Home Energy Audit

October 3, 2010 – Vol.15 No.28

by Bruce Mulliken, Green Energy News

My, how the world has changed. Not so long ago electric drive was spurned by the world’s major automakers. Now it’s embraced by them with new thinking:

--- A bubble in gasoline prices snapped the automakers to attention: High prices at the pump killed the sale of high-profit making guzzling behemoths. There’d better be a fall back position in the other direction: It would be a good idea to offer the extreme energy economy possible with electric drive;

--- As robust sales of the earliest hybrids have proved, there is a market out there for cars that have an electric motor under the hood;

--- The U.S. has finally raised fuel economy standards, at least a bit. Even if all the car models from a manufacturer don’t meet the new grade, the ultrahigh economy possible with electric drive will help lift fuel economy of the entire corporate fleet;

--- Finally, while the masses may not all be believers in global climate change, management, trusted staff scientists and company engineers have taken the time read the evidence: The planet is getting warmer and cars are part of the cause.

Electric cars are not perfect. They are expensive and they won’t go very far, relatively speaking, on a tankful of electricity. Still, in just a few months owners will be taking delivery of the first vehicles. There’d better be a place to plug them in:

Let the headlines and excerpts from company press releases tell the news of electric vehicle infrastructure growth:


--- September 21, 2010: Puget Sound Energy Ready to Support Deployment of Electric Vehicles.

"Puget Sound Energy President Kimberly Harris told a gathering of elected officials, transportation planners and auto-industry representatives in Bellevue, Washington that her utility is prepared to support the integration of plug-in electric vehicles into Western Washington’s transportation system.

During a one-day regional workshop at PSE’s Bellevue headquarters, Harris said PSE intends to actively help manufacturers, municipalities and electric-vehicle purchasers enhance their deployment of plug-in automobiles as the vehicles start entering the Puget Sound marketplace this fall. PSE’s involvement with electric vehicles."

Puget Sound Energy

--- September 22, 2010: GE and Better Place Partner to Accelerate EV Infrastructure Deployment.

"GE and Better Place, a leading electric vehicle (EV) services provider, today announced a technology and financing partnership to accelerate the global deployment of electric vehicle infrastructure through collaboration in four key areas: standards-based technology development, battery financing, joint fleet electrification programs and consumer awareness.

"GE’s WattStation(tm) charge point will be used on Better Place’s charging network. Under the Better Place model, the ownership of the car and battery is separated. The companies will work together to devise a battery financing plan. The companies will seek electric vehicle fleet customers."

Better Place

--- September 22, 2010: ECOtality Reveals EV Infrastructure Plan for Western Oregon.

"ECOtality has unveiled its Blink electric vehicle charging station, as well as blueprints for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure deployment in four major metropolitan areas in Northwestern Oregon: Portland, Salem, Corvallis and Eugene. The announcement marks the completion of a critical milestone in the planning process for The EV Project, the largest rollout of EV infrastructure in the world. As part of the project, ECOtality will install more than 1,100 publicly available chargers throughout the region."

The EV Project

--- September 23, 2010: TXU Energy to Install Electric Vehicle Charging Stations in Dallas and Fort Worth.

"The TXU Energy Accelerator program will invest in at least a dozen charging stations spread across the two cities at various locations. The locations and type of charging station equipment will be selected by each city. TXU Energy will fund the cost of the charging station equipment and installation."

TXU Energy

--- September 28, 2010: Connecticut Light and Power Company: Gov. Rell, CL&P Welcome Nissan LEAF All-Electric Car to Connecticut.

"At a ceremony at the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, Rell lauded the launch of Nissan’s battery-powered car. As a member of the Governor’s Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Council, CL&P has been studying and testing charging infrastructure and encouraging automakers to include Connecticut in their electric vehicle launch plans."

The final report of the Governor’s Electric Vehicles Infrastructure Council

--- September 28, 2010: Coulomb Technologies: Madison Gas and Electric (MGE) to Expand ChargePoint Network for Electric Vehicles to 24 Stations In and Around Dane County, Wisconsin.

"The 18 new stations will bring the total number of Coulomb ChargePoint stations to 24 within the community. The new Level II (240V/30A) charging station allocation and installation is made possible through a Department of Energy grant to MGE and will be available to the community for the duration of the three year public demonstration project. Locations for the charging stations are still being determined but are expected to be located in 10 highly trafficked areas within the community. All charging locations will be free and available to the public."

Coulomb Technologies
Madison Gas and Electric

--- September 30, 2010: Better Place, Sheraton Waikiki and Hawaiian Electric Partner on EV Charge Network in Hawaii.

"Better Place announced today the start of its initial deployment of EV infrastructure in Hawaii, with the launch of a project to incorporate its electric-vehicle infrastructure in Honolulu, in partnership with Kyo-ya Hotels & Resorts’ Sheraton Waikiki Resort and Hawaiian Electric Company. The project will start with a small number of charge spots in Waikiki and around Oahu and includes seven electric vehicles. Better Place will manage the charging of the vehicles via a network operations center located in Palo Alto, California.

"The deployment of the infrastructure is expected to begin in early 2011, with the focus of the project on measuring vehicle performance, battery-charging metrics, the impact on the electrical grid, driver behavior and the software systems that manage the charging network.

"The project will cost approximately $1.1 million, of which about $500,000 in funding will come from the U.S. Department of Energy."

Better Place
Hawaiian Electric

--- October 2, 2010: GE Introduces Residential Smart Grid-Compatible Electric Vehicle Charger.

"GE today unveiled the residential GE WattStation, an easy-to-use electric vehicle (EV) charger. Following the announcement of the public charger in July, the residential GE WattStation is designed to help accelerate the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles by significantly decreasing time needed for vehicle charging and, using smart grid technology, allowing utility companies to manage the impact of electric vehicles on the local and regional grids."

GE Ecomagination

Note: For electric vehicles most of the recharging infrastructure has already been built: most vehicles are expected to be recharged at home. In the home garage the infrastructure might be as little as an extension cord.


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