Next year the Puget Sound will serve as one of five main testing grounds in the nation’s early attempts to build an electric car infrastructure. Nearly 900 Seattle-area drivers will have the chance to purchase and drive the all-electric zero emission Nissan Leaf for $28,000 to $35,000, before a handy $7,500 federal tax credit.
As the fleet of Leaf drivers wisp about the Northwest region, scientists from the Idaho National Laboratory, an applied-engineering lab that does federal energy research, will monitor how the cars are driven, where they are charged and how often the charges take place. The data will help federal and local governments decide how to build a charging network that’s planned to one-day support electric cars nationwide.
For starters, about 40 charge stations will be located in public places around the Sound. Leaf owners will be able to use the car’s GPS navigation system to locate the nearest charge spot, where juicing up will take only 15-25 minutes – relatively quick compared to other electric cars on the market. The first 900 people to buy the Leaf will have a free charger installed at their homes, which utilizes the same 220-volt plug in that’s used for the average clothes dryer.
Funding for the endeavor comes from part of a $100 million federal Department of Energy economic-stimulus grant that will eventually build more than a thousand charging stations throughout the region.
The future is electrifying! …Sorry.