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Where, Oh Where Can We Charge Our Cars? Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Spreading

Though the sales of electric and plug-in hybrid cars show diverging trends depending on the different brands and models, total global sales figures are looking good: more and more drivers are choosing electric and hybrid cars. When considering the purchase of a “greener” car, consumers are typically influenced by many positive attributes like the fuel efficiency, savings at the pump, government tax credits, low maintenance costs and of course, the reduced impact on the environment. Generally, only one characteristic of these vehicles might negatively influence the buying process: the number of charging points.

For those actively thinking about getting an electric vehicle or plug-in hybrid, PlugShare, the world’s largest electric vehicle charging network, has gathered the data and put out a list of the top ten cities for public charging stations. First place goes to Portland, OR with 11.1 public charging locations per 100,000 residents, followed by Dallas, TX with 10.6 and Nashville, TN with 8.02. Surprisingly, the typically eco-conscious Bay Area doesn’t make an appearance until the fourth spot, with 6.6 charging stations per 100,000 people.

The United Kingdom has recently developed a solution to aid electric car owners in their charging needs too. POD Point is launching a pay-as-you-go (PAYG) process, with free membership and no monthly fees for people who only use public charging points intermittently. With the ability to add funds to one’s account via text message, the “PP PAYG” system is designed to make the charging process more flexible and user friendly. While there are currently only 200 charging points available at launch, a total of 4,000 should be online by 2014.

Though the relatively low number of electric vehicle plug-in stations may make charging difficult for some drivers and therefore increase their reluctance to buy electric or hybrid cars, the market for them is still growing. To be fair, supply does vary with demand, and with sales mounting, the number of charging points available is also sure to grow. Witnessing this trend, companies like Walgreens and McDonald’s are now investing in charging stations at their locations. Competition for the best locations should be fierce as a first-mover position can provide businesses with serious advantages in the future for both themselves, and their electric vehicle-owning customers.

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