The Truth About Cars » Infrastructure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Tue, 26 May 2015 20:00:54 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » Infrastructure http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/category/news-blog/infrastructure/ Oregon First In Nation To Implement Per-Mile Road Tax Program http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oregon-first-in-nation-to-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/oregon-first-in-nation-to-implement-per-mile-road-tax-program/#comments Thu, 21 May 2015 18:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1072250 This July, Oregon will be the first to implement a program taxing motorists by miles driven instead of collecting at the pump. Up to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles can volunteer for the program — dubbed OReGO — each of whom will then be charged 1.5 cents per mile, USA Today reports. The information […]

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Oregon Welcome Sign Circa October 2010

This July, Oregon will be the first to implement a program taxing motorists by miles driven instead of collecting at the pump.

Up to 5,000 cars and light-duty commercial vehicles can volunteer for the program — dubbed OReGO — each of whom will then be charged 1.5 cents per mile, USA Today reports. The information will be tracked via a device provided by the Oregon Department of Transportation/Sanef, Verizon Telematics, or Azuga, depending on the circumstances and needs of each volunteer.

Those whose vehicles fuel up at the pump will receive a tax credit if fuel use exceeds miles driven, while EV owners will pay the road-use tax without receiving the fuel tax credit. OReGO has a quota in place for less-efficient vehicles, limiting acceptance to 1,500 volunteers whose vehicles get less than 17 mpg, and 1,500 for those with vehicles between 17 mpg and 22 mpg.

The ultimate goal of programs like ODOT’s OReGO is to make up in infrastructure maintenance and repair funding what is being lost by continuously low fuel taxes and improving fleet fuel economy. Gas taxes provide Oregon with under half of the state’s highway fund, the rest coming from the Highway Trust Fund.

The $8.4-million program has no expiration date at this time, with permanence left in the hands of the Oregon legislature. Concerns over privacy and an alleged favoring of conventional vehicles over EVs and hybrids regarding tax credits have come up, the former remedied through data protections such as offering devices without GPS, and record destruction after 30 days with limits on the data’s use for devices with GPS. Volunteers can also opt-out of the program at any time, and can receive refunds for miles driven on private property and outside Oregon.

OReGO’s first day of implementation is July 1.

[Photo credit: Oregon Department of Transportation/Flickr/CC BY 2.0]

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California Hit By Rising Fuel Prices Due To Supply Issues http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/california-hit-by-rising-fuel-prices-due-to-supply-issues/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/california-hit-by-rising-fuel-prices-due-to-supply-issues/#comments Wed, 20 May 2015 18:00:37 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1071650 While most of the United States enjoys fuel prices under $3 per gallon, the West Coast can’t say the same, especially California. The average fuel price in the U.S. is currently $2.772/gal. per the AAA, Bloomberg reports, but a combination of factors have pushed California’s average to $3.809. The first involves a series of refinery […]

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Chevron Fuel Prices In Oceanside, California Circa March 2011

While most of the United States enjoys fuel prices under $3 per gallon, the West Coast can’t say the same, especially California.

The average fuel price in the U.S. is currently $2.772/gal. per the AAA, Bloomberg reports, but a combination of factors have pushed California’s average to $3.809.

The first involves a series of refinery shutdowns up and down the West Coast, including an explosion at an Exxon refinery in Torrance, Calif., and a recent fire at a U.S. Oil and Refining facility in Tacoma, Wash. Other units are closed for repairs.

The second is the state’s pipeline network. The one-way system delivers gasoline to Arizona and Nevada, but is otherwise cut-off from other pipeline networks in the U.S. Thus, the only way for the state to receive its fuel supply when the chips are down — a supply specially made for the state’s own set of emission standards — is by tanker deliveries from Asia and Europe.

At present, Los Angeles motorists are feeling the most pain at the pump, paying nearly $4/gal. AAA spokesman Michael Green says prices in the city are rising faster “than anywhere else in the country,” and will remain at the top until late summer.

The regional volatility issues do offer a possible silver lining: The U.S. government is studying how sudden jumps in prices could affect the nation’s economy, and is considering whether to build a fuel reserve for the West Coast in case of major supply disruptions.

[Photo credit: Joe Wolf/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0]

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Phoenix Suburb Installing License Plate Readers To Thwart Rare Burglary Activity http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/05/phoenix-suburb-installing-license-plate-readers-to-thwart-rare-burglary-activity/#comments Thu, 14 May 2015 20:00:38 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1068658 Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb. The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The […]

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Paradise Valley Arizona Police

Police in Paradise Valley, Arizona are planning to install 15 license plate readers to aid in thwarting burglaries in the Phoenix suburb.

The LPRs are the result of an anonymous donation of $234,000 to Paradise Valley Police Department, with 11 of the devices set to be installed in fake cactus plants, Ars Technica reports. The goal is to continue to the decline in burglaries, falling from a peak of 195 in 2011, to a current low of 55 in 2014.

While privacy concerns are usually the norm surrounding LPRs, Paradise Valley residents are more concerned about aesthetics. Town manager Kevin Burke explains:

Everything in Paradise Valley is about the aesthetics. We’ll spend tens of thousands to cover up an electric box. We’ll spend hundreds of thousands to camouflage an electric substation. Our residents have spent hundreds of thousands or millions to bury overhead cables. Ugly posts are things that we do not want. But we do want people to know that these technologies are there. Probably we’ll end up putting a sign on it–half of the deterrent is knowing that people are there.

Regarding privacy, Burke says LPR data will be kept for six months, and will only be used to match plates with those on a hot list in case of criminal activity. However, parts of the datasets will be omitted from public view, while individual records won’t be released due to the city’s concerns about involvement in domestic disputes.

Further, the six-page LPR data policy lacks information on what safeguards, if any, are in place to prevent abuse of the data by officials, or how the data would be logged and audited. Burke says he’ll know if the LPRs are doing their job by clearance rates and reductions linked to burglaries.

[Photo credit: Paradise Valley PD/Facebook]

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AAA: Average Annual Driving Costs Fall 2 Percent In 2015 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/aaa-average-annual-driving-costs-fall-2-percent-2015/#comments Tue, 28 Apr 2015 19:00:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1055737 According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015. The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per […]

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AAA Your Driving Costs 2015 Infographic

According to AAA’s 2015 Your Driving Costs study, annual driving costs costs fell 2 percent to an average of $8,698 in 2015.

The annual study, which looks at the associated costs in owning and maintaining a typical sedan driven 15,000 miles a year, found that fuel costs fell nearly 14 percent to 11.2 cents per mile, while finance charges came down 21 percent to just $669 per year. The former is due to a combination of falling gas prices at the pump and improved fuel economy, the latter due to low finance rates amid rising sales and heavy dealer competition.

However, vehicle depreciation climbed 4.1 percent to $3,654 as new-car sales help push used and off-lease models back onto the lot. Insurance trickled up nearly 9 percent to $1,115/year for an average policy, mainly because of higher-cost modern features linked to safety, use of lightweight materials, and newer connected-vehicle systems.

Maintenance costs barely rose to just over 5 cents/mile in 2015 – though owners are behind on routine maintenance – while licensing, registration and taxes totaled $665 a year on average, thanks to slightly higher prices on the showroom floor. Tires held their ground as a result of the dynamics and competitiveness of the market, with costs rising to just 0.98 cents/mile.

Among the vehicle types factored into the annual average, owners of minivans and SUVs will continue to fare well at the pump and in financing their vehicles, as those vehicles average 0.625 cents and 0.708 cents per mile in 2015. Owners of large sedans face the highest average cost at 0.710 cents/mile, while midsize and small sedan owners pay 0.581 cents and 0.449 cents for every mile driven, respectively.

[Image credit: AAA]

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Tesla Unveiling Home, Business Battery Products April 30 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/tesla-unveiling-home-business-battery-products-april-30/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/tesla-unveiling-home-business-battery-products-april-30/#comments Wed, 22 Apr 2015 18:00:28 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1050849 Tesla wants more than to be in the garages of its customers as it plans to begin offering batteries for home and business energy-storage applications soon. The automaker stated in an email to investors and analysts Tuesday it would reveal its new battery products April 30, according to Bloomberg. Investor relations boss Jeffrey Evanson said the […]

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2013 Tesla Model S Cargo areas

Tesla wants more than to be in the garages of its customers as it plans to begin offering batteries for home and business energy-storage applications soon.

The automaker stated in an email to investors and analysts Tuesday it would reveal its new battery products April 30, according to Bloomberg. Investor relations boss Jeffrey Evanson said the unveiling would explain “the advantages” of its home and business battery products and why current options aren’t as compelling as what Tesla has to offer.

Though scant details have come out about the batteries, Tesla’s plans aim to put the automaker as a leader in the emerging energy storage market. Many players in the market look to not just supplement, but ultimately surpass the traditional electric grid. The automaker and sister company SolarCity have already signed up companies like Wal-Mart and Cargill for their energy storage pilot program in California to help establish and accelerate said plans.

[Photo credit: Timothy Cain/The Truth About Cars]

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Japan Hydrogen Ambitions Fall Short Of March 2016 Target http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/japan-hydrogen-ambitions-fall-short-march-2016-target/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 13:00:05 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1045250 Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed. Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose […]

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Eneos Gas Station With Hydrogen Pumps

Japan’s ambition to have 100 hydrogen fueling stations by next March may fall short of reality now that the deadline to apply for subsidies has passed.

Reuters reports only 76 such stations were approved for subsidies by the government, which had set aside ¥21.4 billion ($178.4 billion USD) over three years for the sole purpose of helping would-be hydrogen-station operators build them; each station costs $5 million to build, with the government pitching in $2.5 million in aid.

Though a representative for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry stated the government is considering increasing the amount given to encourage more infrastructure development, energy companies are asking for proof that building the stations are worth the investment in the first place. In turn, consumers may find the lack of said stations off-putting as far as considering an FCV like Toyota’s Mirai goes, while FCVs themselves need government incentives to attract said consumers.

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ChargePoint Bringing Charging To Condos, Apartments With New Service http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/chargepoint-bringing-charging-condos-apartments-new-service/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 12:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1044722 Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution. The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of […]

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OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Live in a condo or an apartment and would drive a PHEV or an EV if only you could charge it? Charging-station producer ChargePoint might have the solution.

The company’s Multifamily Home Service aims to bring charging stations to condominiums and apartment buildings that currently lack the facilities to charge a tenant’s electrified vehicle of choice. Property owners would foot the bill for installation of ChargePoint’s Level 2 charging station, as well as set the price for charging. In turn, the company will bill the tenants who subscribe a one-time activation fee and a monthly subscription fee; the tenant can also pay the property owner for charging via their ChargePoint account.

Finally, as the subscription service would last as long as the tenant resides in the building on a month-to-month basis, the service can be deactivated once the tenant moves out or replaces their electrified ride for one that doesn’t require a plug, and can be reactivated when a new tenant with a plug-in vehicle moves into the building.

As for how much it would cost to wire a parking stall for the service, or how much owners could charge for electricity, ChargePoint did not explain at this time.

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Virginia Tech Transforms Corn Stover Into Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/virginia-tech-transforms-corn-stover-hydrogen/#comments Tue, 14 Apr 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1043722 Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells. A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model […]

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Corn Harvesting

Just as corn kernels have found their way into gas tanks, corn stover could soon end up in fuel cells.

A team of Virginia Tech researchers used previous research by Professor Percival Zhang and his team into xylose to turn corn stover — husks, stalks and cobs — into hydrogen through a genetic algorithm model to increase both enzymatic generation and breakdown rates by a factor of 10 and three, respectively.

The result is a reduction in both time, capital costs and facility size as far as hydrogen production goes. Lead author Joe Rollin — a former student of Zhang’s, who is also a co-founder with Rollin on a biofuel startup — says the new process can be carried out in a facility the size of a standard gas station, lowering one of the hurdles for widespread hydrogen production and distribution:

We believe this exciting technology has the potential to enable the widespread use of hydrogen fuel cell vehicles around the world and displace fossil fuels.

The project was partially funded by Shell’s GameChanger initiative, as well as the National Science Foundation’s Small Business Technology Transfer program, and was carried out by Virginia Tech’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

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Tesla Remedying Sales, Range Anxiety Woes In China http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/tesla-remedying-sales-range-anxiety-woes-china/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 12:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1032577 Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible. Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only […]

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tesla-china-charger-620x350

Tesla hasn’t had the best time in China as of late, a situation the automaker is looking to remedy as quickly as possible.

Bloomberg reports Tesla’s Q4 2014 sales were “unexpectedly weak,” according to CEO Elon Musk. Musk went on to place the blame on the Chinese market sales force, who he deemed not only inept, but discouraged would-be owners by warning of the difficulties of charging electric vehicles in China. Speculators who ordered — but never purchased — vehicles, range anxiety among consumers, and Tesla’s misreading of the market also contributed to the automaker’s woes in the market.

Since then, Tesla has made some strides into rectifying the situation. In one example, new “executive rear seats” — a $2,000 option wrapped in leather and equipped with two zone heaters — were made available as a result of learning that rich Chinese customers prefer to be chauffeured over taking the wheel themselves. The option arrived as quick as it had due to the automaker’s direct-sales model, according to China sales training chief Dan Hsu.

Other actions meant to bolster Tesla’s standing in the market include: lobbying cities to order vehicles, then adding them to programs meant to bring consumers into EVs and PHEVs, side-stepping the lottery/auction process prevalent in China; providing and installing home-charging systems in consumer’s homes for free; introducing more “destination chargers” alongside its Supercharger network — over 1,000 are online so far; and mobile charging connectors for the times when an owner needs to charge no matter where they are.

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Vincent Bollore Bringing ‘Superior’ EV Tech, Car-Sharing Service To US Market http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/vincent-bollore-bringing-superior-ev-tech-car-sharing-service-us-market/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 14:00:56 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1025009 EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs. Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though […]

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Vincent Bollore with his Bluecars in Paris

EV consumers in France and beyond needn’t wait months for a Tesla Model S, thanks to Vincent Bollore’s Autolib service and Bluecar EVs.

Bloomberg reports the Bollore Group founder and chairman created Autolib to put EV fans behind the wheel of one of his Pininfarina-designed Bluecars for the equivalent of 20 cents per minute. Though the cars aren’t as premium as a Model S, Bollore says it’s the electrical systems powering the Bluecar that matter, proclaiming them to be “far superior” to Tesla’s efforts.

The technology involves lithium metal polymer batteries, developed by Bollore’s Blue Solutions. The batteries, which don’t need liquid electrolytes to store power, are not only lighter in weight than lithium-ion packs, but can be charged up to 3,000 times, and are stable at temps up to 338 F. No one else has gone for the technology thus far, however; Bollore invested €3 billion ($3.2 billion) over three years to develop the EVs and the battery technology now in use by his ventures.

Meanwhile, the billionaire has plans to bring Autolib and Bluecars to the United States, opening the first branch in Indianapolis this June, with Los Angeles a possible second U.S. candidate down the road. Bollore hopes to have 500 cars and 200 stations throughout the city — chosen for its strong car culture and varying weather conditions — by the end of this year.

Back home, Autolib has 3,000 Bluecars and 900 stations in service, with around 70,000 customers paying a €120 ($130 USD) annual fee to drive the EVs; 500 more cars and 200 more stations are expected to come online in 2015.

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Gov. Scott Walker’s Changing Ethanol Stance Sign Of Greater Issue For GOP Hopeful http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/gov-scott-walkers-changing-ethanol-stance-sign-greater-issue-gop-hopeful/#comments Wed, 18 Mar 2015 12:00:58 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1024265 Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful. Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. […]

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Governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s flip-flop on the issue of ethanol may be just the tip of an iceberg that could affect his chances for the 2016 GOP hopeful.

Autoblog reports several memos linked to the still-unofficial campaigns of the other GOP presidential candidates have noted Walker’s shifts on positions on issues like ethanol, immigration et al. The broad pattern of flip-flopping, as well as his status as an unknown among his state’s voters, means he’ll have a hard go at convincing Republicans that he is their candidate for President of the United States.

On the issue of ethanol, he once denounced the mandate of adding the corn-based variant into gasoline in his 2006 gubernatorial campaign, citing the harm such mandates would impose on “Wisconsin’s working families.” While his team says he still supports that stance, Walker was among those at the 2015 Iowa Ag Summit in Des Moines, Iowa to support the federal renewable fuel standard that allows corn ethanol to be added into gasoline.

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Feinstein-Toomey Bill Seeks To Push Other Biofuels Over Corn Ethanol http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/feinstein-toomey-bill-seeks-push-biofuels-corn-ethanol/#comments Mon, 09 Mar 2015 12:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1017954 With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump. According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the […]

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E10 + 100 Percent Gasoline at the Pump

With one attempt shot down thus far, two U.S. senators are issuing a standalone bill to reduce the use of corn-based ethanol at the pump.

According to Hemmings Daily, the Corn Ethanol Mandate Elimination Act of 2015 introduced by Dianne Feinstein of California and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania would call for a modification of the Renewable Fuel Standard that would push other biofuels, such as biodiesel and cellulosic ethanol, over corn-based ethanol. Feinstein explains:

Our infrastructure has a ceiling for the amount of corn ethanol that can be used, and we’re rapidly approaching it. Companies are physically unable to blend more corn ethanol into gasoline without causing problems for many gas stations and older automobiles.

The Feinstein/Toomey bill joins four others seeking similar action, including three in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Hawaii that would seek to eliminate the mandate of E10 sales altogether.

Meanwhile, ethanol supporters like the Renewable Fuel Association, the National Corn Growers Association and the Advanced Ethanol Council oppose the bill as an assault on the RFS, and call upon the Environmental Protection Agency to increase ethanol use further, despite the EPA’s acknowledgment regarding the limits to blending ethanol with gasoline.

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Schockmel: CLEPA Members Ready For Autonomous Opportunities http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/schockmel-clepa-members-ready-autonomous-opportunities/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/schockmel-clepa-members-ready-autonomous-opportunities/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016706 Amid the glitz and glamour of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, European auto supplier group CLEPA proclaimed its members would have a part to play in the autonomous game. According to Just-Auto, group CEO Paul Schockmel said that the move toward autonomous driving was gaining steam, and that suppliers would be a huge part of […]

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Volvo-Autonomous-Drive

Amid the glitz and glamour of the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, European auto supplier group CLEPA proclaimed its members would have a part to play in the autonomous game.

According to Just-Auto, group CEO Paul Schockmel said that the move toward autonomous driving was gaining steam, and that suppliers would be a huge part of the movement:

This is the story which is not only changing cars, but the entire automotive industry and [is] a societal change. I am very much focussing on this because I feel for our members, we have to follow this very strongly and we see huge business opportunities. There will also be challenges with new players coming in – I see this in a positive way because there are opportunities.

Already, Volvo is experimenting with autonomous technology through a plan to introduce 100 vehicles so-equipped to its home city of Gothenburg, Sweden in 2017. Meanwhile, the United Kingdom government approved measures to allow driverless testing on public roads, providing funding for tests in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry. The government also is developing certification standards for autonomous vehicles.

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Report: Autonomous Vehicles Radically Altering Landscape In Coming Decades http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/03/report-autonomous-vehicles-radically-altering-landscape-coming-decades/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 13:00:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1016682 Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed. According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the […]

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Lexus Autonomous Car

Seven years from now, commercial and industrial autonomous vehicles could set a path toward a a future where the cityscape and beyond are radically changed.

According to Detroit Free Press, a report by consulting firm McKinsey titled “Autonomous Driving — 10 Ways in Which Autonomous Vehicles Could Reshape Our Lives” forecasts as much, with the outcome being that most vehicles on the road within the next few decades will be autonomous. Automotive practice chief Hans-Werner Kaas explains:

Autonomous vehicles will have a gradual step-by-step adoption. First, there will be pay-per-usage models. These vehicles will be alternatives to cars. They will make mobility available in smaller incremental units.

Meanwhile, autonomous technology is already present in the industrial sector, such as Australian mining company Rio Tinto’s fleet of 53 autonomous dump trucks at one of its iron ore mines in western Australia. Kaas says vehicles like those trucks “are defined environments where you have defined routes,” leading to greater control overall.

The report goes on to state that body shops would have less work due to fewer fender-benders between autonomous vehicles, while service techs would need extensive training to maintain the array of systems used by the vehicles; insurance companies would have to adapt as well.

Finally, more parking spaces would be in need of repurposing: by 2050, up to 5.7 billion square meters would be converted into something else as a result of how autonomous vehicles handle such things. The report adds that the shift to near-autonomy would take two decades to accomplish.

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Chicago’s Yellow Light Intervals Generating More Fines http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/chicagos-yellow-light-intervals-generating-fines/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:00:15 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1009266 Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula. FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver […]

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Chicago vs Recommended Yellow Light Time

Ever notice how the traffic lights in Chicago switch from yellow to red quicker than in other cities? That’s because the city changed the formula.

FiveThirtyEight reports the formula — yellow change time = 1 + (1.47 * Approach Speed) / (2 * Deceleration Rate) — was altered to increase the chances of a driver running a red, an act that would then be caught by the city’s red-light cameras, thus leading to a fine for the driver.

The formula used in Chicago is the one prescribed by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, which sets the deceleration rate at 11.2 feet/second over the standard formula’s 10 feet/second. The city also calculates yellow intervals by the posted speed limit, instead of the Federal Highway Association’s 85th percentile speed of real drivers, with the option to add 5 mph to the speed-limit yellow interval, as well.

The yellow interval — and its tie to the red-light cameras — have been a factor in Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s fight for another term in office, which has since entered the runoff phase after his campaign failed to gain an outright majority Tuesday. Emanuel’s support for the cameras runs in opposition of the city’s residents, 66 percent of whom believe the technology isn’t helping traffic safety in the least.

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MIT: Vehicle-To-Vehicle Communication A Breakthrough Technology http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/mit-vehicle-to-vehicle-communication-breakthrough-technology/#comments Fri, 20 Feb 2015 15:00:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1004570 In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine […]

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V2V

In the next year or so, vehicle-to-vehicle communication will be seen as a breakthrough technology, per the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Edmunds reports V2V made a list of ten breakthrough technologies compiled by MIT Technology Review, joining the likes of Apple Pay and nano-architecture as tech that will have “the broadest impact on commerce, medicine and society.” The publication cites General Motors as one of the key players in promoting V2V, and mentions the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s efforts to bring the technology online by 2017 at the earliest.

That said, MIT cautions that the first vehicles to have V2V — such as the 2017 Cadillac CTS — won’t have too many vehicles to talk to about location, speed, brake status et al, and that it could take up to a decade before V2V is as common as the cold. Audi, Ford and Toyota are among some of the other manufacturers looking into V2V.

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Nissan: EV Charging Infrastructure Surpasses Fuel Stations In Japan http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/nissan-ev-charging-infrastructure-surpasses-fuel-stations-japan/#comments Wed, 18 Feb 2015 14:00:47 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1003682 Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations. Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for […]

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EV Charger In Japan

Driving around Japan in your EV of choice? Range anxiety likely won’t be an issue, as the nation has more charging points than gas stations.

Per The Japan Times, Nissan discovered the number of such points — including fast and home chargers — now total 40,000. In contrast, there are only 34,000 fuel stations for those in who prefer Rocket Bunnys and Rauh-Welts over Leafs and i3s. The differing figures show how quickly those points have sprung up, especially when it took decades for the oil industry to work its magic in Japan.

However, many of the 40,000 points are in the home, and therefore, not currently accessible to the motoring public. A possible remedy could come in the form of the emerging sharing economy — Airbnb, Car2Go, Uber et al — where homeowners would share their charging point with others for a small fee.

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Hyundai, South Korean Government Opening Fuel-Cell Innovation Hub http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/hyundai-south-korean-government-opening-fuel-cell-innovation-hub/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 14:00:35 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996650 Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy. Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology: The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key […]

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hyundai-fuel-cell-tucson-california

Hyundai Motor and the South Korean government are coming together to open a hydrogen innovation center to help spur a creative economy.

Just-Auto says the automaker plans to attract startups to the center in Gwangju by granting access to 1,000 unused patents related to said technology:

The centre will focus on nurturing start-ups, providing key infrastructure and creating an “ecosystem” for the hydrogen economy by training workers and strengthening necessary networks.

Hyundai and its investor partners will raise ₩117.5 billion ($164 million USD) to bring the innovation center online, and will be one of 12 centers to be established throughout South Korea over 2015.

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Volkswagen To Invest $10M In EV Charging Infrastructure Through 2016 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volkswagen-invest-10m-ev-charging-infrastructure-2016/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/volkswagen-invest-10m-ev-charging-infrastructure-2016/#comments Wed, 11 Feb 2015 13:00:34 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=996626 Hoping to encourage federal investment, Volkswagen is putting up $10 million for EV charging stations to be ready by 2016. Part of that investment includes the previously announced partnership with BMW and Chargepoint to install 100 DC Fast Chargers on the East and West coasts of the United States, where no two stations will be […]

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2015 Volkswagen e-Golf 3

Hoping to encourage federal investment, Volkswagen is putting up $10 million for EV charging stations to be ready by 2016.

Part of that investment includes the previously announced partnership with BMW and Chargepoint to install 100 DC Fast Chargers on the East and West coasts of the United States, where no two stations will be further than 50 miles apart to better facilitate increased use of EVs.

That said, Volkswagen of America vice president of product marketing and strategy Jörg Sommer would like to see “Federal financing support for establishing fast charging networks in urban areas and interstate corridors” alongside the support automakers and other companies are already putting into place. Sommer adds that he’d like for state and federal agencies to adopt greater numbers of EVs and PHEVs into their fleets, as well as more congressional support of “the mid-term review of the EPA’s greenhouse gas regulation to extend the multiplier credits for plug-in vehicles beyond MY21.”

The $10 million investment is part of a so-called “holistic approach to e-mobility” surrounding the automaker’s 2015 e-Golf, which also includes providing customers with the opportunity to install solar and home charging systems from partners SunPower and Bosch.

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DOD: Connected Technologies Growing More Vulnerable To Sabotage http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/dod-connected-technologies-growing-vulnerable-sabotage/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/dod-connected-technologies-growing-vulnerable-sabotage/#comments Tue, 10 Feb 2015 12:00:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=995314 As connected technologies make inroads into vehicles et al, the growing possibility of sabotage has the Department of Defense and DARPA on notice. Per Jalopnik, CBS’ “60 Minutes” spent some time with DARPA Information Innovation Office chief Dan Kaufman to explore the vulnerabilities of connected technology coming into play not only on the road, but […]

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2012_Chevrolet_Impala. Photo courtesy wikipedia

As connected technologies make inroads into vehicles et al, the growing possibility of sabotage has the Department of Defense and DARPA on notice.

Per Jalopnik, CBS’ “60 Minutes” spent some time with DARPA Information Innovation Office chief Dan Kaufman to explore the vulnerabilities of connected technology coming into play not only on the road, but at home, in the office et al.

In one demonstration, Kaufman was able to break into the OnStar system aboard a previous-gen Chevrolet Impala, transplanting a code that allowed him to control everything on the car, from the wipers and the horn, to the braking and acceleration system itself.

The situation may be more dire still: a report from Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts’ office states all new vehicles can be hacked, and that only “two out of 16 car makers can diagnose or respond to an infiltration in real-time.”

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Washington State Looking To Encourage EV Adoption Via Legislation http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/washington-state-looking-encourage-ev-adoption-via-legislation/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/washington-state-looking-encourage-ev-adoption-via-legislation/#comments Mon, 09 Feb 2015 15:00:10 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994898 Legislators in the state of Washington have a slate of bills in mind that would encourage more EV adoption in order to help reduce air pollution. Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via […]

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Tesla Model S + Space X Under the Space Needle in Seattle

Legislators in the state of Washington have a slate of bills in mind that would encourage more EV adoption in order to help reduce air pollution.

Autoblog reports one bill would create a “statewide electric vehicle infrastructure bank” that would be used to fund new charging stations throughout Washington. The bank would be funded via a $100 annual fee for EV registrations, as well as a change to sales-tax exemptions for such vehicles via a bill that would renew them through July 2021. The exemption would cover the first $45,000 of an EV’s purchase price, so those buying a Nissan Leaf or a Chevrolet Bolt would be just fine, while those buying a Tesla Model S or X would pay the sales tax.

Other bills in the running include a requirement of all cities in Snohomish, King, Pierce and Thurston counties to allow charging stations in nearly all land zoning categories; incentive programs for builders to add such stations to their projects; and utility compliance credits for those who buy new EV chargers.

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Study: US Better Off Funding EV Charging Infrastructure Over Tax Incentives http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/study-us-better-off-funding-ev-charging-infrastructure-tax-incentives/#comments Thu, 05 Feb 2015 14:00:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=994010 According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now. The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the […]

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Tesla Supercharger Night Party

According to a new study, federal funding of EV charging infrastructure would do more to increase EV adoption rates than what tax credits do now.

The National Science Foundation discovered that the total amount of credits dispersed between 2011 and 2013 came out to $1.05 billion, enough to build over 60,000 charging stations had the subsidies gone towards such things; the figure is equal to half of all gas stations in the United States. In turn, an additional 60,000 stations would boost adoption rates to five times the current rate.

Another part of the study focused how EV and PHEV owners charged their vehicles, looking at ways to bring low-cost, more efficient charging to the home. Most owners use a standard 120-volt outlet for overnight charging, while direct-current charging boosts recharge rates four to six times above alternating-current charging, but at a cost of $15,000 to $25,000 for the equipment.

As for outside of the home, the NSF developed an intelligent charging system that would optimize charging costs at malls or parking garages, while managing the charging itself to reduce strain on the electric grid.

The study comes as the U.S. will likely fall short of the 1-million EV goal set by President Barack Obama for the end of 2015; just over 250,000 EVs have been sold in the U.S. since 2010.

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Obama Budget Proposes Tax On Corporate Foreign Earnings For Roads http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/02/obama-budget-proposes-tax-corporate-foreign-earnings-roads/#comments Tue, 03 Feb 2015 11:00:49 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=992842 President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads. Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected […]

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Syracuse Road Construction - Utah DOT

President Barack Obama unveiled his annual budget Monday, which includes a proposition to tax corporate foreign earnings to fund the nation’s roads.

Vox reports the proposal would levy a one-time tax on 14 percent of foreign earnings held by U.S. corporations, pulling in $238 billion to help supplement taxes collected at the pump. The collected taxes would then be distributed into road infrastructure projects at a rate of $79.7 billion per year over the next six years, totalling $478 billion.

Meanwhile, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Barbara Boxer of California have both offered a “repatriation holiday” to said corporations, giving the latter a tax rate of 6.75 percent over five years on foreign earnings brought back to the United States. The taxes would then go into those projects.

However, such holidays have been frowned upon by Obama over his two terms, warning that corporations would lobby Congress for more tax holidays; the Joint Committee on Taxation found such holidays would lose money over a decade despite the short-term gain.

Another option, proposed by Rep. John Delaney of Maryland, would tax corporate foreign earnings at a rate of 8.75 percent while ending deferrals. The bill would collect $170 billion to be spent on roads for six years.

Whatever happens, a decision would have to be made within the next few months. The U.S. Highway Trust Fund will go empty once again if nothing is done by May 31 of this year, forcing Congress to make do with the gas taxes collected. Since most people are driving less and using more fuel-efficient vehicles to get around these days, those taxes — which haven’t been raised above 18.4 cents/gallon since 1993 — fall short of the $50 billion per year needed for infrastructure; the current rate is of collection is $34 billion/year.

Two options have been proposed to fix the main issue — increase the gas tax and then pegging it to inflation, or expand drilling on federal lands and collecting the royalties — but neither option is popular among most in the Beltway.

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California University First In State Certified To Sell Hydrogen http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/california-university-first-state-certified-sell-hydrogen/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/california-university-first-state-certified-sell-hydrogen/#comments Mon, 26 Jan 2015 14:00:55 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=988514 Cal State L.A. now has the first hydrogen fueling station in California certified to sell the fuel by the kilogram. The university’s Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility received its approval this month after undergoing and passing “a rigorous state performance evaluation.” The fueling station, which opened in May 2014, is the largest on-campus hydrogen fueling […]

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Audi FCV At Cal State LA Fueling Station

Cal State L.A. now has the first hydrogen fueling station in California certified to sell the fuel by the kilogram.

The university’s Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility received its approval this month after undergoing and passing “a rigorous state performance evaluation.” The fueling station, which opened in May 2014, is the largest on-campus hydrogen fueling station in the United States, and produces hydrogen from solar and wind power.

Cal State president William A. Covino said the station not only plays “a crucial role in helping situate California as a national leader in zero emission vehicles,” but gives the university a chance to work on “cutting-edge research and technology initiatives with government agencies” on its path to improving air quality in Los Angeles and other cities in the U.S.

Visitors to the station include prototypes from the likes of Audi, Hyundai and General Motors, whose tanks can hold up to six kilograms of hydrogen, each kilogram good for 50 miles of travel. The station, located near downtown Los Angeles and Interstates 10 and 5, can fill these tanks in six minutes.

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BMW, Volkswagen Team With ChargePoint For Bi-Coastal Network http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/bmw-volkswagen-team-chargepoint-bi-coastal-network/#comments Fri, 23 Jan 2015 13:00:57 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=987810 More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint. The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. […]

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BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf DC Charging

More charging stations are on the way for EV owners, thanks to a new partnership between BMW, Volkswagen and ChargePoint.

The first phase of the partnership will be 100 DC fast chargers running north to south between Portland and San Diego on the West Coast, Boston and the District of Columbia on the East Coast. Each station will have up to two 50 kW DC Fast or 24 kW DC Combo Fast chargers for most EVs like the BMW i3 and Volkswagen e-Golf, as well as Level 2 chargers for all EVs. Access to each location is granted by a ChargePoint or ChargeNow membership card.

The new stations will be in metro and intercity locations — such as restaurants, malls and rest stops — spaced up to 50 miles apart for long-distance travel, joining a network of over 20,000 ChargePoint stations throughout the United States. The first location is online now in San Diego County, Calif., with the other 99 expected by the end of 2015.

Express Charging.Infographic.300dpi

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