The Electrify America charging site in Columbia, Maryland has reopened after being closed for six weeks to replace the hardware.
New Equipment is Supposed to be More Reliable
On Monday September 28, 2020, workers showed up to begin a pre-announced equipment upgrade. They put up a chain link fence which remained in place until Wednesday November 11th. New ABB chargers are now in the same configuration as another brand they replaced. Two dispensers have a maximum output of 350 kW and the rest are 150 kW. The cables on the new units are more flexible and a little bit longer than before.
BlueIndy Electric Car Sharing Service Ends May 21, 2020
Indianapolis electric car sharing service BlueIndy will be closing effective May 21, 2020. The company had big plans when it launched in September, 2015 with the enthusiastic backing of then Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. BlueIndy’s parent company, Bollore, invested $41 million in the venture. The city of Indianapolis contributed $6 million and Indianapolis Power and Light invested $3 million.
BlueIndy in announcing its closure said the service did not “reach the level of activity required to be economically viable.” A report by Indianapolis WTTV News based on a public records request with the city said that BlueIndy had an operating deficit of over $22 million in 2017.
We took a quick day trip to Rehoboth Beach last weekend in the Model S. Upon arriving in town, we headed over to the two High-Amp Level 2 charging stations that were installed two years ago after a proposal was debated by the Board of Commissioners. [EV Charging Stations Proposed for Rehoboth Beach, Delaware] Unfortunately, both units were labeled, “Temporarily Out of Order.”
I reached out to the City of Rehoboth Beach and they said, “there seems to be an issue with the circuit boards and panels.” They apologized for the inconvenience and said they are working to get them fixed but don’t know how long it will take.
Some EV drivers have noted that padlocks have appeared on three of the four Level 2 charging stations in the Arena Garage in Baltimore City preventing them from being used. I reached out to the City of Baltimore to ask why.
According to Chance Dunbar, off-street parking manager for the Parking Authority of Baltimore, the three charging stations have been removed from service because of low demand for EV charging in that garage. “We cannot keep these spaces reserved and empty, so until demand increases they will not be utilized for EV vehicles only.”
Frank Lee, an energy analyst in the city’s Department of Public Works said there have apparently been many ICE drivers demanding to use those parking spaces on the 2nd level of the garage. Mr. Lee indicated that there have been no EV drivers that have requested to use the charging stations. Read More …
Catoctin Mountain Park Seeks NPS Waiver to Open Public Charging Stations
Last Sunday, I learned that five EV charging stations at Catoctin Mountain Park that are supposed to be available to the public have not been turned on since they were installed in December last year. The project cost $69,580 as part of a US Department of Energy and National Parks Initiative to support clean transportation and educate park visitors on the benefits of cutting vehicle emissions and petroleum use. At the Visitor Center parking area, a sign identifying the charging stations is covered by a dark plastic bag.
I reached out to the park superintendent who directed me to a staff member who has been working to get the EV charging stations open. When I spoke with her this week, she explained the challenges of navigating the National Park Service rules and regulations related to providing public access to the equipment.
When the park originally requested funding for the project through a U.S. Department of Energy Clean Cities grant, they had planned to let the public use them free of charge. The staff researched other National Parks that had charging stations and found that only a few examples existed at the time. Catoctin chose to base their plan on the model of Zion National Park. Zion used ClipperCreek Model CS40 charging stations with Liberty Access Technology keypads that use codes that are not dependent on WIFI or a network connection. The keypads were to be there only as a contingency in case the park wanted to control access in the future. Read More …
While touring around Maryland in our EV this weekend, we decided to drive up to Catoctin Mountain Park near Thurmont to check on the EV charging stations there. The National Park Service and the US Department of Energy’s Clean Cities, have partnered in a project to deploy EV charging stations in a number of National Parks including the Great Smoky Mountains, Shenandoah National Park and Catoctin. One of the stated goals of the initiative is to “educate park visitors on the benefits of cutting petroleum use and vehicle emissions.”
On the Clean Cities website, it says that Catoctin Mountain Park will install electric vehicle charging stations for park and public use. Information found online suggests that a request for bids for construction of five EV charging stations at three locations at the park was solicited in July, 2015 with a project magnitude of $60,000 – $80,000.
The Catoctin Mountain Park Facebook page announced the charging stations on December 18, 2015 with a photo of the Park’s new C-max Energi car plugged in. The caption said, “Although the charging stations aren’t quite ready for visitor use, they will be soon.”
When we arrived at the Visitor Center parking lot Sunday afternoon, the sign on the two ClipperCreek stations was covered with a dark plastic bag. I went inside and asked the Rangers about the status of the stations and one looked at me and said that the charging stations have not been turned on and he doesn’t know when they will be, “if ever.”
If ever? I asked what he meant by that. He said everyone needs to get on the “same page” before it will be turned on. When I pressed for details, it seemed that the charging stations are caught in some sort of intractable bureaucratic limbo. Then I started asking what needs to happen and what I can do to help get the process moving forward so that the public, who evidently have already paid for the charging stations, can actually use them as intended.
The other Ranger asked me to wait while she went in the back to talk to someone. She returned with a paper with the name and contact info for the park superintendent. She said the delay has something to do with getting an intermediary for the payment mechanism. There is a Liberty access control kedpad on each of the stations and the stations do have power but no apparent way to pay or authorize use to the public.
I have contacted the park superintendent and will update this post when I know more.
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The Tesla Supercharger station at Newark, Delaware has reopened after a temporary closure that lasted more than 84 hours. The local utility company, Delmarva Power, restored service early Sunday morning.
The outage caused frustration for some Tesla drivers who arrived at the Newark Superchargers unaware that the station was down and needing to charge. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk said in a 2013 conference call to reporters that Supercharger stations would have solar panels and battery packs to provide power even if the national grid went down. Musk added, that they’d work “even if there’s a zombie apocalypse.”
A temporary Supercharger that’s been in Bethesda, Maryland since January, 2014 is scheduled to be decommissioned on June 30. A new Supercharger is under construction in Laurel, Maryland about 80 miles south of Newark. Much of the equipment has been installed in Laurel but the utility transformer hasn’t arrived yet.
The Supercharger Station at the Delaware Welcome Center in Newark, DE is temporarily closed.
UPDATE: The Newark Supercharger station is now OPEN.
Tesla Customer Service said that it has been down since Wednesday morning. They have no estimate on when it will be back up. When asked for an alternative charging location, they suggested the J-1772 charging stations at the Welcome Center by the truck parking area. But only one of those two Level 2 stations is working right now.
For any Tesla drivers traveling on I-95 who have a CHAdeMO adapter, be advised that there are CHAdeMO Fast Chargers at the following places in Maryland. Most of these are on the ChargePoint Network and the fee for them is 0.29 per kWh, $3.50 minimum. Check the ChargePoint dashboard to see if any stations are in use.
North East – Royal Farms, 500 Mechanics Valley Rd, North East, MD 21901
Joppa – Royal Farms, 2620 Mountain Rd, Joppa, MD 21085
White Marsh – Royal Farms (2 chargers), 10740 Pulaski Hwy, White Marsh, MD 21162
Baltimore – Royal Farms, 6201 Pulaski Hwy, Baltimore, MD 21205
Baltimore – Best Western Conf. Center, 5625 O Donnell Street, Baltimore, MD 21224
Arbutus – Royal Farms, 3505 Washington Blvd, Arbutus, MD 21227
Glen Burnie – Royal Farms, 930 Cromwell Park Dr, Glen Burnie, MD 21061
All of these are on the ChargePoint Network except the Baltimore Best Western which is on Greenlots.
UPDATE: June 8, 2015, Maryland State Highway Administration responded that they are aware of the situation and that efforts have been made to get the situation resolved.
The J-1772 connectors and cables on the two SemaConnect charging stations at the Belcamp Park and Ride lot are missing. The charging cables apparently were severed and taken sometime in the month of December. I had called SemaConnect a few months ago to ask about the status of these stations and was told that they were scheduled to be moved at some point in the future but they had no information as to where they might be moving to.
It is unfortunate that these Level 2 charging stations are no longer in service. I have used them on a number of long trips over the years including the Pennsylvania Amish Country EV Road Trip last September.
In June, I reported that the SemaConnect station at the Walgreens in Brooklyn Park, Maryland was lying on the ground. I brought this to the attention of @Sema_Connect via Twitter. I stopped by there again this weekend and I’m happy to say that the charging station is standing tall. I used it to boost for about 25 minutes or about one kWh. The only problem now is that the cable hanger is missing. It’s not great that the cable is just coiled on the ground but that’s much better than the whole unit being on the ground.