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February 14, 2021
Paul Gipe

Caltrans’ DCFC Stations on the Sierra Nevada’s East Side Online Soon


Caltrans’ District 9, which serves the east side of the Sierra Nevada mostly along the popular north-south tourist route of Highway 395, expects to have its DCFC stations in operation by early March 2021.

The long-awaited fast charging stations for non-Telsa EVs were originally scheduled for installation in mid 2019.

Until mid-2020 when Electrify America powered up two stations, the entire 330-mile route from Gardnerville to Mojave, California had no non-Tesla fast charging. There was only one Level 2 public charger on the East Side and that had been installed by public-spirited citizens in the small town of Lee Vining outside the east entrance to Yosemite National Park.

The pads and parking for the District 9 stations have been installed for several months with no further activity visible for some time.

However, Caltrans District 9 says that electrical service to stations at Bishop, Coso Junction, and both rest areas in Boron have been installed.

Caltrans expects BTCPower to install the charging kiosks at these stations 16-19 February. After the state fire marshal has inspected the stations, they will be put into service, likely at the end of February or in early March.

The final station at Division Creek between Independence and Big Pine will follow a few weeks later.

Unlike the stations in California’s Central Valley, Caltrans District 9 stations will feature only one charging kiosk. District 6 in the San Joaquin Valley has installed two kiosks at each of its stations with the exception of the southbound rest area on I-5 in the Tejon Pass where they have installed four.

While the EV community has eagerly awaited District 9’s locations, experienced drivers have learned not to rely on single-kiosk stations. Arriving with a low state-of-charge to find the only dispenser available at a station does not work is an EV driver’s nightmare. Fortunately, the Highway 395 corridor now as several Electrify America stations with multiple charging kiosks, two other networks have or are installing kiosks on the south end of the route, and with Caltrans’ stations 30 to 60 miles apart, drivers should be able to find an operating charger before they run out of juice.

It’s likely that the District 9 charge stations will be free like those in the Central Valley. Each BTCPower kiosk will deliver about 43 kW to non-Tesla vehicles.

Tesla vehicles will be able to use Caltrans District 9’ dispensers with an adapter.

 


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