Electric Vehicles Charge Ahead in US  

Posted by Big Gav in ,

Renewable Energy World has an article on the initial rollout of electric vehicle charging stations in the US - Electric Vehicles Charge Ahead in US.

Urban planners are deciding where to locate more than 11,000 charging stations in 11 major cities. They want those stations up and running when the first mass-market electric cars from Nissan and General Motors go on sale at the end of this year.

Last year, the Department of Energy awarded $100 million to eTec, an electric transportation research and development firm, to build electric vehicle charging networks in five states. Now is when the rubber meets the road, or more precisely, construction begins.

"You know, there's a lot of excitement over this," says Rich Feldman, a regional manager for eTec. "This is going to result in oil savings. There's going to be jobs that come out of this project in terms of people installing the equipment. We're obviously launching a whole new industry here. There's going to be other spinoffs and economic opportunity."

Feldman is supervising the installation of more than 2,000 electric car chargers in the greater Seattle area in western Washington, and another 2,000 at homes and public places in four Oregon cities. They'll be near shopping centers, fast food restaurants and movie theaters, "the variety of places that people think about when they're able to park and leave the vehicle for an hour or two."

Feldman's infrastructure company has partnered with Nissan. The car maker bought lots of ads during the Winter Olympics to promote its forthcoming all-electric model named the Leaf. Nissan is inviting drivers to sign up on its website to be among the first to buy one.

Feldman says eTec hopes to convince a subset of Nissan Leaf buyers to participate in a study. It wants 900 drivers in each state to let researchers from the Idaho National Lab monitor their driving and charging behaviors. "In exchange, they get a free, home-based charging station," he explains. Lessons learned about consumer preferences on placement, features and payment options could guide the eventual national rollout of charging infrastructure.

The Nissan Leaf and the plug-in Chevy Volt are supposed to hit U.S. dealerships late this year. They're the first wave of mass production electric cars. Mark Perry, who directs product planning for Nissan North America, says new owners will have no trouble finding a power station. "So the concern, 'If I use this vehicle or purchase this vehicle, can I get charging?' that's going to be a very easy answer here."

The price of the fully electric Nissan is being announced at the end of March. Then the company will start taking deposits from consumers, who likely will pay a substantial premium over a comparable gasoline powered compact. The four-door, five-passenger Leaf has a range of about 160 kilometers.

Perry says that Nissan will sell and lease the car and battery as a package. "There had been a lot of conversation about separation of car shell and battery and different approaches," he said. "Nissan is still going to explore different business models in other parts of the world. But here in the U.S., definitely an entire transaction.

1 comments

Very interesting article.

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