to get more business from loyal (and captive!) EV owners by installing this free charger? EV owners are connected and online and wanting to take their vehicles on trips where there are chargers" "Thanks, but we don't have any EVs around here." "Yes, but if you install this charger, people from far away can drive there and patronize your business." "OK, but we don't have any EVs around here, so I don't see how this will help". Note that when I did most of my calling on this a couple of years ago, there were only 1 - 3 plug-in vehicles on the market, no infrastructure projects underway, and very little press. This might not be such a tough sell anymore.

    - If you have picked a city based on location and want to find a business to talk to, the Chamber of Commerce might be a good place to start. Usually they just pointed me at possible businesses, but in one case the Chamber themselves worked together to get a charging station installed downtown.

    - before you call, figure out how far the location would be from other chargers, and what the electricity prices are in the area. The business will assume each charge will cost them a lot more than it really will, and it helps to have numbers to go over with them.

    - if you find a place that will accept an EVSE, don't just toss it at 'em and leave them to install it. They need to know about siting issues, like: it's cheapest to put it where the power is, but best not to put it in a prime parking position; it is best if the spot can be reserved exclusively for charging, there should be signage and lighting, somebody needs to check it out periodically to make sure there is no damage, under cover is great, etc. Plug In America has a free guide to EVSE installation HERE.

    - their first thought will be to charge a fee for usage. That is fine, but it is important to impress upon them that a charger that somebody can't use is worse than no charger at all, so the payment shouldn't get in the way of using the thing (i.e. a cellular credit card reader in an area with bad cellular coverage; or the requirement to pay a clerk inside to get power turned on when the business has very limited hours). It's also helpful to note just how little electricity costs, and that they will get captive customers, employee and customer good-will, can do advertising on the unit, and there are always costs to collecting the fee. They may well come out better financially by making the unit free. Tomsax wrote a great article illustrating this in the latest issue of Charged EVs.

    - shopping malls are ideal locations; but the businesses benefit, while the landlord makes the decision so they are difficult to convince. The easiest was generally a combined hotel/restaurant that owned their own property and realized that anybody charging would probably use one of their services. Especially if the hotel often has empty rooms and they are looking to draw in more customers.
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  10. #10
    Model S Sig Perf #698 Sig698's Avatar
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    Wow, thanks for the responses! ChadS, what a great beginner's guide to EVSE pitching! I'm already overwhelmed with the great responses!

    It looks like Chiriaco Summit will be my first effort, since it seems like they could use the business the most and might be hungry for the business that a temporary monopoly on 10 interstate fast charging would provide. For more selfish reasons, Blythe is a bit more of a stretch for me to make from my start position (a bit west of LA) so that makes CS all the more appealing. However, if they aren't open to the idea, then Blythe will be the next logical choice.

    If for some reason there is a LOT of interest and people willing to pool resources, then 2 HPCs would be ideal. I would certainly be willing to put in a certain amount of contribution for a 2nd one.

    I'll begin contacting Chiriaco Summit and the Blythe chamber of commerce this weekend and we'll see where we get from there!

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