By Brad Berman ·
October 15, 2009

Face Off: GM and Better Place on Electric Car Services

The first mainstream cars that plug into the electric grid are not expected for another year—but the battle to provide charging and battery services to those early adopters is already heating up. The tension between two companies—General Motors and Better Place—which might provide those services was palpable on Monday during a panel discussion in Palo Alto, Calif., entitled “Electric Cars: Transformational Change or Niche Trend?”

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By Brad Berman ·
September 03, 2009

Automakers Race to Design Car-to-Grid Communications


Major car companies are working on ways that plug-in cars will communicate with the electric grid. Ford, Nissan and Volvo have displayed their visions. We spoke with Greg Frenette, Ford manager of battery electric vehicle applications, to learn which driver controls are essential and feasible—and which charging technologies are more fantasy than reality.

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By Brad Berman ·
August 18, 2009

Ford Smart Charging Can Target Clean Power


Ford Motor Company has developed an intelligent charging system that previews how its production vehicles will interact with the grid. The unnamed system enables all-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle owners to restrict charging to when electricity prices fall below a certain threshold, or even "when the grid is using only renewable energy such as wind or solar power," according to Ford.

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By Brad Berman ·
August 12, 2009

Conference Raises Questions About Standards for Plug-in Cars

Plugging cars into the grid is quickly moving from concept to reality—and the auto and electric utility industries are frantically trying to make it a success. That’s the main theme of Plug-in 2009, a conference taking place from Aug. 10 - 13 in Long Beach, Calif. Many questions remain, such as the kind of charging equipment that carmakers will offer with their plug-in cars, and how to streamline the installation process.

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By Brad Berman ·
July 23, 2009

Mini Electric Car Drivers: BMW “Botched” Program


As we reported last month, BMW has encountered several problems with its program to evaluate the all-electric Mini E with real-world drivers. The program continues to stumble, as drivers and activists accuse BMW of establishing the program merely to meet regulations, while delivering a sub-standard product. Meanwhile, BMW is planning to deliver the City—its first production electric car—in 2011.

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By Brad Berman ·
July 14, 2009

Study Reveals Myths about EV Recharging Infrastructure

In the auto industry’s struggle to re-invent itself as innovative, high-tech, and environmentally friendly, car companies have fixed on the idea of plug-in hybrids and electric cars as a solution. What hasn’t been worked out is the fundamental question of how and where a million plug-in vehicles will find juice for their cars. Pike Research, a renewable energy research and consulting firm, identified a number of critical myths about how electric car charging will unfold by 2015.

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By Brad Berman ·
July 05, 2009

McDonald's Deploys Plug-in Car Charging Station


The McDonald's restaurant in Cary, NC, will become the first location in the fast food restaurant chain in more than a decade to offer electric car recharging. The installation of the first plug-in car charging station at a McDonald’s is a sign of the potential widespread adoption of cars that can be powered by electricity.

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By Brad Berman ·
June 18, 2009

Mini-E Charging Surprise

The plan to lease the Mini E—an all-electric version of the Mini Cooper—has hit a snag. The market test of about 500 Mini E cars in New York, New Jersey and California was to include a special 220-volt charging unit so leasees could recharge their cars in 3.5 hours. But the installation of the charging box has to be approved by each local municipality.

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