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The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations

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On: Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 2:50PM | By: Sherry Christiansen

The Reality About Electric Recharging Stations

Manufacturers of electric cars would like to make the public believe that the infrastructure for charging electric vehicles is already in place, and that charging at home will not be a problem. The truth is that if car owners don’t have a special connector they will wait for long periods of time to recharge.

Although it’s true that electric charging stations do exist, particularly in select cities that were chosen to be the first to launch some of the electric models, they are not as prevalent as automakers may want us to think.

For apartment dwellers, plugging in will be very difficult; even finding a standard 110 outlet is not so easy for those in multi-family houses.

What many would-be electric car owners may not know is that it could take over 24 hours to charge their new EVs, particularly using a standard 110-volt outlet for power.

The Wall Street Journal published a recent article that described how difficult it is for the average home owner to cut through the bureaucracy in order to get the upgraded 220 charging stations installed in their residences. It can currently take many weeks for a city to issue the permits needed to supply the fast charger that will reduce the recharging time to between 4 and 8 hours for most models of electric vehicles. The price for the electric charging stations can be another hurdle, at $1,200 for a home charging station, to several thousand dollars for the fast charging posts.

The Nissan Leaf is a new EV that is being launched this year; the company has expressed concern about the possibility of potential customers getting discouraged regarding the 20 hours that will be required to re-charge the Leaf in order for it to reach its full electric driving range of 100 miles.

Tesla Motors, the new automaker that recently went public, reports that the Roadster takes less than 4 hours for a full charge resulting in a vehicle with a range of close to 250 miles on a single charge, but only with a special home connector for $2,000. If a driver has a standard outlet the Roadster would require up to 48 hours to charge.

Tesla sells a wide variety of adapters that will allow new car owners to plug into a motel's air conditioner outlet (14.5 hours for a full charge), a dryer outlet (10 hours) or an outlet for an electrical welder or RV (six hours).

The Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid coming out this year, only takes 10 hours to fully recharge with a standard outlet, because it has an electric range of only 40 miles.

Potential buyers may cringe to find out they'll have to keep their car plugged in constantly in order to access the full range—or go through the hassle and expense of installing a special charger.

For those who want to promote electric vehicle charging stations, it is recommended to work with your local dealer to facilitate more installation of fast chargers and less expense for home instillation of EV charging stations.

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