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June 30, 2011

It's Electric

The Union Station parking garage is not your typical place to hold a celebration. But today was not so ordinary.  

In a space no bigger than three feet, an exciting new device was unveiled amongst the rows of cars this EV 003
morning. But don’t let its petite size fool you—this gadget is causing quite a large commotion.

Today Washington D.C. introduced the city’s fourth public electric vehicle (EV) charging facility to the Union Station parking garage. The ceremony included an EV charging demonstration and a nifty chance for attendees to test drive two electric fleet members, the Chevy Volt and THINK City.

Speakers at the ceremony stressed the importance of green transportation innovation in our rapidly changing energy market. Echoing Obama’s promise of introducing 1 million electric cars to American roads by 2015, Union Station’s new EV chargers are harbingers of progress towards the nation’s freedom from oil. 

While America has a long history of oil addition, Ben Colin, of the Electric Drive Transportation Association, considers electric vehicles the future. Electric energy is 2-5 times cheaper than fuel and EV cars reduce emissions while only getting cleaner with time. Check out more facts on EV cars here...(and here if you’re really curious).

EV 009-1 Michael Farkas, CEO of Car Charging Group Inc (the supplier of the new EV chargers) noted that by 2030, 40 million electric vehicles are predicted to be on the road, requiring a massive revision to our country’s infrastructure. If all goes as planned, the Union Station facility will be a part of nationwide network of EV chargers that drivers will be able to locate via free Smartphone applications in the near future.

And this is just the beginning, according to Christophe Tulou, Director of the D.C. District Department of the Environment. He asserted that his department has “very high aspirations” for the city and expects 19 more EV stations to be installed in D.C. over the course of the summer. EV 044

Despite these green aspirations, however, fancy technology can only take the electric movement so far. Ann Mesnikoff of the Sierra Club urged that if the Obama administration fails to set high enough standards for gas mileage, auto manufacturers will be off the hook in developing these electric innovations. While Union Station’s new electric vehicle chargers are an important step forward, we can do more to ensure cleaner transportation options. 

Really, the charging company’s motto says it all, “The future is now, the power is yours.” So let’s go 60 already!

-- Laura Wandres, Sierra Club Media Intern. Photos by Heather Moyer


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