More electric charging stations look to be on the way to the Northeast, this time in the state of Connecticut. Governmental officials there earlier this week announced plans to make funds available to help in the installation of technology that will make it easier for owners of electric cars to charge up as they wander the roads of the Nutmeg State.
Connecticut joins other states in that region, such as Rhode Island and Vermont, in wanting to offer charging options for electric vehicle drivers. What the state’s Departments of Energy and Environmental Protection and Department of Transportation propose is a new $200,000 initiative that will “provide financial incentives for private businesses and municipalities that are interested in installing publicly accessible electric vehicle charging stations.”
These incentives, which will have to be applied for, will be awarded to those “that provide the most matching funding from the project host site, are most accessible to the general public, and deploy charging stations in geographically diverse areas.” The hope is to more than double the 81 publicly available charging stations in the state to 200 by the end of 2013.
As for how many of these electric charging stations end up in frequent use by Connecticut residents is a bit of a question right now, much like we’ve seen in other places where infrastructure goes in before there’s critical demand for it. An article in the local Hartford Courant from this past September indicated only 98 electric vehicles had been registered in-state by that point, and given the state’s relatively small population size, it is unlikely EV growth has been much more since than. It was believed by some analysts back in early 2011 there could be 17,200 such cars on the roads there by 2017. Both sets of numbers though do not indicate if we are talking about pure electric vehicles only, or if one or both also include plug-in hybrids in the count.
So why the rush then to put in so many charging stations? With a recent federal Department of Energy study showing that cost of operating an electric vehicle in Connecticut is around the equivalent of being able to access $1.70/gallon gasoline, it is thought that
by aggressively increasing the number of charging stations, the new state initiative will make it easier than ever to purchase, drive, and maintain an electric vehicle.
“Encouraging the use of alternative vehicles and alternative fuels is a key element of Governor Malloy’s energy strategy,” Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Daniel C. Esty said in a statement. “Electric vehicles run cleaner and are less harmful to the environment, and they are also more energy efficient and on average cheaper to operate than conventional fuel vehicles. Expanding the number of charging stations available to the public will help decrease motorists’ concerns about running out of power in their electric vehicles (“range anxiety”) and result in increasing sales of EVs.”