Fred Meyer Stores, a subsidiary of supermarket chain Kroger, will install Ecotality commercial charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) at select stores in Oregon and Washington. The deal makes Fred Meyer the first food store to partner with Ecotality in the Northwest.
The grocery chain will install charging stations at its new stores in Wilsonville, Ore., and Maple Valley, Wash., as well as on major transportation corridors between its Seattle stores and the U.S.-Canada border. Ten existing stores are also under consideration.
Ecotality announced yesterday that it has begun installation of its Blink Level 2 residential charging stations in Washington state, as the latest phase of its EV Project, under which Ecotality is installing infrastructure to support more than 8,300 EVs in 18 U.S. cities and metropolitan areas. Roll-out began in Oregon last month, and ECOtality has also started installations in Los Angeles, San Diego and Arizona.
The residential installations lay the foundation for the installation of Blink commercial charging stations, Ecotality says.
The Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf have had disappointing sales to date, according to AutoBlogGreen. The website reports that GM has sold 928 Volts, while Nissan has sold just 173 Leafs.
But the figures don’t necessarily reflect a lack of demand, since Nissan stopped taking Leaf orders when 20,000 units were pre-ordered by U.S. customers in early December. And GM chief Dan Akerson predicted in January that 2011 Volt production would be raised from 10,000 to 25,000 vehicles. AutoBlogGreen notes that it took Toyota ten years to sell one million Priuses, but only two years to sell the second million.
A free iPhone app released yesterday lets homeowners share their electrical outlets with owners of plug-in vehicles. PlugShare (pictured) eliminates range anxiety by letting electric vehicle owners access the most comprehensive database of available charging points, including both public access points and private homes, software maker Xatori says. Outlet owners can choose whether to charge for their electricity, but Xatori hopes many will give it away to help support the growth of electric vehicles, Sustainable Industries reports.
Green Automotive Company has begun final testing of the Chinese Zotye all-electric SUV with an aim to begin U.S. sales by the end of the year. The company has retained Roush Industries, which also manufactures the ECOtality charging stations, to perform final inspections.
Finally, BAF Technologies has launched a new line of bi-fuel Ford vans and pick-ups that take compressed natural gas (CNG). The offering includes e Ford E-250/350 vans and F-250/350 pick-up trucks. BAF says it is the first CNG vehicle upfitter in the U.S. to be named a Ford qualified vehicle modifier for gaseous fuels.