The California Air Resources Board and California Energy Commission announced yesterday how they will distribute almost $25 million worth of grants for the Alternative Fuel Incentive Program. One of the winners was Tesla Motors, which received $561,000 for the development of a UL-approved 16 kw (medium-power) public commercial charging station. Other funds went to building or upgrading E85 and CNG stations, various biofuel start-ups, transit programs and more. For the full list of grantees, see pages six and seven of CARB's 41-page PDF that announces the awards.

Diarmuid O'Connell, Director of Corporate Development at Tesla Motors, said in a statement that, "This sizeable grant offered jointly by the California Air Resources Board and the California Energy Commission is a significant vote of confidence for Tesla Motors and acknowledges the pioneering work Tesla Motors is doing in the development of zero-emissions electric vehicles and charging station technology."

When CARB solicited proposals this year, they said that, "Electric fuel vehicles have the largest potential to reduce climate change emissions and petroleum dependency relative to any other alternative fuel vehicle under consideration." The awards list shows more money being sent to biofuels ($12 million for ethanol and biodiesel) than EVs and PHEVs ($5 million), though.

So, what might this Tesla "gas" station be like? Tesla says the charging station technology it has developed "could be used to power up electric vehicles throughout the state of California." If the company's plan to sell pure-electric vehicles across the country in the next few years takes off as expected, I wouldn't be surprised to see these stations popping up in a lot of places, which would put the idea of "limited range" in an EV out to pasture. I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of solar enhancement to the stations, either, since Tesla will offer a home solar option with their cars. How much will it cost to "fill up"? Will people choose to get their energy while out and about (like we do today) rather than from the home plug? Is this project just a one-off to prove the technology and then license it to others? So many questions...

[Source: Tesla, CARB]

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