Everyone is talking about electric vehicles. With all the major manufacturers releasing models, smart grid companies and utilities looking seriously at integration, and the U.S. Congress potentially putting $4 billion toward EV research, this year has been dubbed as “The Year of the Electric Car.”
Just this month, GM released the price tag of the upcoming Chevy Volt: $41,000. Some analysts are complaining about the price, saying that only a small number of consumers will pay for the car. GM has about $750 million riding on the success of the product, so people are watching closely.
The success of the car – and others like it – will depend not just on price, but on availability of infrastructure. As the EV market grows, some people are concerned about the classic chicken-and-egg problem: Which comes first – the cars or the supporting infrastructure? Well, it appears that conundrum isn't as problematic as it sounds. With clear signals from government and car companies, EV charging companies are now preparing for a major rollout of charging devices around the world. (Well, okay – mostly in California for now).
A number of announcements for EV charging infrastructure roll-outs were made this week. Here are some of the biggest stories. Did someone say “Range Anxiety”? Not so fast. ::continue::
To add to these exciting developments, the California Public Utilities Commission ruled this week that providers of EV charging stations in California could not be regulated as utilities. That makes it easier for many of these companies to set up projects and sell services without an added burden of regulation. It it unclear how the California decision will impact other states, however.
These projects only begin to scratch the surface of what is needed to support an electricity-based transportation sector. But they certainly show that the chicken-and-egg problem is quickly fading away. Car companies are building the cars – now the infrastructure providers also have a reason to build.
For an interview on the EV market, see the video with analyst Steve Heckeroth below:
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