My BMW i3 has taken me 1,324.5 miles and I have spent a total of $3.38 on gas. My good friend and electrician, Dave, installed a BMW charger at my home. Fortunately, the house runs on solar so Panda is fed by the sunshine but when we go on long drives I look ahead to power sources on the navigation screen. I have only had to rely one time on the gas extender tank when I drove about 100 miles in a day. The electric charge covered the first 72 miles and the the gas engine took over for the balance. The problem was, I never should have run out of electric power that day. The destination had a parking garage and there were several http://www.chargepoint.com/ chargers where I parked. I thought I had scored because the charging stations didn’t show up on my maps screen. I found out why. The building had ordered chargers for employee use only. There was one car hooked up and plenty of vacant plugs. I stopped at least 8 different employees in and around the garage but none of them had electric vehicles or any understanding of the employee-only charge program. The parking attendant knew nothing about the system either and there was no guard at the front desk of the building. Had I been able to charge my car while I was in my meeting, I never would have needed to drive on the extender tank. I was prepared to pay but when I called the 888 number on the machine the operator said she couldn’t do anything about it. I was told there is a code given to the building to unlock the charger to public use but the keeper of the code was not to be found on site that day. Lesson learned. If you own or operate a large office building and are adding employee-only electric vehicle charging stations, please consider a guest charging station too. I will happily pay a reasonable fee and other visiting EV visitors will be grateful.
From now on when I plan a long drive, I will call parking lots ahead of time if they don’t show up on the Charge Point location map. They may have chargers that are exclusive to the employees. I will ask if they have a charging station use code for guests. If not, I’ll park Panda elsewhere until they catch up with the courtesy of sharing. There are plenty of stations and more to come. This is all part of the adventure of new technology but sometimes it’s a pain in the Panda.