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US: Dallas area tops state in electric-vehicle chargers, but most stand idle

The Dallas area leads the state in the number of public electric-vehicle chargers, with plans to double its nearly 100 stations by the end of the year.
But as companies such as Kroger announce campaigns to install more, parking spots designated for charging remain vacant at many locations and chargers stand idle, sometimes for weeks at a time.
“There’s no point” to public chargers, said Ron Swanson, president of the North Texas Electric Auto Association. “My gas station is my garage. I’m there 12 hours a day, so there’s plenty of time to get charged up.”
Many of the chargers are paid for using government funds. More than 70 percent of them, installed through Ecotality Inc., are free to use, but each costs the company $5,000 in installation and equipment costs.
That’s covered in part by $114.8 million in grants from the Department of Energy, according to Dave Aasheim, Texas Ecotality manager. Businesses with the company’s chargers are usually reimbursed for installation, leaving Department of Energy money to foot much of the bill.


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