The all-electric, plug-in Chevrolet Volt is coming to America, and General Motors wants to make sure America is ready. That's why the largest U.S. automaker is joining forces with more than 30 utilities across the U.S. to help work out issues associated with the roll-out of large numbers of electric vehicles in the near future. GM officials say they hope the partnership with large utilities like Southern California Edison and Duke Energy Corp., as well as nonprofits like the Electric Power Research Institute, will help the company navigate various logistical and economic issues facing electric vehicles as more and more of them hit American roads in coming years.
The Volt, still in the prototype stage but slated for mass production by 2010, will be able to go upwards of 40 miles on a single overnight charge from a common household electric outlet. GM wants to be sure the nation's electrical infrastructure is ready to support large sales numbers for the cutting edge vehicle and other all-electric vehicles following in its tire tracks.
Some of the issues the consortium will be discussing include how to time recharging to coincide with low-demand electricity usage periods, how to optimize recharging speed without overburdening the grid, and where apartment dwellers, and employees at big companies, can recharge their vehicles, among many other related concerns.