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Leaf is one of the most popular EVs  (Source: Nissan)

Some EV owners will get free home chargers
Charging will be free to start

The thing that is keeping most drivers from seriously considering an EV is range anxiety. Many drivers fear being stranded on the side of the road if their batteries run dead unexpectedly. Early reports of inaccurate range readings from some EV owners did nothing to help alleviate range worries of many people that might otherwise be interested in an EV.

Many larger cities are moving towards making EVs a more compelling option by installing a range of charging stations around the city. One of the latest cities to do so is Seattle, Washington. Seattle is the third largest EV market behind San Francisco and LA.

The first of the stations will be installed in public areas like the parking lot at Qwest Field. These are the first of 1,000 commercial chargers to be installed around the Puget Sound area by the end of 2011.

All of the chargers are being funded by the federal EV Project.

Half of those chargers will be installed in the homes of EV owners and the remainder will be public chargers. Washington is one of six states that are participating in the EV Project that will see 14,000 new chargers installed across the country.

Seattle Mayor Mike McGuinn said, "The need to drive and the demand for driving is going to remain, but we need to give people more efficient options and better options for clean energy. We'll do all we can to make sure Seattle is eco-ready."

Seattle will also be installing chargers along Interstate 5. The chargers in the Qwest Stadium parking lot take an hour to charge the batteries enough for 15-22 miles of driving. Other locations will get more powerful chargers that can supply enough juice for the same driving range in a 20-minute charge. The EV Project will cover the $3,000 price of the charger and most of the installation fees for all of the chargers around the country placed in driver homes.

8,300 chargers will be installed in nationwide in homes with the remainder of the 14,000 chargers going into public locations. Most of the chargers will be installed on the west coast. Charging at the stations to start with will initially be free. After the free period, the chargers will sell charge time for "a few dollars."

The federal government is also working with major technology firms like Google to expand the number of charging stations for EVs around the country. Google added the location of charging stations to Google Maps in April to help drivers find places to charge near them. While the EV industry and many other people hope the charging stations catch on and help lure drivers to EVs, a report published in February found that it was impossible to reach Obama's stated goal of getting a million EVs on the road by 2015.

As it is today, the most common EVs using the public charging stations are the Chevrolet Volt, Tesla Roadster, and the Nissan Leaf. The Leaf has had its share of problems so far with the latest issue being confirmed in April. The issue according to Nissan is that the Leaf will not start at times. The Volt isn't a pure EV it is an extended range electric vehicle. It has a gasoline engine to provide power when the batteries run out, but the Volt can plug into charging stations as well. GM recently announced that it was boosting Volt production to meet the demand.

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2.5 cents per mile
By BobMurray999 on 6/15/2011 1:37:44 AM , Rating: 2
I have a new Nissan LEAF I picked up March 21st. I now have almost 3,000 miles on it. I average 4.2 miles per Kilowatt hour. At the 10.35 cents per KWH charged by my utility (PSE), I am paying about 2.5 cents per mile for electricity. A full charge is about 25 kilowatt hours or $2.50 (yes, that is two dollars and fifty cents). My car and charger both have a timer so I recharge at night from midnight to 6 AM. I have a 220 Volt 40 Amp charger in my garage and it takes about 5 hours to get a full charge. 110 volt 15 Amp charge takes 20 hours. I also have the 440 Volt 60 Amp Hot Charge option which gives you an 80% charge in 20 minutes. However, I do not know if there are any of those around Seattle. I think the impact on the grid will be manageable. Getting thousands of Tanker trucks off the roads will be a great benefit. PSE gets about half its electricity from hydroelectric (water falling downhill = garvity) and the rest from coal fired plants in Montana. If you are on City of Seattle power, you are almost totally hydroelectric because they have their own dams.

RE: 2.5 cents per mile
By klstay on 6/15/2011 9:01:28 AM , Rating: 2
I have a CNG vehicle I have been driving for 4 years. When I bought it I was paying 2.2 cents per mile for fuel and I am now paying 4.2 cents per mile for fuel. My vehicle also runs on regular gas if needed so I can go anywhere I want in this car. The fuel is 100% domestic and the vehicle has practically zero emissions. As you state yourself half the PSE power is from coal, so no ZEV for you after all ;-)

The reason I bring this up? CNG is a practical alternative (half the homes in the US have natural gas delivered right to the door for heating) never mentioned when discussing these topics.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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