EVLN: Few EVSE are as coveted &contested as those @Whole-Foods

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EVLN: Few EVSE are as coveted &contested as those @Whole-Foods

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https://www.eenews.net/stories/1061491825
How Whole Foods became ground zero in the charging wars
November 8, 2019  David Ferris, David Iaconangelo

[images  / David Ferris/E&E News
https://www.eenews.net/image_assets/2019/11/image_asset_66649.jpg
EV charging stations in Berkeley, Calif.  A row of cars charging outside a
Whole Foods Market in Berkeley, CA

https://www.eenews.net/image_assets/2019/11/image_asset_66653.jpg
EV chargers at Berkeley, Calif. Whole Foods  Whole Foods Market electric
vehicle chargers, like these outside a Berkeley, Calif., store, have drawn
crowds and conflict in some U.S. communities
]

(Part two of a series ...)
BERKELEY, Calif. — Whole Foods Market is known for its grass-fed beef, fancy
cheeses and other expensive organic produce. But the commodity that some
customers are really duking it out for are the electric vehicle charging
stations in the parking lot.

The problem is that, while Whole Foods generally can provide avocado ice
cream whenever a customer wants it, the same isn't true for the car plugs.

"I find that half the time it is booked," said Chris Wright, who stopped at
a Whole Foods in Berkeley to charge his Volkswagen e-Golf after a trip with
his family to Monterey. "I wish they made more of them in more places." ...

Over a decade, Whole Foods has been a leader among U.S. retailers in
offering more and better EV charging stations in its parking lots. It is a
“symbiotic relationship,” said Jonathan Levy, a vice president of EVgo, one
of the chain’s charging providers. People who buy organic arugula are also
the kind of people who are first to adopt electric cars. Come for the
electrons, the thinking goes, and spend more time and money at the salad
bar.

Unless — like at the store's outlets in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los
Angeles, and in other cities like Boston and Chicago — there's not enough
charging stations to go around.

Chargers at these Whole Foods locations have backed up traffic and created
all sorts of personal strife. It is a scenario that may repeat itself in
other parts of the retail landscape as EVs arrive in greater numbers in the
coming years. In a report this summer, for instance, the International
Council on Clean Transportation found that $940 million in investment is
needed by 2025 to meet public EV charging demand in the largest U.S.
metropolitan areas — dollars that may not materialize.

Charging stations are slowly becoming an amenity at a wider range of
shopping centers, including grocery chains like Raley’s and Kroger, big-box
stores like Walmart, and at outlet malls.

But few stations are as coveted, or contested, as those at Whole Foods.

The website PlugShare, which crowdsources information on charging stations,
is full of the comments that Whole Foods patrons mutter while they circle
the parking lot in their EVs waiting for a charging space to open up:

"Littered with Uber Lyft drivers in the evening blocking stations for those
trying to get home."

"I have to get to airport. Wish people were more courteous."

"At 98 percent but she won't give it up. What's wrong with these people?"

The problems are many: people waiting to pounce on a station about to open
up, backing up traffic; people parking at chargers who have no business
being there; drivers occupying plugs until their batteries are perfectly
full, infuriating other drivers who desperately need the juice. And there's
the ride-hail drivers, who descend on some urban Whole Foods stores because
they're the only place to get a fast charge.

Matching the demand for charging stations to the supply of electric cars, it
turns out, is quite difficult.

Whole Foods downplays the drama that unfolds at its contested stations.
"We've had a few isolated incidents, which we've been able to address. We've
been able to manage it," said Aaron Daly, the chain's director of energy
management. He added that while the chain has come up with some solutions,
it's a problem that isn't going away.

"I have a red flag out there as EV usage ramps up, which we expect will
happen, we'll need to keep an eye out for those issues," he said.

'The cutting edge'
Whole Foods installed its first chargers about a decade ago. The stations
were often sited right by the entrance, and customers could charge for free.
The number of stores with plugs grew slowly.

They originated not as a corporate strategy, but because employees at
individual stores championed them.

"This is when it was very difficult for a driver to access an EV, and we
were at the cutting edge of what would be the EV marketplace," Daly said.
"As you can imagine, they got very little usage. But it was consistent with
our messaging, which is to make such types of transportation options
available to our customers."

When EVs started to appear in numbers a few years ago with the wider
availability of the Chevrolet Volt, Nissan Leaf and various flavors of
Teslas, "there was very quickly more interest in those chargers."

At first, Whole Foods bought and installed the equipment. The chargers were
the slow kind, known as Level 2, that can take many hours to fill a battery.
In 2013, Whole Foods debuted its first fast charger, which can mostly charge
a battery in an hour or less, in Fremont, Calif., the home to Tesla Inc.'s
auto factory.

About six years ago, the charging network companies sniffed an opportunity.
They started pitching chargers as a service to the premium grocery chain.
Whole Foods pivoted from managing the chargers itself to contracting with
charging providers, which install and maintain the chargers. It now works
with many of the leading companies, including EVgo, Tesla and ChargePoint
Inc.

About the same time, Daly said, Whole Foods took up charging as a
coordinated strategy.

Now, 200 of Whole Foods' 504 stores have slow chargers, and more than 50,
mostly in California, have fast chargers. As EVs that have larger,
longer-range batteries hit the market, "we are leaning toward the
fast-charging technology," Daly said. The grocer is even considering turning
its chargers into an aggregated resource that could provide services to the
electric grid, but "it's a very complicated topic," Daly said.

The chain provides the slow charging for free — "we know exactly how much it
costs us," Daly said — while rates for the fast charging are set by the
charging companies. In Northern California, EVgo charges nonmembers 30 cents
a minute for fast charging.

Wright, the e-Golf driver, said about the charging rates what is sometimes
said about Whole Foods' produce:

"It isn't cheap," he said.

Parking showdowns
A few hours' observation at a Berkeley Whole Foods on a Monday evening in
late October yielded a wide catalog of conflict.

Aaron Daly. Photo credit: Daly/LinkedIn
Aaron Daly. Daly/LinkedIn

The charging zone is four chargers and five spaces by the front entrance in
a busy parking lot. About half the sessions are just as Whole Foods intended
— a short charging session, in and out, no problems. Other drivers seem
destined to annoy the others.

A sloppily parked Ford blocked part of an EV-only space so no one could use
it. The drivers of two Toyota hybrids built without plugs — a Highlander and
Prius — commandeered parking spaces for a time, perhaps hoping their hybrid
cred would deflect criticism.

A woman distracted by a phone call left the charging hose for her black BMW
i3 splayed over the next EV-charging space. A man then parked in that space.
He wanted to charge but couldn't; the station was in use by the woman on the
phone. He saw her hose was wedged under his tire. He grabbed the cable — a
hot wire running high voltage — and yanked hard to dislodge it.

All the while, no staff from Whole Foods appeared to pay attention. The only
thing monitoring was a sign on each charger that said, "Parking Permitted 30
Min Only" during vehicle charging.

"That tends to be a really good amount of time for someone to go into the
store, do their grocery shopping or buy lunch, and come back to their
vehicle and [they're] ready to go," said Daly, Whole Foods' energy manager.
"They're going somewhere they were going already."

Daly said that the grocer has learned lessons about how to manage the flow
of electric cars. If it's a big bank of chargers — some Tesla installations
are as many as 20 — they lose their pole position by the entrance and are
pushed to the parking lot margins. At some locations, at high-traffic hours,
an employee in a bright safety vest directs traffic. If the parking is too
cramped, Whole Foods doesn't put any chargers in at all.

So far, Whole Foods has avoided more stringent measures, like imposing fees
after a battery is full or writing parking tickets. "We don't want to use
the hammer," Daly said.

Some Whole Foods customers, though, sounded as if they wouldn't mind having
a hammer.

"Oftentimes I'll find someone who's just sitting in their car," said Darren
McNally, who was shopping while charging his rust-colored Leaf. He gestured
toward a woman sitting in a Chevy Bolt who had her car attached to a plug
and a phone attached to her ear. "People are just coming to charge."

On PlugShare.com , particular ire is pointed toward Uber and Lyft drivers.

For years, Whole Foods has been one of the only places in the center of a
city for a driver to quickly fill a battery — a crucial need for ride-hail
drivers. To accommodate such people, EVgo has started building dedicated
charging stations for car-share drivers who use Maven, a car-share rental
service operated by General Motors Co. (Electric Road Trip [
https://www.eenews.net/roadtrip/1061399011
], Oct. 28).

But Whole Foods is still an irresistible draw for drivers like Visesh Ghale,
who drives for Uber using a gray Chevy Bolt he rented from Maven. A deal
between Maven and EVgo means he can charge at this Whole Foods for free —
something that the normal Whole Foods customer can't do.

Asked whether he would buy anything at Whole Foods, he shook his head
emphatically.
"I just go the restroom and come back," he said.
Then he proceeded to do just that.
[© eenews.net]


+
https://cleantechnica.com/2019/11/11/clean-fresh-air-benefits-us-all-ev-etiquette-is-for-everyone/
Clean, Fresh Air Benefits Us All — EV Etiquette Is For Everyone
November 11th, 2019 ... natural food coop I paid to join, there was, oddly,
missing signage by the 4 charging spots ... At that time, a polite Chevy
Bolt driver moved his EV so I could charge ... 1 person told me all EV
drivers are rude at all charging stations all over the country. Poorly fed
hearsay! This has never, ever been my experience. I have found friendly EV
drivers happy to share the values of clean air, and environmental concern
...
https://cleantechnica.com/files/2019/07/Nissan-LEAFs-Girl-Kid-EV-Charging-Station-Wroclaw-Poland-Zach-Shahan-CleanTechnica-2.jpg




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Re: EVLN: Few EVSE are as coveted &contested as those @Whole-Foods

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Fast chargers should charge a premium for charging over 70-80% SoC. It
already is somewhat if you're charged by the minute rather than by the kWH,
but I have experienced this firsthand, stranded at a Walmart because I
didn't have enough charge to get home, and some guy in his Leaf was waiting
for his last few % sitting at >90% state of charge, which is already lower
than L2 charge rate.

Most new EV owners don't understand the diminishing returns of fast charging
when you're above 80%, so perhaps a market based approach would help here,
charging say $1/minute instead of $0.30/minute after the charger sees the
battery is >80% full, or perhaps letting business owners set to just turn
off the fast charging entirely once that happens.

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Re: EVLN: Few EVSE are as coveted &contested as those @Whole-Foods

Electric Vehicle Discussion List mailing list
The public charger we have here shuts off automatically at 80% or else it is my car shutting it down. I have only ever fast charged at this one chase no station.

Sent from my iPhone

> On Nov 17, 2019, at 12:48 AM, jkenny23 via EV <[hidden email]> wrote:
>
> Fast chargers should charge a premium for charging over 70-80% SoC. It
> already is somewhat if you're charged by the minute rather than by the kWH,
> but I have experienced this firsthand, stranded at a Walmart because I
> didn't have enough charge to get home, and some guy in his Leaf was waiting
> for his last few % sitting at >90% state of charge, which is already lower
> than L2 charge rate.
>
> Most new EV owners don't understand the diminishing returns of fast charging
> when you're above 80%, so perhaps a market based approach would help here,
> charging say $1/minute instead of $0.30/minute after the charger sees the
> battery is >80% full, or perhaps letting business owners set to just turn
> off the fast charging entirely once that happens.
>
> --
> Sent from: http://electric-vehicle-discussion-list.413529.n4.nabble.com/
> _______________________________________________
> UNSUBSCRIBE: http://www.evdl.org/help/index.html#usub
> ARCHIVE: http://www.evdl.org/archive/index.html
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> Please discuss EV drag racing at NEDRA (http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NEDRA)
>

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