Sunday, December 11, 2011

Study: EV Drivers Favored, Flex Fuel Discriminated Against

Published December 11, 2011

By Bertel Schmitt


Chevrolet's Equinox is available with a 2.4-liter Flex Fuel option.

So what is all this talk about flex fuel being shoved down our throats, and EVs driving up Xanax sales due to rampant range anxiety? Bloomberg brings us astounding news:

“Public charging stations for electric autos outnumber outlets for alternative motor fuels by almost two to one, even though there are hundreds of times more flex- fuel vehicles than plug-in cars on U.S. roads.“

Bloomies says that the approximately 16,500 highway-worthy electric vehicles in the U.S. have a choice of 4,448 public charging stations, not counting the ones at home or at work. Bloomberg bases this on U.S. Energy Department data.

Doing the math, Bloomberg comes to the conclusion that this is one station per 3.7 electric cars. The 7.6 million alcoholic cars, the ones that can run on E85, get a raw deal. They have only 2,468 places to fill up if they want to fulfill their ethanol cravings. If they don’t find a station that serves booze, they have to go on the wagon and drink traditional gasoline.

Nevertheless, says Bloomberg, the Obama administration is pushing for even more charging stations, and puts $230 million of support from the Energy Department and private investment. behind it:

“Ecototality received funds under the federal program to install 14,000 chargers in 18 metropolitan areas in six states and the District of Columbia.”

A flex fuel car will be on the pump for five minutes max, but even a quick charge to “top off” an electric car can take two to three hours, leading most drivers to charge at home or work, says Brett Smith, co-director of manufacturing, engineering and technology at the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). He thinks those public charging stations might get lonely.

On the other hand, Brian Wynne, president of the Electric Drive Transportation Association (EDTA), calls the number of charging stations available today “a good start.”


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