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article imageAre electric cars on the horizon? Charging stations crop up in US Special

By Leigh Goessl     May 22, 2013 in Technology
Centreville - Electric and hybrid cars have been explored as an alternative to gas-fueled cars, but they haven't really become a viable option to date. However, is this going to change? eVgo stands, which are electrical charging stations, are cropping up in the U.S.
As energy demands increase, technology explores ways to fulfill this demand. Some see gasoline powered vehicles as on their way to becoming relics with electric and hybrid cars being the future, while others view gasoline as remaining the primary fuel source.
To date, electric cars (EVs) have not become a viable alternative and have not risen to capturing any substantial market share against their gasoline-fueled, or even their hybrid, counterparts.
It's not like the idea of an electric powered vehicle is new. It has been on the radar since the early half of the 19th century and hit the U.S. roads in the late 1890s and early 1900s, according to this timeline published by PBS. According to the Electrical Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, D.C., in 1913 there were over 750 electric cars within the District of Columbia.
Once Henry Ford introduced gasoline-powered cars, that was the beginning of the end of electric cars for many decades. Those electric cars in the District were no more.
Is that going to change?
Barack Obama began his push for hybrid and EVs on the presidential campaign trail, stating 1 million to be on the road by 2015 if he is elected. Once elected, the President allocated billions for development of electrical technologies for cars.
Despite "lackluster sales of fully electric and extended range electric cars", according to CNBC, just last month Obama proposed a 75 percent increase in research funding for energy efficient vehicles. This is despite the fact some of the companies producing EVs are struggling. Additionally, that 1 million figure is no where close to date. CNBC reported the current number is at about 50,000 vehicles in the U.S. since 2011.
A company called eVgo has been steadily adding charging stations in the U.S. In 2011, CNET reported eVgo (pronounced ee-vee-go) dozens were being launched that year, starting in Texas. There are two types, one that is a "fast" charger, taking about 30 minutes, the second type charges in four hours.
Currently, a heavy focus is being placed in the Washington D.C. area, where many people do drive hybrid vehicles. These cars are not, by far, the most prominent, but it is not uncommon to see them on the local roads. EVs not as much as hybrids, but it seems there is a growing demand if the addition of many charging stations is any indicator.
According to press releases, eVgo says these stations are being developed in collaboration with Nissan.
In recent months, I noticed a large notice in a Centreville, Virginia, parking lot advertising an eVgo station.
A sign posted in April 2013 in Centreville  Virginia  off Route 29.
A sign posted in April 2013 in Centreville, Virginia, off Route 29.
Centreville is located in Fairfax County, about 20 miles west of Washington, D.C. Recently, I circled back and it appears the eVgo fast charging station, which is located in a small shopping center, is completed.
Having never seen an EV charging station before, I decided to get a closer look.
A newly constructed eVgo station located in Northern Virginia  about 20 miles west of the District. ...
A newly constructed eVgo station located in Northern Virginia, about 20 miles west of the District. eVgo, in partnership with Nissan, plans to add 40 stations in the D.C. Metro area.
A close up view of an EV charging station. You can see in this image how consumers can operate it an...
A close up view of an EV charging station. You can see in this image how consumers can operate it and pay for service.
Consumers can park their cars and shop while charging their vehicle. The manufacturer says these  fa...
Consumers can park their cars and shop while charging their vehicle. The manufacturer says these "fast" charging stations take about 30 minutes.
Directions are posted for consumers on how to use the charging station.
Directions are posted for consumers on how to use the charging station.
It looks like nearby Loudoun County is slated to have the next eVgo opening this month. This one is going to be located at a shopping center not too far from Dulles International Airport in Northern Virginia.
Digital Journal reported in December 2012 Tesla opened its first charging station on the U.S. East coast.
Right now some significant barriers to electric cars are its cost and also consumer fears of range. However, with an increased larger network of charging stations, the latter issue could possibly be somewhat alleviated. Consumers would pay a monthly fee for unlimited use at these stations, according a January 2013 eVgo announcement.
Will these stops at shopping centers and on roadsides eventually replace gas stations? It's probably a very long way off, but could perhaps be a sign of changing times?
More about eVgo stations, Electric cars, evgo, Charging station, Cars
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