One of the big advantages of driving fossil fuel-powered vehicles is that it's easy to find a place to fill up. In the more than a century since the world's first purpose-built gas station was built in St. Louis, Missouri in 1905, a massive worldwide infrastructure has emerged to keep our vehicles running. As automakers make the move to electric vehicles
, early adopters are faced with a lack of infrastructure to keep batteries charged, however, the number of public EV charging
stations is steadily growing and Google
is now doing its bit to help make tracking them down easier by adding EV charging station location information to Google Maps.
Home charging stations aren't included in the purchase price of the growing numbers of electric vehicles from major automakers, so unless you live next door to a public charging station
or are one of the 4,400 Volt owners to snap up a free one from GM
, you’ll be forced to shell out some extra cash if you want a faster charging option than is possible with the included 120-volt cable. At least Ford
’s home charging station for its new Focus Electric is shaping-up to be little cheaper and more flexible than some competitor offerings.
The lack of support infrastructure is one of the major hurdles for alternative fuel vehicles that use batteries and hydrogen fuel cells. Honda’s vision for solar-powered home-based hydrogen production station
is one effort to ease the transition from fossil to alternative fuels and now the company has revealed plans to trial a solar-powered public EV charging station and conduct testing of a range of electric vehicles and technologies in real-world urban transportation environments, starting with Japan.
London mayor Boris Johnson has announced the Spring (Q2) 2011 launch of the Source London electric vehicle program. For a GBP100 (US$159) annual membership fee, participants will have access to over 1,300 public EV charging points located across the city. Once all those stations are up and running, which should be by 2013, London will have twice as many charging points as petrol stations. It’s a big step forward in an even larger scheme, which would see a network of Source charging points in cities across the UK.
Portland General Electric and NEC have joined forces to declare North America's first public-use, quick-charge station for electric vehicles open for business. Heralded as a tipping point for the roll-out of electric vehicles
in the U.S., the Takasago Rapid Charging Station is said to provide batteries with up to 80 per cent full strength in 20 to 30 minutes. Company officials and Governor Ted Kulongoski took the opportunity to power up a visiting Nissan LEAF
before it left for a two-day tour of the area.
Evatran has unveiled its Plugless Power induction charging solution for electric vehicles
. Instead of having to worry about bothersome cables and plug/power compatibility, EV owners using the system will just need to pull up in front of a control tower and the charging process will kick in automatically. And you needn't concern yourself with perfect parking either, the floor-mounted current delivery block is said to take care of all the alignment issues.
Well, it was only a matter of time. Electric vehicle charging stations aren’t even commonplace yet, but already someone has come up with a better-looking one. Frog Design
, well-known for developing cool concepts such as an Intel Point-of-Sale kiosk
and a range of wearable devices
, has teamed up with clean energy company ECOtality to create the Blink EV charging station. There are two versions, one for homes and one for commercial use, and they’re both pretty snazzy.
In order to help make electric vehicles
a public success story, a solid charging infrastructure needs to be rolled out. GE has enlisted the creative assistance of renowned industrial designer Yves Behar to produce a user-friendly, durable and pleasantly curvy charging solution for the upcoming electric revolution. The WattStation not only cuts down on full-cycle charge time but also features an LED status system, a tilted touchscreen user interface and cable that retracts into the unit's metallic body.
With the long-awaited Chevrolet Volt
set to hit showrooms later this year, GM has announced that early adopters (in certain cities) will be eligible for one of 4,400 free home charging stations. The 240-volt fast-charge station deal is tied to a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) program which aims to assess electric vehicle charging infrastructure requirements, meaning those who take up the offer will be required to share data on charging and use of their vehicle.
Earlier this month, we told you how Dutch EV charging company Epyon was promoting its new fast charging station
. It can reportedly charge a Nissan LEAF up to 80 percent within 30 minutes, and certain other EV’s within even half
that time. Now, Epyon is announcing the opening of its first commercial fast-charging station in Europe.