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One of the biggest concerns about widespread deployment of plug-in vehicles is the effect it will have on electricity generation and distribution capacity. Here in the United States, most officials from utilities have been pretty upbeat and emphasize that there is plenty of capacity for charging vehicles as long as it is mostly done during off-peak hours.

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As much as plug-in advocates would like to believe otherwise, mass adoption of battery electric vehicles (EVs) will not be the silver bullet to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. EVs are only one piece of the puzzle. In fact, cars of all kinds only represent 20-25 percent of all the greenhouse gas emissions in the world. Thus, even if we electrify the entire vehicle fleet, it won't come close to addressing the full scope of the greenhouse gas reductions that are needed.

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As we were discussing an upcoming story related to a certain extended range EV with some colleagues the other day, a potentially serious problem for EVs came up. The primary market for plug-in vehicles for the foreseeable future will be urban areas where the range limitations of battery-powered cars figure to be less of an issue. However, if you look at the older residential areas in many cities, you will find that many homes don't have garages and people have to park on the street.

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2010 Nissan Leaf - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Renault Zero Emission line-up - Click for high-res image gallery

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General Motors will be collaborating with Spanish energy company Iberdola on a feasibility study to determine the infrastructure needs to support plug-in vehicles in Europe. Similar studies are underway already between automakers and utility companies in the United States and elsewhere. The two companies have a relationship through other projects being run by EPRI. Under examination will be the needs for private, residential, and commercial customers as well as for publicly-accessible vehicle pl

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