Friday, October 29, 2010

EV Charging Stations

One of the Level II charging stations at Stadium Nissan.
We installed some of the first Phase II electric vehicle charging stations in Seattle at our latest  project, Stadium  Nissan.  A lot of questions have been asked regarding the new stations, from what they look like, to how they work, to how we plan to monetize the stations (you cannot sell electricity from your utility at a premium).  We've posted a selection of links below to try and answer these questions and highlight the upcoming boom of EV charging infrastructure in the area. 

1)  What will it cost for someone to use the stations? 

We plan to integrate more charging stations into our properties later this year and early next year.  Many of these projects are private (in the sense that only residents and tenants can access the parking area), and the stations will be an amenity more than anything else (free charging).   Stadium Nissan, for example, offers free charging for all Nissan Leaf buyers as an incentive to buy with them.  At other sites, we may decide to embrace a model where the customer rents the parking stall while they charge the vehicle.  As noted above, you cannot sell electricity from the utilities at a premium, but creative business models will emerge as more EV infrastructure is deployed. 

 2)  What about charging in a public area?  

Public EV stations are in the works in massive size and scale: a $230MM capital pool partially funded by the US Department of Energy is the main driver behind this exciting news.    

ECOtality, a publicly traded firm providing EV infrastructure solutions, will use this money to place thousands of charging stations in select regions around the country.  One of the  select regions is none other than the Pacific Northwest.  Expect to see these stations, called Blink, start popping up all over Seattle and the greater Seattle region early next year. 

3)  What is the difference between a Level I, Level II, and Level III charging station?  

The primary differences are charge time and cost.  A Level 1 station may cost under $5K but deliver less than 4 miles of range per hour of charge.  A Level III charging station can cost up to $40K, however one hour of charge time may yield more than 25 miles of range per hour of charge.  Of course, these actual distances will vary and are based on a Nissan Leaf's vehicle efficiency (miles/kWh).  Our estimate is that like Moore's law, charging stations will quickly get faster, smaller, and cheaper as the technology evolves.   Currently Level I stations require 110 Volt, Level II require 220 Volt, and Level III require 440 Volt. 

Note that a one hour charge on the most common Level II charging stations would give a Nissan Leaf an estimated 15 miles of range.  
If you'd like to check out the Level II charging stations pictured above, please visit Stadium Nissan (map below), or contact us directly for a tour: (206) 262-2880. 

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