So, You Want An Electric Car? by Bill Moore

Source: Bill Moore, EV World

An EV World reader emailed me earlier this week and asked me what is going to become a more frequently asked question: “What do I need to know before I hire someone to install a home charger? ”

Starting this weekend with the first delivery of a Nissan LEAF to a customer in Northern California, we can expect to have upwards of 20,000 families asking that question in 2011 as they start to take delivery of the first 10,000 Chevrolet Volt electric hybrids and a comparable number of all-electric LEAFs, for starters. By 2012, we’ll start seeing some really exciting numbers from both GM and Nissan, as well as other entrants like Fisker, Think, and Coda, along with Toyota. By 2013, the numbers will be reaching in the hundreds of thousands… at least we hope they do. (I am keeping my fingers crossed).

There are going to be LOTS of folks asking this same question; and the answer starts with a very basic question in return: Where do you plan to charge the vehicle?

For a fair share of these people, the answer is going to be “in my garage.” That’s where I charge our Plug In Conversions Corporation converted Toyota Prius. Or it might be that like my parents, many of the new EV drivers will have just a driveway along side the house. But for those who live in multi-family dwelling complexes or in older neighborhoods built before the post WWII explosion in automobile sales where even driveways are a rarity and street parking is the only option, the situation becomes far more challenging.

This was illustrated to me last Spring when I spent a couple nights with a friend in Silver Springs, MD, a suburb of Washington DC. He owns one of the first Hymotion converted plug-in Priuses; like mine, a Steve Woodruff restored Prius that was damaged in a collision before Auto-Be-Yours worked its magic. The problem is, my friend has only on-street parking available and it’s pretty random: he parks wherever there’s an open spot. Now he could do like the lady in Santa Monica that I met. She lived across the Street from Paul and Zan Scott, and drove a GEM neighborhood electric vehicle, which she charged by trailing a long extension cord from the house across the lawn, the sidewalk and verge. I met her early in the morning, still in her morning robe, as she unplugged the car and coiled up the cord. Obviously, this isn’t the ideal situation for either.

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