Monday, April 4, 2011

Overhearing conversations about electric cars

At the Plug-in Electric Vehicle Infrastructure USA conference in San Diego last week, panelists spoke about the latest in electric car charging station integration across the country. Attendees included utility execs, charging technology suppliers, Mercedes-Benz, T-Mobile, consultants, and analysts. Small attendance but very detailed and technical chats between insiders. Here are a few things I heard in video interviews and what others nearby were talking about...

1. Research and development folks are testing out very fast charging technology (5 minutes?) that combine supercapacitors with batteries.

2. The nuclear meltdown in Japan is raising hackles about nuclear power in Washington DC and other places, but it's not appearing to deflate electric car support at this time. Dirty coal is a bigger issue to handle for public support of electric vehicles.

3. Batteries are the real issue for electric cars -- how long will they last in the Nissan Leaf, what will be the cost and impact of replacement, and what happens to the battery systems when they're removed?

4. Telematics and connectivity will play a big role in the future of the EV infrastructure for fleet and retail owners.

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