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EV charging stations and a personalized update about EVs - Robert O'Daniell

Posted by Sarthak Prasad on September 14, 2022

Following is an email from Robert O'Daniell regarding EV charging stations and his experience during his recent road trip.

From: Robert O'Daniell
Sent: Wednesday, September 14, 2022 2:58 PM
To: White, Morgan; Prasad, Sarthak; Kontou, Eleftheria
Subject: A personalized update about EVs


Hi - I did another roadtrip this weekend.  At a DCFC I chatted with a guy on a longer road trip that was intent on charging to 100%.   He was there a very long time as the charger slows remarkably as they go beyond 90%. For him to charge from 90% to 100% would take 15 minutes to get 25 miles. I spent 12 minutes at Target and got 75 miles of charge. 


As this year has rolled on, attempts to improve my EV charging survey has waned. There has been decreasing willingness of people participating and I was having doubts about the questions I was asking.   So I have stopped.  And then the EV sections of the Inflation Reduction Act turned everything on its head.  

Even the piece by Kontou that the July 28th IDOT WebEx meeting mentioned  as cutting edge shows its age in only a little over two years.  ( first a disclaimer - inspite of being a math major at UI 50 years ago, the equations and graphs in her report are a little too esoteric for me.)  But some of the basic information  demonstrates remarkable changes,  It mentioned 50 kw charging as fast, now NEVI mandates a minimum of 150kw (350 kw is now fast).   Mentioned charging locations that numbered at 1300.  Now Tesla alone has 1200 supercharger locations,  The mentioned EVgo has dropped from prominence, now Electrify America from its infancy in 2019 now leads the way. Electrify America currently has 800 and most are up to NEVI standards.   EVs charging up on off-peak hours takes advantage of unused capacity at those times ( and gets a discount). And now with two way charging, EVs can put power back on the grid at some heavy peak use periods. (Known as V2G)  Predictions of some EV issues will be difficult.

Recent V2G articles.


BMW, Ford, GM will help incentivize California EV drivers to charge off-peak


Can a Garage Full of Revel Taxis Stop the Next Blackout?


Brooklyn-based Vehicle-to-Grid Bidirectional Station Charging back into NYC Grid | EnergyTech




So - EV charging will have two opposite effects on the grid.  Occasionally add to a peak load. But also help balance the load on the grid by taking some energy during off-peak hours and putting it back during peak load pressures. 


EV charging also has another opposition.   DCFC continuing to get faster and  Levels 1 & 2 staying the same or getting slower. 

The two factors are the "60% rule" and the increasing acceptance of convenience charging. 


 The 60% rule is to only charge between 20% and 80% (the 60% in the middle).   This protects battery life and has the advantage of saving time. Saved time is illustrated in the opening paragraph of this email.  3 times the charge in slightly less time.


Accepting convenience charging is maximizing charging convenience.  Speed at DCFC.  And if its not convenient, I don’t charge (even if free). A different take on “Willingness To Pay” (if the charger is 100 yards away and I’ll only get 10 miles, why bother)


Faster = = DCFC & the NEVI guidelines. DCFC is at least twice as fast when charging from 20% to 30% than it is when  charging from 70% to 80%.  Nobody (should) wants to charge to 100%, where the charging speed is similar to Level 2 charger.  Lots of current EVs charge faster than my car, and I can add 75 miles in the time it takes to use the rest room.  With the NEVI 50 mile interval, it guarantees roadtrips with minimal times as drivers plan better. 

Slower = =  For my home, I spent $200 on the slowest level 2 charger available (16 amp).  Even if my VW is down to 20% when I go to bed, my "slow" charger will add enough range to get from CU to Woodridge ( 142 miles) when I get up.  In the 8 hour “off peak” window, 90 miles can be added. 


Since few people in this area need 75 miles to get home from work, those that need to add charge before leaving work for home can get what they need from the slowest level 2 chargers.  This could save money for places like UI by reducing the cost of the EVSE and the necessary wiring for them.  It would be interesting to know if any workers at UI would  pay extra to rent a reserved parking space with a charger. (For those with longer commutes or no chargers at their apartment complex)


We need to get our municipal leaders to get involved with IDOT and get one or more of the DCFC locations paid for with Federal money (NEVI program). Those DCFCs could fulfill all of UI needs for short term EV charging and the need for level 1 or 2 charging spaces.   But as a visible sign of support of sustainability issues, some should still be there. 


Level 2 destination chargers scattered throughout the community will always be both used and appreciated,  As EV drivers learn the most efficient ways to charge, their WTP for level 2 charging will wane.   WTP for DCFC will always be there.

Thank you for your time. 


ps.  as a side note - a few details to go but I will be doing an EV interest group at OLLI soon.  (OLLI - UI affiliate of Osher Life Long Learning Institute)


Robert K. O'Daniell

Photographer Emeritus-News-Gazette