D.C. Area Boasts Residential Electric Car Charging Station
Photo by Portland General Electric.

An electric vehicle charging station in Portland, OR. Photo by Portland General Electric.

A new development, owned by Equity Residential, in the Mount Vernon Triangle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. will now have an electric car charging station in its garage.  Launched in conjunction with Car Charging Inc. the location appears to be “the first such charging station in a residential building parking garage in the area,” says District blogger Richard Layman of Rebuilding Place In The Urban Space. The location is 425 Massachusetts Ave. in Northwest Washington.

“Equity believes that in urban, high demographic, high rent areas that there will be demand for this service. They are working to add this amenity to properties they own in Boston, Seattle, Bellevue, Washington, and South Florida.”

Charging for cars using this technology will occur by the hour at a rate designed to be comparable to gasoline.

The District unveiled its first on-street electric car charging station late last year, funded by a U.S. Department of Energy grant. Nine U.S. cities around the country will host hundreds of charging stations through this grant.

Layman points out the importance of having stations in residential areas, like the one on Massachusetts Ave., after interviewing Michael Kinard, president of Car Charging Inc. Because a full charge for an EV is only 40 to 100 miles, depending on the car, battery and whether the car has a gasoline engine, most electric vehicle drivers need a relatively routine station or set of stations as opposed to searching for car charging stations on the street. However, it is likely that mobile technology will make it a lot easier for EV drivers to find and locate stations outside of residential locations.

The charging infrastructure is being deployed around the country as part of a $37 million program called ChargePoint America.  The technology was developed by Coulomb Technologies. The stations are advancing as part of a $15 million grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy.  By October of 2011, ChargePoint America will provide 4,600 public and “home”  stations. The program also consists of data collection of vehicle use and charging patterns.

Car Charging Inc. will use Coloumb Technologies’ charging stations to ” provide, install, maintain and service the units at no cost to the business and property owner,” only the EV owner. The stations are being installed for free.

The commercial success of EV is largely dependent on visible and reliable infrastructure. From an environmental standpoint, the source of power must also be evaluated for minimum carbon emissions, for example, by comparing coal-powered plants to renewable energy sources. Thus far, sales of EVs are still in the beginning stages. In December, General Motors sold less than 350 Chevy Volts and only 10 Nissan Leafs.  There is a waiting list of 50,000 for the Chevy Volt (compare this figure to 10,000 hybrid vehicles sold in 2010.)

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