Greenway Self-Park is Chicago’s new 11-story parking structure is the world’s first to combine integrated wind power, electric car charging, and two car sharing services with plans to offer electric cars. Beautifully integrated into the structure is a 12-paired array of vertical turbines, located on the southwest corner of the garage, designed to harvest energy 24/7 in this famous “Windy City.” Greenway car sharing partners include iGo and Zipcar which plan to expand their offerings of electric cars and plug-in hybrids.
An entire nation will be covered in 2011 with electric car charge stations. One car company has received a non-binding order for 100,000 electric cars. The company managing the entire project is Better Place, headquartered in Silicon Valley USA. Israel is the nation that desperately wants to end its dependency on oil from hostile neighbors. Renault is the French company supplying up to 100,000 vehicles. The advanced lithium-ion batteries are made by AESC, a joint venture of Nissan-NEC.
The San Francisco Bay Area will add over 5,000 electric car charging stations (EVSE) in the next 2 years and continue as one of the nation’s leading areas for electric cars. The Bay Area’s 7 million people live in cities that have adopted hybrid cars, like the Prius, faster than in 99 percent of America. The San Francisco Bay Area already has about 8,000 electric cars on the road from Tesla Roadsters to Prius Plug-in Hybrids to light EVs limited to 25 miles per hour. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District Board of Directors approved $5 million to support further development of a regional electric vehicle charging infrastructure program in the Bay Area.
Coulomb announced a new CT500 Level II ChargePoint® Networked Charging Stations are designed for home and light commercial use. The announcement expands Coulomb’s spectrum of products for EVs from home to Level III fast charging stations. The ChargePoint Network is based on an open interface, standards-based architecture that provides station owners with a complete set of business applications to market and bill for electric transportation fueling services, and provides drivers with EV charging applications to make fueling easy. The home charging announcement is timely. Nissan has received over 16,000 deposits for the LEAF, including one from me. We are getting recommendations to have Aerovironment inspect our garages and plan on average installation costs of $2,000 including electrical work. GE recently entered the smart charging competition with the GE WattStation and will soon announce its home charger.
GE intends to be the leader in smart grid charging of electric vehicles. GE’s Watt Station EV Charger was personally unveiled today by CEO Jeff Immelt. Globally, GE already helps thousands of electric utilities be more efficient in generating power and in distributing power. With a growing family of smart grid solutions including smart charging of vehicles, GE will help utilities with Digital Energy. The GE Watt Station is the first product in a family of vehicle smart charging products and services from GE.
Pike Research forecasts 4.7 million charge points for electric cars will be installed worldwide from 2010 to 2015. Pike forecasts that by 2015, more than 3.1 million EVs, including plug-in hybrids and all-electric vehicles, will be sold worldwide. Pike Research’s indicates that competition from infrastructure providers will intensify by the end of 2011. Leading the first 20,000 U.S. charge point installations are AeroVironment, Better Place, Coulomb Technologies, and ECOtality. GE, Panasonic, Samsung, and Siemens are moving into the space with hardware and network services.
Fortunately, the new 2012 Mitsubishi i for the USA will have the steering wheel on the standard left side, because I am struggling with this test drive of the 2010 iMiEV Japanese version. Steering from the right-hand side is not so bad, but every time I use the “turn signal lever” the windshield wipers start flying. Mitsubishi is now taking orders for the 2012 U.S. version of the popular Mitsubishi electric city car starting at $29,125, over $5,000 less than the 2012 Nissan LEAF.
Coulomb Technologies Smart-Charging for Ford Family of Electric Vehicles accelerates plug-in charging in nine U.S. cities. Ford is promoting smart charging as it now takes orders for the Ford Transit Connect, next year for the 2011 Ford Focus EV, and in 2012 the Ford Plug-in Hybrid. Ford is partnering with Coulomb Technologies to provide nearly 5,000 free wall-mounted charging stations for some of the automaker’s first electric car and electric delivery van customers.
Nissan announced U.S. pricing for the 2011 Nissan LEAF electric car, which becomes available for purchase or lease at Nissan dealers in select markets in December and nationwide in 2011. Nissan will begin taking consumer reservations for the Nissan LEAF April 20. Including the $7,500 federal tax credit, the consumer’s after-tax net value of the vehicle will be $25,280. Additionally, there is an array of state and local incentives that may further defray the costs and increase the benefits of owning and charging. Nissan will also offer a monthly lease payment beginning at $349.
The smart grid charging of electric cars with renewable energy advances. The Tennessee Valley Authority, the Electric Power Research Institute and Oak Ridge National Laboratory Friday announced that they will deploy solar charging stations for electric vehicles across the state of Tennessee as part of one of the largest electric transportation projects in U.S. history. The solar-assisted stations will complement the standard home, commercial, public and fast-charging infrastructure needed to support the Nissan LEAF and more electric vehicles.
Duke Energy and FPL Group committed to buy 10,000 plug-in vehicles in the coming decade, as they upgrade their fleets. The energy storage in these vehicles could eliminate the need for peaking plants and enable the expanded use of renewable energy. Duke Energy CEO Jim Rogers shared a few minutes with me before he spoke at the Society for Environmental Journalist conference. At first his commitments to clean fleets, energy efficiency, and renewable energy seem surprising, given that he is CEO of the nation’s third largest emitter of greenhouse gases. The emissions are largely the result of being the nation’s third biggest consumer of coal.
It’s not as simple as it first appears to know how much money it’ll take to feed a new plug-in. Traditional utility tiered rate pricing can penalize adding a plug-in vehicle to your electricity bill. New TOU pricing and smart metering is needed. Which is really more energy efficient, a plug-in or a car that just runs on gasoline?
The smart electric vehicle is symbiotic with the smart grid. The new freeway-speed electric vehicles will also be smart electric vehicles (SEV). They will be smart about using energy inside the vehicle so that it can go 100 miles between charges. The SEV will be smart about navigation options that consider your preferences. The smart gird will be used to encourage cost-effective off-peak charging.
Plug-in Hybrids (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (EV) are destined for success. Thousands of key players have converged at the Plug-in 2009 Conference in Long Beach, California. In the opening workshop they talked about giving the customer a pleasant, easy-to-use, no hassle, safe and cost effective experience. President Obama has challenged the industry to sell or lease 1,000,000 PHEV & EV by 2015.
President Obama announced 48 new advanced battery and electric drive projects that will receive $2.4 billion in funding under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These projects, selected through a highly competitive process by the Department of Energy, will accelerate the development of U.S. manufacturing capacity for batteries and electric drive components as well as the deployment of electric drive vehicles, helping to establish American leadership in creating the next generation of advanced vehicles.