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Electric Car Owners are Charging Up in Various Places Throughout the DC Metro Area

February 23, 2012 Green Blog 1 Comment

 

Joyce Breiner Charging her Nissan Leaf at Bucca Di Beppo in Gaithersburg, Md

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February 22, 2012

Gaithersburg, Md

By: Alex Stavitsky-Zeineddin

Bucca di Beppo Italian Restaurant in Gaithersburg, Md, is attracting electric vehicle owners.   If they eat a meal at Bucca, they can get a free electric charge for their car.

“ We are happy to do what we can do help people with their energy savings” said Mark Ehrli, Bucca di Beppo’s regional manager.

Joyce Breiner of Poolesville, Md, bought a Nissan Leaf electric car in December 2011 and is part of a group electric vehicle owners that like to have a meal at Bucca di Beppo while refueling her car’s battery.

The electric vehicle (EV) is becoming a popular alternative to the hybrid car and the regular gas car as more people decide that they want to reduce their carbon footprint and reduce their dependence on fossil fuels.

Breiner, deputy executive director of  Poolesville Green, a local environmental non-profit,  found the Bucca di Beppo charge station on an application called Plugshare for smart phone users. This essential tool maps out private and public plugin stations throughout the United States, including the DC Metro area.  Users can add their own private or public station location address along with a review and necessary information about what kind of charger is available; a 120 volt standard outlet (can take up to 8 hours to fully charge a car),  EV plug 240, or Quick Charge (480v CHAdeMO) station.

The US Department of Energy website also provides state and municipal charging sites as well as private and utility owned charge sites throughout the United States.

Breiner explained that her husband, David Yaney, a Phd electric engineer, is the one who most often drives the car because he commutes from Poolesville to Germantown for work.  She says that the electric car does well for commuters that are also doing city driving because the battery charges up with the stop and starts.  “Electric cars are cars for geeks,” Breiner said.  “In order to maximize the amount of distance with the battery charge, the driver must think about how they are driving in order also charge the battery. “   How one drives the car improves the charge on the battery and makes a difference as to how many miles one can go without having to charge ones car.  Breiner says that other factors such as temperature also make a difference as to how far one can travel on a fully charged battery.

Breiner and Yaney took advantage of a federal $7,500 rebate tax for purchasing an electric car and additional $2,000 Maryland excise tax rebate that also gives electric car owners an HOV sticker so that they can travel even as a single passenger in the HOV lanes.  An additional $400 Maryland tax rebate is offered for home chargers as the car does need to be charged back at home.

According to the Nissan Leaf website information, Chevy Volt, and Tessla Motors, these vehicles can be driven from 100 to 300 miles before needing to be re-charged. The high end Tessla electric cars, made here in the US, say that the model S holds a charge for up to 300 miles.

All these different electric vehicles are made to order and are available on the different car company’s websites. Ford Focus 2012 Electra is taking online orders as well. On average, it takes two months for the cars to be made and delivered. The Nissan Leaf dealership in Rockville Maryland said seven Leafs were delivered in December 2011, two in January 2012, and one so far this month.

Breiner says that she and her husband have already saved $200 in gasoline costs during the month of January.  Also, their EV keeps detailed information about how much electricity they have generated and expended in each drive that is then provided to them as an email through the Nissan Leaf smart phone application to their smart phone.  Breiner and Yaney can keep meticulous track of driving habits and how they effect their energy battery consumption.  Maintenance is no longer about oil changes but rather about tire rotations and having the battery maintain its charging capacity.

Meanwhile, new charging stations are popping up in all the DC Metro region and groups such as The Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington DC serve as a great resource and support for experienced and new EV owner’s alike.  According the EVA’s website, Dulles Airport will be opening up eight new charging stations alone in the coming days.

 

 

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