Chargers are the final roadblock to America’s electric car future

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As long as there aren’t enough fast plugs in enough places, buyers and big automakers will stay away.

Rods and waders were already packed into the electric Jaguar I-Pace as it gorged a few more electrons from the wall of my New Jersey garage. A quick glance at a map of northeastern Pennsylvania revealed charging stations clinging to the Delaware River like so many spots on the brown trout I was hoping to catch.

A few days later, I pulled up to one of those chargers on the picturesque main street of Honesdale, only to realize it was a level 2 unit—one step above a standard outlet. It would take four hours before the car had enough juice to make the 100-mile trip home. Eleven miles down the road, it was the same story. And while that spot had a superfast Tesla charger, it was incompatible with the I-Pace. The nearest level 3 charger that would work was 58 miles away. So I gave up and settled in for a while.

Electric car-range anxiety revolves around a brutal equation: Remaining miles of battery life (as estimated by the car) minus miles to destination equals hope (or despair). Making matters worse, the answer varies from one minute to the next, depending on terrain and speed. Desperate battery-powered travelers can be easy to spot: They are often sweaty (no air conditioning), driving slowly and—when going uphill—instinctively leaning forward in their seats.

Failing to note the difference between a level 2 charger and a harder-to-find level 3 charger is often the mistake of an electric vehicle rookie. Had I realized the distinction, I would never have considered a car such as the I-Pace (it was a loaner), or any of the dozens of Tesla rivals set to debut in coming years. For the future of electric vehicles in America, that’s a really big problem.

Continue reading… “Chargers are the final roadblock to America’s electric car future”

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The 4 lingering obstacles to electric vehicle adoption (and what might overcome them)

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Electric vehicles continue to grow in popularity, though not as quickly as electricity providers would like. EVs represented only 2.4 percent of sales in the U.S. in August, according to Auto Alliance, and a Chinese study published that month found that only 18 percent of motorists in China are willing to consider an EV.

So one of Exelon’s internal startups has set out to identify and hurdle the barriers to EV adoption.

“We’ve done a lot of testing and experimentation in this space,” said Caroline Quazzo, a manager for EZ-EV, an Exelon subsidiary that offers software and services to utilities to help them promote EV adoption. The utilities stand to gain from supplying the fuel.

As with the 5 obstacles to selling a solar home, most of Quazzo’s obstacles are rooted in ignorance (my word, not hers). At the Smart Cities Symposium in Chicago last week, Quazzo described the following obstacles:

Continue reading… “The 4 lingering obstacles to electric vehicle adoption (and what might overcome them)”

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‘Electric Highway’ for EVs in Nevada

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The Nevada Electric Highway, recently unveiled by Gov. Brian Sandoval and NV Energy, is a network of charging stations planned along U.S. Route 95 that would finally make it far easier to drive sparsely populated, mostly desert route between Reno and Las Vegas with an electric vehicle.   Continue reading… “‘Electric Highway’ for EVs in Nevada”

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