General Motors announced this morning that the first buyers of the 2011 Chevrolet Volt will be eligible for a free 240-volt charging station courtesy of good old Uncle Sam with help from ECOtality, Inc. and Coulomb Technologies. As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, buyers of the new Chevy Volt will be considered for one of the 4,400 free 240-volt charging stations to be installed in their homes in order for some information needed by the Department of Energy (DOE) from real-world users.
The wave of electric vehicles is about to hit the US market and while there have been endless estimates as to how the charging stations will impact the power grids in this country but these 4,400 charging stations for the 2011 Chevy Volt are part of a much larger plan to add charging stations not only in residences, but also in public areas for those who want to charge their electric vehicle while out and about.
The 2011 Chevy Volt will come with a standard 120-volt cord that can charge the car overnight in order to maintain the 40 mile gasoline-free range but for Volt owners who want their new Chevy to be fully charged more quickly, the 240-volt charging station is expected to greatly reduce charge time. Along with the residential program, the DOE plans to add high voltage charging stations in metropolitan areas in order to help entice people to buy and rely more heavily on cars that do not rely so much on gasoline.
The problem - the way that I see it - is that charging stations might be a fantastic idea in low crime, high income areas but can we really expect a $2,000 charging station in downtown Detroit or Los Angeles to last more than a few hours once the sun goes down? What about the inevitable moron who tries to steal one of the charging stations and electrocutes himself – turning his crime into a lawsuit against the charging station manufacturer or the US government for not making the units safe enough for criminals?
In any case, the charging station program stands to save Volt owners $1,000-$2,000 according to yesterday’s press release and the progression of these charging stations becoming more available around the country shows strong support of the future of the electric car. Now, how about one that is fun to drive and doesn’t cost a fortune like the Tesla models – as not all of us want to drive boring, slow cars just to save a few cents at the gas pump.
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