Consumer interest in electric vehicles is high, but manufacturers have shunned the Bay State in their early rollout plans. Nissan’s Leaf, touted by the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources, will only be available in California, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Tennessee when it launches later this year. Chevrolet’s Volt will launch closer to home, with sales in New York State and Connecticut, as well as California, Washington D.C., Michigan, Texas and New Jersey.
“So far, Massachusetts has been left out of the electric car revolution,”
Massachusetts, home to the M.I.T. campus and known as an international center of technology, seems a natural fit for electric cars. But the Bay State’s history of innovation is now colliding with the modern-day reality of an aging power grid.
For electric vehicles to be useful, quick recharging is a must. While all electrics include the ability to charge through a standard household outlet, charge times can eclipse 20 hours in certain models. Fast-charge stations reduce refueling times to 6 to 8 hours, but these must be installed by an electrician and powered with 240 volts.
A single charging station in a neighborhood is unlikely to cause problems, but several of them could cause power problems by putting added strain on the transformers that connect individual houses to high-voltage grids. Challenges could be acute during the summer months, when air conditioners put extra demands on power supplies.
In the short term, Zupofska expects Ford electric models to catch on with local governments and with businesses that already have enough power capacity to support charging stations. Solving the problem in the long term will likely require cooperation between the state and power companies.
“We expect a strong market in electric cars in the same communities that are strong supporters of Ford hybrids,” Zupofska said. “Commuters in Cambridge, Brookline, Boston, Somerville and Newton are going to get tremendous value from these vehicles, but only if they start talking to power suppliers now. If we don’t have charging options available when these vehicles launch next year, we will be trailing other major American cities in our efforts to reduce vehicle emissions and gasoline use.”
Boston could be a strong market for the electric Transit Connect, which is currently being shown on a nationwide tour. In April, Boston became the first U.S. city to approve the Transit Connect for use as a taxi.
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About Quirk Ford:
Quirk Ford, located in Quincy, Massachusetts, is committed to providing Ford customers throughout Greater Boston with the quality sales, service and parts experience they deserve. A winner of The President’s Award for customer satisfaction six years in a row, Quirk offers a full line of new Ford vehicles, including the Ford Fusion, Ford Focus and Escape Hybrid models, as well as an extensive selection of pre-owned cars, SUVs, trucks and hybrids. For more information, call 877-236-7314, visit their website at www.quirkford.com, or visit their dealership at 540 Southern Artery, Quincy, MA.