By Jim Motavalli
2:15 PM EST, December 12, 2012
I was front and center in Fairfield when the Green Coast Awards (www.greencoastawards.com) were handed out last week, recognizing area companies such as Xerox and Sikorsky Aircraft for their commitment to sustainability.
Also in that packed, sweltering room was Dan Esty, commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), former Yale Law professor, and author of the invaluable book Green to Gold. And Esty had news for me about the future of green cars in our state. "Our clean vehicle effort is part of Governor Dannel Malloy's draft energy plan," he said. "It includes the installation of enough electric vehicle charging stations that range anxiety should no longer be a concern in Connecticut. We intend to be a national leader in electric vehicles."
Specifically, the plan calls for 100 more public chargers, to complement the 50 to 100 that are already in place around the state, Esty said. The "vast majority" of those 100 stations would be Level II 240-volt units, which charge a car such as the Nissan Leaf in four to eight hours, but eight to 10 will be Level III 480-volt fast-chargers. Now we're talking about topping up in just half an hour.
Wait, there's more. Connecticut is also hosting the first east coast "Supercharger," a beachhead in Tesla Motors' effort to duplicate its California network in the Boston-Washington corridor. The Supercharger is built, but not yet operational, at a Milford service plaza. Esty said the governor's office was a go-between with the Department of Energy in setting up the Milford station, which will offer free solar-powered charging for the company's high-tech Model S.
Additional hydrogen fueling stations, complementing the solar station at Proton in Wallingford, are also part of the picture. Malloy said during the campaign, "Fuel cells provide a promising clean energy source. We need to invest in the fuel-cell industry and offer our state a chance to be a global leader in this industry. Do it here, and the world will continue to be our customer."
Actual fuel-cell cars won't be on the market until 2015 from Daimler, Honda, Toyota and Hyundai, but the industry is trying to figure out where to deploy them. Connecticut, with a strong fuel-cell industry that includes Fuel Cell Energy in Danbury and UTC Power (transit buses) in Hartford, has a shot at getting some of those cars.
I want to hear more about the 100 chargers, including how they'll be funded and whether the electricity will be free to consumers.
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