Up From the Ashes: CA Refits 10-Year-Old EV Charging Stations

By August 18, 2010News

Antony Ingram Aug 18, 2010

Everything old is new again. At least that’s the hope of the California Energy Commission (CEC), who have just announced that they will be overhauling many of California’s old charging stations.

California has long been the at the centre of EV development and thanks to several EV programmes in the past from the likes of Toyota with their RAV-4 EV and GM’s old EV-1, the state has had an EV recharging infrastructure for over a decade.

Although the State will soon be inundated with new charge points (such as the 5,050 charging stations soon to hit the San Francisco Bay area), many of the older points are a little tired now.

The aim of the upgrade is to bring the old recharge points up to the current SAE-J1772 standards required by the raft of new EVs soon to hit the market, such as Nissan’s 2011 Leaf and Chevrolet’s 2011 Volt, as well as other EVs from Coda Automotive, Ford, Fisker and Smart.

There are around 1,300 existing charging stations in California, of which just over 600 are public Avcon stations. These are the ones the project is aiming to upgrade. The $1.9 million budget figure quoted on some websites is a little optimistic according to Tom Dowling, one of the partners in the CEC. The actual budget is lower, and should just about be enough to cover refurbishment of the Avcon sites.

The CEC is enlisting the help of ClipperCreek and EV Connect. ClipperCreek were responsible for more than half of the state’s existing chargers.

Renowned EV commentator Chelsea Sexton told us: “This announcement is good news- while there are many newcomers to the infrastructure space, it’s nice to see some true veterans be called upon for this job.

“They understand not only the hardware, but how it’s used and where it’s most needed, so can upgrade sites accordingly. And by harnessing the longstanding data gathered over the years by EVChargerNews.com from actual EV drivers, it puts to good use the very community-oriented nature of this technology.”

Work on the upgrades will commence in the Fall and should be complete by early 2011, just in time for the bulk of new EVs hitting the market.

The news should come as further reassurance to anyone getting ready to take delivery of an EV in the next few years that an effective infrastructure will be in place.

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