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Chevy Volt Early Public Charging Sessions

Chevy Volt Plugged in for Level 1 Public Charging Plugging into a Coulumb Level 1 Charger Last weekend, I was in San Jose and decided to park at the City Hall Garage in order to utilize the ChargePoint America Public Charging Station. Unfortunately it was only a 110 charging station so I did not get a full charge out of it but my session did put about 10 miles of charge into the Volt.

The first attempt however in the wee hours of the morning did not go completely smoothly. I had a ChargePass Card ready so I could  use the station (I got one when I had the home charger installed) , however my first attemps at plugging the 110 volt Voltec Charger did not go so well.

Coulomb ChargePoint America Level 1 Station with Voltec Charger

You’ll see in that photo that it appears that everything is plugged in just right, (it was a little tight fit because of the 90 degree connected on the Voltec Unit) however you’ll see in the photo below that the door would not close in this orientation.  The door of the Coulumb station must be closed and locked to start your charging session (to prevent someone from stealing the cord).

Coulumb unit not closing on Voltec Unit

Eventually I figured out a work-around by hanging the unit sideways, but it was not pretty.  Normally you don’t want to put a lot of weight on a plug like that, but it was the only way it worked.

  Plugging into a Coulumb Level 1 Charger

In the end, the charging station worked fine, but I was a little disappointed that it was only a 110 station.  The 240v public charging stations are so much faster, better and more useful – so I am not entirely certain why they would install 110v public charging stations other than the fact that the electrical conduits weren’t there, but there were other, older charging units that had 240v nearby.

  Chevy Volt Plugged in for Level 1 Public Charging

So my first public charging experience was a success, but the intrastructure is definately in the early phases.

Have a public charging story?  Check out the Chevy Volt Owner’s Forum and share it there!

5 Responses to “Chevy Volt Early Public Charging Sessions”

  1. Jeff N says:

    I just signed up and received my ChargePoint card but haven’t had an opportunity to use it yet.

    I did realize a couple of days ago something I had overlooked earlier about public charging at parking lots and garages. It may be illegal for Chevy Volt owners!

    Some existing public charging sites that will be upgraded to use the new J1772 standard have signs posted which limit parking in the those dedicated spaces in accordance with CA Vehicle Code section 22511. It turns out that this requires the vehicle to display a sticker issued by the DMV. These stickers are restricted to Zero Emission Vehicles. The Volt has a gasoline engine and so it is not considered to be a ZEV by the DMV and CARB. If you park and charge at a space marked with one of these signs you might be ticketed or even towed.

    The link to the vehicle code is here:

    http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc22511.htm
    http://dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d11/vc22511_1.htm

    The sticker request form is here:

    http://dmv.ca.gov/forms/reg/reg4048.pdf

    I noticed at the bottom of the DMV form that it says to visit http://www.zevinfo.com for more information from the California Air Resources Board. However, that website is no longer there and instead you now a “this web hosting name is for sale” page.

    It makes sense to have a law that parking facilities can use to keep non-pluggable cars out of these spaces. It may even make sense to continue to have a ZEV-only version of this to give charging station owners the choice of restricting some (or even all) of their spaces to cars which are battery-only and more dependent on public charging than hybrid plugins. However, I think this law is mostly a relic of the last decade when plugin hybrids were not available (it was passed in 2003 before the first Prius plugin conversions). The existing 22511 should be amended to allow any plugin vehicle.

    I’ve sent email messages to my state legislators and have started talking to EV and plugin activists about this issue. I’ll gather up more information on this next week and will post an update.

  2. PatrickZWang says:

    Hey Jeff,

    Nice Find! I doubt that most police officers would know the difference in vehicle code between the Volt and BEV. (They both have plugs right?) So to me I think the law is just really out of date and they haven’t updated it. Don’t think you’ll run into any issues – and if you do, you can be sure to get on local news for a day! Just think of the headlines!

    Electric Car Towed From Electric Vehicle Parking Spot

    I’m sure someone on fark can come up with a wittier headline though!

    Patrick

    • Jeff N says:

      I found a comment on another blog (GM-Volt, I think) about someone being given a warning by a parking officer in Monterey. The cops are supposed to check for the DMV sticker.

  3. PatrickZWang says:

    What are the chances! I guess they don’t see many EV’s parked in those spaces yet…

    I’ll see if I can dig up anything on my end.

    Patrick

  4. Brett Circe says:

    I had the exact same thing happen, there was not enough slack to use the Columb charing unit with 120v. Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply to Brett Circe