Getting to “On”: Obstacles Encountered (and Mostly Overcome) at the ChargeNet Stations’ Pilot Location
- Aug 24, 2022 2:44 am GMT
This item is part of the Electrification of Transportation - August 2022 SPECIAL ISSUE, click here for more
ChargeNet Stations is a public electric vehicle fast-charging and renewable energy infrastructure company. Providing software-as-service, we partner with quick-serve restaurant operators, their brands, and property owners to integrate fast charging, energy storage, and solar carports. The EV charging stations at our pilot location, a Taco Bell restaurant in South San Francisco, are about two months away from full operation. This will be a major milestone in our company’s evolution, and like any achievement of that magnitude, getting there hasn’t been easy.
Not that what we’re trying to do is easy, especially in California – the state’s strict regulations governing interconnection and construction make it the hardest state in which to build. Much of the existing electrical grid is outdated and underpowered to accommodate the considerable demands for transportation energy that a fast-growing number of EV drivers will soon be making on it, especially as the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure funds are spent and EV infrastructure expands. In nearly all cases, running Level 3 fast chargers means upgrading the grid’s power capacity. This requires builders of charging stations to tie in updated hardware in the form of transformers and switch gears. Here, we encountered a familiar problem across many industries over the past few years: a broken supply chain. The equipment we needed, particularly a switch gear, simply wasn’t available. While we got it eventually, it required paying significantly more than the “normal” market rate.
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