There is general industry agreement that electric vehicle charging needs to be smart enough to respond to the changing conditions on the grid (to limit the impact on the grid) and to changing prices (to maximize the savings of driving electric). The looming question that will help to shape the
As concerns over air pollution and climate change continue to mount, the electric vehicle (EV) market is predicted to expand at a corresponding rate. And charging stations for electric vehicles is an equally high-growth market.
In August, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden released the White House’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (Recovery
As hybrid cars are becoming more and more popular, most of the major car manufacturers are focusing on the development of pure electric vehicles (EVs). Up until recently, electric cars were impractically slow and short-ranged, but new technical developments allow them to better serve consumer needs. On August 2nd, the Renault-Nissan Alliance announced their new electric car called Leaf, which is due to be launched in 2010. Leaf has a range of 100 miles (160 km) and seats five adults. Tesla Motors will offer its Model S, also a five-seater, with a range of 300 miles starting in 2011.
The advantages of having lower operational costs and being more environmentally friendly are overshadowed by three major concerns; the range of the car, its price and the availability of charging stations. The range of an EV is related to technological developments in battery research and motor efficiency, and with further development in these areas the prices for EVs will drop significantly. Availability of charging stations, though, is an infrastructure issue which could be addressed when national targets are discussed.
While San Francisco and Portland are each publicly claiming they’ll have the best electric vehicle networks in place in their cities, San Jose may be have made the most progress.
The city of San Jose has installed 7 charging stations so far, including spots at City Hall and a public parking garage. At the charging locations vehicle owners don’t pay for the power; instead they are charged based on the time in the parking spot. To simplify payment, EV owners get a keychain fob that’s connected to their credit card.
Nanci Klein, the manager of corporate outreach for the city, says vehicle chargers are being added to light poles in “key neighborhoods.” The city will take advantage of its control of the right of way on light poles (which will be upgraded as they are repaired) and in parking garage to create a network that will incentivize residents to purchase plug-in and battery-electric vehicles. San Jose’s redevelopment agency, as well as the Commerce Department’s Economic Development Administration, have contributed funding to the project.
The same day analysts worried Detroit’s Big Three might bail on cleaner cars without a bailout of their own, the Golden State celebrated a sweeping climate action plan to lower greenhouse gases and meet its self-appointed goal to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.