Thought of the Day: 110-Volt Charging For All?

Welcome to Thought of the Day! Join Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield as she poses a question for you all to think about and answer.

Today, we’re evaluating the benefits of low-speed 110-volt charging for electric cars parked for a full day, and ask if all new parking lots — be they public or private — include 110-volt outlets as standard for each and every parking space in order to facilitate slow-speed charging during the day.

Is it a good idea that could alleviate stress on L2 and high-power charging stations, or is 8-hours of 110-volt charging just not practical for everyday use?

Watch the video above, and leave your thoughts in the Comments below.

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  • KIMS

    Does anyone know one or more of these questions:
    – Is 110V slow charging more or less efficient (from an overall energy spent/metered per energy stored (in battery)?
    – Is it ‘better’ for the total life (wear) of the battery (or worse, or no difference?)

    More on topic, it would indeed be great if more parking spots had engine-block heater outlets… Wouldn’t hurt to include or even emphasize that part (if your area has cold winters), since you would then gain more support from certain groups that are ‘against’ EV’s. . . 😉

    I mean, even if you’re ‘just at the mall’ or something, being plugged in lets you not worry about e.g. pre-heating or cooling your car for example.

    For publicly accessible parking, its probably not as cheap as you would think though, because you would need a charge system to go along with it, which turns it into a whole other ball-game entirely. Also, while putting up one or two 110V 15A circuits is cheap and no big deal… putting up 200 is also a whole other project… so I don’t see ‘all’ new parking spots coming with this feature anytime soon… or ever. More of ’em, sure, all of’em, don’t think so.

  • Albemarle

    Living in Canada, many hotel/motels outside of major cities have block heater plugs. I think this is a practical solution for EVs as you are parked for a number of uninterrupted hours. Likewise, block heater plugs at work are practical because most people are parked for 8 hours of so. This can work even with a Chevy Bolt because your time charging is most likely sufficient to at least recoup the previous drive’s energy. It may not be enough to recharge the battery totally, but that may not be necessary. There is also a whole pile less hassle with getting people to move their cars when finished charging at 3 in the morning etc. and all the bad feelings sharing limited resources entails. Too often humans don’t share well.

    We do a lot of walking so use our cars only a couple of times a week. We could make do with a 120V unit but plan to install a smaller 240v unit (government subsidy on unit and free 240v charging). Many living downtown use public transport for daily travel and cars on weekends or special trips.

    I wouldn’t expect any difference in battery life charging on 120V or 240V. Both use the car’s internal charger. 240V charging is more efficient, but not a big deal on your electricity bill.

    North American voltage is nominally 120V & 240V single phase, not 110v/220v. It does vary, but calculations are based on 120 v/240v.

    Offering 120V in shopping parking garages seems to me only useful for store employees.

  • Farmer_Dave

    Nikki what you describe would be nice, but what is NECESSARY is 110 volt charging at airport parking spaces. When I am away on 2-3 week trip, vampire drain on the battery (keep-alive, temperature control) can be significant. If I arrived with 20% state of charge I might return to a nearly dead battery. High amperage wouldn’t be necessary – even 15 amps would be plenty, and when I returned I could hop into a fully charged car.

    • Matt Beard

      Actually, airports could have a 6A 110V charger per space, and even share the power out so that no space gets its charger active more than 4 or 6 hours per day. OK, this would only add a couple of kWh per day… but a) that’s about 8 miles per day and if you are away for 2 days you come back to about 16 miles more range… 24 miles extra for three days, and b) this means that the car parks don’t need a huge amount of power cabled up and aren’t “giving away loads of free electricity”.

      Where you have a longer stay car park it would be great to be able to choose a charging scheme that keeps the car OK while away, then fully charges it just before your return. So, imaging you are going on holiday for two weeks. Before you go you book a car parking slot online (or via an app) and as you will be arriving with an almost empty battery (not good to store with low charge) you set it to give you 6 hours of 10A charge on the first day, then request a 1 hour 6A top-up after a week (just in case) and enough hours just before you land to get the battery back up to full when you pick the car up. If the weather may be very hot or very cold when you arrive it would be good to ensure the outlet is live at the time your car will be preconditioning too. This might cost you an extra $10 or $20 on top of your parking, but if you are parking at an airport that is peanuts! Also, you should not need to work all this out, just tell the system the flight numbers and days (and car model which will be part of the initial setup) and it can probably work it all out for you with an option to adjust if you want.

      • Farmer_Dave

        Sounds like a great plan. Do you know of any airports that have implemented it to a significant extent?

        • Matt Beard

          Except that storing at 100% is also not good, so best to get to somewhere between 25% and 60% or so early, then go up to 100% on the last day.

          • Farmer_Dave

            I don’t know about other brands, but on a Tesla you can set the maximum charge at any time remotely via the app, so you could have it set to 60% while you’re away and then raise it to whatever you need on the last day.

  • Jeff Songster

    A bank of 16 to 32 amp Level 2 would be worth a load more… the Airport or long term parking lot would be the most useful for 120V. A Target store in San Rafael has about 15 32 amp level 2s and they give you the first 2 hours free to encourage you to shop longer.

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