Monday, May 24, 2010

Vacaville, Calif. Gets First Public Electric Car Rapid Charger in U.S.

TEPCO DC Rapid Charger

(Photo: Brad Berman)

The city of Vacaville, Calif., a small town halfway between the Bay Area and Sacramento, has a little known distinction: It has more electric car charging stations per capita than any other city in the country.

That�"s why the city has earned the nickname of �SVoltageville.⬝ As of a few weeks ago, Vacaville now boasts a 50-kilowatt EV quick charging station, which is about the size of a conventional gas pump. The new station packs a powerful punch of electricity. It�"s capable of juicing up the 16 kilowatt-hour battery pack of the all-electric Mitsubishi i-MiEV�which has a driving range of about 75 miles� to about 80 percent capability in 30 minutes, or half-way in about 10 minutes.

�SThis is the first publicly accessible DC fast charger in the country. It was installed by Pacific Gas & Electric as part of a California Air Resources Board (CARB) grant to do research on fast charging, including user acceptance, grid impact and power quality,⬝ said Efrain Ornelas, environmental technical supervisor with Pacific Gas and Electric�"s Clean Air Transportation Department. �SWe have to gain knowledge for what�"s going to happen when a bunch of these go in. What better way to do it than putting one of these in, and testing it ourselves?⬝ The rapid charger was installed in conjunction with Mitsubishi, because PG&E has an i-MiEV in its fleet. The i-MiEV is expected to go on sale to consumers in the US in 2011.

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The display on the rapid charger shows that the i-MiEV's batteries were charged to 8.8 kilowatt-hours in just six minutes and 26 seconds. (Photo: Brad Berman)

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