20 September 2011
One major hassle in owning an electric vehicle has got to be tracking down a place to charge the thing. What if I want to drive my (hypothetical) EV to the train station in the morning and run a few errands before driving home, and that adds up to more miles than can be driven on a single charge? A bit of quick Web research proved that while I’m worrying about this question, others are acting. Nikki Gordon-Bloomfield just recently posted an article on Green Car Reports announcing that, “Central Parking, a nationwide parking garage company responsible for 1.1 million parking spots — and its Tennessee-based subsidiary USA Parking Systems — will soon host electric car charging facilities at 2,220 of its parking garages.”
That probably solves my parking at the train station dilemma, but how about finding other charging stations? Once again, it’s covered–this time by Google. GreenBeat posted an announcement in March that “Google will display the locations of electric vehicle charging stations on its Google Maps web and mobile applications in an attempt to push potential electric car buyers to take the plunge.”
This past spring saw announcements that San Francisco will install more than 80 free electric vehicle charging stations and Boston unveiled three charging stations near City Hall. Additionally, a cartech blog article by Liane Yvkoff announced in July that Coulumb Technologies plans to install 150 ChargePoint stations in the Boston metropolitan area. The article explains that the “planned installations are part of Coulomb’s $37 million ChargePoint America project funded by the Department of Energy. The 150 networked EV charging stations will be installed primarily within the Route 495 Beltway, and available for use by any ChargePoint member. After they are built and go online, drivers can find the stations using the ChargePoint iPhone, BlackBerry, or Android apps. TomTom GPS users will also be able to locate the new charging stations on their mobile devices. “
Heck, the Department of Energy even has a list of electric charging station locations.
So, it sounds like my fears can probably be put to rest. But what I want to know is how does this all work in the real world? I’d like to hear stories about the real-world ease or difficulty of finding a charge for your EV. Post your story in the comments field below or send me an email (email@example.com).