Electric Cars: ‘Necessity is the Mother of Invention’

Go Lean Commentary

Today, gas prices have remained consistently low in the US for the past year; even dropping below $2 per gallon in many places.

This was not always the case. Just recently, in 2008, many of these same places – like California – featured gas prices near $5 per gallon. How amazing? What a change! How did the prices drop so low and what effect did those prior high prices have on the American, or more specifically, the Californian psyche?

“A crisis is a terrible thing to waste” …

… so says the book Go Lean… Caribbean quoting noted Economist Paul Romer (Page 8). A crisis brings an opportunity to forge change in the economic, security and governing engines of communities. An industry did this in the US, in response to the 2008 crisis. This is the industry of Electric Cars (Vehicles) or EV.

EV = No Gas … at all.

Overall, gas prices dropped due to macro-economic factors in both supply and demand. But on the micro-level, the need to mitigate the acute rise in gas prices truly proved to be the ‘mother of invention’. This is well documented in the historicity of one company NRG Energy and their eVgo® electric car charging initiative – see here the encyclopedic information on this enterprise:

NRG Energy and eVgo®

CU Blog - Electric Cars - Necessity is the Mother of Invention - Photo 1

NRG Energy, Inc. is a large American energy company – focusing primarily on power generation. They are dually headquartered in West Windsor Township, New Jersey,[3][4] and Houston, Texas.[1][5][6] It was formerly the wholesale arm of Xcel Energy, and was spun off in bankruptcy in 2004.[7]

Beginning in 2009, NRG began a major initiative to become the leading green energy producer in the United States and started investing very large amounts of money in clean energy projects.[18][19] They include onshore and offshore wind power, solar thermal energy, photovoltaic, and distributed solar power facilities, and repowering of some of their traditional coal plants with biomass.[18]

In late 2010, NRG made news by launching the “eVgo” network, the first completely private public car charging station network for electric power vehicles.[20]Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NRG_Energy

… and now in 2015 …

eVgo® leads America’s electric vehicle (EV) revolution.

eVgo® provides charging solutions and stations directly to electric car owners as well as businesses looking to serve the EV charging needs of their residents, tenants, employees, or customers.

Combining desired tier of service with home, multi-family, and workplace charging solutions in conjunction with the largest number of DC fast charging stations across the nation, EVgo provides EV drivers a truly unique level of freedom—and a whole new world of possible destinations.

The eVgo® network is the largest public DC fast charging network in the nation. From April 2014 to October 2015 their chargers provided enough kWh of electricity to power 12,323,090 EV miles. EVgo’s forward-looking infrastructure is invested across the country right now in more than 25 markets with a target of 40 by the end of 2016. EVgo drivers can access more than 1,000 fast charging locations, along with individual charging stations at homes, schools, offices, multi-family communities and hospitals across our growing network. – Source: https://www.nrgevgo.com/about/

NRG Energy and their eVgo® subsidiary is therefore a role model for the Caribbean to emulate. This enterprise has proven to be a technocratic organization that has championed the cause of providing the societal structures for EV’s. They do not manufacture the cars – that is the sphere of the giant car makers like General Motors, Ford, Nissan, BMW, Tesla, SMART and others – but they facilitate all the attendant functions to charge the vehicles and keep them powered. This structure aligns with the book Go Lean… Caribbean, a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This calls for the confederation, collaboration and convention of 30 member-states into one intergovernmental organization. The same as NRG Energy/eVgo® facilitates EV’s in the US, the CU seeks to facilitate EV’s in the Caribbean region. This is part-and-parcel of the prime directives (3) of the CU/Go Lean roadmap:

  • Optimization of the economic engines – accepting that energy is as basic a need as food, clothing and shelter – in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion & create 2.2 million new jobs.
  • Establishment of a security apparatus, including energy security, to protect the resultant economic engines.
  • Improve Caribbean governance to support these engines.

This writer lived in California in 2008 … and paid $5 prices for gas. But now just visited the old residential neighborhoods of Tustin in Orange County – see Appendix B – and noticed something different:

CU Blog - Electric Cars - Necessity is the Mother of Invention - Photo 2

Wow, change, innovation, necessity = the ‘mother of invention’.

 CU Blog - Electric Cars - Necessity is the Mother of Invention - Photo 4

CU Blog - Electric Cars - Necessity is the Mother of Invention - Photo 5

CU Blog - Electric Cars - Necessity is the Mother of Invention - Photo 6

See Appendix A for Charging locations/options in Tustin California today.

The goal of the CU is to optimize Caribbean society in kind. We need to foster innovation at home as well. We need to change in response to our own crises and not waste them. In many Caribbean locales, gas is still priced near $5.00 per gallon.

See the VIDEO here relating the story of an Uber driver and glean the comment of the Jamaican visitor longing for this solution in his Caribbean homeland:

VIDEO:  EVs and Uber- Sasha’s Story of Charging and Driving his Electric Car –  https://youtu.be/dj6NyUv_WkQ

Published on Nov 12, 2015 – Category: Autos & Vehicles; License: Standard YouTube License

This is also a matter of competition. The Caribbean homeland must better compete globally and hopefully present more favorable options for our youth to want to stay here in the homeland, and not copy the model of their previous generations who sought refuge abroad. We are failing miserably at this now!

We are also failing to create innovative energy options. There is the need to optimize our energy policies – from top to bottom. The Go Lean book directs this energy policy directive: the Caribbean region must lower crude oil demands. Success in this area will result in lower fuel and retail gasoline prices. The economic principles are sound: lower the demand, as the supply increases and prices will drop.

Thusly the book proposes many solutions for the region to optimize energy generation, distribution and consumption. No “stone is left unturned”. Go Lean posits that the average costs of energy can be decreased from an average of US$0.35/kWh to US$0.088/kWh in the course of the 5-year term of this roadmap. (Page 100).

Primarily in this strategy in lowering the demand for crude oil is increasing options with alternative energy sources: natural gas, solar, wind and tidal. Thereby lowering the demand on crude oil. As for the supply, the roadmap advocates for Electric Vehicles (EV’s) – just like in Tustin California – and hybrids and other energy mixes like natural gas and hydrogen. In fact, the roadmap calls for the development of a homegrown Automotive Industry in the Caribbean (Page 206). The overriding need for cheaper energy options would be the ‘Mother of Invention’ for these solutions.

The Go Lean book details a series of community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the progress in the wide fields of energy generation, distribution, consumption and automobile efficiencies. The following list applies:

Community Ethos – Lean Operations Page 24
Community Ethos – Return on Investments Page 24
Community Ethos – Cooperatives Page 25
Community Ethos – Regional Taxi Commissions Page 25
Community Ethos – Non-Government Organizations Page 25
Community Ethos – Ways to Impact the Future Page 26
Community Ethos – Ways to Improve Negotiations Page 32
Anecdote – Pipeline Transport – Strategies, Tactics & Implementations Page 43
Strategy – Harness the power of the sun/winds Page 46
Tactical – Fostering a Technocracy Page 82
Tactical – Separation of Powers – Energy Commission Page 82
Anecdote – “Lean” in Government – Energy Permits Page 93
Anecdote – Caribbean Energy Grid Implementation Page 100
Implementation – Ways to Develop Pipeline   Industry Page 107
Implementation – Ways to Improve Energy Usage Page 113
Planning – Lessons Learned from 2008 Page 136
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Public Works Page 175
Advocacy – Ways to Foster Cooperatives Page 176
Advocacy – Ways to Impact Monopolies Page 202
Advocacy – Ways to Improve Transportation Page 205
Advocacy – Ways to Develop the Auto Industry Page 206

This commentary asserts that energy needs are undeniable. Options abound; the biggest ingredient is the “community will”. Here comes the “will”! If the old adage is true: “where there’s a will, there’s a way”, then the CU/Go Lean roadmap is the way. This is the “heavy-lifting” for the lean, agile operations of the CU technocracy.

There are many Go Lean blog commentaries that have echoed this point, addressing the need to mitigate high prices in energy and the overall cost-of-living in the Caribbean. See sample here:

http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=6867 How to address high consumer prices
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5396 ‘Significant’ oil deposit found offshore Guyana
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=5155 Tesla unveils super-battery to power homes
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=4587 Burlington, Vermont: First city to be powered 100% by renewables
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3743 Trinidad cuts 2015 budget as oil prices tumble
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=3213 Gas Prices Drop Below $2; due to “Supply and Demand” Factors
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=915 Go Green Caribbean – Renewable energy pursuits in the region
http://www.goleancaribbean.com/blog/?p=273 10 Things We Want from the US – American Innovation

So the message to the people of the Caribbean region is straight-forward: Help is on the way!

Now is the time for all of the Caribbean, the people and governments, to lean-in for the optimizations and opportunities described in the book Go Lean … Caribbean.  🙂

Download the book Go Lean … Caribbean – now!


Appendix A – EV Charging Locations

The Ultimate Guide to Electric Car Charging Networks In Tustin California

Source: http://evcharging.xyz/free-electric-car-charging-stations-in-tustin-ca-looking-for-a-free-ev-charge-station-in-california.html

When it comes to refueling a car, drivers of gas- and diesel-powered vehicles have it easy. They roll up to any one of about 100,000-plus gas stations in CA, pump in liquid fuel in a matter of minutes, and pay either in cash or with a credit card. Unfortunately, it is a little more complicated with public charging for electric vehicles although remember that almost all EV charging takes place at home, which usually requires about 30 seconds to plug in each night.

For EV drivers who want to regularly charge in public, it is important to know about the handful of charging networks offering access to electric fuel on the go. Each network works a little differently. It is a good idea for EV owners to have a basic understanding of how they compare with one another. That is why we put together this basic guide on EV charging networks.

Cost Considerations

The three primary approaches are:

(1) pay-as-you-go,

(2) monthly subscriptions

(3) free.

Obviously, if given the opportunity, it makes sense to grab a free charge, even for a relatively short period of time. But the pay models, depending on the cost for a charge, need to be studied to determine which network makes the most sense for you; if it is best to collect a wallet-full of membership cards; or if proper planning will allow you to avoid public charging unless you are running very low on charge.

There are a few gotchas. Keep in mind that the amount of range you add per hour depends on the power capabilities of your cars onboard charger. As Marc Geller, a director at Plug In America, an EV advocacy organization, told me: If the car comes with a smaller charger, the cost is relatively higher than if you have a faster charger. It is a weird fact. Other oddities include credit card transactions and costs associated with leaving a car plugged in, even if the battery if fully charged and the electrons have stopped flowing.

Networks, such as eVgo, operated by NRG Energy, avoid some of these issues by using an all-encompassing all-you-can-charge subscription service. That brings clarity, but usually at a higher overall cost. As of July 2014, the majority of public chargers are still available for free (although not every system makes it absolutely clear how much EV drivers are paying to charge).

High-Level Recommendations

  • First, think about your regular routes and favorite destinations in Tustin CA. Then use PlugShare or another station finding tool to see which charging networks are along the way. Be prepared to use any of them.
  • ChargePoint is the biggest charging network, so it is a must for nearly all EV drivers.
  • If you live in Pacific Northwest, get a key fob from Aerovironment for its AV Subscription Network.
  • In Texas, it’s generally better to pay as you go with ChargePoint and Blink, rather than opting for multi-year expensive contracts with eVgo unless you want to splurge for the convenience of an all-you-can-charge plan and, at this time, the ability to access DC fast charging.
  • On the east coast, SemaConnect is the best backup to ChargePoint.
  • Who doesn’t like free? There are about 2,000 stations, mostly free, not associated with any of the networks listed below. Use PlugShare or other tools to find these stations.

One last caveat: The terminology of ”station” can be confusing and misleading. Some services call each individual charger a station, when the term station usually refers to a single public site with the capability to charge more than one car at a time.

List of Top EV Charging Networks In Tustin 92780


Background: Aerovironment, known as AV, is a pioneer in the development of electric vehicle charging technologies. The company sells a range of Level 2 and Quick Charge equipment, but also operates its own network of chargers.

Approximate Number of Sites: 60

Coverage: AV chargers, many of which are DC Quick Chargers, are primarily located in Oregon, and to a lesser extent, in Washington State as part of the West Coast Electric Highway. AV also has a handful of charging locations in California.

Access: Unlimited monthly access is provided for $19.99 per month. Subscribing to the AV network starts with calling 888-833-2148 or filling out a form on the AV website. The company will send a key fob that activates the chargers. If you are a current subscriber there is no activation fee. If you are a new subscriber, there will be a one-time activation fee of $15.

Cost per charge: As an alternative to the flat monthly access fee, there is the option of paying per session: $7.50/session for DC Fast Charger; and $4.00/session for a Level 2 charging station.

Website: http://evsolutions.avinc.com/services/subscriber_network



Background: The assets of Blink Network were purchased by CarCharging Group in October 2013. Ecotality had received a $114.8 million federal stimulus grant to oversee The EV Project. The goal of The EV Project is to deploy 8,300 private and public chargers. There have been several reported problems associated with Blink chargers, and the Blink Network, such as insufficient customer support, and incompatibility of the equipment with certain vehicles.

Approximate Number of Sites: 1,680

Coverage: Blink Network chargers are located in approximately 25 states, with the largest concentration in California, California, Arizona, Oregon, Texas, Tennessee and Washington.

Access: Start by registering a credit card with a Blink account. There are no required annual or monthly membership fees, or minimum credit card balance. Members who register will receive an InCard and can initiate a charge using the card. Guests can initiate a charge with Blinks mobile application.

Cost Per Charge: In the states that permit kilowatt-hour pricing, fees for Level 2 EV charging stations owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network range from $0.39 to $0.79 per kWh, depending on the state and individuals membership status. Blink is a proponent of kWh pricing because it is usage-based and EV drivers pay fees based on the actual amount of power consumed during the charging session rather than the amount of time that the car is plugged into the station.Fees for DCFC chargers owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network in kWh eligible state range from $0.49 to $0.69 per kWh, depending on the state and individuals membership status.

These states currently permit fees by the kilowatt-hour: California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Oregon, Utah, Virginia, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

In states where pricing by kWh is not permitted, time-based charging fees for Level 2 charging stations owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network range from $0.04 to $0.06 per minute, depending on membership status. Time-based charging fees are rounded up to the nearest 30-second interval. Fees for DCFC chargers owned by Blink and operated on the Blink Network in non-kWh eligible states will range from $6.99 – $9.99 per session, depending on membership status.

Website: http://www.blinknetwork.com .



Background: Chargepoint, previously Coulomb Technologies, describes itself as the largest online network of independently owned EV charging stations operating in 14 countries. The company provides a turnkey EV charging solutions for property owners who can determine the terms for offering charging to EV drivers.

Approximate Number of Sites: 3,084

Coverage: While one-quarter of ChargePoint stations are in California, the network is the most widely distributed with at least one station in California.

Access: There is no cost to sign up and receive a ChargePoint card. After submitting your credit card information as part of the sign-up, you will be charged an initial deposit of $25 only when you first visit a charging station that requires a fee. (Many stations on the network are free.) Your account provides access to all public stations on ChargePoint. Charging stations are activated with the ChargePoint card, or a contactless credit card. The stations can also be activated by calling a toll-free customer service number on the ChargePoint station, or by using the associated mobile app. Account balances automatically replenish when the balance gets low. Cost Per Charge: Prices are determined by the property owner. Many ChargePoint stations are currently free.

Website: http://www.chargepoint.com.



Background: eVgo is subsidiary of NRG, a Fortune 300 and S&P 500 company. It Is one of the countrys largest power generation and retail electricity businesses, with power plants producing about 47,000 megawatts of generation capacity. eVgo is part of NRGs clean energy portfolio, which includes solar, thermal, and carbon capture technology.

Approximate Number of Stations: Approximately 150, each with Level 2 and DC quick charging options.

Coverage: Currently, eVgo operates stations in Tustin CA, Texas, in the Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth markets, as well as Tennessee, California and the greater Washington, DC area.

Access: NRG network is only available to its monthly subscribers using an eVgo card, but as its website states, the company will always take care of an EV driver in need of a charge.

Cost Per Charge: eVgo offers various plans based on the needs of an EV driver and the electric vehicle they have chosen. This is an overview of their three most popular all-you-can-charge plans. Starting at $30 a month, with a one-year service agreement, EV drivers have access to unlimited charging at the companys so-called Freedom Station sites, which includes Level 2 and DC fast charging. The $40 a month Home plan, with a three-year service agreement, adds installation of your own home charging equipment but not the cost of electricity that is separately metered. The Workplace plan is $30 a month. See the pricing structure, which is unique to each region.

Website: http://www.evgonetwork.com/



Approximate Number of Sites: 270

Coverage: 32 states, California, DC and Puerto Rico.

Access: WattStations require an RFID card, even when non-networked and free.

Cost Per Charge: Prices vary, as established by owners.



Background: Greenlots is not formally a network, but rather a provider of open standards-based technology solutions for various stations and other networks. Designed to answer the needs of site hosts offering workplace, utility and public charging applications, Greenlots SKY platform utilizes Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP), the largest open standard for charger-to-network communications.

Access: Users have many access options, including: (1) Download the free Greenlots app from iTunes or Google Play. Next, enter your credit card information. Once your information is saved, select “Charge” from the menu and enter the Station ID or scan the QR code displayed on the front of the station; (2) Swipe your Greenlots RFID card; (3) Call the customer care number listed on the station to have the charge session started remotely; and (4) Some stations have a credit card swiper. Users can also create a driver account at www.charge.greenlots.com to track electricity usage, update information, or order an RFID card.

Coverage: No specific region. Charging stations in Midwest, Northeast, Northwest, South, and Southwest, as well as Hawaii, Canada and Singapore.

Cost Per Charge: Site hosts determine the fee for use. Greenlots does not charge a membership fee.

Website: http://greenlots.com/



Background: Maryland-based SemaConnect offers Level 2 commercial grade EV charging station equipment and management software called SemaCharge. Their focus is on making charging as easy as possible for EV drivers and station owners. The company says it is the fastest growing network on the east coast. SemaConnect is the third largest supplier of commercial grade Level 2 charging stations based on number of stations deployed.

Approximate Number of Sites: 450

Coverage: SemaConnect stations are located in about 20 states, with the greatest concentration in California, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, DC, Georgia, California and the Pacific Northwest. It also has a presence in Puerto Rico.

Access: To sign up, log on to the SemaConnect website, and open a new account with a $20 balance charged to a major credit card. You will receive a SemaCharge RFID card that can be used to initiate charging at any SemaConnect location. If the balance drops below $0.00, the associated credit card will add another $20 to your account. SemaConnect also offers mobile payments via its smartphone application, toll-free number, or via a QR code scan.

Cost per charge: The cost varies, as determined by the property owner.

Website: http://www.semaconnect.com



Background: Shorepower Technologies manufactures, sells and operates equipment for truck stop electricity services, as well as electric vehicle charging equipment. Most of the truck stop sites have standard charging outlets (e.g., NEMA 5-20, NEMA 14-30 and NEMA TT-30), accessible to EV drivers with the appropriated adapter cords. Relatively few of the locations also have charging stations with standard J1772 connectors.

Approximate Number of Sites: Shorepower has about 425 locations, with more than 2,000 individual connection points.

Coverage: Charging locations, mostly at truck stops, are spread widely across the U.S. in approximately 30 states and can be found in Tustin CA.

Access: Use the toll-free hotline, kiosk or web browser to activate service via a credit card. There is a $1 activation fee. Cost per charge: For paid stations at Level and Level 2, the fee is $1 per hour. Locations with J1772 equipment, mostly on west coast, are free.

Website: www.shorepowerconnect.com



Background: In fall 2012, Tesla Motors, the makers of the Model S sedan, rolled out its first so-called Superchargers, in order to make road trips available for free to owners of its sporty luxury sedan.

Approximate Number of Sites: As of August 2015, there are 502 Supercharger stations with 2,832 Superchargers.

Coverage: Supercharger stations are situated throughout the United States and can be found in Tustin 92780.

Access: Tesla Superchargers do not require a card to initiate. Model S owners simply drive up and plug in. The chargers are available to owners of Model S models with the 85 kWh battery pack, or cars with the 60 kWh pack that have been configured to use Superchargers.

Cost Per Charge: Free. No sign up and no cost for electricity.

Website: http://www.teslamotors.com/supercharger


Appendix B – Tustin Information

CU Blog - Electric Cars - Necessity is the Mother of Invention - Photo 7

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