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Automakers, Retailers, Gas Stations Roll Plans for EV Charging Stations

As more electric vehicles are set to launch over the next several months, automakers, retailers and gas stations are putting plans in place to install electric vehicle (EV) charging stations in strategic locations to help build out the fueling infrastructure.

For example, General Motors plans to install Envision Solar’s CleanCharge solar-powered EV charging stations integrated into EnvisionTrak tracking Solar Trees at a number of locations.

The Chevy Volt extended-range electric car is expected to be showrooms in November 2010 and will be rolled out initially in California, Michigan, Washington, D.C., Texas and New York, followed by New Jersey and Connecticut in mid-2011.

Gas stations also are gearing up for the EV roll-out. BP, a partner in the EV Project, for example, announced it will install ECOtality’s Blink EV DC Fast Chargers at 45 BP and ARCO locations. They will be available to the public as early as March 2011.

Locations will be selected based on population density and transportation corridors in each project region. BP is expected to install the DC Fast Chargers near major EV Project pilot markets, which include Phoenix (AZ), Tucson (AZ), San Diego (CA), Los Angeles (CA), Portland (OR), Eugene (OR), Salem (OR), Corvallis (OR), Seattle (WA), Nashville (TN), Knoxville (TN) and Chattanooga (TN).

ECOtality is the project manager for the EV Project, an initiative that plans to install approximately 15,000 charging stations in 16 cities and major metropolitan areas in six states, and will place 8,300 EVs on the road. The project is funded with a $114.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), with matching funds from the private sector.

Retailers are also installing EV charging station as pilot programs to see how useful they are and if they can make any money by investing in the stations, reports CNET. As an example, twelve Best Buy stores plan to install Ecotality Blink EV charging stations by March at stores in Tucson, Phoenix, Los Angeles, San Diego, and Seattle.

Public charging stations is an important consideration for making EVs more viable and to ease concerns over driving range, although it’s expect that more drivers will charge their vehicles at home, reports CNET.

Ninety five percent of consumers surveyed in Southern California say they would prefer to charge their EVs at home, according to a report from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

Best Buy also plans to sell electric transportation products at its stores, including bicycles, scooters, and a motorcycle, reports CNET.

Because Enterprise Rent-A-Car will offer electric vehicles to customers across eight different markets, starting in November 2010, charging stations will be installed at select locations, including several of the Enterprise “hybrid branches.”

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