Car manufacturers are working dramatically hard to get (partly) electric cars to the market before rival companies but a basic issue that all of them face is infrastructure. The trade-off between waiting for the electricity companies to come up with viable infrastructure plans to power up the new cars might mean you lose out to competitors. But at the same time, if a bright idea to set up a viable infrastructure takes off, early birds run the risk to lose out.
An interesting trial situation has gone underway in the Netherlands, where a national electricity company, Essent, and Electric Cars Europe (a Dutch company designing electric cars and importing them from the US) started to collaborate to introduce plans for the launch of the Mobile Smart Grid. The companies will devise a system enabling people to power-up their car from any electricity plug and pay around 5 euro cents a kilometer. Existing petrol stations will also have the load facilities, the company announced.
The move is termed by one Dutch newspaper as the ‘starting shot’ of the electric vehicle. “Until now, the car makers were waiting for an infrastructure and the infrastructure companies were waiting for the car industry. Now we can sit back and concentrate on which types of cars are going to hit the market”, Erwin van der Zande, a columnist for De Dag writes.
He’s no doubt right, but staff at Google.org are already throwing tons of data at us about cars that are part or fully electric. Google.org’s RechargeIT project, which is part of its Climate Change Program, demonstrates the possibilities of plug-in hybrids and converted hybrids to plug-ins. The data is sourced directly from Google.org’s own fleet of cars. The RechargeIt project’s special website shows how various makes of Toyota Prius and the Toyota Prius Plug Ins are performing in real world conditions. See it here for yourself.