ECOtality rolling out electric vehicle infrastructure with DOE grant

ECOtality North America is currently in the thick of its mission to install more than 15,000 electric car charging stations in 18 communities around the country.

“Right now we’re really focusing on our residential installations,” said ECOtality spokeswoman Caitlin Scieslick-Miskimen. “But later this month and in April we’ll start on the public charging stations.”

ECOtality received a $115 million grant from the United States Department of Energy to install electric vehicle charging stations in communities where the Nissan Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt are being released.

The project is aimed at developing necessary infrastructure for a transition away from internal combustion engines and toward electric vehicles that can draw power from renewable sources like solar, according to, ECOtality’s official charging station web site.

The company is installing electric car chargers for free in the residences of those who have bought electric cars, Scieslick-Miskimen said.

They will also soon begin installing public stations in 18 select communities with the DOE grant.

The communities include: Phoenix and Tucson, Ariz.; San Diego, San Francisco and Los Angeles; Portland, Eugene, Salem and Corvallis, Ore.; Seattle, Wash.; Nashville, Knoxville, Memphis and Chattanooga, Tenn.; Washington, D.C.; Dallas, Fort Worth and Houston, Texas.

“In figuring out where to put those public stations, regional players have been very involved,” Scieslick-Miskimen said.

She said ECOtality and local leaders have identified high-traffic and hub areas. The organization is partnered with Chevrolet and Nissan North America in the project, she said.

They have also been working with local and national chain retailers to identify good locations for charging stations, Scieslick-Miskimen said.

ECOtality and theEVproject are not involved in setting up solar arrays to power the stations, she said. But communities can try to do their own work to incorporate solar into the charging stations.

The Tennesee Valley Energy Authority did install one solar-powered charging station with grant money from theEVproject, Scieslick-Miskimen said.

Beaverton, Ore., which expects to receive several charging stations through the project, will be feeding solar energy through the same meter from which the charging stations will draw their power, said sustainability director Cindy Tatham.

It’s likely that even if the stations aren’t initially installed with solar, they can be retrofitted with it later, Scieslick-Miskimen said.

Image courtesy of ECOtality.