3/31/2010 4:16 PM
Aside from the cost of the batteries, one of the biggest obstacles blocking the forward progress of electric vehicles is consumer “range anxiety” combined with a lack of public charging infrastructure. The unveiling of a pay-at-the-pump charging station at the New York Auto Show - by PEP Stations, LLC and Ricardo - may make the latter less of a daunting issue. While the conventional wisdom says that most EV owners will charge their vehicles overnight at home, the availability of convenient and reliable public charging stations will definitely give the EV sector a much needed boost. PEP offers a 220-volt charging station that accepts credit cards and can be installed at various commercial places. The company plans to begin production of the units early in the fourth quarter of 2010.
There is also the issue of the potential damage that fast-charging can do to an EV’s power electronics and battery. Enter another new technological advancement announced earlier in the year at the Washington Auto Show. (The PEP station is not a fast-charging technology.) EnerDel, battery supplier for the THINK City car, developed a new battery that was built to withstand the harshness of fast-charging. In fact, THINK, EnerDel, and AeroVironment proved that the EnerDel battery can be charged from 0% capacity to 80% in only 15 minutes. THINK plans to incorporate the fast-charging technology into all cars that roll off their production line in Elkhart, Indiana.
As these technologies and others like them come to fruition, ownership of EVs will start to become a possibility and a consideration for more and more consumers. Now that the price of oil has again started to rise, consumers will once again be looking for better fuel economy, so this could not have come at a better time.
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