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Pennsylvanians push for more electric vehicle charging stations

Bob Donaldson/Post-Gazette
Rick Price, executive director of the nonprofit Pittsburgh Regional Clean Cities, watches an electric vehicle being charged at Consol Energy’s new charging station at its Southpointe headquarters building.

Rick Price, executive director of the nonprofit Pittsburgh Regional Clean Cities, watches an electric vehicle being charged at Consol Energy’s new charging station at its Southpointe headquarters building.

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Consol Energy unveils electric vehicle charging station

By Andrew Gretchko / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Electric cars have been a part of the U.S. car market since the early 1990s, but nearly two decades later few are found cruising the streets of Pittsburgh. And while the automotive industry accounts for between 4 and 5 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, according to selectusa.commerce.gov, electric vehicles make up only a small portion of that market.

So why aren’t more Americans buying electric cars? For one thing, charging stations are sparse.

Even as companies like Chevy and Tesla tout new electric models, owners and prospective buyers may find the biggest challenge to be recharging their vehicles when they are away from home. But some, such as Rick Price, executive director of the nonprofit Pittsburgh Regional Clean Cities, are looking to change that.
Consol Energy unveils electric vehicle charging station

Consol Energy unveiled an electric vehicle charging station and plug-in hybrid electric vehicle at the company headquarters in Canonsburg. (Video by Andrew Rush; 7/10/13)

“It’s not rocket science. This is a great technology,” said Mr. Price, who has worked to bring dozens of electric plug-in vehicle charging stations to Pittsburgh for nearly 15 years.

The number of charging stations in the region isn’t entirely clear, with the mix of public and private stations, along with plenty of proposed sites either currently searching for funding or under construction. Mr. Price estimates there are at least 81 in the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, compared to 592 gas stations in that same region, according to YellowPages.com.

Electric charging stations come in three types: Level 1, Level 2 and the DC chargers, better known as quick chargers.

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