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November 12, 2011

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Does the owner of a car waiting for a charging station risk being towed because it isn't hooked up?
How long does a full charge take?

Wayne, here in Salem at least there isn't any penalty for being in a charging station parking space, regardless of what you're doing or not doing.

So if an electric car is in a space, but not being charged, there's no penalty -- just as in most places (Portland being a possible exception) there's no penalty for regular cars parking in a charging station place.

A full charge at a Level 2 (220-240 volt) charger takes about seven hours in a Nissan Leaf. That gets you about 100 miles if the battery is fully depleted. Thus every hour of charging equals around 15 miles of driving, which makes plugging in worthwhile, even if you don't stay at a charger long enough to get back to 100%.

Brian,

How much of your full charge(from your home) was used to get to the Chemeketa Parkade in downtown Salem? Did you need any charging to get home? This post is very interesting.

Roger, I don't remember exactly, but I do know that even though we live about ten miles or so from downtown, the range remaining showing on the Leaf dashboard doesn't drop by that much when I arrive in downtown.

I think this is because we live in the south Salem hills, which are a bit higher in elevation than downtown. So going into town, there's more downhill than uphill, and the Leaf battery regenerates when coasting or braking.

So I'm pleased with the range we have once we get into town. I was worried it could be less than it has turned out to be. Of course, driving home uses up some of the benefit that the car gets on the way into town. There's a fairly lengthy downhill stretch just before our house, though, so by the time the Leaf enters our carport it is showing a pretty healthy range again.

The lesson, which our salesman mentioned to us, is that the remaining range estimate on the Leaf shouldn't be given a lot of credence, as it is based on the most recent driving experience. The level of charge bars are a much better gauge (more like a fuel gauge).

So, the charging, done by your car's altenator(?) engages in a greater rate, than by the charging station? That is, 10 minutes of charging by car vs 10 minutes of charging at a charging station. If so, that would be some good information.

Roger, I don't think you're saying this, but it'd be perpetual motion if the car could recharge itself while moving and gain more miles than it uses.

The Leaf does recharge while going downhill and braking, but I'm pretty sure this isn't as great a recharge as plugging in the car to a 220 volt charger is. Plus, downhills don't last forever.

My point is that the Leaf does better than I expected getting to downtown Salem. Even with the ups and downs, the direction is more down than up, which is friendly for an electric car.

Brian I've just read about an "Air-Car" that runs on Compressed Air. Have you heard about it and what do you think about the concept of air-power.

Brian,

Sorry, I didn't do my homework on the Leaf. Thought it had a gas engine, for recharging. That one is the Volt.

I did find,

A fully charged new battery has a range of 138 – 62 miles. range is most affected by the following factors:

-Climate control – the more extreme the temperature is outside, the more energy used to heat or cool the cabin.
-Speed – higher speeds require much more energy to overcome air resistance.
-Driving style – smooth acceleration and deceleration will extend range while aggressive acceleration and deceleration will decrease range.
-Cargo and topography – heavy cargo and driving up steep long inclines will reduce range.

--- Going approx. 38 mph is Ok. Did you travel to Salem at 38mph? And, on a severely cold/hot day, will the Leaf be garaged? I don't picture you with a harsh driving style and Serena is probably the heaviest of loads you will encounter.

As said, this topic is very intersting.

Roger, I drive our Leaf pretty normally, speed-wise. I go 50 or so on the two lane road into town, then stick close to the speed limit in town. The mileage of the Leaf really goes down only at freeway speeds, 60 and above.

I'm wondering if there is some way if an EV does get unplugged by another EV owner and a cop comes by, can there be some way he can find out if the 1st EV had charged? That way a ticket can be avoided, that is if the cop is inclined to check.

Sad to say, your observation rings true as regards the use of parking spaces for electric vehicles by those driving non-electric vehicles. Let’s hope compliance with such parking rules would eventually improve. It is only through reminding people about these regulations that they will eventually develop the habit of compliance.

Someday most of us will probably own an electric car. Hope they get this figured out before i do. Makes sense to put handicap spaces near a conveneient walkway. But i wonder why they would put the charge stations in such a coveted location. Property managers are usually more forward thinking. I would glady park a bit further away for free gas. It would be great if people respected the property and rights of others, but human nature (lack of consideration) by many says they often won't. Landscape designers understand this so they try to predict where people might walk across the grass and they put a sidewalk there first instead. It would make more sense to think ahead and put the stations where others are not already tempted to park. Much more sense than creating a whole new layer of legislation and beaurocracy to control selfish human beings.

giddyup, good points. I was told by a Blink maintenance guy that the reason four chargers were put where they were in Salem's Chemeketa Parkade was because that's where electrical wiring already was close by.

Putting the chargers in a location away from the skybridge to Penney's and elevator would have been much more expensive. it's a concrete structure, after all. Can't snake wiring through dry wall.

Your idea makes sense, though, in areas where there are options for installing the chargers.

I totally agree, put parking spaces where ICE cars won't be tempted to take them. I just got an EV so I am starting to pay attention to this issue. More and more businesses should offer charging to their customers, but they should feel free to use less valuable real estate to do so.

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