With all the talk of the future growth of electric cars, many people might think that it will be as simple as plugging in their car next to the old refrigerator in their garage. Unfortunately, using a standard 120V outlet would take around 20 hours to charge a typical electric car. Most cars will require a 220V charging station that is connected directly to the home's circuit. Even with the shorter charging time, many batteries will only last between 25 and 100 miles. These short distances will require customers to charge their cars throughout the day and many companies are working to become the "go-to" method.
In Europe, Coulomb Technologies’ ChargePoint Network dominates and has charging stations in Ireland, England and the Netherlands. In April, Coulomb announced they will be enhancing their European network by adding features designed to increase interoperability between different suppliers' charging stations. Nissan has taken notice to their technology and the two companies have collaborated to be sure the Nissan Leaf and Coulomb’s technology are compatible. Europeans have been interested in electric transportation for some time now and Monaco Ever, Europe's largest electric car expo, is held every April to show off the best innovations from around the world.
Walgreens has partnered with 350Green to install charging stations at over 20 Walgreens throughout the Chicago area. The stores feature stations that add roughly 25 miles of range per hour of charge. While this may not sound like much to more rural customers, 25 miles is enough to do laps around downtown Chicago (disregarding traffic). Ford has taken notice to the growth of charging stations and has listed Chicago as one of their Top 25 cites most ready for electric vehicles. Carbon Day, a Chicago-based charging station distributor, has already set up 100 stations and is planning to install another 150 to 200 by year-end. Combined with 350Green’s goal of 280 stations, there will be at least 430 stations in the Chicago region.
The introduction of electric charging stations is obviously a very important stage in the success of electric cars. It will most likely take a variety of partnerships between car manufacturers, the government and private companies in order to make it work.