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USA: Electric cars get a free jolt

The town recently finished installing a set of federally and privately funded charging stations meant to ease electric-vehicle drivers’ commutes and shopping trips. Through partnerships with businesses and the federal government, the town now offers car charges at the Cary Arts Center, Town Hall and the operations center on James Jackson Avenue.

The town opened three of the stations earlier this year, but the recent debut of the two arts center units marked the official start of a two-year pilot program. By offering up free power, the town hopes to get a sense of how early electric adopters are driving and whether public infrastructure could support the emerging technology.

“We can evaluate not only the different kinds of charging stations, but also the citizen receptivity to the charging stations,” said Emily Barrett, the town’s sustainability manager.

Progress Energy – now Duke Energy – paid for two units, while a $30,000 federal grant covered the rest. The Cary Chamber of Commerce, Siemens AG, and GE are paying the electric bills.

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