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Electric Car Owners Unfazed by Storm


om Moloughney charges his all-Electric BMW ActiveE in front of his restaurant in Montclair, N.J.

¶Hurricane Sandy has created havoc for motorists in New York and New Jersey.

¶“I witnessed about 100 people running down the street with gas cans,” said Tom Moloughney, who owns Nauna’s Bella Casa, an Italian restaurant in Montclair, N.J. “They heard a gas station about a half-mile away was getting a delivery.”

¶Even though Mr. Moloughney commutes nearly 100 miles round trip to the restaurant from his home in Chester, N.J., he’s not affected by gasoline supply disruptions. That’s because he drives an all-electric BMW ActiveE.

¶“I can drive all I want without worry,” he said.

¶As is the case for many drivers in New Jersey, Mr. Moloughney lost power at home.

¶“There were over 30 trees knocked down on my block alone,” he said. “All the power lines and telephone poles are tangled up in them.”

¶Like other E.V. owners in the area, Mr. Moloughney shifted from relying mostly on home charging to juicing up at a public charger in an unaffected area. The map of towns with and without power is like a checkerboard, but with a little planning, electric fuel may be more available than gasoline. Many gas stations have been shut down, even if they have gasoline, because power failures disabled the gas pumps.

¶Mr. Moloughney, an E.V. owner since 2009 and a proponent of the technology, uses one of three 240-volt chargers he installed at his restaurant as a courtesy to E.V.-driving customers. On Thursday, Mr. Moloughney saw a Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i and two Chevy Volts charging in the restaurant’s parking lot.

¶There was one unavoidable inconvenience. Because his restaurant is one of the open in town, business has been brisk — but when the restaurant’s delivery drivers ran out of gas, home deliveries were suspended.

¶The ActiveE provides nearly 100 miles on a single charge. To add a few insurance miles for the commute, Mr. Moloughney is also charging his electric Bimmer overnight with a 110-volt outlet at home, which has a natural-gas generator. A 240-volt charger adds about 25 miles of driving range per hour, while the 110-volt feed supplies only about 4 miles of range per hour.
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