Published on March 29th, 2019 | by Jennifer Sensiba0
Electrify America No Longer Announcing All Stations Under Construction. Here’s How You Can Help!
March 29th, 2019 by Jennifer Sensiba
Many owners of non-Tesla EVs are enthusiastically following the rollout of Electrify America. Unfortunately, it looks like Electrify America stopped announcing under-construction stations, instead only announcing them after they’re up and running. For reasons I’ll explain below, it’s important to get this information out there, and we need your help!
For Tesla owners, there’s a really good Supercharging network, and it keeps getting better every month. For other EV owners, the situation isn’t nearly as good yet. Until last year, there were large parts of the country with no rapid charging for other EVs. Electrify America is changing all that by putting in a national EV rapid charging network along major highways. This is something I’ve been following pretty closely, as you can see in one of my past articles (lots of additional detail on the situation is there).
Getting this information out there to the public is important. People considering purchasing an EV will want to know what the car will be able to do in the next year or two. By giving them the most up-to-date data, more people will feel comfortable purchasing an EV, because they know more stations are coming. For that reason, there are many of us hunting down these stations and publishing the details, with or without Electrify America’s help.
One of the ways I keep track of this is with the PlugShare app. Electrify America used to add its under-construction stations to the app, but it was still up to us to get photos and track construction progress. Now, I’ve seen a number of stations appearing in my part of the country that Electrify America hasn’t even announced on the website. There’s a big station underway in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and several smaller stations in the southwest that enthusiasts found on their own and published.
How I Found a Missing Station
I decided to spend an afternoon looking for stations, and managed to find one. Armed with an old map leaked from Electrify America’s website a few months ago, and my phone, I got to work.
The first thing I did was compare the old Electrify America map to the current map on PlugShare. Electrify America’s old map was only an approximation, with sites hopefully going in within 10 miles. In most places, the stations built and under construction match the old EA map plan pretty well. In some areas, it appears that the EA team changed their mind and relocated the stations to different towns. By knowing what they’ve done along a given corridor, I knew whether to look at the original towns or look more broadly. For example, I didn’t have any luck finding a station in Lordsburg, NM, probably because they changed their plan along that route between El Paso and Tucson. In Texas, however, it looks like they’ve been picking their original sites pretty closely.
The next thing I did was start making phone calls. I knew that EA was likely going to put a station somewhere in Van Horn, Texas. I started with the truck stops, and didn’t have luck until I called the last one. They didn’t have an EA station going in, but they knew there was something like that under construction at a nearby hotel. I called the hotel, and the clerk was happy to tell me all about the station in their parking lot. He told me about what had happened so far, how it needed to be rewired and repaved, and was even willing to send me some photos. I took all of this information and put it on PlugShare.
Tips For Finding More
I did notice that many locations were very difficult to find. For one thing, locals generally know very little about electric vehicles in small towns. It was common to have them direct me to a Tesla Supercharger because they don’t know that only Tesla vehicles can use those stations. The best way I found of describing an Electrify America station to them was by telling them they’re tall like a gas pump and have a green square shape. That was pretty good for jogging memories.
If you’re searching in a small town, I’d recommend first checking if there’s a Walmart and calling it first. Electrify America has a station location deal with Walmart, and it’s almost always EA’s first choice. If the town is too small, it may not have one, and you’ll have to check with hotels, truck stops, and gas stations to find it by phone.
Another way I found of locating stations was by looking at electrical permit records, where available, online. In some places, you’ll have to call the permit office in a city or county. In others, you can call the local city offices and sometimes police non-emergency numbers to get information. I would never call 911 about this, but police officers tend to know their areas better than most residents and tend to remember things that are out of the ordinary. Finally, in some places, the local rural electric coop is a good place to ask. They tend to be pretty excited about new things like that, especially in small towns.
If you have some spare time and either a Tesla or gasoline-powered car, consider going in person to search for missing rural stations. Generally, you’ll want to check the businesses within a few blocks of an exit on the interstate, especially hotels, truck stops, and gas stations. Don’t be afraid to ask locals. As I mentioned earlier, police officers parked along the roads may be a good source of information if you approach them politely. Also, if you see an Uber or Lyft driver sitting and waiting for rides, they tend to know areas about as well as the police do and may have seen a station. Finally, if you check local Walmarts, you might see a construction zone in the middle or edge of the parking lot. The fences will probably be covered with plastic or tarps, but it’s not hard to see the equipment through gaps or by putting a phone over the fence and snapping pictures.
Some Places To Look
If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few locations that may have Electrify America stations under construction that haven’t been announced:
- St. Regis, ID
- Jerome, ID
- Oasis or Wells, NV
- Lovelock, NV
- Coleville or Walker, CA
- Bishop, CA
- Little Lake, CA
- Chiriaco Summit, CA
- Blythe, CA
- Between Centennial and Quartzsite, AZ
- Gila Bend, AZ
- Willcox, AZ
- Green River, UT
- Salina, UT
- Lordsburg, NM
- Santa Rosa, NM
- Tucumcari, NM
- McLean, TX
- Monahans, TX
- Julesburg, CO
- Salina, KS
A Couple More Tips
However you choose to help, be sure to check nearby areas if you don’t find a station in a place it’s missing from. Sometimes, EA might not be able to find a good host business in one town, and may decide to go to the next or nearby.
One last thing: if you see stations listed near you that don’t have pictures, please stop by and snap a few when you can. It’s great to be able to see construction progress and see how far along the site is.
Thanks in advance for your help!
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