I wheeled my old fashioned 2004 Acura 3.2TL combustion engined ride up to the unit. The Blink electric vehicle (EV) charging station, which hangs on the wall outside my office, seemingly winks at me every time I pull in as if to say, “When are you going electric, bud?”
I’m proud that Park&Co is one of the early adopters in The EV Project, the largest deployment of electric vehicles and charging infrastructure in history. We just lit up two EV charging stations as part of the Blink Network from Ecotality. Now I need something to plug into it, only most manufacturers of EV’s aren’t shipping until sometime in 2012. I feel like a pioneer who’s raced too far ahead of the chuckwagon. But it’s still exciting.
What I’ve learned in the six months it’s taken, from inquiry to installation, is that the entire electric vehicle industry is still sorting itself out.
It goes something like this:
Ecotality is the manufacturer of the Blink charging station, and as part of The EV Project they were awarded a $99.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to install approximately 14,000 chargers in six states and the District of Columbia: California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Texas and Tennessee. Chevrolet and Nissan North America are partners in The EV Project, and they have provided some matching funds raising around $230 million for the initiative.
I’m impressed with what I’ve seen of the Blink Network. When you buy an electric car, you can get a black Blink card that you swipe at the charging station. It bills your account that you set-up on their website. The site is extremely user friendly and it includes a map of the EV stations in your city.
Blink also has an app that alerts you to EV chargers as you travel and keeps an eye on your EV’s battery level. So if you’re tooling around 44th street and Indian School Rd. in Phoenix in your Volt, Leaf, Tesla, Karma or whatever EV you’re rocking, swing into Park&Co and fill’er up.
Now I’m in the market for a new electric vehicle. But what do I get? I love the looks of the Tesla Model S. I’m intrigued by the electronics of the Ford Focus Electric. The Fisker Karma seems almost other-worldy. I’m wondering if having a gas tank to charge the Chevy Volt’s batteries is somehow cheating, or does it just make sense to get over range anxiety? And I recently checked out the more sensible curves of the Coda at the Green Fleet Conference in Dallas. The variety of styling and features of these cars reflects an industry trying to find its way.
Please share any thoughts and recommendations on what EV I should consider in the comments below. Thanks!