iCJ
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2022 5:05 pm

Illinois

Yellow fellow Midwesterners. Just wondering why our state is so behind in the DCFC game? Yes my city of Chicago has a bunch, but once you try to wander down state, through Indiana, around Wisconsin pickings are slim until you get to a major city. Even then there are some really large gaps of service between them. Just looking at a route to Springfield from Chicago would have the first leg be 150 miles to Bloomington just to hang out at a Walmart parking lot for a full charge. To go from Chicago to Indy you would have 140 miles just to get to Lafayette for another Walmart parking lot.

Our neighbor Iowa seems to have a more diversified charging network with chargers on major routes closer together that would allow a lower range EV to get throughout the state of Iowa.

I am new to the EV world but I thought in 2022 we would be further along than this. Am I missing something?
frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: Illinois

Hello from the West Coast!

I have no insight regarding DCFC availability in your home state but I'm very impressed that Illinois is the US' top nuclear power producer!

https://www.statista.com/statistics/614 ... -by-state/
iCJ
Posts: 11
Joined: Sun Feb 27, 2022 5:05 pm

Re: Illinois

Wow I didn't even know that Illinois is a top nuclear producer. I am going to look into that I am very curious about it.

I have been looking at trying a trip from Chicago to Springfield and noticed that the Wally's DCFC is out for a while and it would be too far to try and make it to the Bloomington ~130/140 miles. I see now where Tesla seem to be so popular as their stations are spread out about 80 miles. I do hope that some EV infrastructure starts to get built in the midwest soon.
3pete
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:03 pm

Re: Illinois

iCJ wrote: I thought in 2022 we would be further along than this. Am I missing something?
Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, but to my knowledge no DCFC company is profitable (yet).

Tesla made the choice to build Superchargers as a way to sell their cars and Electrify America was created because Volkswagen negotiated their Dieselgate punishment to be Billions of dollars invested in charging infrastructure instead of Billions of dollars in a fine directly to the government.

I don't think it's a coincidence that those two companies seem to have the best networks around here and they aren't concerned with turning a profit at the stations they build.

While Tesla targets Supercharger locations that will encourage people to buy more Teslas, EA and the other DCFC companies want to have a piece of the DCFC market if it turns into something profitable, so they're starting at the locations where they think they'll get revenue in return for their investment.

That has Tesla building stations to solve the roadblocks to EV ownership such as, "I can't drive to Yellowstone" problem even if it means an under-used station whereas EA et. al. are looking for stations where they are more likely to make their investment back: busy locations, or jurisdictions that will subsidize the install costs. Busy locations tend to correspond to higher population density and subsidies are usually going to be found with democratic leanings jurisdictions. If you look at a population map and a political map you can see where Chicago looks quite a bit different than the rest of Illinois in both regards.

As far as Iowa, I guess more people travel I80 than some of the north-south interstates in Illinois? i80 is pretty much the only interstate in Iowa, so if someone were going to put a DCFC station in Iowa they'd probably just put it on i80 by default.

DCFC options should get better as time progresses, but as a fellow midwesterner I am genuinely wondering if they can be a sustainable business model on their own or if charging will need to be subsidized from a nearby "attraction" (hotel/casino/restaurant/township).
eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Illinois

You're correct they are not yet profitable, at least according to Robert Barrosa, the business director at EA, from the comments he made in a recent interview:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vnxVsK1MRLc

EA is more strategic than simply seeking profitable locations. They've got their separate Urban and Rural plans, so built up metro areas (mine included in Oakland and the greater SF Bay Area) are littered with EA choices. However they have been very meticulously dotting major interstate routes with stops ever 150 miles or less.

You can see this on their nationwide map: https://www.electrifyamerica.com/locate-charger/ It's amazing how much they've covered in fewer than four years.

Electrify America was the only reason I could drive my i3 from Texas -- just barely. Nobody else has anything approaching their level of major route coverage, and I see new dots on the map every time I check. And I should note that out of 18 charging stops, I only charged once with another other EV on that trip.

EA is collecting payment from VW/Audi/Porsche, Ford, Hyundai/Kia, Volvo/Polestar, via the various EA "free" plans those automakers are offering as sales tools. So EA is very much in a similar position as Tesla as a key to consumer adoption, despite their Dieselgate origins and ties to VW as a subsidary. EA is looking for investment partners including other auto companies, and it appears everybody knows that a lack of charging infrastructure is a giant barrier to selling EVs to many doubtful Americans.
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3pete
Posts: 206
Joined: Tue Mar 19, 2019 9:03 pm

Re: Illinois

Agreed that EA is making great progress and in some areas they have better coverage than the Supercharger network. I believe it was also EA's network that allowed the Kia EV6 take the record for fastest "coast to coast trip in an EV" away from Tesla.

My concern/ skepticism is around those low-use stations in 10 years or so, after the Dieselgate money runs out and maybe a new set of executives are crunching the numbers. What happens when a DC Fast Charger breaks in Gillette, Wyoming (EA station currently "coming soon")-- what's their incentive to fix it rather than spend that money to expand a station in Oakland that would have a better ROI?

With Tesla, people buy their cars because they see Supercharing as a competitive advantage that makes the car more capable but EA doesn't really care about vehicle sales... unless maybe the deals with carmakers include a kickback for every EV sold? Even if that were true, it doesn't seem sustainable; at some point Porsche could decide there are enough stations in existence and cut ties with EA. It's not likely that EA would ban Porsches from charging in retaliation (I hope).

Of course, this same issue exists for Tesla if they actually follow through on opening up the Supercharger network to other brands. They could at least choose to charge non-Tesla brand vehicles a premium to help subsidize the hardware, and to prevent congestion. Call me a pessimist but I'm also waiting for the day that Tesla reneges on their pledge to "not profit off of the Supercharger network directly" and increases prices there.

Road trips are a somewhat rare part of a car's usage anyway, so it's a tricky scenario to build your business model on it. Then there are EVs like the i3 which really aren't the best road-trip car anyway, so I'm pretty sure most of us are just charging at home/work. I know won't be taking my 25% degraded 60ah i3 on any cross-country trips anytime soon :lol:
eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Illinois

3pete wrote: Sun Mar 13, 2022 5:58 pm ...My concern/ skepticism is around those low-use stations in 10 years or so, after the Dieselgate money runs out and maybe a new set of executives are crunching the numbers. What happens when a DC Fast Charger breaks in Gillette, Wyoming (EA station currently "coming soon")-- what's their incentive to fix it rather than spend that money to expand a station in Oakland that would have a better ROI?

With Tesla, people buy their cars because they see Supercharing as a competitive advantage that makes the car more capable but EA doesn't really care about vehicle sales... unless maybe the deals with carmakers include a kickback for every EV sold? Even if that were true, it doesn't seem sustainable; at some point Porsche could decide there are enough stations in existence and cut ties with EA. It's not likely that EA would ban Porsches from charging in retaliation (I hope)....
It seems to me we're at an inflection point. More than 10% of California's new car registrations are EVs, and the rest of the country is approaching a point where California was in 2018.

My sense is that while we're relying on EA's network investment now, EV charging will become profitable. As more cars hit the road, independents will pop up to challenge the big guys, and possibly even chase them out of some of these smaller markets if they're not willing to compete. In other words, rather than EA infinitely expanding any particular stop to satisfy demand, instead we'll see greater numbers of smaller stops populate the landscape -- much like service stations do now -- and they'll attract business with their attached convenience stores, restaurants, brightly lit billboards, convenient locations (which side of the highway are they on?), etc.

So if a big player like EA is unwilling to maintain equipment, somebody(s) will jump in.
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