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View Full Version : Close Calls and 500e Adventures



CjDaniel
08-08-2014, 12:26 PM
Yesterday I had Eminem Tickets for the Rosebowl in Pasadena, I live in OC. I had a date coming with me and I contemplated taking the "E" because my truck consumes massive amounts of gas. But I knew I needed to find a charge there or I wouldn't make it back.
I did some investigation which took quite a long time. Pasadena seems to own several parking garages but they are run by a vendor.
Pasadena's page indicated that there were charging stations at several of them but the quantity of them was different depending on what page you read. Pasadena city web pages were almost worthless, the information was old, many dead links and the phone numbers for more information were wrong. I must say every app I have to find charging stations is weak with info. So finally I just called the city, that was worse. They sent me through 4 phone trees that circled back on each other without giving me a live person. Finally I hung up, and called back and talked to the receptionist. He gave me the number for the parking garage company. So this girl answers, who barely speaks English and for every question I asked she had to ask someone else. They weren't sure how many level 2 Inductive charging ports the parking structure I was inquirying about had, or what they cost or anything.

Well I took my car to work and plug in to the level 2 there and decided to chance it. I didn't want to cause stress to the girl that was coming with me, so I was hoping this would work out fine. We left at 3pm on the 405. I wanted to give plenty of time so we find plug in parking, could eat and take a shuttle to Eminem which started at 7:30. The car wasn't fully charged but it was only 46 miles, but I knew there would be traffic, and because I had a date, I had to use the A/C.

So we departed and the traffic was mild still that early in the afternoon. I must say coming from using Waze and Navigon GPS on my phones for years, I really dislike the Tom Tom and probably wont use it again. That is another post. We arrived at the garage, there were no attendents, nor any signs indicating charging stations. Again the online info indicated there may have been 8 on level 2. When we finally found them in the wierd split garage there were 4 and all full. My stress level climbed but stayed calm. I was down to 26 miles but they were clicking off fast in the garage. We then stumbled on to 4 more, 3 were old paddle type and 1 was level 2 with the right nozzle. But, We could see them but could not get to them. Then we finally found 3 more with 1 space available. But this one was behind a gate we couldn't get through. Found some attendents, in broken English, said that one was for city workers. But he knew where there were three more. Went there and there was only one available, but it had a sign that said 4 hour limit. They many offered to put quarters in for us, but he was off at 10 and this garage was monitored 24/7 supposedly.

Well I must say my date stayed very calm, and tried to be helpful and suggested we try another one of the garages. Long story less long, pulled in to 2nd garage and finally found the three chargers in the basement. Two were inductive level 2 and one the old style paddle. Only the paddle space was available. Just as we were backing out, a man with a Leaf was going to his car, relief. Got plugged in for free, parking was $6. Bar hopped to three bars for drinks and appys, that was great, took uber to bowl for $3.

End of the night went well except it took an hour to go from the bowl, on the shuttle back to down town, car was fully charged, I was going to drop her off and go home, i thought, night time, straight shot no problem. Major traffic on the 5, Waze had us get off the freeway for 4 miles to avoid it, with the lights on, the traffic, the a/c on. I made it to her house but only had 6 miles left, and I lived 10. I spent the night which was a bit hard on a work night for both of us, cosidering we didn't even make it home until 2:15am. Hmmm

rnddude
08-08-2014, 12:35 PM
"I made it to her house but only had 6 miles left, and I lived 10. I spent the night which was a bit hard on a work night for both of us, considering we didn't even make it home until 2:15am. Hmmm "
I think you just discovered a new strategy for a sleepover with your date!:tickled_pink:

trevc
08-08-2014, 12:52 PM
Life in California - tried it and it's not for me!

bainbridgeny
08-08-2014, 12:55 PM
Thanks for posting this! I've been contemplating going electric for our next car and these are the stories I like to hear :encouragement:

CjDaniel
08-08-2014, 07:31 PM
Thanks for posting this! I've been contemplating going electric for our next car and these are the stories I like to hear :encouragement:

mddude -for sure
trevc - I totally understand, was in Tenn a few weeks back it was beautiful. But I am never leaving Cali except on trips, I live 1/2 mile from ocean.

Bainbridgeny - Yes, take it in stride, I am one who takes risks but it worked out. I have been driving this car for a week now but like the car a great deal, do not regret my decison at all, just need to learn the ropes a bit better. I will learn mileage differences for A/C and headlights.

THe one thing I will say, I wish that there were some mechanism in place where parking garages would designate 2 parking spaces for each space. (There maybe this but I have never seen it). Then have someone to switch it, or leave note on a connected car saying please plug in mine when you are done. Being at a concert it wasn't like I could leave the concert and go change the plug myself.

TRBO4WD
08-16-2014, 07:47 PM
CjD,
Do you use something like ChargePoint?
Their app will tell you (with decent accuracy) how many of their charging stations are in use.
Also make sure you have the Fiat app. I have the PG&E electric vehicle plan with a level 2 charger installed at the house. (Charge timer enabled to get the $.10 rate) I have to override the timer when using a ChargePoint or other "public" chargers.
BTW- I have never used the TomTom. It is not even in the car! ;-)

Thunderbolt
08-17-2014, 12:39 AM
i made it to her house but only had 6 miles left, and i lived 10. I spent the night which was a bit hard on a work night for both of us
Win!

CjDaniel
08-17-2014, 12:12 PM
I have a chargepoint account, and app. There is one chargepoint near my home, walking distance but, it is $3 an hour (I think it includes parking which is $10-$15 a day normally)
I don't need the parking and $3 seems steep. There are no chargepoints near my work. In the OC it seems there are many more non-chargepoints than there is chargepoints.
Even in Pasadena there were about 15 charging stations, only 2 of them were chargepoints, and they were on a community college campus. Which I am sure required decals.
Another issue that all these charging stations need to consider and post. I have found at least 5 stations listed on the Fiat and Chargepoint app that are in areas not available to the public, and not posted on the app that way.

Andree
08-17-2014, 05:05 PM
I have a chargepoint account, and app. There is one chargepoint near my home, walking distance but, it is $3 an hour (I think it includes parking which is $10-$15 a day normally)
I don't need the parking and $3 seems steep. There are no chargepoints near my work. In the OC it seems there are many more non-chargepoints than there is chargepoints.
Even in Pasadena there were about 15 charging stations, only 2 of them were chargepoints, and they were on a community college campus. Which I am sure required decals.
Another issue that all these charging stations need to consider and post. I have found at least 5 stations listed on the Fiat and Chargepoint app that are in areas not available to the public, and not posted on the app that way.

Let's try to get some solutions going. First, we need to realize that most of the charging stations will be on private property. Because it would take city permission to put in chargers on the street and sidewalk. There are chargers located around city/county buildings often enough, which is great if you're going to hang out at City Hall for the day. LOL

So the chargers will be limited to property owned by business/commercial. Parking garages for one. Malls, open shopping centers, malls. When I'd been looking around the Fiat app, I found a charger put in at a dry cleaners, or something similar. They probably have a small parking lot of their own. And they may have put it in for themselves.

Think about contacting the companies who own/run the shopping centers, and refer them over to the VoltaCharging.com site. I haven't really looked at any of the other charging sites, so I don't know what they have. But the Volta one has info right there for regular consumers, for sponsors to advertise, and for property owners to host a station.

It has to be the easiest thing for property owners:
http://www.voltacharging.com/host.php#host-why

"Volta provides EV charging stations to properties at no cost, maintained for life, and as a free amenity to attract premium clientele and tenants. Our stations are sleek and eye-catching, adding value and community engagement to previously utilitarian parking spaces. Best of all, EV drivers who use Volta’s stations spend more of their time and money at our hosts’ properties while their cars charge."

They all seem to have 2 hour limits, so they don't fill you all the way up. They're more set up for shoppers. And I can guess they do indeed have people stay a little longer in the mall, just to max the 2 hour charging.

For longer charging, they may need the pay chargers. And even that can be a win for a big mall/shopping area, if they also happen to be located next to public transit. Normally the mall wants you to come into the stores and buy stuff. That's the whole purpose. But, with some of the far flung parking spots in a couple of malls near me, they are also close to public transit.

For those local, I'm thinking of Westlake shopping mall in Daly City, where the Home Depot is. There's a bus stop RIGHT THERE. Putting in an entire row of all-day pay chargers gives people a place to commute to, to park, to charge, to get on the bus. Yes, they can choose to make money just from the parking spots.

And, putting in various rows of chargers that go all night could allow more people to have electric vehicles. They CAN charge overnight, even if they are in an apartment. There usually is some kind of mall security that drives around in these places, and their duties can include driving by the electric car chargers.

Having a row of chargers, like maybe 10-15, that would be a huge draw for the mall. Even if people are mainly coming there to charge, it's more likely folks will stop in at the mall to do shopping as needed, rather than driving to another place. Westlake has multiple entrances, areas to park, including a couple of covered parking garages, and several bus stops on the side of the mall or just across the street. There could be another group of chargers out at the main entrance by the signage. Bus stop across the street. With a couple of food places in the mall.

It makes sense to have several long rows of charging. Both short term and full charge stations. There's no one doing that right now that I've seen mentioned. There are a couple chargers here and there, and they always seem to be full. Put in rows of charging, for shoppers and for commuters who will be leaving their car there all day, and watch the business come in.

CjDaniel
08-17-2014, 05:25 PM
Great post, I agree. I recently read on a illuminated sign in front of a shopping center. 1 hour free charging. I can walk there from work. I can get coffee there, there is a "Habit" and A gourmet hotdog place I forgot the name an Indian restaurant, a pizza place. A record store, of which I already stop from time to time. A 7 eleven.. So I am frequenting their business more because they are offereing that charging. (The owner of the center drives a Tesla).

Andree
08-17-2014, 05:42 PM
I'll plug in this link here too, I just posted elsewhere:
http://www.yelp.com/biz/volta-charging-san-francisco-2

Those are a few Yelp reviews from very happy people using the Volta chargers.

And from what you're saying, it's a total win situation. Everyone is winning with the charging.

I think it's Walgreens that has many chargers in So Ca, which is perfect. I go to Walgreen's locally, it's a 24-hour store. I have prescriptions filled there. And during the day, there are always people sitting, waiting, for their prescriptions to be filled. It's not such a problem to wait, if you're also charging up your car at the same time. It's a good reason to switch pharmacies too.

Even if it's pay charging, you're doing more than one thing. You're not just waiting, you're charging!