‘Electric Highway’ Infrastructure Goes Live

The first location in what will be a series of fast-charging stations for electric and hybrid vehicles as officially opened in Washington State. Consumers cite concerns over how far electric vehicles can drive before char gins as a reason they won’t by electric cars (even though this is a none issue for the vast majority of commuters). With more stations where people can quickly charge their autos this distance issue will go away.

AeroVironment plans to install six stations every 64 to 97 kilometers along I-5 in shopping malls, fueling stations and restaurants with easy access to the highway. Three more stations will be built along U.S. Highway 2 to the north and potentially two more along Interstate 90, near Seattle.

2012 will be a pivotal year for electric vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf and plug-in electric hybrids such as the Chevy Volt. General Motors had high hopes for the Volt in its first full year on the market, but the company expects to miss its sales target of 10,000 cars in 2011, coming up short by more than 3,800, according to Bloomberg. Sales were stronger toward the end of the year. The company is expanding its annual production to 60,000 vehicles starting next month, even as the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) investigates lithium-ion battery-pack fires following tests designed to measure the vehicle’s ability to protect occupants from injury in a side collision. Neither Nissan nor Tesla Motors—both of which sell all-electric vehicles powered entirely by lithium-ion batteries—have reported any fires in either the LEAF or Roadster, respectively.

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