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Opting for an At Home Charging Station for your Electric Vehicle

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

How much would it cost you to run your clothes dryer (over night) for around six to eight hours? If you have it on the mandatory 220 volt line and you choose to use the energy during the evening hours it is likely that it would cost you no more than the price of an average gallon of gas – meaning between three and four and a half dollars. This is also what it would cost to give a fully electric car’s battery a full charge too, and the great thing is that you can actually get a charging station installed in your own home.

Whether you have a garage or just a basic driveway, you can now get a safe and efficient charging station installed at your home. There are some Federal tax credits available to those who make this choice; and the pump and cords would cost less than three thousand dollars for the entire job. This would give you the optimal method for owning and operating your electric car (EV) in the current era, but you wouldn’t have to worry for very long about where to get charges when far from home.

For instance, though many say that the production of the EVs has jumped far ahead of the actual infrastructure necessary for them, it is easy to look in any metropolitan or suburban area and find plans for the development of charging station locations. Consider a city like Austin, Texas which is already home to 103 public electrical charging station facilities or the ClipperCreek firm that has worked in the Sacramento, California area since 2009 and which has installed more than 3,000 charging stations since that time.

There are also groups like Coulomb Technologies of Campbell, California which has received $15 million in federal stimulus funding to develop 4,600 charging stations. This will be done through its ChargePoint network in nine different regions across the United States.

The ability to have an at home charging station and the massive expansion of public charging stations could not come at a better time. This is because the first wave of fully electric vehicles is due to arrive in the United States in late 2011 or early 2012. This is the Ford Focus, but it will not be the only vehicle of its kind on American roads for very long. With efficiency standards changing and the price of gas escalating, more and more people are happy to consider such options as totally electric cars.

News from the Electric Vehicle Market

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

In late 2011 or early 2012 Ford’s first completely electric version of their famous “Electric Vehicle Market” will arrive in United States markets. This is a vehicle that is generating a lot of interest because it is quite likely to be among the first of the brands or models that is used in a broad manner by a huge portion of the population. This car is going to appear first in California and New York and then spread out across the country before being released in Europe. This is great news for those hoping to some day see the electric vehicle, or EV, market go totally main stream.

Naturally, the appearance of fleets of electric vehicles indicates that the country has the infrastructure ready to support them…right? Sadly, the United States is out of sync in terms of its capabilities for supporting electric vehicle usage and the appearance of actual electric cars or trucks.

Consider the most substantial factor for any electric vehicle – the energy supplies it requires. This is something that most often comes from a home-based charging station, but this is an issue that will have to change. Most of the vehicles will run from 50 to 120 miles on a single charge, but that is not adequate to the needs of most daily drivers. This has always been one of the reasons behind the wild popularity of the Tesla EVs with their 245 mile capacity on a single charge, but with a $100k price tag it is not likely that average drivers will be able to enjoy this, and so a better infrastructure of charging stations is essential.

In 2008, the City of Chicago began creating esthetically pleasing and totally functional solar charging stations that remain free of the public utility grids, but this is not the preferred approach. That is why so many news stories featured the inaugural use of a single Solar Charging Pole that began operating in Bethesda, MD in July of 2011. The pole utilizes a “tracking solar” array that relies on GPS guidance to keep it continually aligned with the sun. By doing this, it provides around 45% more energy than standard or “fixed” panels.

This is the sort of readily available support that most EV drivers will require and is what needs to begin appearing as the thousands of brand new and totally electric cars start to appear on American roads and highways.

How the Electric Vehicle Industry Will Succeed?

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

How the Electric Vehicle Industry Will Succeed?

We know that energy supplies are limited and that there is a time in the near future when we have to accept reality and transition away from fossil fuel use. This is something that people understand and accept, but which many have not yet taken steps to make a reality. This is why there is still a limited infrastructure meant to support the use of the electric vehicle on a widespread basis.

For example, if you own an electric vehicle you may make a point of finding all of the charging stations available to you in your area or in the places where you travel frequently. If you don’t already own an electric vehicle, on the other hand, you may see a charging station as a novelty or as something very interesting, but not yet essential. Continue reading “How the Electric Vehicle Industry Will Succeed?” »

Can a Solar EV Charging Station Work?

Friday, August 19th, 2011

GE EV Solor Charging Station - Carport

You may know that you can have a charging station installed in your home in order to provide your electric vehicle with its “fuel” requirements. You may also know that hundreds of millions of dollars are being spent to rapidly expand the number of public charging station facilities available to those with hybrid and EVs (electric vehicles) as well. Did you also realize that there are solar charging station facilities at work too?

As long ago as 2009, the city of Chicago was not only thinking ahead of things by laying the foundation for a charging station infrastructure for the fleets of hybrid and electric cars that were bound to appear on the city’s streets, but they were also savvy enough to opt for solar powered charging stations too. What is even more interesting about this decision was that they didn’t just use a basic structure but had their installation designed to look like “trees”. The city created their Solar Plug-in Stations in the shape of trees that have solar panels as their canopies. These can power up to two cars at one time and were the creation of Carbon Day Automotive, which operates as part of the ChargePoint Network.

Honda's Solar Charing Station

This system truly operates off of the grid and give the drivers of the electric vehicles the

peace of mind knowing how clean the energy that they are using truly is, but there are also some solar charging station options that work in a similar manner but without the disconnect from the grid. For instance, in Bethesda, Maryland the first solar tracking station was opened in 2011. This is a pole system that uses two panels that track the trajectory of the sun thanks to GPS gear. This gives the pole around 45% more energy than any of the fixed panel systems, but this energy actually goes into the public grid rather than to the vehicles. Continue reading “Can a Solar EV Charging Station Work?” »

1.2MWh Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage System Project In Canada

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Electrovaya to Provide 1.2MWh Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage System (BESS)Under the Federal Government Clean Energy Fund for Demonstration Purposes in Ontario

Electrovaya Inc. today announced that it has signed a contract to provide a lithium ion Battery Energy Storage System (“BESS”) of approximately 1.2MWh for demonstration purposes in support of renewable energy generation in Ontario.

This program is a part of an Electrovaya led $7.6 million project supported by the Government of Canada’s Clean Energy Fund (CEF) to investigate the potential use of battery energy storage systems in clean energy project, such as wind and solar farms. Partners in the project include Natural Resources, Canada, Hydro One and others. Electrovaya is the prime contractor and system designer and will provide the full energy storage system.

“By investing $3.36 million in the Electrovaya electricity storage project, our Government is demonstrating its commitment to position Canada at the forefront of clean energy technology,” said the Honourable Joe Oliver, Minister of Natural Resources. “This innovative project supports high quality jobs for Ontario and encourages new technologies to help protect our environment for future generations.”

“We are pleased to team up with Electrovaya to explore how Battery Energy Storage Systems can work with our grid and benefit our customers,” said Rick Stevens, Vice President, Asset Management, Hydro One Networks Inc. “We are proud to work with an Ontario company to take a leadership role in the further development of the advanced distribution system.” Continue reading “1.2MWh Lithium Ion Battery Energy Storage System Project In Canada” »

A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric Vehicles

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric VehiclesU.S. President Obama Support of Electric Cars

In 2009, the federal government began offering credits for people who purchased hybrid and electric vehicles.  Sales of the vehicles increased significantly, but the credits, which were offered on a first come, first served basis, ran out rather quickly in most states.  Pushing harder to get consumers to use electric vehicles is certainly a priority, however, and because of this 2010 brought us another wave of tax credits for the purchase of EVs.  These credits are still firmly in place, and the phase-out period has not yet begun, which means that purchasers will still qualify for the entire $7,500 credit. Continue reading “A Look at Current Federal Credits for Electric Vehicles” »

Plug-In EVerywhere Program - Austin, Texas gets 103 public EV charging stations!

Monday, August 8th, 2011

Austin, Texas

A network of 103 plug-in charging stations for electric vehicles has been completed in Austin Texas, under the watch of city utility Austin Energy.

The Plug-In EVerywhere network successfully fulfills Austin’s commitment to the ChargePoint America program, a federally-funded nationwide build-out of electric vehicle charging facilities on which Austin was one of only nine metropolitan regions in the country to participate.

The locations of the Level 2 (220/240 volts) charging stations in Austin are diverse, including restaurants, hotels, medical facilities, educational institutions, retail stores, public facilities such as libraries and recreation centers and at other public, private and non-profit partners.

The locations also are geographically distributed throughout all parts of Austin, said Austin Energy, which believes around 36,000 electric vehicles will be on the city’s streets within the next nine years. Continue reading “Plug-In EVerywhere Program - Austin, Texas gets 103 public EV charging stations!” »

14,000 EV Charging Station promised before the end of 2011

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

The Electric Vehicle Project is a $230 million program half funded by the U.S. Federal Stimulus Package and under the direction of ECOTALITY (NASDAQ: ECTY), has snared another retail partner as it looks to expand the roughly 1,200 charging stations currently in place to the 14,000 units promised before the end of 2011.

IKEA announced it will join the likes of Macy’s (NYSE: M), BP (NYSE: BP), Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) and Sears (NASDAQ: SHLD) in hosting EV charging stations at select locations as part of the infrastructure program rolling out in specified regions of the United States.

At least 10 stores in Arizona, California, Oregon and Washington are being considered to host the EV chargers. Participating stores must agree to maintain the installations and report data use and those selected will get charging stations equipped to power at least two vehicles. Continue reading “14,000 EV Charging Station promised before the end of 2011” »

Michigans A123 lithium-ion battery coating plant visit from U.S. Energy Secretary Chu

Wednesday, July 20th, 2011

U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu visited Michigan on Monday to support the state’s development of electric car batteries and the growth of clean-energy jobs. A123 Systems, which makes lithium-ion batteries for the transportation, electric grid and commercial markets, received a $249 million grant to open its Livonia and Romulus electric vehicle battery plants.

After touring A123 Systems’ new lithium-ion battery coating plant in Romulus, Chu spoke of the growing demand for fuel-efficient vehicles and said the United States needs to create — not import — the necessary technologies. He said the Obama administration is supporting the development of electric vehicle batteries and components through the Recovery Act, which has provided about $2 billion in grants to advanced battery manufacturing.

“A123′s success is a great example of how we are working with industries to create jobs, strengthen our manufacturing industry and help our auto companies to keep in the global market,” Chu said.

The plants are capable of producing batteries for about 20,000 to 30,000 vehicles a year. The company hopes to create about 15 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries used for transportation by 2015, said Jason Forcier, vice president of its Automotive Solutions Group. Continue reading “Michigans A123 lithium-ion battery coating plant visit from U.S. Energy Secretary Chu” »

Toyota (TM) Plug-in’s and ALL Electric RAV4 showcased

Saturday, July 16th, 2011

Toyota’s eco-friendly autos are center stage at a Little Tokyo event this weekend showcasing new technologies and designs from Japan.

Visitors to the Little Tokyo Design Week area can peek inside the Prius Plug-in hybrid, the RAV4 EV battery-electric vehicle and the Hydrogen Fuel Cell Hybrid vehicle that are sitting in the plaza beside the Japanese American National Museum.

The Prius Plug-in will be able to run for 13 miles on power from its Lithium-ion battery, according to Toyota. More than 160 of the vehicles are already being driven in the U.S. as a demonstration program before sales start in earnest next year.

Toyota is working with Tesla on the electric RAV4, which is also expected to become available to buyers in 2012. Meanwhile, the automaker plans to spread more than 100 of its advanced fuel-cell vehicles around the country by 2013 through another demonstration program, with hopes of bringing the technology to market by 2015. 

The rest of the event, which lasts through Sunday, involves more than 15 steel storage containers acting as temporary exhibit space.

The Giant Robot retail chain has a makeshift gallery featuring products such as a “crunching dog” USB stick with a model canine doing sit-ups on the end. There’s a “Robot Box,” with various automatons and other machines. Representatives from USC, UCLA and SCI-Arc have their own boxes too.

Near the Geffen Contemporary at MOCA, there’s an extended garden set up on stilts with tomatoes, carrots and beans.

BY Tiffany Hsu

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