Advocating for EV Charger Reliability at the Maryland PSC

The Maryland Public Service Commission met this morning to approve an implementation of Electric Vehicle Charging Program Offerings by BGE, Pepco and Delmarva Power. Among other things, it will provide rebates for residential charging stations and sets the rate for utility-owned public charging stations at $0.18/kWh for Level 2 and $0.34/kWh for DC Fast Charging.

52-81% of US apartment dwellers with BEVs rely solely on public charging according to a Jan. 2019 report. Reliability is critical for these folks. I spoke to the Commissioners today to stress the need for better accountability for companies that use public or ratepayer funding to provide EV charging. [Link to YouTube Video]

Here’s a transcript of those remarks.

Joint Utilities Compliance Filing Regarding Implementation of Approved Electric Vehicle Charging Program Offerings. Case No. 9478.

My name is Lanny Hartmann. I drive an electric car. I appreciate the opportunity to make a few comments from an EV driver’s point of view.

I want to focus on one segment of people who drive battery-only electric cars and don’t have access to charging at home or at work and who rely solely on public EV charging.

The proposed flat rate of 34 cents per kWh [for DC fast charging] is in a range that I think is fair. I’d point out that the cost to use a Tesla Supercharger is only 28 cents per kWh. And Tesla delivers a very reliable service at that price.

Customers of utility-owned chargers need to have a high degree of confidence that they can rely on them. Otherwise, this pilot won’t succeed.

There was an article Saturday in the Carroll County Times about this EV charging program. There’s a quote from BGE about the maintenance of the chargers saying, “BGE is being held to the same reliability standards as our electric distribution system, so they must be operational at all times.”

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Dealing With Crap at a Charging Station

What a mess. I pulled into a spot near an EVgo charging station at my local Trader Joe’s this morning. Trash was strewn everywhere. Fast food wrappers, plastic sauce containers, a paper bag and napkins. Did someone have a late night party here?

I hopped out of the car for a closer inspection. That’s when I saw it. A big pile of crap laying naked on the pavement. Right next to ERDEM, the anthropomorphic name that EVgo has given to the CCS/CHAdeMO charger. I didn’t come today to charge, I came to pick up a few items at TJ’s that I didn’t get at the MOM’s Organic Market that I had just come from.

I turned away from the poop and hurried toward the store lest I catch a downwind whiff. As I circulated the store to find my groceries, thoughts gnawed at me. What if an unsuspecting EV driver, eager to get a quick charge, hops out of their car and plants a foot squarely into that squishy pile?

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To the Maryland Public Service Commission from an EV Driver


When the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) held a hearing to decide on allowing utilities to provide EV charging, many parties with a vested interest showed up. There were the charging network companies, the utility companies, automobile manufacturers, industry consultants, lobbyists and trade associations, local government officials and more.

What I did not see on the agenda was a list of individuals from the public. Regular citizens. EV drivers. People like us. So, I called and asked if I could come speak. They put me on the “Additional Advocates and Consumer Panel.” I wanted to look the Commissioners in the eye and speak from the heart of the challenges that we face when depending on public charging infrastructure. Here’s a transcript of those comments.

    Maryland PSC Case No. 9478 Hearing Sept 7, 2018, In the Matter of the Petition of the Electric Vehicle Work Group for Implementation of a Statewide Electric Vehicle Portfolio – Consumer Panel

My name is Lanny Hartmann, I live in Howard County, Maryland. I’ve been driving an electric car since April, 2012. My wife and I have two electric cars, we bought the first, which is an 80-mile all-electric battery-only car, and we also have a Tesla Model S that we’ve driven across the country, coast-to-coast, two times. We’ve driven that car to the top of Pikes Peak in Colorado and across Death Valley.

In those trips, we don’t know what range anxiety is. The Tesla private network is highly reliable and if a station happens to be out, it tells you right there on the screen, it will alert you, so that you can make preparations to skip over it.

Now, the question was asked, “has anybody ever pulled up to a station needing to charge and not been able to?” On these other stations that exist out there, unfortunately, the answer is yes.
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Fritchle Arrives in New York in an Electric

110th Anniversary of an Epic Cross Country EV Tour

When Oliver P. Fritchle rode his 100-Mile Electric into New York City on November 28, 1908, it was a sensation.

1,800 miles from Lincoln, Nebraska. In an electric car! How was that possible?

The New York Times published a story under the headline: FROM NEBRASKA IN ELECTRIC AUTO – O. P. Fritchle Accomplishes Long Tour in Car of His Own Make.

The newspaper proclaimed, “Mr. Fritchle’s trip served the useful purpose of establishing the fact that an electric car, capable of going no more than 100 miles average on one charging, can actually be driven across the country and can find sufficient charging stations to keep it going.”

Fritchle staged his trip to demonstrate the long distance capability and durability of the electric car and batteries that his company manufactured in Denver. He had invited all other electric vehicle manufacturers to join him for a race between Lincoln, Nebraska and New York, saying they “should hail this opportunity for proving the efficiency of electric automobiles for touring purposes.” No one accepted the challenge so he set off alone. Read More …

Electric Road Trip Across Maryland – Emmy Winning Program

electric road trip sign
Electric car owners Jonathan Slade and Novia Campbell drove from the mountains of western Maryland to the boardwalk at Ocean City in an all-electric Nissan Leaf in the summer of 2012 when there was very little EV charging infrastructure. The Emmy award winning PBS program they produced about their journey is now available to view on YouTube.


One of the goals of the documentary was to show the viability of an electric vehicle for everyday use. If they could drive an all-electric car from Oakland, Maryland all the way to Ocean City, then perhaps viewers would realize that an electric car could serve their commute and daily errands. Read More …

Blink Charging Co. Files for Public Offering

Blink Charging Company SEC
Blink Charging Company has filed a registration statement (Form S-1) with the Securities and Exchange Commission for a public offering. The Registration Statement was filed with the SEC on January 11, 2018.

Blink’s stock is presently quoted on the OTC Pink Current Information Marketplace under the symbol “CCGI”. According to the SEC filing, Blink’s common stock was quoted as $5.25 on January 10, 2018. They have applied to be listed on The NASDAQ under the symbol “BLNK”.
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East Coast Superchargers Five Year Anniversary

Newark & Milford Tesla Superchargers Opened Five Years Ago

Newark Superchargers. photo: @Lanny, Feb. 16, 2013

The first East Coast Tesla Superchargers officially opened five years ago on December 21, 2012.

The Supercharger Stations at the Delaware Welcome Center in Newark and at the Milford Travel Plazas on I-95 in Connecticut were the first to be built outside of California. These two locations enabled Model S drivers to travel between Washington, DC and Boston using Tesla’s exclusive fast chargers. Before these opened, only six Supercharger sites existed in the world, all six were in California. Five years later in 2017, Tesla reports 1,043 Supercharger Stations with 7,496 Superchargers worldwide.
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Fritchle 2,140 Mile Electric Tour Ends in Washington, DC

photo: O. P. Fritchle

On December 10, 1908 at 1:00 PM, Oliver Fritchle arrived in Washington, DC in his “100 Mile Fritchle Electric” completing a 2,140 mile trip from Lincoln, Nebraska. Nearly 60 years would go by until an electric vehicle would travel farther than Fritchle.

In September, 1967, the Arizona Public Service Co. bought an electric car called the MARS II built by Electric Fuel Propulsion Inc. in Detroit, Michigan and drove it 2,226 miles to Phoenix. It was promoted as “the first cross-country trip of an electric car in the United States.”

Coincidentally, O. P. Fritchle’s nephew, Merrill Fritchle, lived in Phoenix and read of the claim in the Arizona Republic. He contacted the paper and presented evidence that the first cross-country electric vehicle journey was actually accomplished by his late uncle, Oliver P. Fritchle 59 years earlier.

The Arizona Republic reviewed the documentation of Fritchle’s trip and on October 19, 1967, they published a story with details of Fritchle’s decades-old electric tour along with comments from his nephew, who said, “If my uncle was so far advanced with electric transportation 50 years ago, I wonder what refinements we might have today, had all the research gone toward electric propulsion, instead of gasoline.”

@Lanny

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1908: Fritchle 2,140 Mile EV Tour Came Through Maryland

PlugInSites_Fritchle_GFCharge
Charging the “100-Mile Fritchle Electric” at Gilpins Falls in Cecil County, MD on Dec. 7, 1908

When Oliver P. Fritchle left Wilmington, Delaware the morning of December 7, 1908, he expected an easy 82 mile jaunt to Baltimore in his fully charged 100-Mile Fritchle Electric.

“O. P.” as his friends called him, was so confident in his car’s ability that he didn’t even bother to ask about charging stations that might be along the way.

Fritchle had already driven his Victoria coupe nearly 2,000 miles from Lincoln, Nebraska via New York City to demonstrate the durability and range of the electric vehicle that his company manufactured in Denver for wealthy customers which later included “The Unsinkable” Molly Brown. The only repairs the car had needed was fixing a flat tire in Illinois and a new set of camel’s hair brake linings after descending the Allegheny Mountains in Pennsylvania.

With sparse electrical distribution in rural areas, Fritchle quickly learned how to handle “range anxiety” such as on the evening he found himself on a muddy road pushing to reach the town of Avoca, Iowa.

Fearing that with the many strains of the day the battery might run down completely before reaching Avoca, I asked the farmer to accompany me with a horse and wagon, that he might tow me if necessary. To this request his wife, who overheard the conversation, replied: “No, sir, Pa, you don’t dare tow one of them automobiles. Didn’t you just read in the Des Moines paper ’bout one of them things explodin’ and killin’ a man?” I endeavored to convince “Ma,” who was standing in the dim light in an adjoining room, with a bed quilt over her shoulders, that my auto was an electric machine, and that there was no danger of it exploding. But my pleading was all in vain, so I told them to go to hell, and started off alone, reaching Avoca at 10 0 ‘clock Sunday night.

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Howard County Drive Electric Week 2017 Celebration

Howard County, Maryland celebrated National Drive Electric Week at Clarksville Commons on Saturday, September 16, 2017.

Local EV drivers gathered in the courtyard with about a dozen electric cars representing a variety of plug-in electric vehicles that are available to buy or lease in Maryland, plus a unique home-built electric car made by a local enthusiast using batteries from a Nissan LEAF. The EV drivers happily explained their experience with electric cars to curious members of the community who streamed through the Commons all afternoon.

A representative from the Howard County Office of Community Sustainability explained the active role that the County is taking in supporting plug-in electric vehicles including charging stations at some County facilities, EVs in their fleet and new, all-electric buses with induction charging, the first of their kind in the nation.

In addition to the EV drivers, representatives from local dealerships were on hand including, Winn Kelly Chevrolet, Antwerpen Nissan and Apple Ford, to arrange test drives and explain the available federal and state tax incentives.

The host site, Clarksville Commons, is a retail and office complex developed by an electric vehicle owner who designed the facility with environmental sustainability as an important element. They offer four EV charging stations, solar panels help supply the power, and water collection and reuse are employed in the buildings.

There’s plenty of enthusiasm for electric vehicles in Howard County as shown by the energy of the attendees on Saturday. Expect to see more soon.

Lanny for @PlugInSites

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