Electric-Car Charging Stations Pop Up All Over, Hotels Included

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While AllCarsElectric posts are regularly written from at least three countries, occasionally we get to cover electric-car events in our own back yard--specifically, Palo Alto, California.

On Friday, we attended a ceremony to inaugurate the first electric-car charger installed at any hotel in very own town. (We also shot photos when the first 2011 Nissan Leaf was delivered last December in San Francisco.)

Jeff Birkeland reports:

About 50 citizens, politicians, community activists, and reporters attended the brief event held at Palo Alto's Creekside Inn. Just off to the side were a 2011 Chevrolet Volt and a pair of 2011 Nissan Leafs.

Scenes from dedication of electric-car charging station at Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA

Scenes from dedication of electric-car charging station at Creekside Inn, Palo Alto, CA

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During the speeches (which totaled less than 4 minutes), Creekside Inn owner Eric Horodas introduced Palo Alto Mayor Sid Espinosa.

The mayor cut the ceremonial ribbon over the Coulomb Technologies Level 2 charging station to inaugurate the new amenity, which will be operated by ChargePoint.

Genteel applause ensued, followed by cocktails and canapes next to the swimming pool.

The hotel notes that the charging station will be available on a complimentary basis both to hotel guests and visitors. It will take up to 8 hours to refill a 2011 Leaf battery pack if it is entirely depleted.

Other hotel chains are considering or installing chargers as well. The Element Hotel brand (owned by Starwood, which started the trendy W Hotel chain TK years ago) in particular plans to offer electric-charging at every location, including the branch it opened in December in the heart of New York City's Times Square.

You can watch Jeff's video of the short, cheerful ceremony here:

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Comments (18)
  1. "A journey of 1000 miles begins with a single step"

  2. This is good news for California. The Department of Energy funded public infrastructure deployment through ECOtality has been maddeningly slow. Fortunately, Coulomb and businesses have stepped up to fill the void. ChargePoint looks to have already installed hundreds of charge sites, all compatible with the newest EVs. And the ChargePoint website shows real time availability, giving EV owners true, dependable charging options.

  3. Good news for many, but Arizona is lagging is this arena also. Our government is "anti-everything" and is busy cutting funding for the needs of its citizens.
    However, the guv did find money for her corporate friends and another crazy sheriff who is being groomed to be our next GOP governor.
    I don't think they have a clue about EVs, nor do they care. I'm surprised AZ was chosen by Nissan as a roll-out state for the LEAF.

  4. It's too bad they screwed up the sign. "Reserved Parking. Electric Vehicles Only" is an invitation for non-plug hybrids to park there and block the spot for cars that actually want to charge. In fact, it's even lame for a plug-in to park there and not charge. A better sign is, "No Parking Except for Electric Vehicle Charging."
    See http://www.psrc.org/transportation/ev/model-guidance/ for more info. There's no need for everyone installing charging equipment to make the same mistakes.

  5. @Tom I wonder what the proper etiquette is? Would it be ok to block them in as you charge? Should you just smile and leave a polite note?
    I snapped these three in a Zone "Hybrid vehicles only" A Passat diesel, a Ford Escape hybrid and yes, a Nissan QX45.

  6. Can a Volt charge there?

  7. @Noel: Of course. It's a standard J-1772 240-Volt charging station.

  8. John,
    I guessed as much, but the issue is that Volt owners report that they are being turned down for the parking stickers that allow cars to park/charge at designated charging stations. Cars without stickers are subject to being towed. I am not making this up.
    Volt #1756 SoCal

  9. I have found charging spaces ICE’d by those who confidently told me “I saw the movie. They crushed all the electric cars”. A great teaching moment IF handled kindly. Much of the public is still unaware of the EVs resurgence. And plug priority amongst various forms of EV is not clear. Be prepared to inform the public, and communicate with your fellow EV drivers, to the benefit site owners. As to proper etiquette, I would respectfully suggest;

  10. @Noel: I'm not aware of a parking sticker required to charge at electric-car recharging stations. Perhaps this is confusion with the white HOV Lane sticker issued by California to certain plug-in vehicles that meet specific emissions criteria if they also have a combustion engine (which the 2011 Volt does not meet)? Any other readers heard anything about this?

  11. @John,
    Sorry, but in California one MUST have a special permit to park and charge at public electric vehicle charging stations and the Volt does not qualify for that permit. We just got ours this past Friday; it is a very small square sticker and goes either on the rear bumper or rear window.
    However electric charge stations on PRIVATE PROPERTY can potentially impose their own rules, but I suspect these need to be made clear to permit Volt charging use or....it could be a costly and unpleasant experience for the Volt driver.

  12. John what is the charging stations avg. charge?
    Sierrabob lake havasu city, az.

  13. @#11 George
    I went ahead and applied for one anyway, LOL. When they reject my application I'm gong to write and send copies to my Assemblywoman, State Senator and the Governor and ask them what in the world they are thinking. It probably won't do any good, but it'll make me feel better. Talk about a totally counterproductive rule!

  14. This is simply not acceptable : 240 Volts simply isn't fast enough. And since motel travelers will be charging at night it looks as though each station won't be able to handle more than a couple of EVs. Charging station creation has become one more confused mess. Here is a case where the Feds actually should be establishing standards for these things. I don't think anyone in Washington has a clue. Where's our fearless chief executive?

  15. what does it cost at these stations?

  16. "Sorry, but in California one MUST have a special permit to park and charge at public electric vehicle charging stations and the Volt does not qualify for that permit."
    This is only true if the location has a sign which quotes a specific California vehicle code provision (section 22511.1). Some of the older-generation charging stations are signed this way but so far I have not found this to be a problem with the new public J1772-2009 stations that I have used at four different locations. Three were at public parking lots or garages in SF and Santa Monica and the fourth was at a shopping mall in Newport Beach.

  17. I am curious on the cost for charging at a hotel or other public place... I noticed the MC/visa on the one opened in CA.

  18. This is one step towards the right path of being more environmentally savvy. Now if we could only mass produce the electric cars so that they become cheaper and everyone can use them we would be doing good. The oil companies need to be shut down. I also think the next step would be to put these into all hotels.

    lake buena vista hotel

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