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Electric vehicles typically come with a home charging cord, and additional stations for 120v or 240v connections are relatively inexpensive. However, when you start trying to cram electrons into a battery in a hurry, the cost can rise steeply. In particular, "Level 3" quick charging stations can be a significant investment, with costs starting around $20,000.

Craig Childers, a zero-emissions specialist at the California Air Resources Board (CARB), said it appears that the U.S. is leaning towards the adoption of a non-CHAdeMO quick-charge standard for plug-in vehicles, according to All Cars Electric. Though Childers admits that this is not a "done deal," he claims that "automotive companies are lobbying for only one opening for powering the car to allow for cleaner design."

Utility company NRG Energy is joining forces with AeroVironment, General Electric and Siemens to expand its privately funded eVgo charging network across several major cities in Texas. The eVgo program, which NRG describes as "an integrated network of charging products, services and payment plans that helps make electric vehicles practical for drivers" includes the Dallas-Fort Worth area and will soon be expanded to Houston and San Antonio.

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.

All of the Coulomb Technologies charging units that we've seen thus far are rectangular units that sit on poles or hang from the wall. A new ChargePoint unit that Coulomb is developing with Aker Wade Power Technologies looks much more like a standard gas pump and, more importantly, will provide fast Level 3 charging. These units, which will be available to buy this fall for around $40,000 (and $20,000 to install!), draw power from dedicated 480-volt, 125-amp circuits and can theoretically deliv