San Francisco to Los Angeles: An Electric (Car) Avenue
Want to take your fancy Tesla Roadster down California's beautiful Highway 101 but don't know where to charge it up along the way? You're in luck. We're starting to build that electric vehicle infrastructure. Five EV charging stations are being installed between Los Angeles and San Francisco.From Wired.com:SolarCity and Rabobank claim the 240-volt, 70-ampere stations unveiled today at five locations along Highway 101 provide the fastest recharge time available in a public setting, allowing EV drivers to charge up in one to three hours. The stations are located in retail areas, and Rabobank is letting people plug in and charge up at no cost.There are lots of encouraging details buried in this story. First, while the stations are just designed for Teslas at the moment, they'll soon use a universal plug so they can charge any electric car. Second, one of the recharging stations (in Santa Maria) gets its electricity from a solar plant. Combining solar with EVs makes for virtually zero-impact driving. This proves that's an achievable goal. And as the technology advances, more and more charging stations can move to solar. And finally, according to Wired.com these stations cost $7,000 to $12,000 to install. Compare that to $500,000 for a Better Place battery exchange station or considerably more for a conventional gas station.The obvious concern, of course, is that it still takes three hours to refuel your car. But that doesn't need to be the case forever. If the folks at MIT can make their super fast-charging batteries work all of a sudden you have a viable, convenient replacement for gas.UPDATE: The price of electric cars themselves is also an issue. On that point, Fisker Automotive just snatched up half a billion dollars in government loans, most of which will go towards their $39,000 EV project.