Harry Stevens is a freelance reporter covering climate change, corporate social responsibility, social enterprise, and sustainable finance. Harry has contributed to several media outlets, including Justmeans, GreenBiz, SocialEarth, and Sustainablog. You can follow Harry on Twitter: @Harry_Stevens...
ECOtality's EV Project to Help Expand Market for Electric Vehicles
ECOtality, Inc., a clean electric transportation and storage technologies company, announced today that its Blink® smart charging stations for electric vehicles (EVs) will now be offered free in the Atlanta, Chicago, and Philadelphia greater metropolitan areas.
The offering is part of ECOtality's expansion of the EV Project, a public-private partnership funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy through a federal stimulus grant made possible by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. With this latest expansion, the EV Project is now operating in nine states and 21 major metropolitan areas.
"By signing up for a free charger, EV owners can take part in this massive research project that can help reduce our country's dependence on foreign oil," said Don Karner, ECOtality's Chief Innovation Officer.
Owners of either the Nissan LEAF or Chevy Volt can receive a free residential Blink wall mount charger along with an installation credit up to $400. Resident and commercial hosts who are interested in participating can sign up at http://www.theevproject.com/sign-up.php. They can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org, depending on their metropolitan area.
From a business perspective, the EV Project will help ECOtality expand the market for advanced electric technologies, further grabbing market share from carbon-based fuels. A combination of market forces, including increasing fuel costs, increasing fuel economy standards, and increased vehicle availability, should expand the market for EVs in coming years.
According to a recent report from Pike Research, a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets, hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) combined will account for 3.1% of worldwide auto sales by 2017. In the United Sates, HEVs and PEVs will account for 5.1% of total U.S. vehicle sales in 2017 as a result of higher penetration rates in the United States.
Further, the report predicts that the EV market will grow at a rate of nearly 20% annually for the next six years, compared to fewer than 4% of the worldwide market for all kinds of vehicles.
In the U.S., Nissan, General Motors, Ford, Mitsubishi, and Honda, among others, are leading the market expansion for electric vehicles. GM sold over 7,000 Chevy Volts in 2011 and already exceeded that total in the first six months of 2012.
Still, a 2011 discussion paper by Harvard's Henry Lee and Grant Lovellette demonstrates that the lifetime gas savings of EVs do not currently offset their high purchase prices. That said, the cost balance may change as EV prices become more comparable with vehicles powered by internal combustion engines.
ECOtality will partner with a number of utility providers, including PECO and PSE&G in Philadelphia, Georgia Power in Atlanta, and ComEd in Chicago.
"ComEd is pleased to be a utility partner to the EV Project", said Michael McMahan, ComEd's vice president of Smart Grid and Technology. "The Chicago region is quickly becoming nationally recognized as a leader in the deployment of EV charging infrastructure. The EV Project complements the extensive work that ComEd has done to date in collaboration with other Illinois stakeholders to prepare the region for consumer adoption of EVs, and we look forward to supporting the EV Project."
For more information about The EV Project, visit www.theevproject.com.