With the growing fame of the Tesla Roadster and imminent release of the Nissan Leaf, it seems like everyone is trumpeting electric cars these days. Yet a troubling question remains: How are we going to create an infrastructure for charging? If electric cars are truly the wave of the future, they're going to need some sort of recharging station beyond private hookups in owners' garages to keep their batteries juiced up. After all, while it was impressive to see Tesla drive its car cross-country to the 2010 Detroit auto show, it's another thing to understand that the crew had to stop at campgrounds along the way to recharge using outlets generally reserved for RVs.

One answer to the recharging conundrum can be seen in a major project that was recently launched in China. In the city of Linyi, located in eastern Shandong province, the first large electric car charging station is under construction. Capable of simultaneously charging 45 individual cars, the station is set for completion this month, at a cost of $3.37 million.

The Linyi station is the work of Shandong Electric Power Corporation, part of an ambitious plan by the province -- one of China's largest auto producing areas -- to increase its annual production capacity of electric vehicles to 300,000 by 2015. By the end of the year, China expects to have 75 electric vehicle charging stations in place across 27 cities.


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