ECOtality Maps Seattle, Emphasizing Leaf

The ECOtality road show marches on, latest stop Seattle, where the company released a map showing where it will concentrate electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations and emphasized its support of the Nissan Leaf.

ECOtality is the biggest player in the emerging charging station market, thanks to a $115 million grant from the Department of Energy to run the EV Project. ECOtality said it will install 1,200 Blink Level 2 (those provide a full charge in around four hours) and 22 Blink DC Fast Chargers (they charge in under 30 minutes) throughout the central Puget Sound and Olympia areas.

image via ECOtality

The usual collection of politicians joined CEO Jonathan Read for the announcement, but the owner of a new Nissan dealership shared the spotlight, as well, and not a word was heard about the Chevy Volt. “The EV charging stations ECOtality will install are a critical component to building the rich charging infrastructure to allow EV and Nissan Leaf drivers the ability to travel without limitations,” Read said in a statement.

The Blink chargers will power the Volt, too, and in a recent interview, Read said his company didn’t back one car over the other. However, he did lump the Volt in with hybrids — “you’re paying for an electric and you’re paying for a gas engine” — and expressed the opinion that in the long run, improved battery technology that extends the range of pure EVs could make them a more attractive option.

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Pete Danko is a writer and editor based in Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in Breaking Energy, National Geographic's Energy Blog, The New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle and elsewhere.