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Catching up with electric vehicles


Posted by tED magazine on Thursday, March 08, 2012

By Joe Salimando

Near February’s end, I listened to two “events” on electric vehicles on the same day, one from the Electric Drive people, the other from the EV Update folks.

What follows is some of the stuff spilling out of my notebook, in bullet form.

Nissan Leaf – I thought the plan was for this thing to be in 50 states. In fact, that was said on one of these events. But a company representative said the Leaf was “now in 21 states,” with the other 29 to come “in the next few months.”

Obviously, EVs got off to a slow start in 2011. Add to this slewfooted Leaf launch the problems GM had – causing a short-term stumble – when some Volts caught fire, and you’ll understand why the U.S. might have (as of 12/31/11) had more charging stations than electric cars!

Idiots in Washington –in the great effort to balance the budget, the Congress last year avoided renewing the one tax credit that helped electrical distributors and their EC customers – the credit for installing an EV charging station in your house. What great Congressional effort to balance the budget, you ask? Search me.

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Above: The Blink charging station network – a map of public charging stations (from ECOtality) that taxpayers paid for, with borrowed money.

I-5 Corridor – extending “from BC to BC,” one speaker said…from Baja California to Vancouver, British Columbia, The Electric Highway consists of public EV charging infrastructure all the way up the left coast’s busiest highway.

According to Tonia Buell of the Washington DOT, there are 585 miles of I-5. The plan is to have a Fast DC charger every 40 to 60 miles. “We anticipate that there will be 2 million EVs in the three states [CA, OR, WA] in the next few years,” she added. 

Charging station retrofits – Scott Briasco of the Los Angeles Dept. of Water & Power (a municipal utility) noted that some 100 public charging stations in his area were undergoing, or soon will, RETROFITS. Retrofit a charging station? Yes. You’d want to do that if you installed one of ‘em in the early 1990s, in the initial wave of EV enthusiasm.

‘The New Normal’ – Normal IL is the home of Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV in the U.S., and there have been references to “The New Normal” (in the non-Bill Gross meaning of this phrase). They’re so excited locally, according to Joe Delello, director of EV operations at the company, that if you punch in www.EVtown.org, you end up at a site for Bloomington-Normal and the EV.

The EV Project, scorecard – here’s are the accomplishments of The EV Project, funded via U.S. government borrowing:

  • 14,000 Level 2 EV chargers in 18 markets.
  • 400 DC Fast Charges.
  • 83,000 grid-connected vehicles
  • 60+ project partners
  • 1,200 “jobs created or retained” by 2012.

More here (if this seems an ECOtality site, it’s because that company got the DOE contract for this). Note that we get one more dividend from this spending: A report on the charging stations…lessons learned – from one of the DOE’s national labs.

 

 ele

Joe Salimando of EFJ Enterprises is a consultant, web content provider, and wordsmith based in Oakton, Va. To contact him, call 703-255-1428. See also The EleBlog.

 

 

Personal Disclaimer: The appearance of the ambling pachyderm is indicative of the writer's obsession with elephants, not his political leanings.

IMPORTANT NOTE: THIS COLUMN REFLECTS ONLY THE OPINIONS OF ITS AUTHOR AND DOES NOT REFLECT THE OPINIONS OR POLICIES OF NAED, TED MAGAZINE, OR THE ADVERTISERS ON THE TEDMAG WEB SITE.



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