Chargers, chargers everywhere, but not all can plug in

As more electric cars fill the roads, cities struggle to provide fast-charging stations with no industry standards


Michelle Fitzsimmons
February 17, 2011 5:30AM (UTC)

As electric cars zip down America's roads in record numbers, cities must pick up the task of supplying the fast growing fleet with easy-access charging stations. 

In the effort to get 1 million electric cars on the road by 2015, the a lack of industry standards for fast-charging stations -- which allow motorists to pull in and power up in about 30 minutes -- could be a major glitch. The fast-charge stations in Chicago, for instance, are designed for Japanese model plugs, not for American cars like the Ford Focus or Chevy Volt. 

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The Chicago Tribune reports industry standards are changing so rapidly that by the time the city's fast-charging stations are installed, they may be obsolete. At $65,000 a plug, constantly retrofitting the stations to meet new standards will put a strain on the Windy City's infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Japan, Germany and Italy are all competing to have their country's fast-charging plug-in become the industry's international standard.

 


Michelle Fitzsimmons

Michelle Fitzsimmons is an editorial fellow at Salon.com.

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