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What do we need to have happen first? Have more people buy electric vehicles, or provide charging stations for EV drivers to plug into? Two researchers believe the government could stimulate the electric-car market by building more chargers. It might be even more worthwhile than offering tax credits.


As the U.S. readies for an expected onslaught of electric vehicles (EVs), the San Francisco Bay Area is quickly becoming one of the regions that's particularly well-prepared for EVs. In late 2008, mayors from the Bay Area joined together to approve a multi-billion dollar plan that would eventually bring thousands of EV charging stations to the area. This initial plan successfully kicked off an ongoing drive to bring even more chargers to the Bay Area.


The state of Washington is hoping to turn the interstate 5 corridor that runs from Canadian border to Oregon into the nation's first electric highway. With the help of a $1.32 million federal grant, Washington hopes to install between seven and 10 so-called Level 3 electric vehicle charging stations along the main north-south road. Level 3 stations charge at 400 volts and 30 amps or more. Such stations can charge a typical EV battery to 80 percent full in under 30 minutes.


According to a new study conducted by Pike Research, the number of electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the globe will reach 4.7 million by 2015. That's so many that the study suggests that the charging market will become overly crowded by next year.


More and more fast charging system will hit the streets over the next decade as electric vehicles become more common. As the market grows, more and more players will enter the space. One of them, Netherlands-based Epyon, showed off its new fast charger this week in Amsterdam along with a public display of the Nissan Leaf.


Forecasting the future is not always easy and, sometimes, far from accurate, but we like predictions because they usually give us some idea of what to expect as we move forward. In this instance, the predictions point to a world in which plug-in vehicle chargers are almost as common as gas stations. Well, not quite, but they do suggest that the U.S. will lead the world in something – and that's always worth talking about.


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.


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


It's well known by now that, aside from the cost, the biggest hurdle to the adoption of EVs may be a lack of charging infrastructure available to people most likely to use these vehicles. Those would be urban dwellers, many of whom live in apartment buildings. If apartment residents are lucky enough to have access to a parking garage, odds there is no plug nearby.


The Basque Government in Spain has announced an agreement with Repsol to install recharging points for EVs at gasoline refueling stations. These EV stations would be safely separated from gasoline pumps but will be installed near already existing infrastructure. The plan was announced by Repsol's CEO Antoni Brufau, the Basque Prime Minister Patxi López and the Director of the Basque Institute of Energy, Bernabé Unda. Repsol is Spain's largest gasoline distributor and the world's 15

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