February 19, 2015
Mark D Larsen
Be Our Guest!
(click to enlarge)
To follow up on my post about the EV infrastructure, yesterday I decided to check on the status of the SuperChargers being installed along I-80 from Truckee, CA, to Salt Lake City, UT. I opened Tesla’s map, and was impressed to see that they are now up-and-running in Truckee, Lovelock, Winnemucca, Elko, and Wendover.
However, when I happened to scroll over to Utah, I noticed that the map now showed a couple of new, small circles near Park City. I clicked on them, and learned that two hotels at the ski resorts now boasted several Tesla HPWCs (‘H’igh ‘P’ower ‘W’all ‘C’onnectors). I then saw one of these circles in Logan where my university is located, near the Idaho border. This piqued my curiosity even further, and when I scrolled down to Southern Utah, I was surprised to see that there were now three such circles in St. George! You can see those circles in the screen dump on the left below, which also shows the SuperCharger on Bluff Street toward the top.
(click to enlarge)
(click to enlarge)
I clicked on those circles and discovered that the three Best Western motels in my area now have Tesla HPWCs. I then opened PlugShare’s map, and saw that it had likewise been updated with these new charging locations since just last week. That screen dump is above on the right. Unlike Tesla’s map, however, PlugShare also shows the EVSE at the local Nissan dealer at the bottom, as well as two blue markers for residential chargers: mine (in the top left corner) and a new one for “James” (to the left of St. George). He and his son both own a Model S, likely the only two in our area —so far, that is.
The descriptions of the new motel chargers in the Tesla and PlugShare maps seemed to provide incomplete, if not conflicting information about them. I therefore decided to stop by all three locations late yesterday afternoon to see with my own eyes exactly what was available.
Best Western Coral Hills
As you can see in the photo below, despite what the map descriptions state, there is one 40A Clipper Creek J1772 EVSE and two 80A Tesla HPWCs at this motel. The Tesla map states that they are supposedly “for guests only,” but I found that they are fully functional if anyone plugs in: they are not controlled by either a card reader or a breaker.
Best Western Travel Inn
The Travel Inn has only one HPWC and one Clipper Creek. Oddly enough, Tesla’s map says that these connectors are “available to the public,” but in this case the desk clerk has to throw the breakers in the junction box inside the main office to activate them.
Best Western Plus Abby Inn & Suites
Like the Coral Hills, this motel has two HPWCs and one Clipper Creek, but mounted on pedestals behind the Abby Inn building. They are also fully operational if you simply plug in. Tesla claims they are “available to the public,” but PlugShare states that the motel charges $10 for “non hotel guests.”
I am encouraged to see these new charging stations in my area, if for nothing else than to serve as a placebo to assuage potential EV buyers’ range anxiety. When it comes to practical use, however, it seems obvious to me that the only motel guests who might take advantage of them are tourists who own a Tesla Model S, a BMW i3, or a Chevy Volt —since these are the only EVs capable of driving from Las Vegas to St. George without stopping to charge en route.
In fact, as I expressed in my previous post, I would rather have seen a DCQC installed on I-15 between these two cities than five of these eight 240V stations. After all, Tesla owners don’t really need to charge overnight anyway, since they have a bank of SuperChargers just up the street.
I also purport that it would have been better to simply install only Clipper Creek EVSEs at these motels. Since Tesla owners can plug into J1772 stations anyway, why install HPWCs that other types of EVs cannot use? I mean, if you’re charging overnight at a motel, does it really matter if the station cranks out only 40A instead of a whopping 80A? I doubt it. I suppose that the most likely answer is because... Tesla is footing the bill to have Sun Country Highway install the equipment. As we know, Tesla is not known for a “do unto others” philosophy: they’ll use others’ 240V and 480V charging stations without blinking an eye, but conversely will not let others use theirs.
One more related detail: if you open Sun Country Highway’s webpage to peruse its maps, you will see that they have also set up charging stations at the Best Western Premier Inn near the Grand Canyon. Unfortunately... it’s on the South Rim, instead of the North near me. Bummer. Maybe when the latter reopens in May, the installers will get to work there also...? We can hope!