AFDC Makes Charging Easier for Electric Vehicle Drivers

December 23, 2010

The Alternative Fueling Station Locator, an online mapping tool of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center (AFDC), now provides a new way to search for electric vehicle (EV) charging stations, making it easier for drivers to plug in. For years, EV owners have used the Station Locator to find public charging stations. But beginning Thurdsay, Dec. 23, they’ll also be able to track down the exact type of station they need and know how long it will take to charge their vehicles.

EV drivers have several options in charging equipment, each with different voltages and corresponding charging times. A Level 1 charger has a 120 volt (V), alternating-current (AC) plug, providing a full charge in eight to 20 hours, depending on the vehicle. Level 2 equipment operates on a 240 V circuit, fully charging a vehicle in three to eight hours. Direct-current (DC) fast charging equipment supplies electricity at 480V, requiring only about 30 minutes to top off EV batteries. The Station Locator distinguishes among these three options, letting drivers know which kinds of stations are where. Users can also locate less common charging equipment, such as inductive paddles, and emerging technologies, as they appear.

With the Nissan Leaf and the Chevy Volt now rolling out into the U.S. market, and models from other manufacturers coming soon, the demand for accurate, detailed information about EV charging stations is growing. An increasing number of drivers need to know where it’s possible to plug in for extended periods, while at work or shopping, for example, and where to “fill up” quickly while on the go. In allowing EV owners to search for charging stations by equipment type, the AFDC is continuing its commitment to being the premier resource on alternative fueling options, including electric charging. For more information on EVs and charging infrastructure, visit the EV section of the AFDC Web site. To find station locations using your mobile device, visit the Mobile Alternative Fueling Station Locator. The AFDC is a comprehensive clearinghouse of data, publications, tools, and information related to advanced transportation technologies. It is sponsored by DOE’s Clean Cities initiative.