National Electric Car Infrastructure Discussed in D.C.

Automakers have largely agreed on standard charging solutions, agreeing to use three-prong cords that can plug into any grounded 110-volt outlet.

Published: 07-Feb-2009

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- If you build it, will they come? That is the question for municipalities, employers and gambling entrepreneurs pondering the construction of a network of electrical outlets to recharge the promised wave of plug-in hybrid electric and pure electric cars.

One of the many topics that automakers discussed at the Washington, D.C., Auto Show Tuesday was hard-wiring America's streets and parking lots to charge the fleet of electric cars they hope to sell. This conversation, however, was more of a rally cry for the government, the electric utility industry and others to embrace a hybrid electric infrastructure.

Charging stations will be in the position to charge a fat markup on the electricity, because the juice needed to recharge a battery is so much cheaper than gasoline. The cost for the electricity needed to fully charge the Chevrolet Volt's battery to drive 40 miles without using its gas engine is about 80 cents, Britta Gross, General Motors' manager of infrastructure commercialization told PM. So commercial charging stations could apply 100 percent markup to their product and it would still be far cheaper than gasoline.


Earth Policy Institute's Lester Brown offers another way to fuel the cars of the future that doesn't require a switch to natural gas.

Despite Toyota's disapproval of the $500 deposit on future plug-in Prius, one dealer plans to continue accepting them.

Chrysler circulating plug-in hybrid prototypes to dealers more advanced than earlier models. Pictured is the Chrysler EcoVoyager, in one of a trio of electric-drive concept vehicles it debuted at the 2009 Detroit Auto Show.


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