Apr 212011
 

Chu cranks up funding for EVs and energy research

Google Maps to provide information on US charge point locations through new government partnership
US energy secretary Steven Chu announced a raft of new funding awards this week, designed to accelerate the development of advanced clean technologies and speed the rollout of electric vehicles.

Chu confirmed yesterday that the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy is to receive a further $130m in funding to support five new projects, partly as a result of the budget deal thrashed out earlier this month.

The advanced research programmes will focus on a number of areas, including biofuels, energy storage, solar and potential alternatives to rare earth materials.

Speaking to reporters during a teleconference yesterday, Chu said that the hard fought budget deal brokered between Democrats and Republicans had effectively saved the agency’s research programmes.

“We do know that without additional Congressional funds … the programme essentially would have been put on ice,” he said.

The agency has been tasked with investing in relatively high risk research projects that cannot attract private investors but have the potential to revolutionise the low carbon energy sector.

The news came just a day after Chu unveiled a new partnership with Google to help electric car drivers locate recharging points, and announced a further $5m of funding to support community-based efforts to deploy electric vehicle technologies.

The initiative has also been backed by the Department of Transport and the Clean Cities Coalition, which brings together over 100 city governments committed to cutting carbon emissions and air pollution.

“The Department of Energy’s Clean Cities initiative is bringing together local governments and industry to demonstrate the benefits of advanced technology vehicles and help communities use less oil and gasoline to power their vehicles,” Chu said.

“The initiatives announced today are just the latest steps in our broader efforts to reduce America’s dependence on oil, improve our energy security and save families and businesses money.”

Read the full story at Business Green

Apr 202011
 

Nation’s Largest EV Charging Network: Strangers’ Garages


PlugShare, the smartphone app that’s created an ad hoc EV charging infrastructure from individuals willing to let strangers plug in, is now the largest EV charging network in the United States.

According to Xatori, the outfit that created the app, PlugShare has more than 12,000 users active in 47 states sharing 2,500 outlets. Of those places to plug in, 1,000 are public charging stations. The rest are ordinary people sharing their plugs with other PlugShare users. Cooler still, 35 percent of those people are providing access to their 220-volt charging stations with J1772 plugs, the standard for home-charging an EV.

PlugShare users include EV owners looking for a place to plug in, and EV advocates who have a wall outlet to share. The app, available for iPhone, iPad and iPod touch, shows outlets on a map. Users click on the plug icons to get in touch with plug owners and set up a time for charging. Money can change hands, but so far users have found a sense of community more important than profit.

Xatori founder Forrest North credits PlugShare with building a community of EV owners who depend on the kindness of strangers.

“In addition to its utility as a charging network, PlugShare is also a valuable communication platform for EV owners and enthusiasts,” North said. “People are excited to connect with each other via PlugShare – it’s becoming a cause-based social network.”

Read the full story at WIRED