Garages in the city and at the airport: ideal for recharging, but …

Garages in the city and at the airport: ideal for recharging, but …
Garages in the city and at the airport: ideal for recharging, but …

Paolo Mariano exhibition with schuko socket made available by the Borgospesso car park, in the center of Milan

Garages and electric cars. When you reach a place on the edge of the car’s range, where you will stay for a while, you can choose various solutions for charging. One is to use a FAST or ultra FAST post just before arriving or just leaving. But another more convenient solution could be to take advantage of the car parking at the destination for recharging.

Garages and electric cars: the advantages of slow AC charging

This is the case, for example, of the classic trip out of town. For example, visiting a city of art. Where you arrive in the morning, after a few hours of travel, and where you stay until the evening. The thing improve what we can do, when possible, is find an alternating current charging point: an AC column. The advantages are many:

  • no intermediate stops are needed. If the destination is within the range of the car’s autonomy, you will arrive at your destination direct. There it recharges (the car would still be parked) and leaves again in the evening with a full tank. Arriving again without stopping.
  • the costs of recharging are lower than those of a FAST recharge O ultra FAST. On average, 25 to 35 cents per kWh are spent, about half of quick recharges. Although, speaking of costs, we should open a separate chapter. Because these are widely variable according to flat subscriptions or reduced rates of the manufacturers.
  • the batteries thank you. FAST and ultra FAST recharges put stress on the battery. No problem if you are dealing with sporadic recharges, but when it is possible to avoid and carry out a slow recharge, without any particular discomfort, it is better to do it.

Garages: it would be so convenient, yet …

The Enel X columns at the Meda car park in the center of Milan

Unfortunately, those who design the installation of the AC columns (the most common) in most cases treat them almost as they were fuel pumps. Without going into the (very different) dynamics related to electric cars. You often find yourself facing paradoxical situations. Recently, for example, I went in Milan gives Riva del Garda with a Dacia Spring. Party with the 100% battery, I arrived with the battery just above 25%. In the fashion district there are various garages. Some of these, for example the Meda parking, have charging columns. But it is a matter of a few columns for a very large parking lot. Wanting to make sure I recharge during the stay, I certainly couldn’t bet on finding any free one! I therefore preferred to contact a smaller garage, the garage Borgospesso. I reserved the parking space and asked to have it a simple socket near the car.

But you have to travel well equipped …

In this way I was able to park, in the heart of Milan, and leave with the car loaded. No stops on the way out and nothing on the way back. Not even with a small city car like the Spring. It was crucial to be able to count on a mobile charging station come Juice Booster 2 (which we talked about who). It was sufficient to connect it to the schuko socket made available to the garage and connect it to the car. Sure I could exploit in complete safety all amps available. I did not know in advance (and even the managers were not able to tell me) the power available. But I knew the station would self-adjusted on what is available. In this specific case, I reloaded at approx 2 kW of power. In less than 10 hours ho restored the battery almost to 100%, leaving for Riva del Garda without stopping. It is a service that could make a difference, in the near future, in the choice of the parking garage in which to leave the car. Because it is the smartest way to get around.

Country you go … same ingenuity of design

The AC charging stations made available free of charge to travelers from Innsbruck airport.

I met a similar situation (with some variations) in Austria, on a trip to Innsbruck, at the airport, to catch a flight to Germany. Expected return after four days. The passenger parking is equipped with six AC charging columns. Ok. But the use is only allowed for the time necessary for recharging. And in any case not for more than 48 continuous hours. Well, correct. But then, according to them, who should use them? And in what way? We are, I remember, in the passenger-only parking lot of an international airport. They have probably designed them for those who leave and return during the day. But these are balusters from 22 kW of power. Let’s try to do some math. Most cars are charging nowadays at least 7 kW (if not at 11) and has batteries from not less than 30 kWh. We consider that the state of charge on arrival does not necessarily have to be close to zero. So how would it be possible to leave the car at the airport and be sure to return before charging is finished?

What could be the actions to accommodate us

I recharged at the Brenner pass, at the free FAST made available by the A22. And I arrived at the airport with “full” as the approximately 40 km that separate the charging station on the motorway from the airport are almost completely downhill. But I did a stop that would not have been necessary if there had been a different organization at the destination. How could you give good service? For example by thinking a mobile charging system, like the one imagined by Volkswagen. Large “power banks” that move around the parking lot and recharge parked cars. To then automatically return to the base (recharge) and start again. A bit like vacuum cleaner robots do in our homes. Another solution, less futuristic, could be represented, even here by the low power charging, but available on a much larger number of stalls. In garages it is more useful to have 66 parking spaces with 2 kW charging than just 6 places (however unusable) and 22 kW. Don’t you think?

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