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Finding a charging station for your electric vehicle is now as simple as hopping onto a web site.
The U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory has partnered with Google, Inc. and other industry leaders to provide consumers with up-to-date information about EV charging stations in communities nationwide.
Based on the functionality of Google Maps, the web site can identify all charging stations near any selected location and generate directions to those stations. This online network of U.S. charging stations will serve as the primary data source for GPS and mapping services.
The site also pinpoints sources of other alternative fuels, including biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas and propane.
Meanwhile, the Maryland Energy Administration has also posted a list online of EV charging stations that will be operational in the state before the end of June.
U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the Google initiative in April along with the availability of $5 million in new funding for community-based efforts to deploy EV infrastructure and charging stations. These efforts could include strategies for EV deployment, updated EV permitting processes, EV incentive programs and other initiatives to improve the experience of EV users and bring more EVs into the marketplace. More information about funding opportunities can be found at the FedConnect website under the title "DE-FOA-0000451 Clean Cities FY 2011 FOA."
Maryland currently ranks as an American leader in adopting cleaner modes of transportation.
The Clean Cities Program – a public-private initiative of federal, state and local authorities, the private sector and community leaders to aid the adoption of more energy-efficient vehicles – has ranked Maryland as the sixth most successful jurisdiction in the country at mitigating gasoline use. From 2005 to 2009, the State of Maryland Clean Cities program displaced the use of nearly 54 million gallons of gasoline.
Look for this icon on this web site to find EV charging stations in Maryland.
Electric vehicle drivers in Maryland will soon be able to pull up and recharge at more than five dozen public EV chargers scattered around the state.
Gov. Martin O'Malley addresses the media and electric vehicle stakeholders at BWI airport on Earth Day. There are four charging stations in the Daily parking garage (Level 1, Row H) powered up with four still to come on Level 1 in the Hourly garage. Photo courtesy of the Office of the Governor.
On Earth Day, Governor Martin O'Malley unveiled eight EV charging stations at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport. Rolling into BWI's Hourly Parking Garage in an electric vehicle, the governor explained that the chargers will not only give EV drivers an opportunity to recharge at the airport, they will also power those vehicles with clean energy. (A video of the governor's address is available here.)
The Maryland Energy Administration (MEA) awarded BWI $500,000 from the state's Project Sunburst program to offset the cost of installing a 503-kilowatt solar array – 2,254 photo-voltaic panels in all – on the top deck of the hourly parking garage. That array will power the eight EV chargers.
The BWI chargers are just one part of MEA's investment in EV infrastructure which will see 65 chargers installed around Maryland before the end of June.
Under the $500,000-project that was funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the City of Baltimore will install 10 chargers at parking garages throughout the city. In addition, a partnership of the Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative (BEVI) and two Maryland companies – SemaConnect of Annapolis and Autoflex of Baltimore – is installing the remaining 55 chargers at The Johns Hopkins University, the University of Maryland College Park, Frederick Community College, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Hilton hotel in Waldorf, the White Marsh park-and-ride, several office buildings in Montgomery County and other locations around the state.
A full list of charger locations is available on the MEA web site.
The rollout of EV chargers is vital to "conditioning the Maryland market for electric vehicles and making it convenient for people to drive EVs," said Jill Sorensen, Executive Director of BEVI. "People get nervous and get some range anxiety even though they have a full charge and ample range. Even though most charging will be done in people's homes, it is important to get chargers into public places to create those additional charging opportunities."
The rollout of the 65 public charging stations distinguishes Maryland as the number two state in the nation (behind California) for the number of EV chargers. In April, the Ford Motor Company listed the Baltimore region as one of the Top 25 EV Ready Cities in America.
Mahi Reddy, Founder of Maryland-based SemaConnect, and Gov. Martin O'Malley unveil the first SemaConnect chargers installed at BWI parking lots. Photo compliments of the Office of the Governor.
After 18 months of research and development and six months of rigorous certification tests, Annapolis-based SemaConnect Inc. is poised to experience aggressive growth over the next two years.
The technology startup just received Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certification for its ChargePro620 electric vehicle charger in March. It has already started installing charging stations at more than a dozen locations around Maryland, including Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport , the University of Maryland College Park and the Fitzgerald mixed-use development in midtown Baltimore.
"We believe this market will grow dramatically," said Mahi Reddy, Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of SemaConnect.
Reddy predicts the company could post revenues of close to $1 million this year and see annual revenues grow to $10 million within the next two to three years. That growth would drive SemaConnect's workforce from six currently to 25-30 in the next few years. It would also contribute to revenue growth and job growth at Maryland-based manufacturers, which SemaConnect contracts to produce its chargers.
"But I think the real job creation potential is in the installation," Reddy said. "We will create some jobs designing and manufacturing the chargers, but someone still has to go out and dig a trench, lay cable, do the engineering drawings and work through the permitting process. That is the real engine that could create a lot of green collar jobs for project engineers, laborers and electricians."
SemaConnect which has already become a leading producer of EV chargers on the East Coast, specializes in producing cutting-edge software for chargers, Reddy said. Its web-based software enables EV stations and owners to integrate charging with flexible pricing systems, authenticate drivers using RFID (radio frequency identification) smart cards, and generate reports on fossil fuel savings. That technological edge, he said, well positions the company to expand throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
Maryland, Reddy said, is an excellent market for EV infrastructure companies due to the large number of urban commuters and environmentally conscious consumers, as well as a supportive state administration. Recently approved tax incentives for EV-charger installations should help Marylanders defray the cost of being early adopters in the EV sector.
The state, he said, will need to implement other measures to propel the growth of the EV sector, including off-peak pricing for EV charging, a uniform code for permitting EV charging stations and ongoing incentives for EVs and EV infrastructure until the technology becomes more mainstream.
The frustrating reality for many electric vehicle enthusiasts is that EVs are still hard – if not impossible – to come by.
Even though transmissions for the Chevy Volt, pictured above, are being manufactured near the White Marsh shopping mall north of Baltimore, some Maryland dealerships are scheduled to take delivery of as few as three Volts this year.
At Koons Chevrolet in White Marsh, sales representatives are expecting to take delivery of three Chevrolet Volts in late summer (see photo) – two of which have been pre-sold. Dealerships in the District of Columbia are receiving somewhat larger numbers of Volts and General Motors has announced plans to triple Volt production next year. However, that could still leave many Maryland dealerships handling less than a dozen Volts each in 2012.
At Herb Gordon Nissan in Silver Spring, sales staff managed to test drive a Leaf but have yet to take delivery of a single car for sale. Sales representative Kevin Yi said overwhelming demand for the all-electric car has convinced Nissan to restrict sales to its online system of placing a reservation on a Leaf wait list. Nissan, which is producing just 20,000 2011 Leafs, announced plans to expand production to 150,000 for 2012. However, Nissan plans to start fulfilling Leaf orders on the West Coast first, so Herb Gordon Nissan may not take delivery of its first Leaf until the end of 2011.
Other automotive companies are also planning to begin marketing EVs, but not until next year.
Ford Motor Company executives have announced they will begin selling an all-electric version of the Ford Focus in 2012. Ford predicts the vehicle will have a range of 80-100 miles.
Toyota plans to market 20,000 plug-in Priuses in 2012, which will have a 13-mile electric range and a price tag of about $28,000. Toyota is also working on releasing two all-electric vehicles in 2012: a short-range, low-cost EV for urban dwellers and an electric version of the Rav4 cross-over vehicle that will be powered by battery packs from Tesla Motors. Toyota plans to unveil the Rav4 prototype in November.
BMW is planning a test launch of its luxury electric car, the ActiveE, this fall. The company plans to lease 700 vehicles in seven U.S. metropolitan areas in California, New York, Massachusetts and Connecticut. A 1-series coup with a 100-mile range, the ActiveE will lease for $499 a month plus a down payment of $2,250. BMW has also announced plans to release a mass market EV in 2013.
David Turock owns not just one but three of the new Chevy Volt gas-electric hybrids that are headed for Chevy showrooms throughout Maryland. The Maryland Clean Energy Center caught up with David at the recent Solar & Wind Expo in Timonium. Click here to view his assessment of the vehicle's attributes including how it performs on the road.
If it's built wisely, the electric vehicle sector could supply Maryland with gasoline savings, air quality improvements, economic opportunities, new jobs and even some relief for our highly congested electricity grid.
BEVI Founder Jill Sorensen addresses electric vehicle industry leaders at the Earth Day unveiling of EV chargers at BWI airport. Photo compliments of the Office of the Governor.
That's the thinking of Jill Sorensen, Founder and Executive Director of the Baltimore Electric Vehicle Initiative (BEVI). See photo.
For years, BEVI has brought together electric utilities, automotive companies, state and local governments, engineering firms, solar installers, fleet managers, educators, entrepreneurs, consumers and others to spearhead efforts to build a vibrant EV sector in Maryland.
They have made considerable headway.
Electric vehicle supporters lobbied successfully for the passage of three significant EV bills in the 2011 session of the Maryland General Assembly: one creating a $400 tax credit towards the cost of installing an EV charger in a residence, one that compels the Public Service Commission to conduct pilot studies on how to encourage off-peak charging of EVs, and one that establishes a state-wide, public-private planning commission for the EV sector.
BEVI landed a seat on that commission – one of only three such EV planning bodies in America – and is now preparing to tackle complex issues of wise EV implementation.
"We have a very congested electric grid in Maryland," Sorensen said. "As we think about electric vehicles drawing on our grid, we want to make sure we are responsible and keep the grid as stable as possible."
Finding the optimum pricing to encourage off-peak charging of EVs will be vital to that process, she said.
But Sorensen adds that EV infrastructure might also strengthen the Maryland grid. Electricity stored in EVs or in battery packs attached to EV charging systems could conceivably be pumped back into the grid during peak hours to secure stable supply and pricing.
Noting that 60 percent of Maryland's electricity comes from coal-fired plants, Sorensen suggested EVs could also reduce the state's dependence on fossil fuels. Solar-powered EV chargers, such as the system developed by TimberRock Energy Solutions in Frederick, power EVs with 100 percent clean energy.
The EV sector also presents Maryland with job creation opportunities. General Motors' plant in White Marsh which builds electric motors for the Chevrolet Volt, has already boosted its operations from 200 to 800 employees, she said. Meanwhile, TimberRock, SemaConnect, Autoflex, Beltway Companies and other Maryland firms are gradually employing more people installing EV chargers or selling/servicing EV fleets.
Some Maryland companies are embracing the burgeoning electric vehicle sector and beginning to install EV chargers in residential, commercial and mixed-use developments.
The Bozzuto Group this spring installed two EV chargers at its mixed-use Fitzgerald development in midtown Baltimore. Photo courtesy of the Bozzuto Group.
This spring, the Bozzuto Group installed two chargers at its Fitzgerald mixed-use development in midtown Baltimore. Located in a 1,245-space parking garage, the chargers are accessible to residents of the LEED-designed Fitzgerald apartment complex as well as neighboring stores, the Lyric Opera House and the University of Baltimore campus. See accompanying photo.
"As a developer, builder, owner and manager, we recognize that we have the opportunities to be a leader in the sustainable use of the Earth's resources," said Toby Bozzuto, president of Bozzuto Development Company. "We also realize that, over the long term, we can actually create more value with less environmental impact."
Other private EV-infrastructure initiatives include:
Maryland is building a cleaner energy future, and the 2011 Maryland Clean Energy Summit will offer strategic and practical insights into this emerging economic engine and the consumer benefits that come with it.
The Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in North Bethesda, Maryland is the site of the 2nd annual Maryland Clean Energy Summit, Aug. 25-27. The facility is about 2 miles north of the I-495 Beltway on Rte. 355 / Rockville Pike.
Whether your role is in research and development, financing and marketing, deployment of new technologies or personal adoption of renewable energy and energy efficiency systems, this year's Summit will deliver insights that no other statewide conference or exposition can offer.
Join us Thursday night, August 25 for the opening reception featuring leading local, state and industry policy leaders.
Friday, August 26 features expert, thought-provoking examinations of emerging opportunities in Maryland's clean energy economy. Topics on the agenda include:
On Saturday, August 27, the Summit opens to the public for free. The day's events are specially designed to serve consumers and homeowners. Seminar topics will include:
The Maryland Clean Energy Summit 2011 will also feature an expanded consumer energy show. If your company has a product or service that is of interest to clean energy adopters, of which there are thousands throughout Maryland, exhibiting at the Summit is a can't-miss event. It's your best opportunity for direct access to key decision makers in energy technology and jobs. The Summit offers you the opportunity to make a very effective sales call to the clean energy market here in Maryland. For more information about exhibiting at the trade show, contact Ellen Clarke at 301-738-6280 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Companies interested in sponsoring should contact Jim Pierobon at 301-738-6286 or email@example.com.
Register today to sponsor, exhibit and attend the 2011 Summit at preferred rates.
We look forward to seeing you starting on Thursday night for the opening reception, all day Friday and then at the consumer events on Saturday.
Below are the categories for nominating a person you deem worthy of receiving that award. To nominate, simply email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with responses to the four questions which follow. You can nominate as many persons as you wish. Deadline is July 30.
Clean Energy Champion of the Year
Presented to an individual who has clearly demonstrated vision and proactive leadership to advance clean energy generation and adoption of energy efficiency practices, encouraged the success of the industry sector, and heightened or improved consumer awareness in support of the clean energy economy.
Presented to members of the Maryland General Assembly who have been actively engaged in support of the Maryland Clean Energy Center (MCEC) legislative agenda and who are definitive leaders on policy initiatives to support job creation, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and demand management practices in the State.
This award acknowledges the dedicated efforts of a businessperson who has made an exemplary commitment of time and resources to encourage the success of the industry as a whole or a specific sector of the industry. This individual will have served in a leadership capacity in an organization somehow affiliated with the MCEC mission.
This award recognizes the work of an individual, group or organization actively engaged in advancing and improving opportunities for business expansion, policy creation, and work force development. This individual will have demonstrated efforts to work across various sectors for the good of the industry overall and through partnership with MCEC.
Bright Light Award
This individual or group shines for their contribution to MCEC efforts to remove barriers to success, promote the MCEC mission and bridge gaps between industry and policy.
Entrepreneur of the Year
Recognizes an individual or new company that brings new technologies, products or services to the market in Maryland through the Maryland Clean Energy Technology Incubator Network.
Presented to an individual, group or organization that has committed laudable resources to encourage the success of MCEC and its mission, or has facilitated successful partnerships between stakeholders in the state to advance adoption of clean energy products, services and technologies and energy efficiency practices.
Awarded by the Board to acknowledge a significant contribution to the success of MCEC.
This "Rural Energy for America" program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture provides support to farmers, ranchers, and rural small businesses with demonstrated financial need for rural projects that reduce energy use and result in savings, including projects such as retrofitting lighting or insulation, or purchasing or replacing equipment with more energy efficient units. Eligible renewable energy projects include projects that produce any form of energy from wind, solar, biomass, geothermal, hydro power, and hydrogen-based sources. Click here for more information.
Energy Forum in Frederick City Hall on choosing an electricity supplier, Tuesday, May 24, 7-9 p.m. Details here.
Go Green Energy Conference at the Frederick Fairgrounds Eventplex hosted by Congressman Roscoe Bartlett in conjunction with the Frederick, Carroll and Washington County governments, Monday, June 13, 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Details here.