Automotive Engineering - June 2023 - 4

EDITORIAL
EDITORIAL
Bill Visnic
Editorial Director
Bill.Visnic@sae.org
The gas-station paradigm for EV charging
One evening earlier this year, I found
myself at a convenience-store gas station
with eight pumps and one EV fastcharger.
I'd been vectored there by the
charge provider's phone app. As I exited
the freeway, the app indicated the
charger was in service and unoccupied.
Good news, as the EV that I was testdriving
was " running on fumes " - that
old-school term for when IC-engine
vehicles' fuel tanks are close to dry.
" Seek charging immediately, " the vehicle
warned! I didn't want to risk trying
to make it home, eight miles away.
The charging stand was sited at the
end of a gas-pump island. Luckily, the
EV was compact - the charger's location
forced parking 90
degrees in relation to the
island. If the vehicle had
been longer, it would
have blocked one of the
gas pumps. Rain began
falling; the EV charger
was not under the island's
roof. But I'd made it!
The charging duration
would be short. Just
enough to get me home,
then the EV could soak up
220V from my garage all night. But
while reaching for the charge cable, I
noticed a problem - the coupler was
for CHAdeMo charge ports. I needed a
CCS coupler. The app hadn't listed this
as a CHAdeMo charger. I cursed, getting
wet and watching others gas up and go.
I ended up slowly limping home with
the EV's flashers on.
This scenario came to mind during
this year's SAE WCX 2023 conference,
as I listened to a panel discussion on
how to improve U.S. public charging.
One of the panelists, Justin Wilson, director
of utility partnerships and regulatory
affairs at ChargePoint (operator of
the largest network of independent EV
charging stations), suggested that the
oncoming EV era requires a " new paradigm "
for vehicle energy replenishment.
Filling a typical gas tank and hitting the
4 June 2023
Put a roof over
the chargers!
EV drivers
shouldn't have
to get wet when
they step out of
their vehicles to
hook up.
road in less than five minutes is not
possible with EVs. So, a different approach
is needed. Stopping to charge in
the future can be an immersive experience,
the panelists discussed. Enjoy a
meal while you wait for the battery to
be sufficiently juiced! There'll be colocated
entertainment for the kids.
Shopping! And who knows what else
- movies? Showers, like the big interstate
truck stops have?
I think the charging station-astheme-park
ideas come from those who
don't travel much by car. Or have too
much time on their hands. Or are planning
a chain of ElectroMegaworld
charging complexes.
The EV charging paradigm
already exists. It's
the quick and efficient
gas and diesel fueling
experience. Simply meeting
the convenience and
service that Big Oil delivers
day after day, no matter
the weather, will enhance
EV ownership.
Start by posting the daily
per-unit price of the electrical
energy on sale outside
the station. App info is not trustworthy.
Next, put a roof over the chargers! EV
drivers shouldn't have to get wet when
they step out of their vehicles to hook up.
Why is it that thousands of EVSEs are
being installed out in the open?
Design and build charging units as
robust, easy-to-handle and reliable as
gas pumps, which are rarely out of service.
And when they do break, inform
customers with a simple " Sorry - Out of
Order " sign. Have the usual hand wipes,
paper towels, squeegees and other conveniences
nearby.
Alexandre Louis, chief revenue officer
at Flo, a Montreal-based EVSE maker,
told me EV public charging will get to
gas-station service and quality levels.
He is confident it will be within 10 years.
It can't come too soon.
Lindsay Brooke, Editor-in-Chief
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AUTOMOTIVE ENGINEERING

Automotive Engineering - June 2023

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Automotive Engineering - June 2023 - SPONSOR1
Automotive Engineering - June 2023 - CVRA
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