The first DC Fast Charger in greater San Diego

by Ernie Hernandez on January 8, 2012

Blink DC Fast ChargerWill be in Santa Ysabel?

Many reading this will have no idea where Santa Ysabel is. Some reading this will know where Santa Ysabel is, and will never use this fast charging station. Santa Ysabel is about 54 miles Northeast of downtown San Diego. When we say the greater San Diego area, we really do mean the greater San Diego area.

Santa Ysabel map

Yesterday a group of about 50 or so enthusiastic San Diego area LEAF owners met in Poway, a north county inland location, to discuss developments in the infrastructure development and to exchange information of interest to other LEAF owners. It was interesting to discover that there are at least two bodies looking to develop a DC fast charge network in Southern California – Charge Bliss and EV Oasis. Based on the presentations that we saw, and a quick look at the web sites of these two entities, we would say that we are watching more out of curiosity at this point than anything else. It seems unlikely that either entity will have anything operational prior to mid-2012, if then.

Of more interest was the announcement that a Blink DC fast charger will be installed in Santa Ysabel, perhaps by the end of March. This announcement was made not by ECOtality, the company behind the EV Project whose Blink charger will be used, but by Randy Walsh a representative of Meissner Jacquet a local property management company. They are representing the property owner in Santa Ysabel. So the big question is, why Santa Ysabel of all places. It seems that the property owner was very motivated to have this charger installed here. A quick look at the businesses operating on the property show that the Julian Pie Company is located here, along with a couple of other businesses. Our guess is that this location was selected to encourage EV owners to drive to Julian, an east county village not far from Santa Ysabel that offers fresh apple pie in apple season, along with some rustic folk arts and crafts, and relies heavily on this tourist season to sustain local businesses. From the sounds of it, the EV Project also may throttle back the performance of the DC fast charger to avoid California Public Utility Commission electricity demand charges. This would mean that the theoretical 80% charge in 25 minutes could be reduced by as much as 50%, so it might take as much as 50 minutes to receive an 80% charge. Also, no mention was made of what kind of pricing structure would exist for use of the DC fast charging station.

We have nothing against businesses wanting to boost and maintain profitability, as long as those goals do not include creating an ever larger economic differential between owner and worker. In fact, the Cracker Barrel installation of a dozen DC fast charge stations in Tennessee is expressly designed to have electric vehicle (EV) drivers dine and shop at their restaurants and stores while their cars charge. The difference there is that those charge stations facilitate movement around the state. This station facilitates movement essentially to one destination – Julian. So for those inclined to drive to Julian in their LEAF or other EV, this will be a useful installation. But as you can see by the map, it does nothing to facilitate travel to Orange County to the north or Yuma to the east of San Diego. For those inclined to visit the Anza-Borrego desert it will also be helpful. But if this installation serves as a driving force to any others considering the installation of a fast charger in other more useful locations, we say let’s get it in there.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Tom K January 10, 2012 at 9:57 am

My wife and I travel to Julian a couple times a year for the antique shops and apple pie but since we live in Ventura county, it’ll be a while before my LEAF travels down there…
At least it’s a start…. I think….
P.S. Santa Ysabel is just a three-way stop sign in the middle of nowhere…

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A.Coons December 3, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Dear TOM K. Clearly you need to get out of yr car and take a look around you the next visit to Santa Ysabel. It is hardly a 3 way stop in the middle of nowhere. Not only does it have several destination sites that people come from all over the country for like Dudley’s bakery and Julian Apple pie company, but there are highly regarded art gallery, antiques, rock & gem store not yr average one but one with true rock hounds operating it with a love for the geology etc. There are many historic sites in and nearby other than Julian too. And the Santa Ysabel General Store & Backcountry Visitor Center may have been closed the last time you came through but this is a collaboration of non profit preservationist, land and wildlife conservationist and the store itself , an 1884 adobe mercantile building is a fine foods & general mercantile , gifts and history and nature book store and there is nothing quite like it for hundreds of miles around. Further, we are surrounded by award winning wineries, and several fine restaurants just a few miles towards Julian in Wynola, where you can find more antique stores, nationally recognized hard apple cider tasting room ( Julian Hard Cider) and more artist, shops and galleries. If you go north from the Santa Ysabel Store (at the junction of 78&79) 12 miles and you can find this National Historic Landmark http://sohosandiego.org/warners/index.htm West from the store is the town of Ramona and its antique center… so Santa Ysabel is hardly in the middle of nowhere and now that it also has the first DC Fast Charger in greater San Diego you may want to not dismiss it so lightly. Indeed it is one of the most beautiful valleys in the state. So, do stop by the next time you come through and stay a while. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

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Earl McAlpine June 19, 2013 at 10:50 am

My trip in my leaf
Left Vista, CA and drove to San Diego airport and dropped off my wife Robin for a Flight to her sisters. Then drove to SDSU lot G, 5500 Campanile Dr., San Diego, and first time quick charged. Called up my son who lives in the area and had breakfast. Left Travis and drove up I-15 to the Nissan dealer in Temecula, and charged at there 240 charger for hour, and watched tv. Drove up to McDonalds, 2242 University Ave, Riverside and quick charged for 1/2 hour and had lunch. Drove to Mom & Dads place in Yucaipa and put on the 120 charger. We then talks for about 2 hours and then went to dinner. Good by’s and down the hill and back to McDonalds in Riverside for another quick charge. Left and drove back home to Vista with head lights and no stops. So started at 04:00 AM and ended at 09:30 PM, 270.13 miles, 5 hrs …
Would like to here about other planned trips!!!

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Ernie Hernandez (LEAFguy) June 19, 2013 at 4:21 pm

Earl – Welcome to Living LEAF.

Thank you very much for your input on the extended range capabilities of the Nissan LEAF! By knowing where you’re going, and knowing about the charging stations (240 volt and quick charge type), you can easily accomplish quite a bit during your day – as you so clearly pointed out in your comment. Once again, I will take the opportunity to mention plugshare.com as a great smartphone app to find places to charge that will allow you to arrange for these kinds of days.

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