Ironically enough, even as Washington approved funding electric vehicle charging stations around the country, it dragged its feet on having them installed in the nation's capital. That's going to change, and it has taken surprisingly hard work in Congress to get the stations approved.

Last Thursday, the president signed two measures – one that deals with constructing, operating, and maintaining stations in parking areas for use by privately owned vehicles at no net cost to the government; and separate legislation that allows charging stations on the U.S. Senate site. Users of the parking area charging stations will pay maintenance and building fees, so the cost to taxpayers is zero.

U.S. Senator Carl Levin, D-MI, has been fighting since October 2010 to have charging stations installed in Washington, and it's been a frustrating experience for him. Driving his Chevrolet Volt to work and not having a charging station at his Capitol Hill home, convinced him to push it through.

Last fall, Levin requested approval from the Architect of the Capitol, which oversees the grounds and buildings, to have public charging stations approved. He was told that would require legislation, which he then led through Congress. "The federal government is wisely encouraging Americans and auto manufacturers to embrace the next generation of auto technology. I think we should lead by example," Levin told the Detroit News.

The charging stations should see bipartisan use. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-TN, owns an electric Nissan Leaf and represents a state where Leafs will soon be built.


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  • 30 Comments
      Brinto
      • 2 Years Ago
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      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      Rick, think a little. They provide 'free' air because people are stopping in to BUY petrol. TANSTAFL. I've got nothing against compressed air for NEVs, although as I said this idea has been around for years. The efficiency of it is very dubious compared to BEVs. Dunno where you dreamed up 1,000 mile range from either.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      There is life in the old ICE yet: 'ARPA-E, the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy provided a $2.5 million ARPA-E grant in 2009 to Mueller who says, “The wave disk engine is smaller, lighter and easier to manufacture. You have to be aggressive with your research in today’s world if you want to get anywhere.” Mueller’s engine designed is said to reduce the weight of the engine by 30%, cut the weight of vehicle by up to 20%, improve the fuel economy by using 60% of the fuel for propulsion, reduce the total cost by up to 30%, and reduce the CO2 emissions by 90%. That’s a very big list with big numbers all in the shadow of the American car companies’ headquarters in Detroit. Mueller says they have four working bench prototypes, “We have engines – real, working, good-sized models – running right now.” The MSU research team will turn one of them into a 25-kilowatt disk wave engine and generator package this year, “We’ll be able to drive a full-sized hybrid vehicle, or even a hybrid SUV.”' http://newenergyandfuel.com/http:/newenergyandfuel/com/2012/08/20/a-new-engine-is-coming/ This is several times as efficient as a piston engine and would make an awesome range extender for Volt-like configurations.
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Local garage 300 yards from my home supplies FREE compressed air, so much better $10 a gallon they charge for fossil fuel don't you think Dave? TATA car looks quite a nice shape as well, bit like the Suzuki Wagon R/Vauxhall Agilia that was No1 best selling car in Japan for 7 years on a trot.
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Tata have a Nano compessed-air car that will be coming out soon with 1,000 miles range, even GM had a compressed air Cadillac Aera concept out last year with a 1,000 mile tank range, you are sooh yesterday Dave with all your post. you real must try to keep up to date. Gotta compressor in my garage that l use to keep my two Classic Ford paintwork up to scratch so if every petrol garage went bust overnight like you see to think, charging compressed air car would not be a problem for me. But it would be for your silly outdated suggestion who want to pay for expensive petrol at the pumps Dave, you are sooh yesterday ? http://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/concept-cars/450kg-cars-future
        Rick
        • 2 Years Ago
        @DaveMart
        Dave you are sooh yesterday TATA will be selling their first car by the end of this year, it's much better will run of a tank of free compressed air for 1,000 miles. India is going mass market with it & intends to buy no more oil from the Arabs. Would suit deaf drivers, its a bit noisy so expect a lot of deaf gits at your local Indian call centre that seem to be used by most European companies these days that out source jobs to save money. http://www.autoevolution.com/news/tata-motors-to-launch-compressed-air-car-by-the-end-of-the-year-44901.html
      Spec
      • 2 Years Ago
      Well Levin . . . if you really wanted to do your constituents a favor, you would point out that the nice thing about the Volt is that it can get a good charge just using an ordinary 120V outlet. Yes, a level 2 EVSE would be ideal. But if you work 8 hours plus lunch, you should be able to charge up the Volt almost to full with a 120V outlet.
        MTN RANGER
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        I agree. Even further: Install 120V outlets on every parking spot. Put in the 240V EVSEs at visitor parking spots.
        EZEE
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Spec
        Good post.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      It can't be the slow nature and inefficiency of government....I am sure republicans were slowing this down, but, as they always are, they were defeated by goodness and light (cue the patriotic music with scenes of soldiers marching).
      Ryan
      • 2 Years Ago
      So, if there are two already that will have EVs, how many chargers will they install? Will they swap plugs halfway through the day? Will there be more than 8 so other people in the general public can use them?
        Rotation
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ryan
        The law authorizes an install for each person that gets an EV. So presumably they can each have their own. It is exceedingly unlikely the public would be allowed to park in the same lot as Congressmen.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Yes, it will effectively be a private charging station. They weren't allowed to install them even at their own expense before, now they are.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          Ryan: That doesn't seem like a bad idea to me. If people park in a garage enough to make it worth it to them to put a charger in, they should be allowed to within reason even if they don't own the garage.
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          I'm thinking the same thing. And I have been there and saw their parking area(at least for some). But wouldn't it be a private charging station then?
          Ryan
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Rotation
          They should make that the law for every parking garage.
      Ugo Sugo
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have kind of a feeling that to install and operate such charging station will come with a bill of up to a million $.
        Joeviocoe
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Ugo Sugo
        Maybe because you didn't read?! "Users of the parking area charging stations will pay maintenance and building fees, so the cost to taxpayers is zero"
          throwback
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          You think these charging stations are going to get enough use to pay for their installation and up keep? Other than congress people, who will get access to park at the Senate site?
          Ugo Sugo
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          It was kind of ironic! And still, I am pretty sure that somewhere lies a fat bill for tax payers to pay, you just have to be creative (consultancy, feasibility study, social impact of the charger installed, special congressional commission, whatever ...)
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          The average person can't park in my garage either. And yet having a charger there makes sense. I don't understand why you think this is a dumb idea when chargers in homes have been shown to be a good idea. This is the same thing.
          Rotation
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          throwback: This no is dumber an idea than people putting chargers in their home garages. No one else uses the chargers but them. Why are people getting weird here?
          Joeviocoe
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          "consultancy, feasibility study, social impact of the charger installed, special congressional commission, whatever ..." sounds possible. so just go ahead and research it and let us know what you find. It will all be public record.
          throwback
          • 2 Years Ago
          @Joeviocoe
          rotation, I have no idea what you are saying. Levin is claiming these chargers will not be paid for by the tax payer. My point is these chargers will not get used by anyone BUT congress people. The average person can't just park on the Senate site.
      MTN RANGER
      • 2 Years Ago
      I thought this was heading towards a "hot air" & politician joke.
      EZEE
      • 2 Years Ago
      @dave Worse than that. I remember sme guy in Florida talking about an air car in the 1970's.
      Rick
      • 2 Years Ago
      I find it kinda funny how politicians only start to, do change things is when they personally get inconvenienced by something. If he had not owned a Volt this would never had happened.
        MTN RANGER
        • 2 Years Ago
        @Rick
        It's called the human condition. They are such a selfish species.
      DaveMart
      • 2 Years Ago
      The compressed air car has been 'on the verge of commercialisation' for ten years at least. Nothing is for free, and compressing air is not the energy free transaction you seem to imagine, unless they have repealed the laws of physics whilst I was not looking. Have you actually read the link you give? 'Tata showcase compressed-air power, as they unveiled a concept which had a top speed of 80 km/h (50mph) and had a maximum range of 140 km (80 miles). Pretty good numbers for something which is 100% eco-friendly and can be fueled for free (in most countries) as most service stations offer compressed air free of charge.' 80 miles is somewhat less than the 1,000 miles you claim, which would need a 'rather' large tank. Providing 'free' (to the customer, not the garage) air to pump up some tyres is a very different matter to proving the huge quantities at high pressure needed to run a car for even 80 miles at low speed, let alone the absurd idea of 1,000 miles.
      Rotation
      • 2 Years Ago
      I looked into compressed air cars once. There's just not enough energy in a compressed air tank to drive very far, even at 100% efficiency.
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