Why do gas stations not add fast chargers

Most of them have a business model and thus design concept for the store, parking lot, etc of a constant flow of vehicles/customers who stay no longer than a few minutes. They do not have the area available for several customers to park for 30 to 60 minutes. Installing very expensive EV charging systems at a time when about 5% of cars on the road are EV (and the locals charge at home) just sounds like a real gamble. I can understand why they would defer installing fast EV chargers until the quantity of vehicles increases. In the future if EVs have solid state batteries and can charge in only a few minutes then it makes a lot of sense for the business model of a convenience store. Today however (2022), a grocery store, Walmart, fancy restaurant or hotel make a lot more sense.

Some convenience stores (Loves and others) cator to semi trucks and cars and I have seen these locations add EV chargers. They usually have a large piece of property and they put a few EV chargers out on the edge of the property.

The future of fast chargers

Most of us charge at home and if we are on a variable rate pricing plan we just set the car’s charging window to begin at 9PM and end at 5 AM. When on a road trip however we have to charge when a fast charger is nearby or available.

I wonder if OG&E and thus EV charging networks will implement variable rate pricing. I suspect as the EV ownership climbs the bell curve we will see some changes and likely more charging locations in rural areas. I read recently that in the US the EV ownership has passed the 5% point and will quickly accelerate going forward. Simultaneously we see that Ford has a Mustang and an F-150 EV as do others – so it’s obviously becoming more main stream. Subaru, Toyota, etc have EVs as well. I think over the next few years we will witness a lot of EV on the road.

How fast does the Kia Niro EV Charge

From what i’ve observed, the 2020 Kia Nero EV will not exceed 77 kW/h and it begins dropping down from that, looking like a stair step. 77 down to 70, 60, 40 and finally to 25 kW when the battery is about 80% charged. At about 80% charge it can be going as low as 25 kW. At about 90% charge the speed really declines. Thus when your fast charging, just stop at 80%. If you need the reserve then stop at 90%.

At home the Kia Niro EV charges at about 7 kW on my ChargePoint charger.

Many Fast Chargers in Oklahoma are by Francis Energy which do not give much detail and they charge per minute regardless of the rate the car is charging. Therefore, armed with this knowledge it’s best to use a Francis charger when the car is taking on the highest rate of charge, and then leave. However, when the hotel is a 30 min drive from the charger…

On our trip I also came upon a Charge Point charger in Duncan Ok and it provides some detail and they charge for the power a car takes on, not by the time. Therefore these are great. They were also seeming much faster than the Francis Energy charging stations even though both were 100kW capable. So what is the price difference: well Francis Energy is considerably more expensive to use than the ChargePoint system, in my experience.

Our visits At ChargePoint:

  • 17.86 kWh in 23 min at $ 5.36 (Duncan, OK) = 30 cents/kWh
  • 15.57 kWh in 20 min at $ 4.57 (Duncan, OK) = 29 cents/kWh
  • 12.13 kWh in 14 min at $ 3.64 (Duncan, OK) = 30 cents/kWh

Our visits at Francis Energy:

  • 13.40 kWh in 23 min at $ 9.98 (Davis, OK) = 74 cents/kWh
  • 29.29 kWh in 48 min at $ 19.95 (Davis, OK) = 68 cents/kWh
  • 31.30 kWh in 38 min at $ 15.96 (Lawton, OK) = 51 cents/kWh

Cost to charge at home ( 10.4 cents/kWh )

  • 12-July: 49.43 kWh, $ 5.17
  • 7-July: 28.19 kWh, $ 2.95
  • 4-July: 38.2 kWh, $ 4.00
  • 28-June: 43.89 kWh, $ 4.59
  • 23-June: 33.80 kWh, $ 3.54
  • 19-June: 33.74 kWh, $ 3.53
  • 14-June: 41.35 kWh, $ 4.33
  • 9-June: 32.30 kWh, $ 3.38

Exact cost at home is not something I can calculate in the summer (1-June to 30 Sept) OG&E has an adjustment to the base cost and the adjustments can be high peak, critical peak, low peak, standard peak and off-peak. The bill does not indicate the kW used in a particular period. The best I can do is the average of the entire bill which is how I came up with 10.4 cents/kWh (taxes, fees, everything included)

Road trip planning

Our second road trip in the KIA Niro EV was a four day trip into rural Oklahoma. We were going to take the Subaru Outback and not concern ourselves with finding fast chargers however with the current cost of gas ( $ 4.50 /gal ) we decided to reconsider the EV. I used PlugShare to find the EV charging stations in or near the towns we were staying but PlugShare is not really a trip planning tool. I then found ABRP or “A better route planner” which can even connect to a bluetooth ODB dongle to monitor real-time the battery status, usage, etc to show on a route what my battery level is expected to be. It can then add-in stops for charging.

I purchased an ODBLink CX https://www.obdlink.com/products/obdlink-cx/ and connect it to the ABRP app and it worked! The engineer in me loves being able to create a trip using an app that predicts when I need to charge and where. It took me quite a while to figure out the app, how to save a plan, etc (it’s not hard but it’s not intuitive either).

During the trip there were a handful of issues where the app just falls over.

  • At one point I realized our car was showing showing the actual battery capacity and the app was showing something completely different. I clicked something in the app that allowed me to see that it was reading ODB data so I finally decided it must be reading but not able to update it’s value in memory – so I disconnect the ODB dongle from the app then re-paired it to the app and the problem was solved. It rattled my nerves though as I was quite a way away from any town.
    • So – occasionally check the battery level it shows to what the car shows while in route!
  • Routing in some areas was wildly inaccurate. ABRP uses Google Maps and Google Maps didn’t have any issues getting us to the resort but ABRP just couldn’t do it. It didn’t seem to understand the recreational area, campground and resort roads and it only recognized the campground entrance, not the resort entrance several miles away. Thus it always routed us the long path around the lake instead of the short path. I even tried dropping a pin on the map at the resort, I changed it to my ‘Home’ and then it was unroutable. It didn’t know how to get in or out of the resort. Again, Google Maps had no problem (which is how we knew ABRP had a problem – and because the icon for the resort was showing on the ABRP map and Google map and that was not where ABRP was ending the route.)
  • This inaccurate/lack of a route occured again and again while I was in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. It was able to get me to the refuge but it was unable to calculate a route while I was in the park. So I had to use Google Maps and ABRP and some judgement based on how many miles our car told indicated was remaining.
  • Placement and quantity of charging stations in the app seemed very inaccurate. Some of this is from the charging network providers themselves apparently having the wrong address for their own charger. Some of it seems to be, I can only assume, from people adding charging locations to the map in the wrong place. PlugShare only showed one fast charger location in a town. ABRP showed three. There was only one.
    • Use ABRP, PlugShare and Google Maps street view when planning a route.
    • When you arrive in a town, find the charger and make sure it works before doing anything else.

Here is the incorrect route in ABRP from the Davis Ok EV charger to the Chickasaw Resort and Conference Center. ABRP ends our route at the campground entrance and is basically worthless beyond that point. I tried to add a new route starting from ‘my location’ and it was unable to find a route until we merged onto a road it recognized. The lodge and roads are not new – they’ve been here for many years.

Here is the correct route from Google Maps. Google actually maps me to the resort not the campground entrance.

Other quirks with ABRP: When you begin to create a trip it assumes your leaving immediately and if you don’t notice this then each point in the map will have the wrong date and time. Coincidently it becomes impossible to build a route that lasts multiple days. So either ignore this and build a route for each day or build multiple routes for each day if your hopping from location to location with long gaps between departures (and thus more likely to change your mind).