|Solar panels on the roof of the Farm Barn at Shelburne Farms, in Shelburne, Vermont.|
Electric vehicles are receiving increased interest, as drivers and policymakers look for ways to reduce the use of gasoline in the transportation sector. For pure plug-in cars, the vehicle's range and the logistics of recharging the vehicle's battery are critically important. Electric vehicle manufacturers try to address range anxiety through technological advances, while policymakers focus on ensuring that drivers have access to conveniently-spaced recharging infrastructure.
Today Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and Quebec Premier Pauline Marois unveiled the first sites of the Vermont-Québec Electric Charging Corridor. The 138-mile corridor will eventually connect Burlington, Vermont to Montreal, Quebec, using existing highways including I-89 and Canadian routes A-10, 104 and 133. The plan calls for over the development of over 20 charging stations along the way. Some stations are already in place, including charging stations in Sharon, Montpelier, South Burlington and Waterbury.
How quickly charging stations can recharge batteries depends on the technology used. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's Plug-In Electric Vehicle Handbook, light-duty vehicle charging stations can be broken into three categories. Level 1 stations offer 2 to 5 miles of added driving range per hour of charging. Level 2 stations provide 10 to 20 miles of added range per hour of charge. Much more expensive Level 3 or "DC fast charging" stations can add 60 to 80 miles of range in 20 minutes of charging.
Level 2 stations are proposed for the Vermont-Quebec corridor. These stations will allow electric vehicle drivers to top off their batteries at the stations, and possibly to fully recharge their batteries overnight. While the charge rate is still significantly slower than refilling a conventional vehicle's tank with gasoline, Vermont and Quebec hope that the cost and environmental benefits of electric vehicles will drive their greater adoption.