San Diego Takes Center Stage as Ecotality Works Ahead of Electric Vehicle Rollouts

San Diego utility executives and transportation planners, together with Ecotality CEO Jonathan Read, yesterday unveiled a blueprint for deploying electric vehicle charging stations throughout the region—making San Diego the beginning point for a new era of rechargeable transportation.

“It’s a milestone on the road to the mass-marketing of electric cars,” decreed Ron Roberts, a San Diego County Supervisor.

San Francisco-based Ecotality is leading the charge, so to speak, after securing $115 million in two grants over the past 10 months from the U.S. Department of Energy for what has been described as “the largest transportation electrification project in history.”

With matching funds from utilities, automakers, and other companies bringing total funding to $230 million, Ecotality is responsible for deploying nearly 15,000 charging stations in 16 cities throughout California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Tennessee, Texas, and the District of Columbia by fall, 2012. At the same time, Nissan North America is delivering the zero-emission Nissan Leaf, a 100-percent electric car, and General Motors is bringing the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid to market.

Ecotality's Blink Charger

Ecotality's Blink Charger

“The EV Project” is intended to serve as a gigantic market research study of consumer behavior—and to identify the key factors that will encourage consumer adoption of electric vehicles. The pilot program is intended to evaluate how climate and topography affect EV use, to explore ways to alleviate motorists’ “range anxiety” (the fear that they’ll be deplete their EV battery and be stranded), and to assess different revenue systems for private, commercial, and public charging stations.

As Ecotality says … Next Page »

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Bruce V. Bigelow was the editor of Xconomy San Diego from 2008 to 2018. Read more about his life and work here. Follow @bvbigelow

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