Friday, May 6, 2016

Charging Stations, Japan, California and PG&E

A quick charger is pictured outside a FamilyMart convenience store in Tokyo last April. Nissan Motor Co. says there are now more car charging points in Japan than gas stations. | KYODO
Japan has more car chargers than gas stations

The Japan Times  by Timothy Coulter  Bloomberg  Feb 16, 2015 

LONDON – There are more electric-car charging points in Japan than there are gas stations.
That surprising discovery comes from Nissan Motor Co., which reported that the number of power points in Japan, including fast-chargers and those in homes, has surged to 40,000, surpassing the nation’s 34,000 gas stations.

The figure shows that in the relatively brief time since electric vehicles were introduced, the infrastructure to support them has become bigger than what the oil industry built over decades in the world’s third-biggest economy — at least by this one measure.

Why that matters is obvious. Nissan’s battery-powered Leaf can travel 135 km on a charge, and the anxiety of being stuck away from home without power has restrained consumer demand. As the charging network expands and batteries become more powerful, that concern will wane.

“An important element of the continued market growth is the development of the charging infrastructure,” Joseph G. Peter, Nissan chief financial officer, told analysts on a conference call.

As charging stations become more common, electric-car support services are also emerging. Open Charge Map, for example, operates an online listing of public charging points worldwide. A mobile app combines the data with GPS technology to guide drivers to the nearest site.

Of course, gas stations typically have multiple pumps and can serve more vehicles in a day than an electric-car charging point.

Also, one criticism of Nissan’s number is that many of those charging sites are in private garages. Considering the emerging so-called sharing economy, such as the online home-sharing service operated by Airbnb Inc., homeowners may soon be willing to make their chargers available to other drivers.

And more charging locations are being built all the time. Automakers have recognized that oil companies are unlikely to install plugs next to gasoline pumps, and are building their own networks.
Tesla Motors Inc. has its own network of charging stations, and Bayerische Motoren Werke AG, or BMW, and Volkswagen AG announced in January that they are joining the network operated by ChargePoint Inc., and plan to build as many as 100 fast chargers along the busiest corridors of the U.S. coasts, from Portland to San Diego in the west and from Boston to Washington, in the east.

Utilities are joining in. Great Plains Energy Inc., the Kansas City, Missouri-based utility holding company, announced in January plans to build a network of more than 1,000 charging stations in the region by mid-2015. Charging will even be free to everyone for the first two years.

Given that there are only about 9,000 public charging stations in the entire U.S., the initiative gives Kansas City, the nation’s 29th largest metropolitan area, a chance to become the nation’s electric car capital with as much as 10 percent of the nation’s chargers.

Kansas City may not be able to retain that position. PG&E Corp., owner of California’s biggest utility, asked regulators Feb. 9 for permission to build a network of about 25,000 chargers in public areas over a five-year period.


PG&E plans to build 25,000 EV charging stations in California, US

greenpowertrain  ABR Staff Writer Published 12 February 2015
US based Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) is planning to construct around 25,000 new electric vehicle charging stations across Northern and Central California over a five-year period.
The company has filed an application with the California Public Utilities Commission seeking permission for this project.

PG&E plans to build the chargers at commercial and public locations, including multi-family dwellings, retail centers, and workplaces.

PG&E chairman, president, and CEO Tony Earley said, "Our proposed build-out of EV charging infrastructure aims to accelerate customer adoption of clean, quiet, and efficient plug-in vehicles by reducing lingering range anxiety.

"It reflects our commitment to helping the state of California meet its critical clean air and greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals by promoting cleaner transportation."

"By supporting market acceptance of electric vehicles, it should create tremendous new opportunities for other infrastructure and technology companies, help keep California in the forefront of EV innovation, and create new jobs in local communities across Northern and Central California."

According to PG&E, currently over 60,000 electric vehicles have been registered in company's service area and it also represent more than 20% of total electric vehicles in US.

This $654m project would be the largest deployment of electric vehicle charging stations in the country and 10% of these charges will be aimed to support disadvantaged communities.

PG&E is expected to hire contractors to install and maintain the chargers and manage customer billing.

California PUC Rejects Plan for Electric Vehicle Charging Station Network

In an attempt to capitalize on Gov. Jerry Brown's electric vehicle goal for California, PG&E attempted to build a network of more than 25,000 charging stations, but it was ultimately disapproved.  by George Avalos, Contra Costa Times / September 8, 2015

(TNS) -- PG&E's plan to have ratepayers pick up the tab for a $654 million program to build a large network of electric vehicle charging stations in northern and central California has been turned back, according to a state regulatory ruling on Friday.

The state Public Utilities Commission would have to hold a full array of hearings before the PUC authorizes any sort of electric vehicle charging station program, PUC Commissioner Carla Peterman stated in a ruling posted by the agency.

"We must consider the requirement to protect against unfair competition and the demonstrated costs and benefits of any utility electric vehicle charging station proposal," Commissioner Peterman wrote in her ruling.

San Francisco-based PG&E had proposed the creation of 25,100 electric vehicle charging stations in its service territory, which PG&E believes is what is necessary for the utility to meet its share of Gov. Jerry Brown's plan to have 1 million electric vehicles on California roads by 2020.

Residential electricity customers would have to pay an additional 70 cents a month on their PG&E bills to fund it under the original PG&E proposal.

"Expanding the use of electric vehicles is essential to California's success in achieving a reduction in greenhouse gases and a robust charging infrastructure is necessary to make that happen," PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper said.

The increases in electricity bills would start in 2018 and extend until 2022 under the PG&E proposal. The $654 million reflects the cost of the program from 2015 through 2022 and includes $551 million in capital costs, according to a PG&E regulatory filing in February.

Peterman stated the PG&E proposal didn't adequately address the issue of whether the utility could create an anti-competitive market for electric vehicle charging stations, as well as gain an unfair advantage in the arena.

"These elements are necessary when considering a program of such magnitude, especially when combined with the need to evaluate ratepayer costs and benefits, and to protect against unfair competition," Peterman wrote. "We find that a more measured approach to utility ownership in PG&E's service territory is warranted."

San Francisco-based PG&E will not be allowed to deploy more than 2,510 electric vehicle charging stations during the first phase of the program over the first two years of the effort. That equates to 10 percent of the total number of stations that PG&E had proposed.

Private companies involved in the sector were concerned that the PG&E proposal could stifle innovation as well as competition partly because PG&E is seeking approval to wield wide-ranging control over the design of the physical facilities and the support services for the charging network.

"PG&E's original plan was anti-competitive, because you should leave the choice of technology to the charging sites, with reason," said Pasquale Romano, chief executive officer of Campbell-based ChargePoint, which sells charging stations to businesses that set up the facilities in public locations.

The utility noted that 65,000 electric vehicles are registered in PG&E's service territory, or 20 percent of all such vehicles in the nation. And more than half of the electricity that PG&E provides originates from sources with no greenhouse gas emissions.

"PG&E has a long track record of supporting electric vehicles and we look forward to working with the PUC to make this happen," Snapper said. 

©2015 the Contra Costa Times (Walnut Creek, Calif.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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