Sunday, July 17, 2011

Charge Me Up

Thanks to a $99.8 million U.S. DoE grant, the largest electric vehicle experiment in our country’s history is underway. The company, ECOtality, will oversee the installation of the charging stations, which is a $250 million, six-state roll-out program of roughly 15,000 charging stations. Their pilot program called, "The EV Project", is a data-gathering exercise intended to document the performance of electric vehicle charging stations and monitoring of driver habits. More importantly, Portland, Oregon is leading the way as a test market for the massive batch of electric vehicles that hit the roads.

At the most basic level, ECOtality’s EV Project, funded with nearly $1 million in federal stimulus funds, will bring work to a network of regional contractors who will be accountable for installing the charging systems, 1,000 of which will be peppered around businesses, 150 at public buildings, 90 at the homes of Nissan Leaf owners, and another 45 quick-charge units. At a more practical level, public awareness is increasing at a national level. Personal "range anxiety", which is EV slang related to the fear of running out of gas, is making an EV purchase a more practical and realistic option for consumers. And even more exciting is how start-up companies are thinking of creative ways to help consumers get from Point A to Point B in their fast, buzzing, fully charged EVs.

Picture Credit to Oregon EV Association: Blink station at Columbia Center in Vancouver Wa. They are peppered along Fisher's Landing near Regal Cinema, Best Buy, Olive Garden and other retail locations.

No comments: