Hartford — If all it takes to get you into an electric vehicle is a reliable network of charging stations, then Gov. Dannel P. Malloy opened the Connecticut International Auto Show Friday with a pitch that may sell some cars in 2014. Yes, the administration is promising an end to range anxiety.
The governor and Daniel C. Esty, the commissioner of energy and environmental protection (and the driver of a Chevrolet Volt), announced a second round of funding for charging stations that Esty says will make Connecticut the friendliest state for all-electric vehicles.
“We are a small state, but we will be the first state to be able to declare an end to range anxiety, because you’ll always have a charging station within 10 or 15 minutes,” Esty said. The network will be complete in the first quarter of 2014, he said.
Connecticut was one of eight states last month to sign an agreement to establish an infrastructure meant to put 3.3 million zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025, with most of those states within an easy drive of Hartford. New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Vermont joined Maryland, California and Oregon in the effort.
“We do this because we want everyone who is thinking about owning an electric vehicle to have confidence that wherever they go in the state of Connecticut and, quite frankly, wherever they go in our partner states, that they’ll be in a position to not run out of fuel,” Malloy said.
Malloy announced funding for 42 new charging stations, inviting colleges, municipalities and other entities to apply for grants of between $2,000 and $5,000. A previous round of funding went to install 56 stations. Grant recipients will agree, for the foreseeable future, to pay for the electricity.
Esty said that’s a cost of just hundreds of dollars a year.
The funding for the installations comes from Northeast Utilities as one of the conditions set by Connecticut in its approval of NU’s merger with NStar.
Connecticut now 100 public fast-charging stations, a network that now includes the state’s newly upgraded highway rest stops. James Fleming, the president of the auto dealers association, said many of the state’s 250 new car dealers also provide free access to their chargers.
“It only costs about dollar to charge it up,” Fleming said. Smiling, he added, “There’s nothing more the dealers like than to have somebody come in and spend an hour walking through their dealership.”
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