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USA: SMUD to install fast electric car chargers

The Sacramento Municipal Utility District will be deploying four or five fast electric car chargers that can recharge the most modern electric vehicles in 30 minutes.

There will be one installed at SMUD’s headquarters and at locations at the edges of the county, such as off Interstate 80 near Citrus Heights, off Interstate 5 in Elk Grove, off Highway 50 in Folsom and up north on Interstate 5.

“It adds a safety net to the range issue, and it will help knock down a fear of going electric,” said Bill Boyce, supervisor of electric transportation research with the utility. Regular charging can take four hours or more.

These chargers only will work with “DC Fast Charge” capable cars such as the Chevy Spark EV, Nissan Leaf, Mitsubishi i-MiEV and new electric cars being introduced by BMW and Volkswagen.

The Tesla has its own charging system and will not work with DC Fast Charge, and the Chevy Volt only accepts lower power charging. The Volt plugs into a standard power 110 volt outlet. The DC Fast Charge is a 480 volt system.

Portugal-based Group Efacec, which makes the chargers, has been in the electricity and technology business since 1948. It founded its U.S. headquarters in Norcross, Ga., which is where the DC fast chargers are manufactured.

“Fast charging does not harm the batteries, said Mike Anderson, head of sales with Efacec USA, in an email. “The auto manufacturers have designed the cars and the batteries to handle this type of charge.”

The chargers cost about $30,000 and cost about $60,000 to install, Boyce said.

The funding for the chargers is from carbon allowance options generated by carbon offsets of the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, a California law which seeks to reduce greenhouse gasses.
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