Now Accepting Reservations: Coulomb Charging Stations
For a typical gasoline engine, filling up at a gas station takes about 5 minutes. If a gas station has 6 pumps, that’s a capacity of 72 fill-ups per hour, but to be conservative, let’s call it 50. Gas stations rarely have much in the way of lines, so capacity seems to be sufficient.
How does that compare to an EV charging scenario? Let’s assume a coffee shop adds 3 Level-2 chargers to its parking lot to be used by customers to top off while sipping a cup of joe. If we assume an average customer uses a charger for 30 minutes, then the coffee shop’s capacity is a mere 6 charging-customers per hour. That’s 50 versus 6 in our gas stations versus coffee shop comparison. And the difference is actually greater when looking at regional capacity as there will be multiple gas stations in a typical urban or suburban area, but, at least for now, that coffee shop might be the only local option. All this means that an under-supply of charging stations is inevitable, and customers will either have to wait in line or gamble on whether a station will be available.
Well, the folks at Coulomb seem to agree with me because they just launched a reservation system for their ChargePoint Network. Now a customer in my Starbucks scenario could guarantee themselves a charging station by reserving time online or via a smartphone app. As Coulomb puts it, “If you are certain you can charge at your destination, it effectively doubles the range of your vehicle.” And I would say that halves your range anxiety. Well done, Coulomb.