Guest writer Ash Gupta
New York’s Mayor, Mike Bloomberg, wants NYC to be the US’s leading city for EV usage. He said he would work with the NY City Council to amend the building code and require up to 20 percent of all new public parking spaces be set up for electric vehicle charging, which could lead to “10,000 parking spots for electric vehicles over the next seven years.”
Sounds like a good plan, but for the moment New York is not well equipped to recharge electric vehicles. Right now it has a measly 100 public recharging points with another 50 in the plan during 2013. So far, so slow. However, trials with electric city cabs using six Nissan Leafs are progressing for later this year. Two 480 Volt fast recharge units are being installed, one dedicated to taxi use while the other is for use by the general public. New York plans that 33% of its taxis will be EVs by 2020. More on this story here.
When you start to add up all the positive events planned for electric transport in 2013 a better outlook for the EV sector is heralded. New EV product from Audi, BMW, Ford, Renault and VW will generate a greater range of choice for EV users, and the while these new models look more main-stream, they are also getting more sophisticated in terms of design, equipment and options to defray range anxiety by adding range extenders to standard models.
New York’s ambitions to be the US lead EV city will be challenged by initiatives in Atlanta by ChargePoint, the world’s largest electric vehicle charging network, who recently announced its entry into the Atlanta market with the installation of networked EV charging stations.
Meanwhile San Francisco is getting into the act. Starting this month, the Bay Area-based grocery chain, Mollie Stone will have ChargePoint electric car charging stations at a few of its stores.
The first station will be unveiled at Mollie Stone’s in Sausalito next month, followed by installations in Palo Alto and Burlingame. Eventually, the Bay Area-based grocery chain hopes to roll out charging stations to all of its nine locations.
Fast electric car charging stations will facilitate the wider use of EVs, particularly in San Diego, Los Angeles or the San Francisco Bay Area, but it’s not just the proliferation of charging facilities that hold the keys to us seeing higher EV car park volumes. Up to now auto OEMs did not offer common standards for EV recharging plugs.
The breakthrough is that the SAE International standards agency has finalized work on a U.S. 480-volt fast-charging standard. Until now, EV drivers have been obliged to use the Japanese CHAdeMO standard, as in the Nissan Leaf and Mitsubishi I-MiEV. CHAdeMO uses a totally different plug than the American 240-volt J1772, so that meant two different outlets on the car. The smart news is that new U.S. standard combines 240- and 480-volt charging into a single “combo” plug to make things easier.
So now Audi, BMW, Chrysler, Daimler, Ford, General Motors, Porsche and Volkswagen are all supporting the combo plug, and that generates U.S.- Europe compatibility. China has its own fast-charging standard, while Japan looks set to retain CHAdeMO. A full charge with any of these units will probably take at least 30 minutes, but going from 20 to 80 percent battery charge can now be accomplished in just 20 minutes.
As we always say. “One Day the Electric Car will be King!” Step by step we are beginning to head that way again at last.