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paulgipe
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Joined: Sat Aug 02, 2014 4:23 pm
Delivery Date: 20 Oct 2014
Leaf Number: 311200
Location: Bakersfield, CA 93305
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Inyokern DCFC Station Finally Live--Opens Eastern Kern County to EVs

Fri Oct 23, 2020 11:11 am

The long-awaited DCFC station at the Inyokern airport is finally live after years of waiting.

EV Connect brought the station on line in mid October as part of a California Energy Commission program to serve east-west routes in the state that was launched more than five years ago. Yes, five long years ago activists pushed the CEC to address fast charging needs on unserved portions of the state. Some of us argued that the CEC had "forgotten" about the "other California".

Those outside Kern County can be forgiven for not having heard of Inyokern or knowing where it's near. That's understandable. It's not near anything. It's in the middle of nowhere. And that's not much of an exaggeration.

Inyokern was a watering stop on the long-abandoned rail line serving the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada. It's now known for the regional airport serving the civilian population around the giant Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake centered on the town of Ridgecrest.

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To give you a better idea of where it is, Inyokern is midway between the railhead of Mojave (the final stop on the 20-Mule Team route from Death Valley) and Coso Junction (a stopping off place on the way to Coso hot springs). Yep, remote.

There's been no commercial air service to Inyokern since the last financial collapse and the modern terminal is closed. Thus, there are no driver services at the airport. Not even a port-a-potty. But it's quiet with the exception of plane or helicopter using the airport--or the occasional fly by of a military jet from the air base. (The day we were there, a search and rescue copter landed after locating a downed Navy fighter. I suspect that's much more excitement than the airport normally sees. The pilot had ejected and was recovered.)

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The single 120-amp kiosk can serve either CHAdeMO or CCS cars, but not at the same time. Unfortunately, there's no redundancy. If DCFC kiosk is down, you're out of luck. It's 50 miles south to Mojave and 30 miles north to Coso Junction. There's not even a public Level 2 EVSE eastbound until you reach Death Valley 130 miles away and half that distance westbound to Kernville.

There is one Level 2 at the airport, but it didn't work for the first driver who tried to use it.

EV Connect is one of the minor networks in California. They have also brought on line their single-kiosk station Mojave Air & Space Port. With two stations on the "east side" let's hope EV Connect can afford to service the stations and keep them running.

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Electrify America also has a station at the Comfort Inn & Suites in Mojave.

The Inyokern station makes travel up the east side and to Death Valley National Park easier for us in Bakersfield. On a recent trip to Horseshoe Meadows we used the station twice and it worked both times. However, our second charge in the afternoon on the way home required a work around that might stump a novice.

The afternoon sun--and this is in the desert after all--overheats the display, leaving the screen blank. The trick is to use two physical buttons on the surface of the kiosk: "start" is for CHAdeMO, "stop" is for CCS. (Note, this is not the Emergency Stop button.) Plug in, if the screen is blank, push one of the buttons, wave your RFID card or use their app, and the charge will start. (There is also a credit card reader, but I didn't try it.)

All in all, the Inyokern station is welcome. It shouldn't have taken this long, but we're glad it's there nonetheless.

Paul
Bakersfield, California
2017 Bolt LT with DCFC, leased 11/09/17
2015 Nissan S with QC, leased, returned
2013 Chevy Volt Premium, used 10/3/16, sold
http://www.wind-works.org

GRA
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Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2011 1:49 pm
Location: East side of San Francisco Bay

Re: Inyokern DCFC Station Finally Live--Opens Eastern Kern County to EVs

Fri Oct 23, 2020 5:39 pm

Paul, how did you get an EV Connect card? All I can find on their site is instructions for getting the App and once I do that, I can get a key fob. I don't want or need another fob, and based on my total failure to activate their chargers using the EA App on my phone (and 25% success rate using linked CC), vs the 75% success using a CP card, I tend to put more faith in the latter method for now.

Reason I ask is that some free EV Connect L2s have recently opened within walking distance of home, and while it's in a direction I have no other reason to go and isn't the most secure area, it's the best local charging option for me currently. As I plan to rent several more BEVs on Turo to try them out as they become available over the next year or two, I want to get set up in advance. Thanks.
Guy [I have lots of experience designing/selling off-grid AE systems, some using EVs but don't own one. Local trips are by foot, bike and/or rapid transit].

The 'best' is the enemy of 'good enough'. Copper shot, not Silver bullets.

danrjones
Posts: 1049
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:02 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2019
Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Re: Inyokern DCFC Station Finally Live--Opens Eastern Kern County to EVs

Sat Oct 24, 2020 7:42 pm

What is interesting is that it is free.

Who is paying the bills?

I tested it again today since I had to get a part at the hardware store in inyokern. Worked great. I'll try the level 2 again sometime when I have more time. I had to get back home and get back to work on my solar system install. I use the app, scan the station barcode and it seems to work.
2018 Leaf SV Pearl White with Tech and All Weather, Purchased New on 5/3/19

danrjones
Posts: 1049
Joined: Wed Apr 17, 2019 8:02 am
Delivery Date: 17 Jun 2019
Location: Ridgecrest, CA

Re: Inyokern DCFC Station Finally Live--Opens Eastern Kern County to EVs

Sat Oct 24, 2020 8:05 pm

Forgot to say, good writeup Paul.

I do have hopes that someone eventually installs level 2s or even a level 3 in Ridgecrest. Maybe at the two museums or at the upcoming tribal gaming casino. I made suggestions to the tribe to install destination chargers or if possible some 50 kW level 3s but who knows if my suggestion went anywhere. Ground breaking had not occurred yet. Would be good stops for people headed to death valley.
2018 Leaf SV Pearl White with Tech and All Weather, Purchased New on 5/3/19

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