Rising numbers of electric vehicles in Palo Alto have put the city's public charging stations to use almost all day long and have spurred reports of "charge rage" at at least one private company that offers electric vehicle charging.
The City of Palo Alto has 10 chargers, each of them located in the City's parking garages, that can be used for free during a 3-hour time limit.
Data from the city's five "smart" chargers states that the chargers fill electric vehicle batteries for more than 14 hours per day. This is a large number, the report says, because the stations generally aren't used during the nighttime.
While the city's other five charging stations are "dumb" chargers, meaning they don't track charger-use data, parking manager Jessica Sullivan said she expects they get about the same amount of use as the city's "smart" chargers.
However, over the course of those 14 hours, there is an average of 5.4 charging sessions on each charger, meaning an average of 54 people a day are able to charge their cars.
Sullivan said she frequently gets emails from residents asking when the city will be installing more, and while the city plans to include more charging stations, it currently doesn't have the infrastructure to include more chargers in its parking garages.
"Frankly we have no additional electrical capacity to add charging stations," she said. "I don't think anyone would have guessed a few years ago that there would be so many (Tesla) Model S's driving in Palo Alto."
The Mercury News reported that the 16 charging stations at German software company SAP's Palo Alto campus are not meeting the demand of the company's 61 electric vehicle-driving employees.
"In the beginning, all of our EV drivers knew each other, we had enough infrastructure, and everyone was happy. That didn't last for long," Peter Graf, SAP's chief sustainability officer and the driver of a Nissan Leaf, told the Mercury News. "Cars are getting unplugged while they are actively charging, and that's a problem. Employees are calling and messaging each other, saying, 'I see you're fully charged, can you please move your car?'"
In recent years, companies throughout the area have installed chargers on their properties, including Mollie Stone's Markets, Stanford Shopping Center and local hotels.