A recent addition of an indoor electric vehicle charging station in San Francisco provides a glimpse of what is to come in the future.

A recent addition of an indoor electric vehicle charging station in San Francisco provides a glimpse of what is to come in the future.

Electrify America will soon debut an indoor charging facility near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge, where drivers can comfortably wait in a lounge while their electric vehicle’s battery is recharged.

On Friday, a new fast-charging station will open near downtown San Francisco, with the capacity to charge 20 plugs at once. This is part of a growing trend to create more attractive charging options in residential areas, catering to those who do not have the ability to charge their electric vehicles at home, as well as those who are in need of a quick charge while traveling or commuting.

The purpose of this design is to ease concerns of potential electric vehicle purchasers regarding the availability of charging stations and safe waiting areas during the charging process. This concern has contributed to the slowdown of EV sales in the United States.

Tesla is currently constructing a multi-functional establishment on Santa Monica Boulevard in Los Angeles, which will serve as a drive-in restaurant, movie theater, and charging station. Meanwhile, Mercedes has also built a charging station at their U.S. headquarters near Atlanta, complete with an outdoor area and indoor lounge. As part of a $1 billion investment, the company intends to build a minimum of 400 additional stations, equipped with 2,500 charging plugs, primarily along the coastlines, by the end of the decade. These stations may include lounge areas or be established in collaboration with shopping centers or travel hubs.

According to Electrify America’s CEO, Robert Barrosa, the purpose of their indoor station is to appeal to individuals who may have concerns about purchasing an electric vehicle, particularly those living in apartments in the nearby South Market area.

Barrosa stated that this is a large, indoor, high-quality experience that makes one want to say, “I am capable of doing this.”

Many convenience stores have installed charging stations near their stores and provide amenities such as food, restrooms, and round-the-clock service for electric vehicle owners.

However, Barrosa mentioned that certain stations offer better indoor amenities such as Wi-Fi and comfortable seating, for customers who plan on staying longer than the average gas station stop. The San Francisco station will have a dedicated attendant available 24/7 for security purposes and to assist with any queues or inquiries from customers.

According to EV owners, it typically requires at least 20 minutes of charging at a fast-charger to bring a battery from 10% to 80%. This is in contrast to the mere minutes it takes to refuel a car at a gas station.

According to Rick Wilmer, the CEO of ChargePoint, a company that constructs and manages charging stations for businesses such as restaurants, stores, and apartments, the term “30-minute retail” is used instead of “two-minute retail.” These charging stations are implemented as a means to draw in customers.

According to Barrosa, convenience stores typically have limited space for charging plugs, resulting in potential lines and delays for electric vehicle (EV) owners. However, having 20 indoor fast-charging plugs with a capacity of 350 kilowatts can provide reassurance for owners, particularly if they are in the local area.

According to Barrosa, individuals desire power, speed, and technology.

The presence of indoor charging stations can alleviate the issue of charging in inclement weather, which became a concern when temperatures dropped below freezing in the Midwest.

However, there are still skeptics like Bruce Westlake, who is the president of the Eastern Michigan Electric Vehicle Association and owns two Teslas. He believes that charging stations with additional features may not necessarily be a major draw for most EV owners.

Similarly, Kevin Smith, a Tesla owner from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, expressed his thoughts on the new stations, stating that while they may be a unique attraction, he does not anticipate them becoming widely used.

While traveling, Smith frequently relies on convenience stores to charge his electric vehicle.

He stated that individuals simply desire a small meal and access to a bathroom.

Smith suggested that it would be better if Electrify America, the leading fast-charging network in the nation that is accessible to all electric vehicles, focused on increasing the number of stations and improving their reliability.

In the United States, there are over 61,000 charging stations and 163,000 plugs available. The majority of these stations are lower-speed chargers that take several hours to fully charge a vehicle.

Tesla currently has the widest network for fast-charging, boasting over 2,100 stations and 24,000 plugs. However, this network is currently not accessible to all electric vehicles. On the other hand, Electrify America offers 900 stations and 4,000 charging plugs.

The objective of President Joe Biden is to have 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country. This will be supported by $5 billion from the 2021 infrastructure legislation, which will be used to install or improve chargers along 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) of highway.

Westlake stated that during his travels, he typically strategizes his charging breaks to be in close proximity to restaurants and other commercial establishments. When charging within his local area, he takes the opportunity to run errands such as grocery shopping while waiting for his vehicle to charge.

However, he views the larger charging stations in residential areas as a significant advantage for those living in apartments without the ability to charge at their residence.

Westlake expressed concerns about purchasing an electric vehicle if they did not have access to a garage for charging. They described the initial purchasing process as unsettling.

Having access to 24-hour service is crucial for him, particularly when charging at night. In some cases, the businesses near charging stations may be closed, leaving him with nowhere to go during the charging process.

Source: wral.com