First Level 2 EVSE Operational in Kernville

By Paul Gipe

We took the Bolt EV up through Kernville to Horse Meadow Campground in Sequoia National Forest. This is a 176-mile roundtrip adventure in the Bolt as the last four miles are down a dirt Forest Service road.

In a conversation with the campground host about our electric vehicle he mentioned that there was a “charger” at the new Forest Service District Office in Kernville. Having pioneered routes to Kernville in our Leaf I knew there were no charge stations in Kernville. The only place to charge was two RV parks where they had NEMA 14-50 outlets you could pay to use. So this was big news for the Kern River Valley.

On our way down the mountain we stopped at USFS’ new building and sure enough there was a Tesla already charging with its A/C whirring in the 100 degree heat.

The station is welcome. However, like others we’ve seen, the station location could have used more foresight. The two-head EVSE is mounted between the handicapped space and two spaces marked for EVs near the entrance. An EV in the first EV space won’t have a problem charging, but an EV in the second space may not have enough cable to reach. (We didn’t check it out. It was too hot.) The second problem is the two EV spaces are an invitation to be ICEd by conventional vehicles.

The 40-amp Chinese-made Leviton is operational as evidenced by the Tesla that was charging. These units are advertised by Leviton on line for less than ~$850 each and another ~1,000 for the pole. The contractor could have installed a California-made ClipperCreek for less than the on line price for the Leviton.