Department of Energy brings public electric car recharging stations online

US initiative wants to have 22,000 charging points across the country by 2013

The Oak Ridge National Laboratory today said it had completed the first 25 of 125 solar-assisted electric vehicle charging stations between Knoxville and Memphis, Tenn.

The Department of Energy lab is behind the demonstration project which it says will provide information about station performance, customer charging preferences, component reliability and the impact on the electric grid. In Tennessee, solar-assisted charging stations will be installed at Nissan North America in Smyrna and Franklin, Knoxville, the University of Tennessee, Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga.  The group has already turned up solar-assisted stations in Knoxville and expects all of the stations to be online by 2012.

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Two types of battery chargers will be available. One provides an alternating change or AC, which can provide a complete charge in four to eight hours - depending on the initial state of charge. The other provides a direct current, or DC, charge, which can provide up to 80% of a full charge in 30 minutes, according to the DOE.

Long-term plans call for 2,535 electric charging locations to be built in Tennessee and a total of nearly 15,000 in Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Texas and the District of Columbia. All of the stations are part of the Department of Energy's Vehicle Demonstration and Vehicle Infrastructure Evaluation project.  The DOE has a variety of project underway to deploy 22,000 charging points in residential, commercial, and public locations nationwide by December 2013.

The idea is to promote the use of electric vehicles, which will reduce demand for gasoline and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  You also may recall that the White House has outlined a wide-ranging plan of putting 1 million what it calls advanced technology vehicles on the road by 2015.  Decreasing cost and increasing convenience would go a long way toward helping the electric car market.

Follow Michael Cooney on Twitter: nwwlayer8  

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