And the Electric Vehicle Recharging Station Award Goes to ...
Elk Horn, Iowa! According to a September 3, 2010 WSJ article by David Zax, the tiny
town of Elk Horn has the highest concentration of electric vehicle charging stations in
America. Zax quickly points out that Elk Horn has only 650 residents, yet the town
boasts “four electric charging stations,” one in a parking lot, another near the hotel. There
is also a solar-powered service station, and most apropos for a town settled by Danish
immigrants, a charging station by the windmill.
There’s an interesting sense here of coming full circle when you see a forward-thinking
“EV Charging Station” sign beside the town’s old windmill.
While electric charging stations are not uncommon in other places, they aren’t very
common in the vast spaces of the Midwest. The one in Elk Horn is the only one along I80 between Chicago and Denver, according to ecogeek.com. But that could soon change
as Elk Horn businessman Mike Howard extends his range.
The four Elk Horn stations are owned by Howard, who also owns all four electric
vehicles in town. Howard says it costs about $3 to charge a vehicle and about $7,000 to
install the charging equipment.
Getting Charged-up Elsewhere
California has so many re-charging stations (roughly 130 in the Bay Area alone) that GE
introduced a Smart Grid-Compatible Electric Vehicle Charger in the summer of 2010.
The WattStationTM was designed to help manage the demand from vehicle charging
A small company, Envision Solar, uses solar-panel canopies over public parking lots to
create a cool solution. While employees at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
are busy working on new ideas, their cars are parked in the shade of the solar grove. At
the end of the workday cars are recharged and ready for the drive home.
From small towns to metropolitan areas, and all kinds of places in between – wherever
sun shines and winds are constant – alternative energy solutions are being produced to
keep the cars of the future humming along.
You can still hear naysayers insist the obstacles are insurmountable. But more and more
their voices are being drowned out by the sounds of inventive people happily bringing
about the future of the electric car.