Headed to a busy Supercharger on this busy Memorial Day travel weekend? Now you can see the estimated length of time you can expect to wait at a full Supercharger station on the Tesla Navigation screen.
Tesla has been showing the number of stalls currently available on the Nav screen for a few years. Now, if a Supercharger is full, drivers are shown a grey clock icon on the pin. When you touch the pin it will display short, medium or long wait for that location.
I first observed this today at the original Somerset, PA Supercharger. First it was a “Short wait” then a little while later it was a “Medium wait” and within a half hour, stalls were available again.
Keep an eye out for this helpful new feature. Happy and safe travels.
The City of Annapolis has an “anti-ICEing” ordinance that requires special signs and green pavement markings in order to be enforced. There continues to be complaints of gas vehicles blocking EV charging stations in the city especially at Pip Moyer Recreation Center where BGE installed a Level 2 station in 2019. The signs there do not comply with the Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) nor with the requirements of the city code.
Could Punish Innocent EV Drivers
The Annapolis anti-ICEing ordinance could potentially punish EV drivers who are not “actively charging” through no fault of their own. If the equipment fails mid charge or someone unplugs your car or you just misjudge the length of time your car needs to charge, Annapolis seems to apply the same $100 penalty for an electric vehicle that may unintentionally not be charging as for a gas guzzling SUV driver that ignores the sign. I am attempting to have the City Council reconsider this and clarify the code and fine schedule. I spoke to the Mayor and City Council via Skype at the May 24, 2021 meeting and submitted the written comments below.
Formal Written Comments Delivered to Annapolis City Council on May 24, 2021
Last year the Annapolis City Council passed an ordinance (Code: 12.20.090.B) meant to keep people from blocking electric vehicle charging stations.
In order to be enforced, the EV charging spaces must be designated with signs and pavement markings with the following requirements:
1. Be at least eighteen inches high and twelve inches wide;
2. Be clearly visible to the driver of a motor vehicle entering the plug-in electric drive vehicle charging space;
3. State the maximum fine that may be incurred for a violation; and
4.Meet any applicable state and federal requirements for parking signs. A plug-in electric drive vehicle charging space shall also be indicated by green pavement markings.
I would like to bring to the council’s attention that EV charging stations on City-owned property, including the Pip Moyer Rec. Center, do not have signs that meet these requirements. This consequently means that the ordinance is unenforceable. I’ve seen gas pickup trucks and other non-electric vehicles blocking the charging station at Pip Moyer recently.
But more importantly, the Annapolis ordinance and penalty provisions could unintentionally punish EV drivers who may not be “actively charging” through no fault of their own.
The penalties in the FY 2021 Fines Schedule by Authority: R-27-20 is listed as follows:
Code Reference: 12.20.090.B. Description: Parking reserved for plug-in electric drive vehicles actively charging. Fine for Initial Offense: $100.00. Fine for Repeat or Continuous Violations: $100.00
I respectfully ask the Council to consider refining the language to focus this legislation exclusively on penalizing cars that run on gasoline or diesel that have no reason to be parking in an electric vehicle charging spot.
The wording, “electric drive vehicles actively charging” does not appear in the ordinance itself and there are occasions that an electric vehicle may have just finished charging or the equipment fails or someone unplugs a car that could lead to an electric car driver getting unfairly punished for trying to do the right thing by driving electric.
Sometimes a public EV charging station will have power but it is not communicating with the service provider’s network. This could prevent you from being able to initiate a charge using the mobile app associated with that network. If the station is offline, then the signal to authorize a session may not be able to reach the unit from the charging service provider.
For example, the screen image above is a message on the Greenlots app that displayed when I tapped the “Start Charge” button for a Pepco owned and operated station that was showing as “offline” in the Greenlots app.
When this happens, you can call call customer support and see if they can help. Sometimes they are able to reach the station and either reset it or help you initiate a charge from their end.
When all else fails, it is worth trying to use an RFID card instead of the app. Sometimes the card will be successful in starting the charging session even if the unit appears to be offline.
You may need to order an RFID card from the various charging networks in order to be prepared for this contingency. In some cases, there may be a small fee for the card.
Hope this tip is useful. Enjoy your travels and happy charging!
Tesla is building a long-awaited King of Prussia, PA Supercharger. It will have 16 stalls with up to 250 kW. The site is in the parking lot of Henderson Square Shopping Center at 314 S. Henderson Rd. Map Link.
King of Prussia Supercharger Construction Site
Here’s a video that pans the site where the King of Prussia, PA Supercharger is being built. The 16 stalls will be on the north and west edges of this parking area. There are four V3 (250 kW) Supercharger cabinets on site that will distribute power to four stalls each.
These photos were sent in by “An Appreciative Reader” who spotted the installation going in where the SemaConnect Level 2 charging stations used to be in the garage. There are also Tesla Superchargers up on the 6th floor. It’s hard to tell which charging network these will be on. These chargers are a brand name that we haven’t seen yet, Delta.
There is an EVgo charging station across the street from the garage that’s been around a while. No indication that these will be a replacement for those or if these are for Pepco’s utility-operated network or something else altogether.
Thanks to “An Appreciative Reader” for sharing these photos with the PlugInSites community.
This was a good year for Maryland electric vehicle legislation. A number of bills that are of interest to EV drivers passed the legislature and have been sent to Governor Hogan to sign.
PlugInSites followed the progress of over a dozen electric vehicle related bills in the Maryland General Assembly in 2021. About half of the EV bills passed. In general, only about one in three bills pass in Annapolis in any given year, so we did pretty good.
Here is a brief rundown of what passed, what didn’t and what changes were made along the way.
The Maryland Electric Vehicle Tax Credit
The Clean Cars Act of 2021 (HB 44), as introduced, had several goals. First was to fund the backlog of applications from EV purchasers who are on the waitlist from the prior EV tax credit program. Then to extend the tax credit for two more years. And finally it was to extend the EV charging equipment rebate and increase annual funding. The good news is that the funding for the backlog stayed in the bill. That is welcome news for EV drivers who have been waiting for their checks of up to $3,000. In addition, the Electric Vehicle Recharging Equipment Rebate Program will be extended for two more years and the funding will increase from $1.2M to $1.8M annually.
Unfortunately, the part of the original bill to extend the EV excise tax credit was removed. This came about because of concern over a provision in the federal COVID-19 relief act that prohibits states from using any of the $195 billion of federal aid “to either directly or indirectly offset a reduction” in net tax revenue. For official information about the Maryland Excise Tax Credit for Plug-in Electric Vehicles, visit the MVA Website.
Pre-Wiring for EV Charging
House Bill HB 784 to encourage buyers of new residential housing units to pre-wire their homes for EV charging passed in the final hours of the session. This bill was sponsored by my representative, Delegate Jen Terrasa. I testified in support of this bill in the Senate Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee along with EV advocate Paul Verchinski who is a big proponent of this legislation. This will ensure that home builders inform buyers that they have the option to include a Level 2 charging station or a dedicated electric line in their garage, carport or driveway. The builder must also provide information about EVSE rebate programs and other incentives.
If your Maryland condominium or homeowners association ever said that you’re not allowed to install an EV charging station in your designated parking space, then you may soon have recourse. The General Assembly in Annapolis just passed a “Right to Charge” bill that would make Maryland the 9th state to remove such restrictions. The bill, (HB110) sponsored by Delegate Marc Korman of Montgomery County and cross-filed (SB144) by Senator Guy Guzzone of Howard County, is now headed to the Governor to be signed into law.
Maryland will join Florida, New York, Virginia, and five other states to prohibit HOAs and condo boards from arbitrarily denying permission for a homeowner to install an electric vehicle charging station. It would make void and unenforceable any covenants or restrictions of a condominium or homeowners association if they prohibit or unreasonably restrict the installation or use of electric vehicle recharging equipment in an owner’s deeded or designated parking space.
This bill gives homeowners the right to install a charging station in their parking spot as long as they pay for the costs of installation, maintenance, electricity and subsequent removal upon moving. Many people in Maryland live in housing that is governed by an HOA or condo board. Addressing the issue of charging at multi-family units is important to achieve the full potential of electric vehicle adoption in the state.
A Five Year Journey
This legislation has a history in Maryland going back at least five years. I’ve testified in support of Maryland Right to Charge since 2016. It seemed that the opposition from the HOA groups was strong and overwhelming back then. It seemed impossible to reconcile at the time. Consequently, the bills in 2016, 2017 and 2018 failed.
Tesla plans to build a Supercharger at a future Wawa store in Bowie, Maryland. The Prince George’s County, MD Planning Department approved an application of a proposed addition of Tesla Superchargers to the Wawa site on December 30, 2020. PlugInSites found the application to add the Superchargers in the PG County Development Activity Monitoring System, Case Number: NRI-041-2020-01.
The Wawa store will be at Vista Gardens West, a new mixed-use development on Martin Luther King Jr. Highway at the intersection with Rt. 450/Annapolis Rd. Map link. This is about 2.8 miles or five minutes off the I-495 Beltway – Annapolis Rd. Exit 20A. It’s about 1.4 miles off Rt. 50, Exit 8.
Tesla just dropped off two Supercharger cabinets, and associated hardware for eight charging stalls at the Wawa store at 3166 Solomons Island Rd, Edgewater, MD.
This location is less than four miles down MD Rt. 2/Solomons Island Rd. from the Annapolis Supercharger that opened in March, 2019. The eight stall site in Annapolis has the older 150 kW Version 2 Superchargers. Edgewater will be the 250 kW Version 3 (V3).
Stay tuned as construction on the Edgewater, MD Tesla Supercharger moves forward.
The Giant store at 8805 Centre Park Dr, Columbia, Maryland now has a pair of electric vehicle charging stations. The stations were installed by Volta Charging.
Free Charging – Supported by Advertising
These free EV charging stations are subsidized by selling advertising messages that are displayed on the large digital screens on each unit. Volta claims to be the world’s most highly used EV charging network.
Volta says their business model isn’t to make money from selling electricity to EV drivers. Instead, Volta partners with highly-visited retail locations such as grocery stores and retail centers where they can display advertising messages.
The Mall in Columbia, operated by Brookfield Properties, had the first Volta charging stations in Howard County. The Giant store at 7200 Cradlerock Way in Columbia got their own Volta stations a few months ago. White Marsh Mall in northern Baltimore County has eight Volta charging stations. Towson Town Center also has Volta charging.
Expect to see more of these free charging stations showing up at Giant stores in the coming months.