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Restricted Public EV Charging and How the Chevy Volt Got Around It

A Few Days Ago I was on the Google Campus for a conference and was very interested to finally be able to use one of their hundreds of ChargePoint EV Charging Stations around the campus a segment of which you can see below.  The Volts/Leafs are both gFleet cars and Employee Vehicles.

Google Electric G Fleet

This was great because Google was about 42 Miles from where I live, so if i drove conservatively, I could potentially make the entire 84 miles round trip without using gas!

However I ran into an unwelcome surprise when I tried to activate the ChargePoint station with my ChargePoint Card. “Access Denied” See below.

ChargePoint Restricted Charging Station

So Google Locked down the charging stations to only Google Employees.  I suppose this is a good idea, though I’m not sure who else would be parking on their campus to steal a charge other than their employees or customers.  So unfortunately I had to make the drive back on gas.  Darn.

The news here is the non-news.  The fact that it wasn’t a big deal for me to drive home without a charge.  There’s a lot of discussion about expanding public charging infrastructure to support the adoption of EV’s, but while there are more charging stations, they are still few and far between.  As in the case here, even if there are over 200 of the in a 10 square mile area, you might not be able to use them.

You might say hey with that drive you could have done it in a Leaf without charging.  To that I would add that my trip back was much longer – due to the nasty traffic/detour.  My total roundtrip that day was 94 miles, which would have put it at the very limits of Leaf Range.  I don’t think it would have made the full 100 miles driving 65 mph on the highway either, which is what I did with the Volt.

I did however see many Leafs in the Google area however (I’m sure the fact that you can charge at work is a great plus) and for short distance commuters, it may not be a bad option.  But to me still a tough sell given that it would be an only car.

One Response to “Restricted Public EV Charging and How the Chevy Volt Got Around It”

  1. Lisa T says:

    Aloha Patrick:
    Good post. I did a Google search for ‘google electric car charging stations’ and your blog post is not yet ranking for that key phrase. I’m sure it will shortly. Ha!

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