One indeed is the loneliest number, and that's the number of publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations in Juneau, Alaska, but city officials want to change that. The city's Economic Development Commission is trying to find ways for the Alaskan capital to have the most charging stations per capita in the US by the end of the year, Plug In Cars reports.

The city, which has a population of about 32,000, is ripe for plug-in vehicle adoption because of the relatively short distances that can be traveled by road from there as well as the fact that gas and diesel shipments to the area are as much as 20 percent more expensive than typical, pushing up gas prices. The city's electric sources are largely hydroelectric, further boasting its green-cred potential.

Already, Alaska Electric Light & Power has enacted an EV incentive program involving reduced electricity rates for car-charging. Still, city officials say more dealerships and technicians that are certified to work on plug-in vehicles need to be added to the city in order to further adoption.


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  • 38 Comments
      Actionable Mango
      • 1 Year Ago
      Perhaps a city should just look to meet the current and future needs of its residents instead of artificial goals like having "the most charging stations per capita in the US" in order to boast about "its green-cred potential".
      throwback
      • 1 Year Ago
      "..trying to find ways for the Alaskan capital to have the most charging stations per capita in the US by the end of the year" Considering how cold it gets in Alaska, is this a worthy goal? If you want a EV in Juneau, I suggest a heated garage would make more sense. Unless they plan to also build heated garages around the charging stations.
      Dave
      • 1 Year Ago
      Because of hydroelectric power, the Leaf is rated at an impressive 80 grams per mile in Juneau. Unfortunately, blasting the heater /defroster constantly while driving slowly in icy city conditions will probably double your power consumption, halve your range, and emit 160 grams per mile of CO2 (which is still impressive) Perhaps if someone comes up with an aftermarket propane heater for the Leaf (or other EV), it could make a great vehicle in Juneau.
        raktmn
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Dave
        BMW diesels have an extra heater that works something like that. It is a Webasto Fuel Burning Heater. It runs on diesel fuel, but I would guess a version could be built that would run on just about any fuel. The cool thing about it is that you can use your remote to start warming your car's interior, without having to start the motor.
      2 wheeled menace
      • 1 Year Ago
      Sounds like a hell of a challenge. A lot of electric power will be used to heat the car, plus the internal resistance of batteries is going to climb sky high during half the year. The batteries will need to be heated as well, likely continuously. I think they are a bit crazy. An internal combustion engine is good here because it naturally creates tons of waste heat. In an EV, you have to turn a significant amount of that energy into waste heat during those hard winters. You'd want a car with a very oversized battery, and you'd get less range out of said battery, so this would really put electric cars at an economic disadvantage.
        Letstakeawalk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Would you concede that this might be a better market fit for FCVs? Cleaner than ICEs by far, but without the disadvantages of BEVs that you mention. Especially the FCV's ability to use its own heat.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Real world experience with FCVs will tell us the truth, no?
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Again, 2WM ignores reality. He seems to be completely unaware of the cold weather testing that has been conducted globally over the past decade.
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Some of us are already aware of the truth... FCVs are perfectly fine in extreme cold weather.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Right, since FCVs are everywhere, and those Honda FCX test drivers in Southern California see a lot of sub-zero temps.. Proven in the real world.... right!
        2 wheeled menace
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Maybe it would be, i'm not sure what FCV performance is like in such harsh conditions.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          The first link in the google search results says: "Fuel cell systems are not yet as durable as internal combustion engines and do not perform as well in extreme environments, such as in sub-freezing temperatures." "Cold-weather operation can also be problematic since fuel cell systems always contain water, which can freeze at low temperatures, and must reach a certain temperature to attain full performance. FCVs can now start and operate in sub-freezing temperatures, but there are still some performance concerns. Finally, contaminants can degrade fuel cell performance and durability, so it is unclear what level of purity of hydrogen and intake air will be required for FCVs to operate reliably in real-world conditions." source: fueleconomy.gov The first page of results has a lot of reports that don't conclude anything, just say that they're testing FCVs and not much more..
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          FCVs have proven themselves quite capable in frigid climates. No lack of performance... http://bit.ly/12IpK35
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          It's funny that you post a link from a page that hasn't been updated in years, and ignore the articles that show that FCVs haven't had freezing problems for the past several generations. "The Mercedes B-Class with fuel-cell drive has passed it’s cold weather (winter) testing in Sweden. Temperatures apparently reached double digit, below zero figures. Some of the specific aspects of the testing included cold start testing as well as road-holding. The Zero emission B-Class is scheduled to be produced from the beginning of 2010 and will officially be called the B-Class F-CELL. The power-train is based on the fuel-cell system that Mercedes introduced on their F 600 HYGENIUS research concept in 2005. " http://www.worldcarfans.com/10803181796/mercedes-b-class-fuel-cell-withstands-cold-weather "TORRANCE, Calif, U.S.A., February 27, 2004 – Marking a significant breakthrough for fuel cell technology, Honda Motor Co., Ltd, today announced that it has conducted a successful cold-weather demonstration of its FCX fuel cell vehicle equipped with a Honda Fuel Cell Stack. Demonstrating the vehicle's cold-weather performance capabilities and its ability to start in below freezing temperatures, a major hurdle in the drive to create a truly mass-marketable fuel cell vehicle. "This is a tremendous breakthrough for Honda and everyone whose dream it is to make fuel cell power a reality," said Ben Knight, vice president of Honda R&D Americas. "We still have many hurdles to cross, but this is certainly a significant step in the right direction." Testing was conducted at Honda's test track and on public roads on the northern Japan island of Hokkaido. As a part of the test, the FCX successfully started after being parked outside overnight in temperatures as low as -11oC (+12oF). Test drives conducted immediately afterward demonstrated the vehicle's excellent cold weather driving performance. Honda will continue cold weather testing in its efforts to make widespread use of fuel cell vehicles a reality. " http://world.honda.com/news/2004/4040227FCX/ "The Gen2 vehicles were designed to start and operate under sub-freezing conditions. Gen2 cold weather testing at -20 degree Celsius was done at GM’s Cold Weather Development Centre in Kapuskasing, Ontario Canada as shown in Figure 8. The Gen2 vehicles met the freeze start and drive away DOE metrics. GM places considerable emphasis on the capability of the FCEV to operate under the same set of environmental temperature conditions as vehicles with internal combustion engines. Besides the testing site at Kapuskasing, the Ardsley, New York location, just north of New York City, provided ample opportunity to test the freeze capability of the Gen2 vehicles while in the hands of customers. As noted in Figure 9, the vehicles in the eastern region performed over 3100 starts when the ambient temperature was less than 0 C without any issues." http://www.osti.gov/bridge/servlets/purl/1034418/1034418.pdf
          Letstakeawalk
          • 1 Year Ago
          @2 wheeled menace
          Are you now willing to concede that FCVs have demonstrated cold weather performance - specifically the ability to operate normally in below-freezing temps?
        Pearl Nestor
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        You are truly a menace because you make way too much sense! Stop it! We can't have that!
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        It will take some extra energy. But given EVs have 60+ miles range at regular temps, I think they can manage to deal with a range cut in the cold months given the town has no two points in it more than 11 miles apart. They surely have heated garages, so at night the temps won't be too bad. It won't increase overnight charging energy too badly.
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Rotation
          Only 11 miles? wow, ok. Yeah, battery doesn't matter so much then :)
      ROBERT
      • 1 Year Ago
      LETS ALL PUT OUR COLLECTIVE HEADS UP OUR COLLECTIVE BUTTS AND BE JUST LIKE OUR DUMBAZZ CONGRESS --- SAYS THE JUNEAU MAYOR !
      nomad1963
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hmm, save electiricity and save the world, but make more electricity to run cars on. Sounds as silly as wasting more water on creating bio fuel. More water is used to make ethenol then regular gas, more energy is used to make ethenol and food prices go up due to grains being used for ethenol instead of human consumption or feed for livestock. Now there is a push to use electric cars as if electricity just magically appears. All this while President Obama has a war on coal power plants that once he forces them to close as some already have, your electric costs increase. Electric cars may be fine for some things, but not for general use. Though Juneau does not have road access, it may be viable for the city, though it is still going to cost elcetricity and environmentalists claim that is not good either.
        kevcrotte
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nomad1963
        You are correct...there is a cost and benifit to every power source. Unfortunatly, as of right now the creation of alternate fuel sources such as ethenol is not as effiecent to produce compared to conventional sources. However, the purpose of spending so much money on it is in the belief that over time our production methods will lead to more efficent ways of converting. This is much like the use of solar panels.....until recently it cost more energy to create and instal these panels than they were expected to produce in thier lifetime (a negative energy equation) but after expierementing and getting the economies of scale up to a high enough level they are now positive impacts on the energy equation. Juneau happens to have more hydroelectic capabilities than the average American city and are located in a place that is farthest from an American refinery than almost any other US city (Most Alaskan cities that far North actually import oil from Russia). It seems like a push for this city to rely on local renewable power sources is a good idea for thier people.
        Domenick
        • 1 Year Ago
        @nomad1963
        A war on coal? I wish. Coal is only cheap because they pass the pollution and its health effects on to us. And our children. And our grandchildren. http://environmentalintegrity.org/news_reports/07_23_2013.php Anyhow, coal production in the U.S. is only down slightly in the past few years and is still higher than it was at any time prior to 1994. We just aren't using as much of it to make electricity domestically since natural gas is cheaper. Instead, we are simply exporting more. http://www.eia.gov/totalenergy/data/annual/pdf/sec7_7.pdf
          2 wheeled menace
          • 1 Year Ago
          @Domenick
          Hey.. natural gas fracking allows you to pass the health effects onto our children, or maybe grandchildren. Are we ready to stop driving v8 SUVs to work alone yet... no? :(
      Vlad
      • 1 Year Ago
      It will be an interesting experiment. Talk about extreme conditions. Range is gonna suffer, battery may need to be heated - although charging does that to an extend. But ICE cars are having hard time, too - they need their blocks heated, and more viscous oil doesn't exactly help MPG. Also, both Leaf and Volt sit pretty low - not optimal for snow. RAV4 EV maybe?
      NL
      • 1 Year Ago
      I lived in Juneau for 7 years, and this idea suggested itself to me as well: green hydro electricity, no long drives possible, etc. Juneau can get medium cold in the winter-it can stay somewhat below freezing for weeks at a time--but not crazy cold like the interior. Leaf might not be the best choice unless they upgrade the battery conditioning. Lots of people commute about 12 miles from 'The Valley' to downtown, where the state offices are located. Parking is unheated (bring your scraper). Oh, and wind power is not a good fit--winds are *not* steady, but sporadic. Hellish winds occasionally--calm when it's coldest. With abundant hydro power (and potential for more), wind doesn't pencil out. Tidal power potential is large, however. Solar is out of the question.
      ROBERT
      • 1 Year Ago
      stupid liberal tree hugging idiots ! this is one of the reasons i moved out of juneau TOO MANY FCKING IDIOTS ! OH YEAH , ELECTRIC CARS DO REAL WELL IN SUB ZERO TEMPS ! AND THE PRICE OF ONE OF THESE PIECE OF CRAPS IS TOO HIGH AND THE REPAIR BILL IN 5 TO 10 YEARS WILL BE HALF AS MUCH AS THE CAR . STUPID FCKERS .
      CoolWaters
      • 1 Year Ago
      The Perfect Car for Juneau would be the Ford CMax Energi Plugin.
        Jesse Gurr
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        A better car would be the Focus electric or any other BEV that has active thermal management for its batteries.
        Rotation
        • 1 Year Ago
        @CoolWaters
        Given that car turns on the engine to produce heat and Juneau is in Alaska, that's probably not the perfect car for Juneau.
      Marcopolo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Hey, if Iceland can do it, why not Juneau !
      Pearl Nestor
      • 1 Year Ago
      Is this the same city who a few years ago was so strapped for electricity that they were off the grid for awhile? I remember that news story and I live in Anchorage. They were wondering if they were going to freeze in the Winter. Did they get an upgrade that I'm not aware of? I know city's want to cut costs all the time, just doesn't work for some things in the North. A couple of Winter's ago the Fairbanks Police Department tried to do away with studded tires on their patrol cars by using a different tire. Didn't work, they spent all that money on a tire that couldn't perform in sub below zero temps. They had to go back to the old studded tires because it WORKED! I know that Juneau has gotten way liberal in their thinking, just didn't realize how stupid they've gotten also. I suppose it shouldn't be such a surprise.
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