Charge your electric car on your next trip

by Ernie Hernandez on February 25, 2012

The power of a simple 120 volt outlet

A group of San Diego Nissan LEAF owners have been gathering to share information, enthusiasm, and LEAF knowledge on a periodic basis for the past year or so. Our meeting this morning in Poway included nearly 50 attendees and a group of 20 or more LEAFs parked mostly together in a show of electric vehicle (EV) solidarity.

Topics discussed included the developing infrastructure (or lack thereof), future potential EV rates by San Diego Gas & Electric, more discussion about the local Car2Go all electric car rental fleet, and perhaps most interesting of all, a local off airport extended parking facility offering free EV charging.

Discussion regarding DC fast charging holds little more promise this month than it did last month. We are still looking at the possibility of a DC fast charger going in to Santa Ysabel, though there is no firm date and this will not likely be a highly used unit due to its location. According to the Ecotality representative, we will see DC fast chargers in Escondido and at or near Lindbergh Field airport within six months, likely within three. As the saying goes – time will tell.

Mike Cully, the local Car2Go Location Manager, talked about the deployment of the 300 car all electric vehicle car sharing business in the San Diego market. Currently 215 vehicles have been put into service, with more standing by, as the city’s infrastructure is developed to support local EV owners, and this growing business model, on a cooperative basis. Mike is EV community friendly and seems very willing to work with LEAF and other EV owners to ensure that we all have access to the installed  infrastructure to meet the needs of individual owners along with Car2Go’s fleet vehicles. If you happen to be in the San Diego area, need a charge, and find a Car2Go vehicle using a public charger, contact them via phone or online. Mike is making a concerted effort to work with the community to improve adoption of EVs and realizes that providing a positive public image is good for the company as well as the community.

Finally, one very positive bit of news for the business traveling EV owner – Alladin Parking downtown will be offering as many as 50 spots with 120-volt AC outlets for EV charging in July. The goal is to ultimately offer as many as ten percent of their spaces with AC access. Currently they have only one space available, but it is not always used. Perhaps if you use another company for your long-term airport parking needs, you might call ahead and ask if they might have a 120-volt outlet that could be used while you are using their facility. These extended parking facilities really won’t have any idea of how many EVs there are until we start asking them to provide some support. Aladdin is offering the EV charging at no additional cost currently. By letting them know that there is demand, more companies may be willing to make this offer to existing (and new) customers as well. Even if you are just taking a day trip, an eight hour or more charge will more than likely be plenty to get you back home. Certainly any longer trip will be sure to provide you with a full battery upon your return.

One thing that our gathering today did was to remind us of the power of the collective. If we all approach our extended parking facilities, grocery stores, neighborhood strip mall businesses, shopping malls or restaurants with the idea of supporting EV owners with a simple 120-volt outlet, we may be surprised at how willing they might be to accommodate our requests. Once that door opens, who knows where it might lead.

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