- Associated Press - Tuesday, May 27, 2014

OAKMONT, Pa. (AP) - Two electric car charging stations have opened at western Pennsylvania rest stops along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, meaning four of 17 chargers planned for the toll road are now operating.

The chargers opened this month at rest areas in New Stanton and Oakmont, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported (https://bit.ly/1h8KEVN ). Chargers opened in April in Bowmansville and King of Prussia in eastern Pennsylvania.

Car Charging Group, of Miami, has plans for 13 more along the turnpike.

The project was budgeted at $2.5 million, with $1 million each coming from Car Charging Group and the state Department of Environmental Protection for the charging equipment. Another half-million dollars was provided by the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission for utility infrastructure changes needed to power the chargers.

The charging equipment cost less than expected, but the infrastructure improvements cost more, said Car Charging Group president Andy Kinar, though he wouldn’t specify by how much or how the company expects to fund it.

It’s unclear how many electric cars are using the chargers. DEP records show that agency has issued rebates to about 1,100 Pennsylvanians who have purchased electric cars since October 2012.

The kinds of car chargers available have been a concern.

The four plazas now feature level two, self-serve chargers, which take about four hours to completely recharge an electric car’s battery. The company hopes to install DC Fast Chargers at the four sites, which can charge those batteries in about 30 minutes.

But DC Fast Chargers are compatible only with select electric vehicles. There are two others kinds of DC, or direct current, chargers that work with other types of vehicles, but Kinard said there’s no industry standard, likening the differences to the competing Betamax and VHS videotape formats in the 1970s.

Still, the turnpike commission is committed to the technology.

“We’re trying to reduce our carbon footprint, and electric car charging stations are a step in the right direction,” spokeswoman Renee Colburn said.


Information from: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, https://pghtrib.com

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