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Electric Vehicle: Six Public EV Charging Station Locations

You've bought your Electric Vehicle... But where are you going to charge it?

When you get an electric vehicle, one of the first things you're going to do is look for charging locations.  I've got an EV Hybrid, so I am able to  run on gasoline.  Owners of 100% electric cars, however, have a greater need for charging away from home. 

However, the mindset is still the same: Charge if you can!

The batteries (at least the ones on my Volt) are built to take as many short charge cycles as you want to put them through.  Mentally, you're trying to eke out another mile on the same tank of gas.  So you look up the locations for EV charging stations.  If it means that you need to park and walk a little further to your destination, so be it.

This discussion is limited to the stations that are compatible with my car which adheres to the SAE J1772 connector standard.  This defines, among other things, the plug shape and the communication that will occur between the car and the charger hardware.  I say this because, although (it seems to me) that the SAE J1772 is becoming common across multiple automobile manufacturers, other cars may - and do - implement other charging protocols.  It is at the discretion of the manufacturer.

Charge At Home
With the Volt, there's a portable charger that will take electricity from your household 120V AC outlet and meter it to the battery on the car via the SAE J1772 connector.  If both the charger and the battery management system on the car are working properly, you're getting charged!  BUT it's at a relatively slow (approx 3 miles per hour) charge rate.  This is known as a Level 1 charging station.

Charge Where You Learn, Work, Have Fun and Shop
I have a lot to talk about on the topic of charging, but I'd like to introduce you to Six Public EV Charging Stations.

I have been seeking out EV charging stations wherever I go, and found six in the past 4 days to share with you.  The range of experiences is quite large, and you may be interested in the video of the experiences.  I think it's reasonable to expect that if there is a publicly available charging station, it will be what is known as a Level 2 station, which will be a 240V AC delivery to your car.

Los Angeles Convention Center
I happened upon the LA Convention Center EV Charging Station when I went to a conference late last week.  It cost $15 to park, but there were two charging stations and three parking spots.  There is no additional cost to use the charging station.  One fellow that I had a conversation with mentioned to me that there's a bit of an issue if folks don't return to their cars to unplug the charger when the car is fully charged (it takes about 4 hours for my 38 mile range battery to be fully charged.)
So... there is demand at the LA Convention Center, but the sharing of the stations could be better managed.  I suppose this points to a potential need for additional stations.

South Coast Plaza, near Crate and Barrel
Enter the underground parking of the West portion of the South Coast Plaza near Crate and Barrel.  You will drive under the mall. If you follow the driving path (only one way to go) you'll reach a T.  The charging station is against the wall.

There are two charging stations, two formal spots with what seems to be an informal spot between the two.  It is wide enough for a car, and is shaded in green.  The markings are good, and it seems that the spots are being used for their purpose of EV charging.

All 3 spots were full when I went there, but only one charger was being used (one charge had ended and the charger was switched).  The other was occupied by what appeared to be an EV, but there was no charge activity.

No cost to charge.  It is a courtesy of the Mall management to EV driving shoppers.

When we left the mall several hours later, both stations were unoccupied, but we were leaving 8(

South Coast Plaza, Valet Parking Near Nordstrom's

This is the nugget of information.
There are three Chargepoint EV charging stations located inside the valet section of the South Coast Plaza near Nordstrom's.  My conversation with the valet on duty revealed this information.  There is no requirement to valet your car to use the charging stations.  You may self-park at the stations, but there is a 2 hour charge limit.  You will have to come and move your car after 2 hours.

However... If you would like to leave your key with the valet, he/she will move your car after the 2 hours... at no cost... (free valet service for EV drivers).  This is the SCP's way to maximize the use of the charging stations.

The stations are Chargepoint, which implies that you must register in advance, obtain a tag and pay for your electricity.  However, the valet does have Chargepoint tags, and the SCP is picking up the tab for the electricity while you shop.  You're shopping there, so you'll be spending anyway.

It's active management of the charging stations, and it's pretty awesome.  We discussed the fact that the possibility of adding more stations at the South East end of the mall.  I would imagine it would be added near the valet section there.

Nice job, SCP!

California State University, Long Beach

CSULB has 2 charging stations at the Rendina and Palo Verde parking lot.  You will enter by turning onto Rendina, drive under the walkway joining the 2 parking lots.  The charging station is to the right.

Weekend parking is $5.00 and the charge is free if you're paying to park.  Both of the chargers worked well when I tried them.

Long Beach Citiplace near Walmart

There are several (I believe 6) Blink Network charging stations at this location.  The Blink Network has a zero cost signup for network membership, then the charge will be $1.00 per hour.  Out of network charging will cost $2.00 per hour.

I was a little disappointed in the Citiplace charging stations.  There was no enforcement on the use of the charging station parking spots.  All were occupied by non-EV cars, which basically idled the charge station.  Markings on the ground were not very good.

I did not try to use these charging stations.  I will need to check around, get my tag then return to try it out.

Long Beach City Hall and Main Library

There are several charging stations at the Broadway Street parking lot for the City Hall and Library.  I went late at night, but observed well marked parking spots.  These are also Blink Network chargers, but none of them is yet in service.  No planned service date is posted.

Note: I do know that there was a bankruptcy situation for EcoTotality which ran the Blink Network until sometime in 2013.  The assets and operation of that company have since been taken over by Florida based Car Charging Group.

If you prefer the EV commentary in video form, check out Squigglemom YouTube channel and subscribe!
Charging at an EV Charging Station (CSULB).
A look at six EV Charging stations.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jim January 13, 2014 at 08:15 PM
At least two in Redondo Beach, one at Walgreens parking lot at Ruby and PCH, and one at Marina Bike Rentals at Harbor and Beryl
Squigglemom, Trish Tsoi-A-Sue January 14, 2014 at 12:53 AM
Cool! I'll have to put them on my list of places to video...! I've found that there is really no good place to go for info on stations. It's very scattered...
Russell Sands January 14, 2014 at 12:45 PM
There are a number of apps that will give you charge station locations and, in some cases, if they're being used. They include ChargePoint, Car Stations and Blink.

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