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Charging ahead: As electric vehicles join the roads, companies install outlets for use

Jan and Cristina Durzynski of east Cobb, background, charge their Nissan Leaf while shopping for groceries at Whole Foods Market on Johnson Ferry Road. This week, GE Energy and Mayer Electric will unveil the first non-retail public EV charging station on Canton Highway in Marietta. After the ribbon-cutting with Mayor Steve Tumlin, GE and Mayer Electric officials on Tuesday, EV drivers will be able to charge their vehicles at no cost at Mayer Electric’s branch location.
Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan

MARIETTA — If Cobb drivers make the switch to electric vehicles, or EVs, they will soon have more places to charge their cars free of charge.

This week, GE Energy and Mayer Electric will unveil the first non-retail public EV charging station on Canton Highway in Marietta. After the ribbon-cutting with Mayor Steve Tumlin, GE and Mayer Electric officials on Tuesday, EV drivers will be able to charge their vehicles at no cost at Mayer Electric’s branch location.

“We are supporting the adoption of plug-in electric vehicles in the metro Atlanta area as well as the businesses that are directly tied to this new industry,” said Dave Karr, sales manager of GE Energy Industrial Solutions.

In east Cobb, the new Whole Foods store at Merchant’s Walk has a charger. They can also be found at Nissan dealerships in Kennesaw and Marietta, and at several Walgreens stores. All of the stations are free for users.

Darrah Hogan, a spokeswoman for Whole Foods, says her company in 2010 became the first retailer to make free EV charging stations standard in every new store.

Two EVs dominate the market: The Nissan Leaf, which is the only 100 percent electric car, and Chevy’s Volt, which uses both electricity and gasoline, though not at the same time. Nissan says the Leaf can travel up to 100 miles on a single charge, depending on driving conditions. The Leaf SZ model retails for $35,200 and comes with a battery pack, said Issufo Jalo, sales supervisor at Town Center Nissan.

“I don’t have a single Leaf in stock. Some buyers who reserved early waited nearly two years,” Jalo said.

The Volt can go 40 miles before switching to gasoline power, Chevy says.

Both cars can be plugged into a standard 120-volt outlet (called “stage 1”), available in most home garages. A depleted battery will take 19 hours to charge at that voltage.

By contrast, public charging stations are 240 volts and are referred to as “stage 2.” A drained battery will take about seven hours to charge at a 240-volt outlet.

But Karr says charging an EV battery is not like filling a gas tank.

Read more: The Marietta Daily Journal – Charging ahead As electric vehicles join the roads companies install outlets for use
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