Alternative Fueling Stations

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 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 stations.

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.

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