As I was enthusiastically ready for National Plug-In Day 2012, the air had a different charge of energy in San Diego during certain seminars. The feeling was literally a power struggle between Car2Go and San Diego EV owners.
It seemed that the booming company Car2Go was gaining so much popularity amongst the San Diego crowd that it was outgrowing the charging structure SD had to offer. Any earth loving, patient person would understand that this is somewhat of a good problem, proving there is a demand for a larger charging grid. But alas this predicament caused frustration and growing pains amongst EV owners.
This dilemma seemed to be the cause for all the funk in the air during the plugin event at the CCSE in San Diego. Car2Go had literally taken over a good majority of charging stations in the nation’s 8th largest city overnight. This, I have come to learn, causes EV owners to be very angry. At first I thought people were just being irrational. I don’t own a home charging station and haven’t had any trouble charging during the first two weeks of ownership of my EV, what was all the fuss about?
Five charges later and I’m literally bouncing between the Car2Go and Plug Share iPhone app every ten minutes just to see when a station becomes available. Suddenly the funk from the Plug-In Day meeting came over me, “What the F#çk Car2Go, are you going to take up every charging spot in the entire county?!” I couldn’t help but feel frustrated that I had to battle for a spot to charge my car during lunch.
Fortunately when I purchased my car the salesmen at the dealership told me that Car2Go realized this was a problem on the rise and began coming up with solutions to the problem. One of the solutions was providing a friends and family code to the EV owners so that we could move the tiny two seaters out of the way, with certain limitations of course.* A second solution the up and coming business developed was to not bogart all of the chargers at any one “filling station.”
These seem to be good solutions, though I’m not sure they practice this 100% of the time, as with any business, time and money are key and Car2Go is in the business of providing fully charged cars to paying customers. Naturally this becomes a problem when the charging grid is only so large.
Enter the Blink Network. Something rad about San Diego’s National Plug-In Day was our Blink Network representatives coming out to give mini seminars informing everyone in the audience about EVs and the charging structure that San Diego has to offer to date. During the meeting, Blink reps stated San Diego has “around 270 charging stations” and “that number would double in the next 3 to 4 months.” This was excellent news for a room full of disgruntled EV soccer moms, tech nerds and general enthusiasts. The cherry on top was to hear that Car2Go would be installing 4 dedicated charging stations near it’s headquarters to help pull from public infrastructure charging.
Soon SD would be back to those first two weeks where I didn’t have to bounce between apps and a latte just to find my next electric fix.
*Car2Go requests that before moving their cars, the two seaters have at least 50% charge. On another note, the Car2Go vehicles won’t let you move them at all unless they have over a 40% charge.