If Americans are ever going to embrace electric vehicles, industry observers agree that our apprehension about finding places to refuel will have to be addressed with unparalleled infrastructure development.
Well, that time might arrive sooner than we expect. According to the Dept. of Energy's 'Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Vehicle Technologies Program' charging stations are taking off across America. The DOE says easy access to charging stations will be key to meeting energy-efficiency goals, and thanks to companies like ChargePoint, finding a charging station is getting more convenient than ever.
ChargePoint recently finished installing 4,600 U.S.-manufactured Level 2 charging stations in residential and commercial locations across the U.S. as part of its ChargePoint America Program—which was supported with a $15 million grant from the Energy Department and dollar-for-dollar matches by ChargePoint.
(How ChargePoint got picked by the DOE for this project, I'm afraid to ask.) Nonetheless, it's important to note that Level 2 chargers typically add 10-20 miles to the range of the electric vehicle per hour of charging.
The company also worked with vehicle manufacturers Chevrolet, Ford, BMW, and Nissan to provide home charging station hardware at no cost to their customers in exchange for collecting operational data from the charging station.
4,600 charging stations may sound like a lot, but across a country the size of the U.S., it's uncertain exactly how much "coverage" these stations truly provide. Conventional gas stations total around 16,000 nationwide.
The success of the ChargePoint America Program has enabled the Campbell, California-company to raise more than $50 million in investment from the private sector and grow from 16 ChargePoint employees in June 2009 to more than 150 employees today.
The ChargePoint America Program was deployed in 10 regions across the nation where installation costs were supported by private industry and state-level grants. Over the next two years, ChargePoint and the Energy Department will collect data from these charging stations to help manufacturers and community planners optimize electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
Do you agree that electric vehicles and the infrastructure they require should be subsidized by your federal government?