Coming Soon to a Fueling Station Near You: A Plug


If current trends are any indication, the change will be shocking as some 4,600 electric vehicle charging stations are built in the US by next fall.

In just a very few short years, we’ve gone from collectively bemoaning the demise of the electric car to now being presented almost daily with road sign after road sign that clearly indicates its imminence.

Tonic has been following the fast-moving developments in electric vehicle (EV) technology over the past year, and by all indications given by the automotive world tea leaves, car makers are finally primed to take the notion of moving away from internal combustion very seriously. General Motors, who a decade ago made the biggest and loudest moves in the electric car realm first with the launch of the EV1, and second with the vehicle’s quick and puzzling discontinuation, is poised to reenter the market this fall with the Chevy Volt. Nissan’s Leaf is expected to enter the market mere weeks after the Volt. And Toyota, not in the least content to cede the EV lead to its competitors, recently purchased upstart Tesla, signaling its earnest intent to be a powerful force in the market sector.

And in the latest indicator of change’s steady march, the Los Angeles Times reports that in several US locations, we’re poised to see the neighborhood gas station take on an entirely new look and function. According to the Times, some 4,600 EV recharging stations are slated to be built across the country. Approximately 1,000 of them will be up and running by the end of this year and the rest will be in place by September of next year. This represents a sincere implementation of new generation vehicle support infrastructure, and reflects a collective expectation that while the electric vehicle is untold years away from dominance on the roads we’re poised to see a real shift in how we drive.

The new recharging infrastructure initiative is being led by California-based Coulomb Technologies, whose home state is perhaps not surprisingly slated to be home to about one third of the new stations. In addition to building the charging stations in the Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Francisco bay area regions, Coulomb’s plans include new infrastructure for the Austin, Detroit, New York, Orlando, Seattle and Washington, D.C. metropolitan areas.

According to the Times, the move arises through the ChargePoint America program which is supported by partnerships with Ford, GM and Smart and funded in part by a federal grant from the Department of Energy. Once the stations are in place and operational, scientists from Purdue University and Idaho National Labs will collect and analyze data on usage patterns.

Editor’s note: Article by David Bois. Originally published by our friends at Tonic is a digital media company and news source dedicated to promoting the good that happens each day around the world. Tonic tells the stories of people and organizations who are working to make a difference, by inspiring good in themselves and others. Be sure to visit them and say hi, and follow Tonic on Twitter, too!


Image: felixkramer