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Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, Coming Soon to a City Near You

October 19, 2010 - 10:00am


I recently attended AARP’s annual conference in Orlando, Florida as an exhibitor with the Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. The event hosted over 20,000 attendees, several of whom provided great feedback at the exhibit booth—just another example of the growing interest in efficiency. Many attendees voiced their encouragement for more solar and wind energy projects while others shared their experiences with applying for tax credits to fund energy-efficient upgrades in the home.

I was struck by one particular subject that was generating a lot of buzz—electric vehicles (EVs). From concerns about the availability of charging stations, to enthusiasm for the growing market, there was a clear demand for more information on EVs.

Several people I spoke with were ready to become early adopters of electric vehicle technology. One couple shared some interesting news—they are on the waiting list for the forthcoming Nissan LEAF electric car and will be getting a charging station for their home installed in the process—free of charge.

This pilot program, called the EV Project, is being managed by ECOtality. The company received a $114.8 million Recovery Act award from the Department of Energy to build a network of residential and commercial charging stations across the United States.

ECOtality will provide home charging stations and installations for up to 8,500 residential charges Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt owners in six states (Arizona, California, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, and Washington) and the District of Columbia.

In a separate project, Coulomb Technologies will provide 2,600 residential charging stations in nine regions in the U.S—including Orlando.

This initial crop of charging stations will be closely monitored and evaluated. Data will help researchers determine where, outside of the home, are the best locations for charging stations—whether near the grocery store or in the community center parking lot.

If you’re interested in learning more about electric vehicles, check out this great primer on the subject. With that said I would like to know, considering the ramp-up in charging stations, what are your thoughts on electric vehicles?