Looking at gas prices and thinking “Damn… I need to get one of those electric cars!” It’s a logical jump, and new vehicles like the all-electric Nissan LEAF, or the plug-in hybrid Chevy Volt will certainly help you avoid the stress at the gas pump. And while these vehicles have ranges that will work for the average commuter, you could well find yourself low on juice while away from your garage or parking pad with a nearby outlet. What do you do?
In St. Louis at this point, not much… electric vehicle charging stations are very rare in the region at this point. While that’s not terribly unusual, other metropolitan areas are doing a better job of preparing for the growth of the EV market: Ford’s recently released list of the 25 most EV-ready cities in the country shows that we’re not just behind the usual suspects like San Francisco, Portland, OR, and Austin, TX, but also Indianapolis, Richmond, VA, and Raleigh, NC. Even oil towns like Houston and Dallas are in the top tier.
That doesn’t mean that St. Louis isn’t acting on this front, though… so, Lou-bashers, hold your tongues for a minute. We do have some examples of both private and public installation of charging stations… and, no doubt, more to come. Among the places you could charge up that electric car:
- Novus International, Inc. — the agricultural feed and nutrition giant in St. Charles just installed a Coulomb ChargePoint® Charging Station in its Visitors parking lot. Local energy services company Microgrid Energy did the work on the cutting-edge networked station, which will allow Novus to track usage and take advantage of emerging “smart grid” technology.
- French Gerleman — FG distributes charging stations (among many others wholesale electrical and power-generation products), so it makes sense that the company would install one at its new Westport-area headquarters.
- St. Louis Community College at Wildwood — the newest branch of the community college is also the greenest; EV charging stations are just one of many eco-friendly features incorporated into the campus’ design.
So, yeah… we’re getting there… and no doubt once vehicles like the LEAF and Volt are available for sale here, or when Enterprise starts offering them for rental (as they do now on the West coast), we’ll start seeing more charging options available in the area.
Know more than I do about the development of EV infrastructure in the area? Go ahead… show me up.
Jeff McIntire-Strasburg is the founder and editor of green blog and product comparison engine sustainablog. Transportation doesn’t get any greener than a bike: check out our current listings from brands like Fuji, Raleigh, and Bianchi. Follow Jeff on Twitter @sustainablog