In several states, an HOA is not allowed to say “no” to an EV charger

I was fascinated to learn that California has a law that says that a home owner’s association is not allowed to say “no” to an EV charging station if a home owner wants to install one.  Not only that, the HOA is not allowed to impose requirements that that “significantly increase the cost of the station or significantly decrease its efficiency or specified performance.”  It is California Civil Code § 6713.  I am astonished to see that this became law in 2013, long before electric vehicles became commonplace.

Similar laws are in effect in Florida, Oregon, New Jersey, Virginia, Illinois, Hawaii, Connecticut and Colorado.

How many public EV chargers are there?

One source for information about public EV chargers in North America is the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center.   You can apply various filters in a search for EVSEs (blog article).  As of October 26, 2023 here are the numbers that you get.

locations plugs
A NACS fast DC 2193 23977
B CCS1 fast DC 7420 14879
C CHAdeMO fast DC 6478 9743
D NACS level 2 4971 11937
E J-plug level 2 58140 126712

A first thing to keep in mind is that “level 2” in this context (rows D and E) represents very slow charging.  These chargers might be at hotels, where you can charge while you sleep.   Row D is mostly what Tesla calls “destination chargers”.  Yes, row E has some really big numbers.  But these chargers are not interesting for people who are contemplating cross-country drives, because they are so slow.

Row A is what we call “Tesla superchargers”.  These are the chargers that are almost never broken.  If one of them stops working, generally it gets repaired almost instantly.  These are the chargers that are located along all of the interstate highways in the US, so that you can safely embark on a cross-country drive without range anxiety.

Row B can be thought of, roughly, as “non-Tesla fast chargers”.  It is commonplace to go to one of these charging locations and to find that one plug is broken, or maybe more than one.  It is commonplace to identify some place that you might drive a non-Tesla car and none of these row-B chargers can be found in that area.  This sorry state of affairs for row B is the chief reason that so many car makers have joined the NACS charging plug club (canonical list).

Row C has a foot in the grave.  There was a time when CHAdeMO plugs looked like maybe they had a future in North America, but that time is past.   No new cars sold in the US use CHAdeMO plugs.

Yet another thing to keep in mind is that this information from the Department of Energy’s Alternative Fuels Data Center is surely never quite up to date.  No matter how hard the DOE tries to keep this information up to date, there are probably big information gaps and non-negligible reporting delays from the operators of charging stations.  The reader is invited to take these AFDC numbers as general indicators of trends, and not as exact numbers.

What goes unmentioned in the numbers in this table is that, now, and in the future, most EV charging for most EV owners is going to happen at home.  Yes, of course there are many would-be EV owners who would never be able to charge at home — some people can only park their car on the street, for example.   And some live in apartments or other multi-tenant situations where there is no meaningful opportunity to install one’s own EV charger.  The problem of would-be EV owners who cannot possibly charge at home is a big problem and will not be meaningfully remedied any time soon.  But the plain fact is, right now in 2023, most EV charging that happens, happens at home.

Truck stops are adding EV chargers

This is actually sort of a “duh” news story, but it needs to be said.  Yes, truck stops seem to be smarter about this than ordinary automobile gas stations.  Truck stops are nowadays pretty methodically doing what it takes to install high-speed EV chargers.  This includes the well-known nationwide truck stop chains Pilot, Flying J, Love’s Travel Stops, and TravelCenters of America.   (See Pilot/Flying-J web site discussion of EV charging, Love’s Travel Stops web site discussion of EV charging, TravelCenters of America web site discussion of EV charging.)  Of course it is not easy.  It is always a challenge getting the local electric company to provide several megawatts of electrical power to the site.  Some local electric companies treat this as an opportunity to gouge the customer in terms of construction costs for bringing the power to the location.  Not only that, but local electric companies in many jurisdictions have worked it out with their state public service commissions that so far as commercial customers are concerned (as distinguished from residential customers), they can charge whatever they wish for electricity, and they can charge lots extra for electricity at whatever time of day they wish to charge lots extra.

This can lead to a situation where it is very difficult for the truck stop company to figure out how to price the EV charging service and not lose money.    The likely prodigious one-time cost to bring in the electrical service must somehow be amortized, and the likely prodigious ongoing cost of the electricity must somehow be covered.

But even in the face of all of this, all of the truck stop companies are looking in a clear-eyed way at a future where the number of EVs on the road will only increase as time goes on.

The one automobile gas station chain that is also being smart just now about installing EV chargers is Kum and Go (company web site discussion of EV chargers ).

Most ordinary automobile gas stations have not done anything about the advent of the EV.

Seven car makers say they will construct 30000 charging kiosks

(Update:  As of April 2024, the number of EV charging kiosks installed is … wait for it … zero.  See blog article.)

(Update:  two big steps forward have taken place for this network of thirty thousand high-speed charging station.  See blog article.)

In July of 2023, seven car makers (BMW Group, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz Group and Stellantis) announced that supposedly Real Soon Now they will construct thirty thousand new charging kiosks in the United States. The announcement raises far more questions, of course, than it answers. Continue reading “Seven car makers say they will construct 30000 charging kiosks”

After a month, newly constructed charging station is turned on

click to enlarge

It will be recalled (blog article, September 8, 2023) that recently a set of four charging kiosks popped up in a corner of a Target store parking lot in Silverthorne, Colorado.  Today’s news is that the charging kiosks have now been placed into service.  I did a brief charging session at one of the kiosks.  The charging was much slower than promised.  It was extremely difficult to unplug the charging plug from the car.  And according to the information on the kiosk display screen, the charging was fairly expensive, though still cheaper than gasoline. Continue reading “After a month, newly constructed charging station is turned on”