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Has anyone considered that gas stations already have the infrastructure in place to charge electric cars?

Has anyone considered that gas stations already have the infrastructure in place to charge electric cars?

It would be dead simple for gas stations, already no more than 50miles apart in North America, to take down a gas pump and replace it with ultra high speed 480V 400amp or even 800amp charge. That should do a car in 10-30mins depending on battery range.

The gas stations already have a supply of electricity. They already have the locatons nailed down. You can card swipe the purchase, so you don't even need an attendant!!!!!

You can bet that gas companies want to find a replacement for lost income from gas sales. Yes we will get gouged for electricty, probably 2x-3x the price, but who cares. It is just for cross country travel and we tend to only do that once a year, or so.

Am I missing something? Could it be that simple?

Timo | March 24, 2011

Those gas stations need make profit. Selling pure electricity wont be enough, because 99% of driving with 300+mile range cars wont use those stations. Those that do will do it in roadside restaurants and places like that. If you have a restaurant in you gas station, then it would be viable alternative, but you still lose almost all of your customers.

Almost all of the gas stations will go bankrupt with this transition. For them BEV success is bad news.

Apparently big oil has realized that and are now rushing fuel cell vehicles in market. That would keep them afloat for a while before sinking. If LPPx succeeds then that will be the final nail in their coffin, you could have 5+MW power station at every charging point.

Nicu | March 24, 2011

You have to consider that a high power electric charging cannot happen too close from the other gas pumps :D

Rebuilding costs, space etc. plus Timo's argument make this a very low chance shot :(

Brian H | March 24, 2011

They could charge a flat $5 + cost of power. The margin on retail gas is pretty slim; it would probably work out about the same. They're selling convenience and speed, so there'd be customers.

David70 | March 24, 2011

Even flat $10 + cost of power (at least with a 300 mile range) would be good for the purchaser. Of course, initially they won't have a lot of purchasers, so payoff time might be somewhat long. My biggest worry (assuming I get the money together for the purchase) is that I won't be able to find enough properly spaced charging stations between Washington state and Southern California to make a round trip once a year, without taking at least a week each way.

searcher | March 25, 2011

Think as more and more electric cars get on the road that the "getting in line" for charge factor will play into the equation fairly heavy, maybe will have to have very large spaces with a lot of charging places. Then with good restaurant or similar diversion close by.

Volker.Berlin | March 25, 2011

Expect to see many more like this in the near future. Free charging will probably become a must for shopping malls and similar businesses that compete for customer time:
http://green.autoblog.com/2011/03/24/video-kwik-trip-stores-install-70-f...

Nicu | March 25, 2011

Tesla announced (you may have to bing ;) it) that they will install some charging stations on highways. Initially, you could use it for free !

Robert.Boston | March 25, 2011

I think we'll see the infrastructure being built out fairly promptly; here we're fortunate that some of the auto majors (Nissan, Chevy) are out ahead. Established car-makers positioning EVs as mainstream will encourage more of this:

http://spectrum.ieee.org/energywise/green-tech/advanced-cars/electric-ca...

Gas station sites probably won't be the best targets, except at the rest stops on turnpikes. Charging takes longer than filling a gas tank, so we'll want to run errands, eat a meal, etc. Hotels will start adding charging stations as a differentiating competitive perk.

Once my daughter decides which college she's going to, I'm going to start a push for that institution to install on-campus charging so I can go visit her, gas-free! (No, none of her preferred schools are within 150 miles of home.)

Roblab | March 25, 2011

Even at a quick 45 minute charge, I personally don't want to just sit around a gas station. And if there is another car charging ahead of me, what am I going to do??? Current EV chargers (RAV4EV) are at malls, city center parking garages, movie houses, Costco shopping centers, restaurants. Not a gas station in the bunch. You WILL want something to do for an hour or so.

And, of course, gas stations already make more profit from the junk food and quick mart business than they do from gas sales. Where else can you see obviously poor people spending $10 on chips, soda, jerky, and a lottery ticket!!! Sad, really.

Ramon123 | March 29, 2011

Gas stations are actually the perfect place for chargers. As for the complaint that they aren't the most pleasant places to be (as if a mall IS), that's showing a lack of foresight - if customers are forced to linger for over a half hour at a station, the first thing we'll see is the guaranteed free market action of making those stations pleasant - eateries, either franchised or not will be built, for one (and these already exist at nearly every station catering to interstate traffic). The idea of NOT using gas stations I find totally bizarre. Of course, we are talking high speed recharging, not something silly like 110Volt outlets. A 110 volt charger is almost nonsensical, even at shopping malls. Those chargers could only service a few cars per day, far too few to justify their costs and what they would have to charge the customer. Generally speaking, EV owners will avoid public charging stations. They will cost a lot more than charging at home, especially the slow chargers.
I see there are the usual presence of those who think conspiracies exist everywhere - the idea that oil companies would be developing fuel cells presents a few problems for those wanting to take this kind of blithering nonsense seriously : oil companies
don't distribute any fuel that a fuel cell might use, and (naturally), aren't trying to build a fuel cell - those have been
the result of over a decade's work by several automakers, some of whom (GM for one) have dropped the idea. Honda and Mercedes seems to have been the most successful in getting the costs down and the power up.
If you want to avoid carbon emissions, fuel cells probably make as much sense as EVs, actually much, much more if battery prices don't come down, limiting the widespread use of EVs.
There is also the ignorance hereabouts that , for some reason, doesn't know that the vast majority of gas stations are independently owned and operated. They aren't even beholden to any particular oil company and can sell anything they feel like selling (propane for many, food, groceries, etc.), including electricity, a right that has been upheld repeatedly by the courts.
There is also the ignorance that assumes all oil goes into transportation. Far from it - about half the oil we use has nothing to do with transportation, and even electric cars will use oil for lubrication and plastics, etc. EVs couldn't exist without oil.

Volker.Berlin | March 29, 2011

A 110 volt charger is almost nonsensical, even at shopping malls. Those chargers could only service a few cars per day, far too few to justify their costs and what they would have to charge the customer. Generally speaking, EV owners will avoid public charging stations. They will cost a lot more than charging at home, especially the slow chargers.

I beg to differ. 110 Volt (or 220 Volt over here in Europe) "chargers" (actually: plain standard power sockets) cost almost nothing to install, and I expect that most malls will not only provide a reasonable number of those, but many also will let EVs charge for free as a means to differentiate themselves from other competing malls.

You are right that you cannot use "high speed charging" at these, which actually makes it even more attractive to the mall to offer free usage: The power you can draw is limited to a reasonable amout, and any metering and charging infrastructure would not really pay off. On the other hand, from the perspective of the EV owner, when I can top up at every place where I stay for more than 10 minutes, that is an attractive deal and helps to get through the day even with a smaller battery.

For longer trips, I totally agree with you. Quick charging stations should complement existing fuel stations, and those will certainly charge a premium (ok with me).

Roblab | March 30, 2011

First off, you must remember that charging an EV is nothing like refueling a car. The average car is on the road about 4% of the time, and you must refuel *while you are going somewhere*. The EV recharges during the other 96% of the time *while you are doing something more worthwhile*. You don't want to be standing around the toxic smelling quickee mart greasy taco franchise with the unsanitary bathrooms for forty five minutes, waiting for an expensive high voltage charge that DOES shorten your battery life, hopefully not waiting for two other fellow travellers in front of you.

All the public charging I have used was 220 volt. All of it was placed near malls or restaurants or hotels. Nobody cared if it wasn't by a gas station franchise which had paid premium for his toxic site (we have had several gas stations closed because of leaky tanks) and needed to get his profit from you.

dsm363 | March 30, 2011

I think wanting to put fast charging stations at gas stations in bizarre actually but everyone has a different opinion of course. I think the ideal place for these are roadside coffee shops (like Starbucks) or restaurants along major highways. Of course if some of those happen to be gas stations, that's fine I just don't think they should purposely try and place them at gas stations if better alternatives exist.
Why build on a cafe or restaurant next to a gas station site when you can just put the charger at a Starbucks? I'd rather sit, drink coffee or something else and surf the internet for 45 min than sit at a gas station.

Brian H | March 30, 2011

dsm33;
The UberPlanner mentality seems to have gripped you (and others). There's no "you put".

It's whether the station owners decide to provide them and try and make them profitable. Gas stations have the signal advantage of being widespread and located strategically for drivers. I.e., near roads, highways, and malls. Having to search out a restaurant or hotel for a charge is not the same convenience level at all.

IMO.

searcher | March 30, 2011

BrianH, Just seems like as small parking capacity as gas stations have and as long as it takes to charge that they would be just constantly filled up and thus a hassle to fool with trying to find a place you dont have to wait in line a long time. Whereas anywhere where there is a larger parking capacity seems more workable. TCB

Timo | March 31, 2011

You need only small parking capacity. 95% of all cars do not charge there, be it fast or not, because they do not need to. You need to charge in places like that only in long road trips, which is tiny fraction of all driving. 300+ mile range puts it in very tiny category of driving.

searcher | March 31, 2011

timo, I see your logic. Guess we will just wait and see how all this works out.

Mats | March 31, 2011

My guess is some kind of Battery Swap Stations. Either the complete battery or some long ride extra extension battery, maybe not for the tesla now but further on. Because even a charge time of 15-20 minutes is a long long time when we are used to refuel in a couple of minutes.

Straight Shooter | March 31, 2011

I see Mcdonalds (and competitors) being the big players in this market, offering 220V (maybe 200amp or 400amp) charging. That should take a nearly depleted 300mile battery up to 80% in an hour.

That said, I still don't see gas stations standing aside and letting their market share fade away. They would need to offer something around 5mins (10mins max) to charge your car. The only way that will work is a 480V (400amp or 800amp) ultra high speed charger that could bring a depleted battery up to 80% very fast. Gas stations sell energy, currently only liguid (gas, deisel or propane). Electricty is energy, so it is an obvious fit for them.

They won't take away any gas pumps in the short term, but they can esily setup a few high speed chargers hooked up to the side of the building out of the way from the main body of traffic as the recharge time is 2x-4x longer than a gas tank fillup.

msiano17 | March 31, 2011

I think the mental concept of where to charge needs revamping. It is not like every time you go out in your Model S you have to also find a place to charge... In that same mindset every time you drive your current vehicle you should get gas once you leave your house to stay topped off.

In other words.. these Teslas are designed for long distance traveling so you don't have to find a charging spot if you're messing about all day. Just charge it at home at night. It is only the actual long road journey's that make the difference. Then I would say just planning in advance of where you can stay for the night or even a restaurant that would take an hour or two break and ask the owner to plug in. Give him $10 and it will more than cover the cost.

Brian H | April 1, 2011

chargeme;
Where I live, you can divide all those costs by 2, almost exactly.
;)

Brian H | April 1, 2011

But right now, gas is about $5.40/USG. And that's in highly valued Cdn$$!
;(

Volker.Berlin | April 1, 2011

In Germany it's currently around 1.56 EUR/liter which is 8.35 USD/USG. BTW, did you already know Google Guru? It's great for conversions like that, even does MPG to l/100km: http://guru.googlelabs.com/

Brian H | April 1, 2011

chargeme;
they will charge what the market will bear. If it's too much, no customers! There's a dude called "Adam Smith" you might like to read.

Sudre | April 1, 2011

I just don't see gas stations making it with chargers, at least not the Pump N Go types. I subscribe to the same model as a few others here. I do not top off my gas car every time I go home and I will not be topping off my EV every time I turn a corner.

The only time an EV will need a charge station will be on those long road trips. People are not going to stand in line for it. They will want choices. They can sit in their car at the Pump N Go or they can go to The Waffle House and get a cup of joe and dinner/breakfast while the car charges.

Why would I plug in at the gas station then walk a across the street to a place to spend my time when I can just park and charge at the place that has the time killing fulfillment already available.

Now if you are saying the Pump N Go will just install a counter and a few waitresses so you can pass the time then I'd argue the restaurants, cafes, and Walmarts have already perfected that so the Pump N Go is too late to the party. It'd be easier to add a fast charger to the Walmart/restaurant than to add the walmart/restaurant to the gas station.

In addition I don't think Walmart is going to suddenly think, "Oh my God we need a dozen fast chargers on the double!" They are going to get a customer request and they will put in ONE or two. After it's use becomes excessive (paid for plus interest and profits) they will add another 1 or 2. After that they will upgrade again if needed. It's not like it will be an all or nothing choice.

Maybe Gas station was just a wrong choice in words. I think of a little place with four to six pumps and Twinkies at the counter when I hear gas station. Truck stops and the like are still gas stations but on a different scale. Those would be good contenders for fast chargers since they already have a place to eat included.

It currently costs me about $50 to fill up my car. I would pay $20-30 to charge my electric car when I am making long road trips with it.

Tiebreaker | April 1, 2011

Paraphrasing the thread title: Your house already has the infrastructure in place to charge electric cars. So does the bank, the supermarket, the church, the deli, the public parking garage, the coffee shop, the restaurant... Where will EV charge points be installed, it will be dictated by the marketplace, as well as the price.

dsm363 | April 2, 2011

BrianH: Not sure how that is UberPlanner mentality exactly but the chargers don't currently exist so someone has to decide where to put them. You really want them at a gas station when there is likely a McDonalds or a Starbucks half a block away (also right next to the highway)? I'm not saying gas stations shouldn't be allowed to have them. If they want to get into the business of having fast chargers, that's great. I just think that since it's just electricity, it opens up options for other businesses to provide the service. You wouldn't see a Starbucks wanting to install a large underground gasoline tank so they can provide fill up service to ICE cars but a single charger would be possible.

Brian H | April 3, 2011

Given StarBucks pricing, it would probably be $2.95/kwh ...

dsm363 | April 3, 2011

I imagine they'd partner with someone like Coulomb Technologies. They could even arrange a $5 'convenience fee' or something just to use the charger that gets waived if you come in and buy coffee. I'm not saying it has to be a Starbucks, just that I don't think the chargers should purposely be placed at gas stations if there are better places to put them. If there aren't, a gas station would be fine for certain locations.

viao44 | April 4, 2011

I agree with the original poster.

I understand that people think of gas stations as greasy little places with no parking and nothing to do; but not all of them are like that. There is a gas station near me that is also a TacoBell and PostOffice. My local Grocery store(s) also have gas stations on the property.

If gas stations (big oil) started serving the EV crowd… you know there will be ‘marketing research’ involved to target EV owners. Therefore relaxing convenient charging stations will emerge.

I also think charging at fast food chains and hotels and any other place would be great too.

I am not ready to say charging at a ‘gas station’ is out of the picture just yet. If there is money to be made it will come and consumers will shape the market with their wallets.

Timo | April 4, 2011

I'd that is what they have to do in order to survive at all, so that is what will happen. Majority of the places still go down, but if they manage to sell enough fast food/pizzas/car supplies things like that they make very good places for fast charging points.

Timo | April 4, 2011

I have no idea what that "I'd" in my post was supposed to be. Tired and fewer is not a good combination to produce coherent text.

dashrb | April 4, 2011

You meant "If".

Brian H | April 6, 2011

And "fever".

Your brain is on the blank! I mean, blink.

Ramon123 | June 8, 2011

I wholeheartedly agree. When the issue of charging stations first came up, I wondered why the powers that be were looking at silly places to locate their rechargers (often utility owned property) when we already have a system perfectly suited for fueling up vehicles.
They're called gas stations and they are located exactly where we want them and are set up already - just swap out a few pumps for level 3 chargers. Most gas stations are independently owned - they can sign on to any oil company they want to, or none at all.
And the oil companies have no legal right to forbid them from
installing rechargers. If they tried, they'd be really sorry they did.

jfeister | June 8, 2011

I think a lot of folks have a hell of a time breaking out of the ICE mentality, and all the assumptions that come along with it. We are so used to the idea of having to stop somewhere to fuel up.

Imagine down the road a bit, as battery technology continues to advance, and the range of electric cars gets longer and longer. It may not be long before consumers can expect 200 - 300 miles of range for a $25,000 car. Now ask yourself; how often do I drive over 300 miles without parking my car in my garage overnight? Once, maybe twice a year for most folks.

So who will the customers of charging stations be? Folks who have been on the road for a few hours, and driven maybe 250 miles since their last stop.

If these folks need to sit around for 45 minutes, are they going to want to sit around a gas station? Of course not. They are going to pull into a restaurant, rest stop, or some other place they can be entertained while they wait.

One poster wrote "if customers are forced to linger for over a half hour at a station, the first thing we'll see is the guaranteed free market action of making those stations pleasant - eateries, either franchised or not will be built"

I don't think this makes a lot of sense. Is it cheaper to build a charging station or an entire restaurant? I don't think they'd have a chance trying to compete with established restaurants that choose to install a few charging stations to cater to the occasional road-tripper.

I think the charging station infrastructure will be an order of magnitude smaller than the fuel infrastructure is today, even with large scale adoption of pure EV's. The majority of charging will occur overnight in your garage or at street level charging stations next to residences.

Supergreekster | June 15, 2011

I agree, there is essentially NO REASON for chargers inside cities... Instead, they need to be primarily ALONG THE HIGHWAYS. I don't need one 2 miles from my house, I don't need to charge while I grab groceries for 20 minutes, only when I ROAD TRIP!!

Kallisman | June 15, 2011

What if u road trip into the city every day for work, and your employer doesn't supply u with a charging spot? I think here many don't have a parking space at all. Or if u road trip into the city for shopping from a bit far away? Besides most EVs will have a considerably shorter range than than the Model S for years to come.

Sudre | June 15, 2011

I guess it's just me but I would never work more than 100 miles from my home. When I worked a year in Taum Sauk Missouri (100 miles away from home) I just rented an apartment and drove home on the weekends.

The ModelS 300 mile battery should be able to handle a 200 miles round trip.

Douglas3 | June 16, 2011

Supergreekster, the in-city chargers are for Nissan Leaf type cars with very limited range. They're of very little use to Tesla owners, unless one with at least 30A happens to be near a highway.

Supergreekster | June 16, 2011

This is exactly what I am saying, range is good enough for IN TOWN. All you really need is ALONG HIGHWAYS for greater-than-my-range type travel... Otherwise my own garage is going to be best, most economical and most convenient charging station... Highways and hotels... Tis is where chargers should be...

Thumper | June 16, 2011

In town parking-charging is going to be important. Take the case of someone living about 100mi. from downtown. You go into the city for any event, you want to run the AC both ways and the lights, radio and maybe the navigation. You will want a touch up charge while you are there even with a 240mi battery.

daniel1948 | June 16, 2011

When the car can drive for 5 hours or more on a charge, overnight charging at motels will be in demand. Other than that, with a mix of long-range and short-range EVs coming onto the road, entrepreneurs will start thinking of putting chargers anywhere they want people to spend some time (malls, restaurants, etc.) If governments want to encourage EVs, putting fast chargers at rest stops would probably do more good than tax breaks for people with enough money to buy the cars in the first place.

Supergreekster | June 17, 2011

1) governments don't care about "those who have the money for the cars in the first place", they only care about how to tax everything u can do...

2) This will be a COMPLETE paradigm shift with EVs. Right now, we drive around and around until it hits E. A light or bell may go off... The new paradigm is similar to if EVERY DAY u started with a full tank of gas when leaving your garage... For the great majority of people, this means not charging ANYWHERE ELSE for months or YEARS. Except trips.

The only caveat to this is people who are forgetful/lazy and don't plug in every day, they will get stranded. Tis is why I like the "low power mode" of the tesla, when you get to 10% battery or whatever, it is an impetus to go charge, kind of like the E, bell and light on current cars...

daniel1948 | June 17, 2011

"1) governments don't care about "those who have the money for the cars in the first place", they only care about how to tax everything u can do..."

This is silly. Governments care about LOTS of things, primarily staying in power, which in the U.S. means winning elections. They have a diverse constituency, including big business (e.g. oil companies) with differing demands, and they care about keeping the economy stable. Governments need money to run, so they have taxes, and different people in government have different ideas about how taxes should be collected.

To say that governments "only care about how to tax everything [you] can do" is a fringe position to say the least.

Tax policies usually favor the wealthy because most legislators are wealthy, and so they think differently than people who are poor. The idea of encouraging a new and promising technology by giving tax breaks to the people who can afford to buy it seems perfectly rational from their point of view. Note that the $7,500 tax credit for buying an EV only goes to those people who pay that much total tax. It makes the car cheaper for the rich, while keeping it expensive for the poor. This encourages wealthy people to buy expensive EVs, whereas there would be more benefit from encouraging less-well-off people (who are more numerous) to buy lower-end EVs. Tesla will sell every Roadster it makes, and probably every Model S it can make during the early years. The tax break will not result in a single additional sale. But a charging infrastructure would encourage more people to buy the cars that have lesser range, and therefore benefit exponentially if they can charge up easily.

(OTOH, the loan for research and development is a very positive thing. It promotes a new technology, and the money will be paid back down the road.)

I'll take the tax break if they give it to me, but it's an inefficient use of tax money. It would be better to put that money into a charging infrastructure.

CPM | June 17, 2011

"Taxes" for those of you that like the idea of saving money on taxes you have to remember you will be taking money out of federal and states agencies by not buying another gallon of gas.(50.6 cents per gallon in Illinois). Yes there are taxes on electricity but not at the same rate as gasoline. This will not be material enough now for states to say we need to tax EV for using the roads but it will come some day.

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