Thursday, November 14, 2013

New Jersey Takes a Big Step Toward an Interstate EV Network with Opening of First Fast Charger

New Jersey now has its first “DC Fast Charging” station for electric vehicles, with the official opening of the new U-Go charger at the Wyndham Hotel in Mount Laurel.  The new facility is located on Route 73, just off Exit 4 of the New Jersey Turnpike and very close to Exit 36 of I-295.  Why is this important?  Unlike typical home and public EV chargers, Fast Chargers can “fill up” a depleted battery in 30 minutes.  That means that a strategically placed network of Fast Chargers can make long distance travel practical, even for today’s first-generation electric cars.  And that’s exactly what the U-Go Stations people – owner/operator of the site – plan to do.  They are looking for locations up and down the Northeast Corridor, from Washington, DC, to Boston (company website here).
In the frustratingly non-standardized world of electric vehicles, not all EVs will be able to charge here, at least for now.  The Mount Laurel charger is a “CHAdeMO”  design, meaning it will only work for the Nissan LEAF and other Japanese electrics (although Tesla has said they will offer a CHAdeMO adapter for sale for $1,000).
EV drivers will be able to find Mount Laurel via onboard information (on the LEAF) and via the USDOE website.  What would be helpful – and hopefully on the way – would be wayfinding signs on the Turnpike, I-295, and Route 73.
A real network of Fast Chargers would not only make longer distance travel practical for EV drivers, it would also reduce their “range anxiety,” by reassuring them that if they travel a little farther afield than intended and the battery runs low, they are not far from a place where they can get a quick recharge.
Congratulations to U-Go Stations for an important step forward!
Congratulations also to Nissan, which continues its commitment to electric transportation, Chuck Feinberg and New Jersey Clean Cities, the state’s chief EV boosters (see their website here), Wyndham Hotels, and Mayor Linda Bobo and Mount Laurel Township!

(Photos are of the ribbon-cutting and of Chuck Feinberg and yours truly.)

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