Sep 192011
By Courtney Holden For the Camera

Just like their gasoline-burning forebears, electric cars need to refuel. And as more e-cars take to Boulder’s roads, the city is gradually gearing up to meet their fuel needs.

One new recharge station has just opened at the Wolf Law Building on the University of Colorado’s campus.

“We want to be able to offer this opportunity in a public fashion,” said Moe Tabrizi, CU’s campus sustainability director.

Electric cars can plug into the 220-volt station for two to three hours at $6 and $9, respectively.

Tabrizi said the new charging station is a step toward CU’s ultimate goal of carbon neutrality.

“This is a small piece of that large plan,” he said.

The electric-vehicle movement is gaining traction throughout Boulder. Two other stations have opened. The city had planned to spend $500,000 in federal grant money to open 38 more by June 2012. But those ambitious plans hit a snag when stations turned out to cost two to three times more than expected — $10,000 to $15,000, compared to earlier estimates of $4,000.

Still, Joe Castro, facilities and fleet manager for the city of Boulder, wants to make sure that Boulder is ready when more electric cars come online.

“Having the stations ahead of the cars promotes the purchase of electric vehicles in alleviating the … anxiety prospective buyers may have,” he said in an e-mail. “Although it’s predicted that 80 percent of owners will charge their vehicles at home.”

Electric cars are “fueled” by a large, rechargeable lithium ion battery pack housed within the car. Responding to the amount of pressure applied to the “gas” pedal, the motor receives more or less current, allowing the driver to go his or her desired speed.

Companies like Nissan, with its 2010 release of the Leaf, and the dual gas generator/electric Chevy Volt are driving the market in the electric direction as well. Then there’s Tesla, whose ultra-sexy exterior masks an ultra eco-friendly interior.

“Tesla is all about proving that electric cars can be anything that an internal combustion vehicle can be,” said Camille Ricketts of Tesla’s communications department. “The purpose of the roadster was to grab the world’s attention that (electric cars) can … drive like most of the coveted super cars on the road.”

But for the most part, rechargeable cars are built with the commuter in mind — people who drive to work and back during the day, then let the car sit in the garage to recharge overnight, when energy costs are minimal.

Ricketts deflects the worries of skeptics concerned that more coal plants will have to be built to keep up with rising electricity demands.

Read the full Story At Daily Camera

Sep 132011

New Nissan charger makes juicing electric cars quicker, easier for drivers.

Nissan Motor Co. has unveiled a new rapid charger for electric vehicles that is smaller, faster and easier to use for drivers who want to recharge their environment-friendly cars.

Just as importantly, the new charger is compatible with all of Nissan’s electric vehicles — such as the Leaf — as well as those produced by other car manufacturers like Honda and Toyota.

A number of companies have developed their own EV charging facilities, including Park & Charge in Europe and Better Place in parts of America. PARVE is under development in Spain, while JFE Engineerign Corp. is developing a rapid charging system that it claims will be able to take an empty battery to 50 percent full in just three minutes.

Nissan’s new device was unveiled at the company’s global headquarters in Yokohama and will go on sale for installation at the company’s parts companies throughout Japan in November.

The charger will be made available in the North American and European markets in the near future, Japan’s second-largest car manufacturer said, although no decision has been made on exact dates for those releases.

“The newly developed quick charging unit retains the high performance of the current quick charger manufactured by Nissan … but is nearly half the size by volume,” the company said in a statement. “The new charger unit’s smaller size will take up less space and enable easier installation.”

The previous unit had a suggested retail price of Y1.47 million (€14,076), including tax, the company said, but the updated system will cost “significantly less than Y1 million (€9,576),” Nissan added. The basic unit will cost less than half the price of the present charger.

The company said it plans to sell 5,000 of the new quick chargers by March 2016 and contribute to the development of electric vehicle infrastructure in Japan.

Read the full Story At NYDaily News

Sep 122011

Brabus brings electric muscle to the Frankfurt Auto Show

Mercedes-Benz tuner Brabus is bringing a few cars to the Frankfurt motor show, but instead of fire-breathing, gas-drinking supercars, they’re electric.

That’s right, the company that brought us the 738-hp Brabus SL600 and the 788-hp Brabus S600 R is turning its considerable tuning powers to low-emission luxury cars–for now.

Brabus Zero Emission, the alternative-drive side of the Brabus business, will have two prototypes on display at the Frankfurt show. The first is a version of the European Mercedes E220 diesel called Technology Project Hybrid. It uses two electric motors at the wheel hubs to keep fuel economy up.

The second is an all-electric version of the sedan with four wheel-hub motors and a whopping 2,360 lb-ft of torque.

The Technology Project Hybrid from Brabus has a direct-injection, 2.2-liter common-rail diesel engine with two supplemental hub motors from English manufacturer Protean Electric. Those motors produce 67 hp each in normal mode and 107 hp each when the sport button is pressed. Torque from the two hubs is rated at an astonishing 1,180 lb-ft, according to Brabus.

During electric cruising, the Mercedes is powered by an 18.6-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery pack. The company says that in eco mode the car can travel 75 miles with zero emissions. In sport mode, the vehicle can still go 50 miles. When both the engine and the electric motors are used, the car can go from 0 to 60 mph in just more than seven seconds. Drivers can also opt to cruise in standard diesel mode.

The system can recharge when coasting or braking, up to 140 kilowatts. For home charging, Brabus partnered with German energy provider RWE to create a 380-volt unit that can fill up the battery in 30 minutes, the company says. On a 220-volt outlet, it takes about 5.6 hours.

The extra weight of the car dictated an upgrade to the suspension. Brabus added a height-adjustable sport setup with variable dampers developed with Bilstein.

For the finishing touch, Brabus adds unique body panels, LED daytime running lights, sill plates and a new instrument cluster the displays all of the hybrid-related information.

Read the full Story At Autoweek

Sep 122011

Nissan unveils quick charger for electric cars

Nissan Motor Co., a leader in the electric car business, revealed a new quick battery charger that is around half the size and half the cost of conventional chargers, and easier to install.

Nissan plans to start selling them in Japan in November. “Preparations are also under way for future sales of the new quick charger in the U.S.and in European markets,” Nissan said in a statement.

The Japanese automaker plans to install the new charging units at dealerships, local government facilities and places that draw large numbers of customers “as part of its efforts to assure customers of a comfortable and convenient electric vehicle driving experience.”

The base model of the revamped charger will cost about half the price of the current model, which is stockier and has more parts, and costs 1.47 million yen, or$19,000.

Nissan has sold more than 13,600 Leaf cars around the world since introducing the all-electric car in December 2010.

From The Detroit News: Click Here

Sep 092011

Electric Cars on Front Line at Frankfurt Motor Show

BMW will introduce its i3 concept, the first electric car for city slickers that is scheduled to go into mass-production from 2013, at the 64th International Motor Show in Frankfurt next week.

In fact, the huge auto show is expected to be a veritable battlefield of electric cars among global auto makers. Volkswagen will present its new electric compact, the UP!, and its single-seat Nils, another electric vehicle designed for urban residents. Audi will unveil a small electric car with a unique exterior, the Urban, as well as its A2 electric concept.

Some 89 models will be presented for the first time at the show, which will feature a total of 1,007 auto — and parts — makers. As seen from the slogan of the show, “Future comes as standard,” the highlight this year will be environmentally friendly, small electric cars.

BMW i3

BMW i3

Audi Urban

Audi Urban

Volkswagon Nils

Volkswagon Nils

Gas Free Vision of Future

With scores of new models to be unveiled at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show, Mercedes Benz is not missing the opportunity to impress media and buyers by introducing five of the 89 new cars on display.

Visitors will be able to get a glimpse of the new B Class Benz, with its radically reworked exterior, as well as the high-end F125 electric car, and sports cars such as the SLS AMG, SLK 250 CDI and SLK55 AMG.

Audi will also unveil its A2 concept car, scheduled to be released in 2015, for the first time.

Toyota will present new versions of its Avensis, Prius and Lexus 450h, with the new Lexus GS450h transformed into an environmentally friendly hybrid.

France’s Peugeot, which developed the world’s first small diesel sedan in 1967, will set a new precedent by unveiling the first diesel hybrid cars, such as the 3008, the Sport’s 908, the 508 RXH and the HX1 plug-in.

Korean auto makers will present models they plan to debut in Europe. Hyundai-Kia will introduce the i30, a medium-sized hatchback, the i40, which was created by the company’s European Design Center, and the BlueOn electric car.

◆ Stricter Standards

Making a dent in the market for compacts and electric cars has become a matter of life or death for auto makers as buyers turn to environmentally friendly cars with high fuel efficiency in these financially trying times when green topics are high on the agenda.

Read the full Story At Chosunilbo

Sep 092011

Pala Casino Installs Electric Car Charging Equipment

The Pala Casino Spa & Resort recently became the first casino in San Diego County, California to offer Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) to the owners of electric cars, according to the tribe’s press release.

The upgrade is part of Planet Pala environmental program. The tribe established its environmental department in 1997, and has since expanded to include quality control programs for water, pesticides, air and recycling. Now the tribe is helping improve the environment by supporting electric vehicles.

The casino unveiled two BLINK charging systems on September 8. ECOTality is the nationwide provider of the BLINK system network.

Andrew Hoskinson, the area manager of ECOTality, Inc. for San Diego, drove his 2011 Nissan Leaf to the casino in Pala and demonstrated the system by re-charging the car’s batteries for the return trip to San Diego.

“The availability of the BLINK equipment here at Pala is very significant,” Hoskinson said, “because there is now a charging station in an outlying, rural area in Southern California for the owners of electric automobiles. This greatly improves travel distances for electric vehicles.”

Read the full Story At Indian Country Today Media Network

Sep 092011

Obama Funds EV Infrastructure Planning, Workforce Training

WASHINGTON, DC, September 8, 2011 (ENS) – The smoggiest region of the United States, California’s South Coast Air Quality Management District, was today awarded $1 million to create a unified statewide approach to planning and implementation of plug-in electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

“Electric vehicles are key to improving air quality in California and particularly in the South Coast region,” said Barry Wallerstein, executive officer of the District, based in Los Angeles. “This collaborative partnership further strengthens California’s commitment to planning for a future of near-zero and zero-emission vehicles.”

The California award was the largest of 16 announced by U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu in 24 states and the District of Columbia to accelerate the adoption of electric vehicles.

Nearly as large is a grant of $994,500 to the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to develop a plan for a network of electric vehicle charging stations throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions.

The 16 projects will receive a total of $8.5 million through the Department of Energy’s Clean Cities initiative to support community planning for plug-in electric vehicles and charging infrastructure.

The funding recipients range from communities with extensive EV planning experience to those that are eager to begin, but have not had the resources to do so.

These one-year projects will help communities address their specific EV infrastructure needs, such as updating permitting processes, revising codes, training municipal personnel, promoting public awareness, or developing incentives.

Each project will create a publicly available plan so that other stakeholders can learn best practices.

In Texas, two projects will split roughly $1 million between them. The Center for the Commercialization of Electric Technologies will focus on a plan for plug-in electric vehicle charging infrastructure for the Texas Triangle cities of Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston/Galveston, and Austin/San Antonio.

Read the full Story At ENS Newswire

Sep 082011

H.B. to install electric vehicle charging stations

Huntington Beach is taking another step to encourage residents to go green by installing a dozen public electrical vehicle charging stations throughout the city.

City Council members at their meeting on Tuesday approved a contract with Coulomb Technologies for 12 charging stations paid for by state and federal grants.

The city is expected to install the charging stations in various city-owned parking lots in October, city officials reported.

Locations include Pier Plaza, Main Street Promenade parking structure, the Civic Center parking lot, Bella Terra parking structure and the Sunset Vista RV parking lot.

Coulomb Technologies will provide the equipment and the city will receive service until December 2013.

After the grant funds are expired, city officials will have the option to be a service fee of $410 for each unit to continue offering the charging station to residents and visitors.

Read the full Story At OC Register

Sep 072011

New stations offer free charge for electric cars

Electric car owners may find it a bit more convenient to recharge when traveling through Roseville.

The city recently installed three new EV charging stations, two at the Westfield Galleria at Roseville and one on the corner of Oak Street and Washington Boulevard in downtown.

“We want to give people the ability to charge their car when they need to,” said Vonette McCauley, public relations director for Roseville Electric. “Whether they are here for employment or they are shopping, we want to provide some ability for them to recharge.”

But the city isn’t the only entity making it easier for electric car owners to charge up.

John L Sullivan Chevrolet at the Roseville Auto Mall is in the process of installing two large solar canopies that will act as a charging station for customers.

“This will provide a free charge to our customers who want to come in and hook up,” said Steve Ruckels, controller with John L Sullivan Chevrolet.

All these efforts are in response to increasing demands for electric vehicles, albeit the demand might be slow moving, according to Kris Blair, account representative with Roseville Electric.

Read the full Story At Granite Bay California

Sep 072011

Smartphone apps help EV drivers find chargers

A variety of smartphone applications are being launched to help smooth out driving an electric vehicle.

Some, such as the Chargepoint app, point out nearby charging stations on a map.

Coulomb Technologies Inc. created the app to help users find the chargers it is installing across the country. The app notes whether stations are available, in use or out of service, all in real-time. It can also distinguish between free and paid chargers and be used to make reservations.

ECOtality, an electric-vehicle infrastructure developer also in the midst of a nationwide build-up, launched a similar app linking to and named after its growing network of Blink charging stations.

Recargo, created by founder Brian Kariger, also tracks public charging stations. The app comes equipped with a comments section for updates on specific chargers, a photo-sharing feature to locate hard-to-find units and maps with Google Street View.

Developer Xatori has a more crowd-sourced take on a station-finder app. PlugShare is a social network of homeowners and business owners willing to give drivers access to their outlets. Providers can give out contact information so drivers can make appointments to power up.

Other apps allow drivers who are still considering EVs to pretend.

Read the full Story At L.A. Times