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Electric car industry reps cheered by market growth

The electric vehicle network is expanding in both technological advances and new markets, according to representatives from the auto industry and energy community.

During a press call Tuesday, Nissan North America and Bosch Automotive Service Solutions highlighted rising sales for electric cars and 240-volt charging stations.

“We’re on a roll,” said Brendan Jones, director of EV infrastructure strategy for Nissan. The carmaker had a record Leaf sales month in May, boasting 2,138 registrations – a 319% increase over that same month last year. Jones said June was on pace to be another good month. “We have high expectations.”

PHOTOS: Electric cars

Infrastructure played a big role in Nissan’s campaign to boost Leaf sales and electric car use on a large scale, Jones said. He cited a three-pronged approach to ensure EV customers could charge when and where they needed: at home, at the workplace, and out in the community.

Bosch vice president of EV solutions Kevin Mull said the tech company has installed 7,000 residential charging stations over the last four years. “Seventy to 80% of charging does happen in the home,” Mull said. “Customers are looking for that high-value unit.”

He acknowledged that high value comes with a high price tag for now. The just-released wireless station runs new customers about $3,000, with an additional charge for home installation. Jones said that would be on par with a 240-volt corded system, about $800 to $900. “There’s a premium for this level of convenience,” Mull said, “but it’s the first of its kind in the market.”

He also highlighted one of Bosch’s less expensive offerings. The Power Max Level 2 station costs $449, Mull said.

However cheap or convenient, home charging needs to be supplemented by public stations. Karen Glitman, from the Vermont Energy Investment Corporation, touched on benefits for retailers installing stations to bolster public infrastructure.

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