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Old 09-01-2010, 10:53 AM   #1 (permalink)
EV test pilot
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Location: Oconomowoc, WI, USA
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Charging at College

Hey folks!

Last night was the first evening of my 3-credit "INTRO TO RENEWABLE ENERGY" course at the county technical college.

Many of the state technical colleges offer hand's-on renewable energy training, but this is finally the FIRST class offered at my local college.

In front of the industrial building are four large PV arrays, and they have classes on renewable technology, but WHERE are the EV charging stations. The parking lot is HUGE, but there is no place to charge up.

Before the class started, the head of the department was there to give a welcome, thanks for being here, glad you could come to the first ever renewable energy class at the school.

I asked him - "I know this is gonna sound weird, but it's a legitimate question: where can I plug in my electric car?"
He gave me his card, and asked me to e-mail him that, saying that they have considered EV charging stations when they re-did the parking lot. (I had noticed the pavement was brand-new...) However, internal politics, cost, etc. prevented it from happening.

Now, of course, I really don't need an "EV Charging Station" per se... I just need a 15 amp 120 electric outlet.

Since I had arrived at class a bit early, I went to check out the PV panels, which are arrays on large post-mounts, just off the sidewalk. That included me figuring out where the other end of the cables went to, and I discovered where the PV disconnects were. Those connected to the outside of a maintenance building in front of the building I have class in.
Directly off from the PV disconnects was an outdoor electric outlet. Too bad it's across the road and 250 feet from the student parking.

However, I did notice in the few parking spaces at the maintenance building, that NONE of the spaces were actually reserved or marked for school vehicles only. In fact, I didn't see any reason why I COULDN'T PARK THERE. There was a gate (which was open) that lead to that area, and it was still open when I left at 9:45 in the evening.

From the end parking space to the PV electric outlet was only 25 or 30 feet, although there was a chain-link fence in the way. No reason why an extension cord couldn't go over or through the fence though.

Unfortunately, the other issue I have to deal with is that the school is almost exactly 20 miles away - My maximum range on 72V from a full charge, in perfect weather with all the stars aligned, taking the batteries down to 80% discharge.

Worse yet, the class runs through the end of the year - into the cold and snowy season, which lowers battery voltage and increases rolling resistance.

So, even if I COULD recharge at the school, I would still need JUST a LITTLE more juice for the range.
Since my Electro-Metro is now rigged up for carrying small children, (Please see BABY ON BATTERY BOX) the back seat and cargo area are not available for additional batteries.

I DO have the propane generator that I experimentally got to run for about a minute or so a while back. I still need the proper regulator and gas shut-off solenoid to make that thing work right. 3000 spare watts while driving sure would be handy though!
The generator could be mounted external to the vehicle, keeping the noise and fumes outside, and not using up any cargo space inside.

But that's another project to do while being self-employed, taking classes, having a baby....

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