There’s no doubt that electric cars are making a comeback, and while new technology has made them more efficient with longer range capabilities, nothing has changed about the fact that once batteries are dead, it takes time to recharge them.
Electric cars can typically take about ten hours to recharge with a standard outlet, or if you have the $2K to upgrade to a 240 volt charger-what is typically used to power electric clothes dryers-then the charge time is reduced to about 3 hours. The latest and greatest technology for recharging EVs is called ‘Level 3’ and uses a 480 volt system. It boasts a recharge time of 80% capacity in only 30 minutes, only problem is, the special wiring upgrade is in the neighborhood of $50K.
So the big question is, what do you do if you’re driving home and your EV dies? Not surprising, AAA has recently come out with new trucks equipped to rescue your battery drained EV. Their new tow trucks are equipped with a 4.5 kWh lithium-ion battery on board that can give a standard electric car anywhere between 15 and 3 miles of power, depending on the type of charger your car has.
AAA will deploy the trucks with mobile electric vehicle charging capacity in six metropolitan areas across the US as a pilot program including San Francisco Bay Area, Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, Knoxville and the Tampa Bay area. AAA estimates that there will be 1.2 million EVs on US roads by 2015. On a personal note, if oil companies were smart, they would start adding recharge stations to their existing gas station infrastructure across the country. It will be interesting to see what happens in the next couple of years, there’s no doubt that an electric car, or very efficient hybrid car, is automakers big revenue race, that is to say, they will be competing to one up each other with a better, cheaper fuel efficient car. If oil companies ignore this fact, they could be like the next saddle makers before everyone starting owning a car instead of a horse. You watch, it WILL happen.