Sunday, April 13, 2014

Is an electric car doable in SLC? Just might be.

Electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure was in the news recently here in Salt Lake City, as the SL County government center (at 2100 S State St) recently received a brand new, high-speed charging station. These new connections will recharge a vehicle in 10-40 minutes, will be open around the clock, and allows users to buy electricity via credit card. Pretty sweet. These installations aren't the first in SLC, but they are notably faster than those that already existed. Here's a map of stations in SLC (via the interesting

So, decent coverage right? (Especially if you join the club to share your home plug, which apparently some do.) Sadly, not all charging stations are built for speed, though. For example, near downtown SLC we have:

Level 1, which is 120 Volts (same as a regular wall outlet). These can add about 4km of driving per hour of charging, so for the Nissan Leaf, which has a range of 84 miles, it'd take ~21 hours to fully charge. Sounds bad, but since 78% of commuters travel less than 40 miles each day that'd be ~10 hours of charging per night. Basically, using one of these 120 V outlets at your house would work, but don't get stuck and rely on these around SLC. They're found at most of the green icons on the map (above). Besides the public chargers, interestingly, the Hilton, Smiths (8th S and 9th E), and Whole Foods (Trolley Square) provide chargers as well. And all of these appear to be free.

Here's a Level 1 public station at 50 E and 300 S:

And here's one at Whole Foods (Trolley Square):

Level 2 charging stations use 240 V (like a washer/dryer) and add at least 12 miles of charge per hour. So a Leaf can fill in about 7 hours with the Leaf S standard 3.3 kW charger and ~3.5 hrs for vehicles with the optional 6.6 kW chargers). These 240 V outlets can be installed in your garage for about $1k-2k and can be found in SLC at the Main Library, at Ken Garff Nissan (777 S W Temple), and at the Utah Division of Air Quality (195 N 1950 W). So, basically two in the SLC CBD. This site provides a handy list (by zip code) of where the Level 2's are in SLC.

DC Fast Chargers can charge a vehicle in as little as 10-40 minutes (providing ~40 miles of range for 10 min of charging) and require more power than your house. The only ones I'm aware of in SLC are those that were recently installed at the SL County government center.

And for those of you who need to charge up your EV while hitting up a strip club, Salt Lake has got you covered:

Who says this town is only built for conservatives?! But in all seriousness, if my wife and I lived in a house we might just be looking at buying an EV. While I've tried to convince her that we could string an extension cord out our apartment window and onto the street, she says that probably wouldn't be wise.

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