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RevRico UltimaDork
6/6/21 2:51 p.m.

Hypothetically, say you have a couple acres of empty property with easy highway and interstate access. All utilities are available, most already cut across the property in question.

Where do you go from there? 

Do you have to franchise a charge America or tesla or whatever the German one is and be exclusive, or can you host them all in one spot?

I imagine the cost and zoning is considerably different than a gas station because no chemicals to spill or store.

Do you even bother with a building? Or go rest stop, bathrooms, vending machines, atm, maybe some arcade games? Or full on truck stop/made to order food serving gas station knock off? 

Most of the profits of the gas station model come from everything else sold there, but they also have considerably higher overhead.

A paved parking lot with some street lights and cameras could provide charging for as many vehicles as you could fit with pretty much no overhead. Add bathrooms and some vending machines, while the cost would rise considerably, it would make the charge time a lot easier. 


Mr_Asa GRM+ Memberand UberDork
6/6/21 3:34 p.m.

I think you'd have to put in some sort of facilities.  Supercharging a Tesla takes half an hour, +/- 10 minutes, right?  Definitely going to need to give people someplace to pee, something to do, and some way to pay you more money.  Buc-Ee's might be a good model for the building.  Make it big enough and with enough crap that people have to spend half an hour just to see everything.

One thing I think I'd design into it is the ability to pull in, hook up to the charger, then just drive out when done.  No reversing, no looking for a good spot, just pull up to the first one closest to the line, plug it in, then walk to the building to wander around for half an hour.   Covered walkway from the charging lot to the building, of course.

captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
captdownshift (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
6/6/21 4:10 p.m.

I would start with the coffee. Quality coffee and iced coffee plays into the consideration of where to stop as much as, if not more than food offerings. The other aspect with coffee is higher end coffee has a higher profit margin than cheap food, and half the people that stopping for food are just going to be wanting quick, cheap, easy with decent being a bonus. 

The idea setup would be a wafflehouse, that somehow had proper iced coffee, with chargers at every parking spot.  

03Panther UltraDork
6/6/21 4:18 p.m.

I'm not too sure where the "pretty much no overhead " thoughts come in, cause that's not gonna happen, even without all the conscience store items to keep folks amused/occupied/distracted while charging. Expensive proposition, even on a minimalist scale, I think. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/6/21 4:25 p.m.

You can combine networks. There's a Tesla/Electrify America shared station in Montrose, CO. I suspect that the charging facilities themselves remain the property of the network in the case of the big ones, but you can always put up your own fast DC setup and hope they find you via Plugshare or similar. Being part of a network (and thus known to the nav systems in the cars) would seem to be an advantage, just like it's an advantage to be a Shell station instead of an independent. 

I've seen high speed charging stations near a Dairy Queen (took advantage), Starbucks (did not, but we walked across the street to Chipotle), behind a gas station, Sam's Club (not so useful for a casual stop), mall parking lots, IKEA, hotel parking lots, near a cluster of random restaurants and in a casino parking lot on the NV border. Haven't come across a pull-through yet. I know some are in parking garages which seems pretty obvious for the short range cars, less so for the long range ones.

Low speed chargers are more likely to be in random spots.

Looking at the maps, I suspect the Tesla network is driven by "where do we need chargers to fill in the gaps" and others are "where's the best ROI". So if you have a spot that fills in a hole in coverage, talk to Tesla. If you have a spot that is high traffic, talk to EA (etc). 

californiamilleghia SuperDork
6/6/21 5:58 p.m.

you need to sell them stuff !

at one time it would have been pinball machines and video games  , now it might be USB cables and chargers :)

What else is at that intersection or easy walking distance ?


Mndsm MegaDork
6/6/21 6:11 p.m.

Charging station+strip club+wing buffet. 

RevRico UltimaDork
6/6/21 6:22 p.m.

Consider this particular thought exercise more a way to answer to the "there's no charging infrastructure" crowd than a high profit business plan.

I do have a spot in mind for this but do not own it. I may however know someone who would be interested in this type of thing. 

Ease of access to interstate and maybe 15 minutes each way from a major turnpike interchange stand out as the high points, and lack of any sort of charging currently in the area with an increase in EVs coming through. The down side is there really isn't anything nearby. Across from a bus garage and some industry buildings, too far to reasonably walk to any of the restaurants or stores except maybe NAPA. Green it up and call it a dog park, have food trucks come in on certain days, there's ways to make it more than basic. 

Obviously the more crap you have the better, but bathrooms, maybe vacuums and window cleaning stations, and some vending machines seems like a good start. Just a basic rest stop where you can refuel and clean up a little.

fasted58 MegaDork
6/6/21 6:32 p.m.

Rev's Barbeque, EV Charging Station and Weed Emporium

californiamilleghia SuperDork
6/6/21 8:09 p.m.

if you are 15 minutes away from a  major turnpike interchange ,  is that get off the interstate and drive 15 minutes ?

and how many charging outlets do you think you need and can can support ?

would the local city / county give you a grant to buy the chargers ?

egnorant SuperDork
6/6/21 8:35 p.m.

I spoke with a bunch of college tech students , who were building a hybrid plug-in, and we agreed that something to do while charging was a must. 

Malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, parking facilities restaurants, amusement parks etc. The big guys might scoop these prime spots up quick.

We also looked at marketing. Free charging (on a card) while using their business. Shared parking lots might group up and offer percentage of purchase towards charging costs. 

We agreed that the market would be ever evolving as charging times go down, use of EVs rise or fall outside of expectations and charging costs become a normal way of life and not a marketing tool.

What are some local attractions that require a few hours to enjoy. How cool would it be to park an EV to take a tour of Amish country on a wagon.




RevRico UltimaDork
6/6/21 8:39 p.m.

In reply to californiamilleghia :

Interstate 70 meets turnpike 76 about 15 minutes east barring accidents. The 66 toll road empties out there as well now that I think about it.

I would think 6 to 8 charging stations but laid out to leave room for expansion down the road. Most of the gas stations, even the truck stops, only have 8-10 pumps for commuter vehicles. I've admittedly not looked recently, but last time I checked, it was Nissan dealers and a single Tesla level 2 at a Dunkin Donuts that had charging available outside of Pittsburgh. 

6 to 8 charging stations. Electrical service, usage, that's a big bill. 

Your last question though, that's an interesting one. I honestly have no idea. That is something that would be worth looking into. There's a lot of trying to improve and modernize the area going on, but I'm not sure how much money is really available, or if a charging station would fit into the green initiative. Putting the right names on the paperwork opens up lots of grant wallets though. 

Like I said before hypothetical, more of a thought exercise, a chance to learn, maybe a little market research.

minivan_racer UberDork
6/6/21 8:51 p.m.
fasted58 said:

Rev's Barbeque, EV Charging Station and Weed Emporium


fasted58 MegaDork
6/6/21 8:53 p.m.

New Stanton would catch I-70, Turnpike traffic and 66, 51 remotely. 

Fast food, sit down restaurants and bars. 

ProDarwin MegaDork
6/6/21 8:56 p.m.
egnorant said:

I spoke with a bunch of college tech students , who were building a hybrid plug-in, and we agreed that something to do while charging was a must. 

Malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, parking facilities restaurants, amusement parks etc. The big guys might scoop these prime spots up quick.

The thing is, these aren't located on the sides of major highways, which is where chargers are needed.  In/around town modern EVs have plenty of range that most people will never need to charge during their 'daily' usage, only when on road trips.  There are some exceptions obviously.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/6/21 9:12 p.m.

I think EVgo is targeting the "I can't charge at home" demographic where you take the car somewhere to charge and look for something to do. Shopping, catch a movie, etc. 

That's a different concept from the "I'm halfway between Green River and Vegas and I need another 100 miles of range" sort of charge. Then it's more of a gas station pee/stretch/get snacks scenario. You don't need an attraction, you need to be in the right place.

Instead of talking to college students, you need to find your local EV club and ask them. People who have lived with these things. 

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
6/6/21 10:24 p.m.
RevRico said:

In reply to californiamilleghia :

Interstate 70 meets turnpike 76 about 15 minutes east barring accidents. The 66 toll road empties out there as well now that I think about it.

Gas stations are usually directly off the exit from the Interstate, or at most a minute or two away.  I think that to be successful an EV charging station would need to be the same - people are impatient, no matter what kind of vehicle they're driving.

Jcamper Reader
6/6/21 10:57 p.m.

In reply to RevRico :

Looks like each pair of teslas are capable of 145kW, call it 150kVA. That means to do 4 stalls you may be at the edge of single phase transformer capacity, depends on local utility. I think you probably need 480V secondary though which is generally a 3 phase transformer. Last time I bought a 3 phase 500 kVA, 480V secondary transformer it was in the neighborhood of $13k. Add in having to tap into existing, run extension, two vaults, all the assorted stuff you may need, conduit, elbows, wire, install, you are probably looking at $25-30k just to have the appropriate sized electric service-if you have 3 phase distribution running across your property. Talk to your utility. Jcamper

RevRico UltimaDork
6/7/21 4:34 a.m.

No wonder they haven't taken off yet. Goalposts keep moving because "things have always been this way".

Just the way I see things, screw the cities and towns and locals. They can charge at home. Everybody still puffs up and shrieks about their Damn 1000 mile day trips and needing to charge on the road and so easily with so much crap to keep  entertained even though they have no real idea of how long it actually takes to do any of these stops because they never thought about it until someone said it takes 10-15 minutes to charge up.

So in the city of Pittsburgh, you can charge everywhere, because clearly you need to refill every two blocks when traffic moves at .5 miles per hour.

There is a charger in new Stanton, that's new, a level 3 and 4 stalls of a level two. And since they redid the interchange, locals don't even use that exit because PA can't make or use round abouts but that's a different problem. 

The hypothetical spot I have in mind is between that single yellow charge at 51 (to the right of Monessen) and the green ringed charger at New Stanton, where the blue 76 is.

Change takes time, people are scared of change because they don't understand it, and are locked into a particular mind set. 

We've already seen "well I can't charge anywhere" turn into "there's nothing to do while I'm charging" to "I need a mega gas station with power outlets and live music and people cooking all day".

No, no you don't, and you're not the market that needs handled. The market that needs handled is people who've stupidly found themselves in SWPA in an electric vehicle and need to get the berkeley away from this hell hole as quickly as possible WITHOUT navigating through the never ending perpetual maze  of construction and detours that is the Pittsburgh area.. Charge, pee, grab a drink and go. 

Plop down a few chargers every hundred miles or so on the interstate or off the turnpike exits side you need to be really tight with the private company the state leases the turnpike to to put stuff on the turn pike directly. 

Smaller footprint, smaller eco red tape, just enough to solve the "we gotta get to New York by midnight" crowd. 

RevRico UltimaDork
6/7/21 4:47 a.m.

 now obviously the scale at this level of zoomed out is off, but holy E36 M3, the eastern seaboard is pretty well covered. 

What is this, the biggest unacknowledged secret in the country? 

Maybe more charging stations isn't the answer, but more advertising of them is. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/7/21 9:35 a.m.

Make sure you're discriminating between high speed chargers and Level 2 chargers when you're generating those maps. The latter are a lot more common but they're much slower. They're the "get some free power while you shop or sleep here!" chargers that are useful to range-constrained city EVs like early Leafs or i3s or to people doing multi-day trips. Basically, they let your car charge while you're doing something else. They tend to be pretty low-key so you don't see them if you're not looking for them, and there are a surprising number.

For the "I need something to do while my car charges" crowd - if you get the distinction - you need to filter for high speed chargers. That's your competition for travelers.

Example: here are all chargers for GJ, CO on Plugshare. The ones at Powderhorn are perfect for the "let my car charge while I'm skiing" crowd, for example.

But if I want a high speed charger (defined somewhat arbitrarily as 50 kW or greater for the purpose of this exercise), we get this. One set of Superchargers (at the mall), one EA station (at Sam's Club) and a gas station on the interstate with two 62.5 kW ChargePoint plugs. There's room to compete there. Put a high speed charger or two in Fruita and you'll be the first one people get to after crossing a whole bunch of empty desert. "First electricity for 100 miles!" ;)


RevRico UltimaDork
6/7/21 9:53 a.m.

In reply to Keith Tanner :

I'm sure there's better sites than charge hub, 5 am me isn't very critically thinking capable, just awake enough to be curious.

All the yellow dots on that map are "Tesla" or "DC fast charge". I'm not sure if they count level 2 as "DC fast" or not. Or what "DC fast" even means in this situation.

What made a lot of dots disappear for me though was filtering by connector type. Chademea(that's wrong spelling for sure) and Tesla have the bulk of connections, but there are like 6 or 7 other types listed on their filter section.

The industry as a whole could use some standardization there, but I feel like that could also curb development at this time, forcing manufacturers to a standard charging receptical. 

Battery tech, and therefore charging tech, is still growing at a pretty alarming rate. Fast enough I'd be concerned about being stuck with obsolete or rarely used charging outlets trying to be a generic juice point. 

03Panther UltraDork
6/7/21 10:07 a.m.

In reply to RevRico :

It's all only a theoretical discussion for me, as I can't afford a ev in the first place, but I definitely had not known there were that many places to charge, out here on the east coast. After ya sort through the excessive anger and E36 M3ty attitude, I think I agree with you. If those are actually viable charging options, more folks should know about them. 

californiamilleghia SuperDork
6/7/21 10:13 a.m.

If you are going to do this , check where the local Cell towers are just to make sure you are not in a dead spot , 

Maybe even lease a corner of the property to a Cell Phone tower company  if it gets your location 5G sooner.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
6/7/21 10:18 a.m.

I used Plugshare simply because I'm familiar with the interface, not because there's something wrong with Chargehub.

DC Fast Charge basically means "faster than Level 2", which is effectively the same as my filtering for 50 kW. There are three basic standards in use: Tesla, CHAdeMO and CCS. It's looking to me that CCS is going to win, that's the Euro standard and it's being used by VW and Ford in the US. CHAdeMO is more likely to be found on Japanese cars and I believe the reason it got an initial foothold was thanks to the Leaf. I believe Tesla is actually required to use the CCS standard in Europe. 

It's quite likely the ideal mix of chargers will change over time, but it's easier to change to a different charger type than it is to add more diesel pumps, for example. They all feed off the same grid. EA is having the same problem, trying to service both CCS and CHAdeMO.

I agree that a strong cell network or a fast and free Wifi connection would be a big attractor if you're trying to make your station preferable to others. No need to build a movie theater when people can sit in their cars and watch Netflix on the screen on the dash (this is not a theoretical thing).

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