Thursday, May 17, 2012

Manassas City Utilities Public Comments

My friend and fellow Nissan LEAF enthusiast Kayne Karnbach maintains a wonderful blog about electric vehicle.  In his latest entry, he investigates the charging infrastructure in Prince William County and Manassas city.  I believe Kayne is right about location but would add that movie houses and all those strip malls on VA 234 Business would also make great locations.  The sad thing about the railway station parking is most people will be leaving their cars there for 8–10 hour stretched which would fill even a LEAF from empty.  Seems to me the perfect situation where valet parking would be an advantage, where a Volt could get the first 4-hour shift, and a LEAF the second 6-hour shift on the same outlet, with the Volt coming from thirty to forty miles away and the LEAF from seventy to ninety.  And is the usual case will be much less, the time at the outlet could be even more greatly reduced with the valet managing how long to charge each one to a minimum of need.

Manassas City Utilities Public Comments

Last week I took the opportunity to address the Manassas City Utility Commission regarding their public charging stations.  Manassas has recently debuted public charging stations for EVs and PHEVs.

Here’s the gist of my address.

Don’t trust that data!  Two years from now, the city of Manassas will review usage data on each charger.  The conclusion that data will lead decision makers to is probably one of little or no benefit to having public charging available.  If reached, that conclusion will be wrong, and here’s why.  Public chargers are being installed with little thought on where and why to install them in the first place.  Because of this, EV owners will neglect to use the stations, since they don’t fit their charging needs.

Why don’t they meet EV owners’ needs?  EV owners are looking for places to charge that allow them to be plugged in for at least two hours, providing the kind of charge that will allow for at least 30 miles of range.  Plugging into a charger for anything less will result in 15 – 20 miles of range, hardly a reason to make a special trip to Manassas.

The only viable placement of public charging in Manassas at the moment is in the parking garage at the Virginia Railway station.  It is conceivable that someone could plug in while parked in the garage, presumably during work.  While this does make sense, it assumes EV owners are driving to Manassas from a distance of + 45 miles, since anything less wouldn’t necessitate a charge to make it home.  That would be the equivalent of someone driving from Front Royal to Manassas.  Not likely.