ECOtality sees strong interest from private sector for EV chargers
By Lee van der Voo
Sustainable Business Oregon contributing writer
ECOtality officials say as the EV Project draws to a close, the private sector is picking up the pace of electric vehicle charging station installation.
ECOtality Inc. is seeing private sales of its Blink brand EV chargers pick up among retailers and corporate campuses through the EV Project. It’s a trend its leaders now say — and data suggests — may be setting the stage for a rapid uptake of electric vehicles as prices drop.
The private-sector sales are a recent outgrowth of heavy investment — both public and private — in the EV Project, a $230 million effort to install 14,000 chargers in 21 metropolitan areas in the United States, including Portland and the I-5 corridor.
The project, funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Energy and other public and private funders interested in its findings, was intended to offer free residential chargers to Nissan LEAF and Chevy Volt drivers in exchange for information about their charging habits. The project also put public charging infrastructure on the ground.
According to Colin Read, vice president of corporate development at San Francisco-based ECOtality, the program’s 45 million miles of data collection makes it “by far the largest repository on EV charging behavior in the world.”
And that behavior appears to be changing, a trend that indicates rapid uptake of EVs could lay ahead.
In a recently released third-quarter report, the latest data from the EV Project seems to debunk what was once considered one of the biggest obstacle to EV uptake: range anxiety.
“Once you purchase an EV, users are quickly becoming much more comfortable with what their driving range is,” said Read, who said data shows that drivers of EVs are driving farther distances and plugging in more often outside the home than anticipated.
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