This is a brief paper I wrote up on promoting Level 2 charging on small town Main Streets, focused in Maryland, but applicable anywhere. Why Main Street? Shopping Malls and Big Boxes are going to get L2 charging no matter what, but don’t forget about our colorful, picturesque, and unique Main Street economic communities. Really great couple-of-hour destinations with charging are beginning to appear, such as Mt. Airy and St. Matthews, where you can charge your car while you get dinner, shop some shops, check out historical attractions, all kinds of stuff.
Feel free to leave comments. I would really like to know if plug-in drivers would enjoy charging while they visited walkable small town centers.
On March 19, Pres. Obama announced an executive order designed to cut GHG emission from the federal government in half within a decade. This order has many moving parts, targets and reports. Several parts bear on EV’s:
“(v) planning for agency fleet composition such that by December 31, 2020, zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles account for 20 percent of all new agency passenger vehicle acquisitions and by December 31, 2025, zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles account for 50 percent of all new agency passenger vehicles and including, where practicable, acquisition of such vehicles in other vehicle classes and counting double credit towards the targets in this section for such acquisitions; and
(vi) planning for appropriate charging or refueling infrastructure or other power storage technologies for zero emission vehicles or plug-in hybrid vehicles and opportunities for ancillary services to support vehicle-to-grid technology;”
So, new purchases would be 20% plug-in 5 years, and 50% in 10 years. Ambitious!
“(f) consider the development of policies to promote sustainable commuting and work-related travel practices for Federal employees that foster workplace vehicle charging, encourage telecommuting, teleconferencing, and reward carpooling and the use of public transportation, where consistent with agency authority and Federal appropriations law;”
Yea! The President said workplace charging! However, notice the qualifier. We still need an act of Congress to get around the appropriations wall at GAO. The state of the art is the “EV-Commute Act”, HR 4645 (current state here) It’s been introduced in the House. Should we write letters to our House members?
“(a) sustainable operations of Federal fleet vehicles, including identification and implementation of opportunities to use and share fueling infrastructure and logistical resources to support the adoption and use of alternative fuel vehicles, including E-85 compatible vehicles, zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles, and compressed natural gas powered vehicles;”
What missing? H2. Interesting that hydrogen vehicles appear to be absent from the entire exec. order.
“(a) GSA shall ensure that vehicles available to agencies for either lease or sale, at or below market cost, through its vehicle program include adequate variety and volume of alternative fuel vehicles, including zero emission and plug-in hybrid vehicles, to meet the fleet management goals of this order.”
GSA will ensure that the federal government is buying enough alt. fuel vehicles.
“(b) DOE shall assist the United States Postal Service (USPS) in evaluating the best alternative and advanced fuel technologies for the USPS fleet and report on such progress annually as part of the planning requirements of section 14 of this order.”
Of special interest to EVADC President Ron Kaltenbaugh, who is interested in electrifying the postal fleet. Go Ron!
“(d) “alternative fuel vehicle” means vehicles defined by section 301 of the Energy Policy Act of 1992, as amended (42 U.S.C. 13211), and otherwise includes electric vehicles, hybrid electric vehicles, plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, dedicated alternative fuel vehicles, dual fueled alternative fuel vehicles, qualified fuel cell motor vehicles, advanced lean burn technology motor vehicles, low greenhouse gas vehicles, compressed natural gas powered vehicles, self-propelled vehicles such as bicycles, and any other alternative fuel vehicles that are defined by statute;”
This could be read as including hydrogen, but it’s not clear. They are electric vehicles, no? But, usually they’re referred to by name….
“(aa) “zero emission vehicle” means a vehicle that produces zero exhaust emissions of any criteria pollutant (or precursor pollutant) or greenhouse gas under any possible operational modes or conditions.”
What follows is what I’ve learned on the subject of how exactly the first generation of antique EVs were charged. This is interesting, since there are many striking parallels between how charging was done then and how it’s done now.
If I had a Detroit Electric or Baker, or any of several electric cars in the early 20th century, how would I charge it? One possibility would be that the dealer would keep it charged for me at their own charging location.
(Power Wagon, 1906)
Cars would either be charged with the batteries on board, or the batteries would be removed and charged centrally in the “battery room.” Batteries were also swapped for electric trucks and taxi’s.
This is the Garage at Cooke and Stoddard, at 1138 Connecticut Ave NW in Washington DC, which sold Baker electric.
Notice the three bulbous, glowing mercury arc rectifiers, whose purpose is to convert AC power to DC power. We’ll explain how they work later.
Here is the charging cable, pulled down from overhead, going into the car.
Chargers designed for a garage.
(The Truth About Cars)
But, what if I wanted to buy my own charging outfit? The charging equipment I used would depend on whether I had DC service or AC service at my residence, since both were available. Both the DC and AC chargers looked similar. This is an AC charger:
You can spot right away it’s an AC charger since it has the same mercury arc rectifier shown above, labeled “rectifier tube” on the drawing.
The DC chargers are similar in appearance:
Here’s a more useful view of how these devices worked. More details below.
In my garage or parking spot, I would set up my charging outfit,
the same as we do today.
Here’s a close-up of the charger,
with the connector.
There have been many connector standards over the years. What did plugs look like back then?
This shows the two dimensional size standards, the smaller rated at 50 amps, the larger at 150 amps.
(Van Den Bossche)
The upper male connector was on the cable, the bottom female socket was on the car.
(Van Den Bossche)
Compare, for example, with SAE J1772.
Here’s another example of a charging outfit. This was GE treasurer Samuel Whitestone’s garage at 7 Douglas Road in Schenectady, NY, 1911.
You can tell it’s AC by the rectifier shaker switch in the center of the slate panel.
Support hardware for the main charger.
Another example from Newark, NJ, around 1910, with the charger highlighted.
(Garages and Motor Boat Houses, Comstock, 1911)
Then again, there was Andrew Carnegie’s garage, complete with uniformed staff.
(Garages and Motor Boat Houses, Comstock, 1911)
This the spec sheet for GE automobile chargers,
and chargers for smaller ignition batteries.
You could order custom chargers. Here is the form for ordering a charger from GE:
Here are some more GE examples. Notice the modularity.
This is a close-up showing the rectifier tube and circuit. Note lots of exposed electrodes and wiring.
A brief aside on how mercury arc rectifiers work:
First of all, here’s what it looks like in action:
Here is a detailed examination of a charger owned by the Edison Tech Center, Schenectady, NY:
Here’s how the tube works, courtesy of General Electric. It’s actually pretty clear.
You may ask how AC electricity is converted into DC nowadays? After humanity discovered the amazing properties of nearly pure silicon with tiny amounts of added group III and group V impurities, we invented silicon diodes, which are one-way “valves” for current. The equivalent operation today is performed by a circuit called a bridge rectifier, made out of an arrangement of four diodes:
There was also the “Electrant” or electric hydrant, made by General Electric, which has a creepily familiar look to today’s EVSEs. It was meant to be public charging as common as police call boxes and horse hitching posts. It would deliver 2.5 kWh of energy for 25 cents, which, at 10 cents per kWh, is also oddly similar to todays electric rates. (Edwin Black)
Here are some of the modern embodiments of the same idea.
Here are examples of surviving chargers. First, the America On Wheels Auto Museum, Allentown, PA.
The Edison Tech Center, Schenectady, NY.
(Edison Tech Center)
Collector Randy Ema has a General Electric No. 79811, 30 amp Type MS charger.
Here’s a nice view of the mercury rectifier.
From the Detroit Historical Museum:
And, in the UK,
This unit has it’s rectifier front-mounted, which was used for charging small ignition batteries for gasoline cars.
Here’s a beautifully restored charger.
From the LeMay – America’s Car Museum, Tacoma Washington:
Then, as now, you arrive home and plug it in, just like we’re rediscovering today.
[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R61LyUJEupM?rel=0]This video documents the installation of an Aerovironment 240V, Level 2 charging station (EVSE – Electric Vehicle Service Equipment) in a garage for charging a 2012 Nissan Leaf. Applicable for any J1772 compliant vehicle, including Leaf, Mitsubishi i and Chevy Volt.