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BP, Arco, Best Buy to install fast chargers for electric cars

October 13, 2010 | 11:11 am

BlinkfastchargerIt's no coincidence that the fast charger unveiled Wednesday is called Blink. The 480-volt electric-vehicle charger from the San Francisco firm ECOtality is capable of fully recharging a vehicle in 15 to 28 minutes.

"We think this is going to be the technology that will ultimately un-tether people from their garages with electric cars," said ECOtality Chief Executive Jonathan Read. 

Read said ECOtality will install 350 Blink DC Fast Chargers as part of its EV Project -- a $114.8-million grant the firm received in June from the U.S. Department of Energy to install 15,000 charging stations around the country. It will install another 150 fast chargers in conjunction with other corporate partners. All 500 should be installed by the end of 2011.

ECOtality's unveiling of its Blink charger coincides with another announcement. It has partnered with Best Buy to install 12 Blink chargers in the electronics retailer's parking lots, and with BP and Arco to install fast chargers at 45 gas stations.

"This is the first time Big Oil has invited electric vehicles to the table," said Read, who started working with BP about a year ago.

Details of specific locations haven't yet been released, but Read said at least 200 of the fast chargers will be installed in California, where "the climate and socioeconomic conditions are perfect for electric vehicles."

Though ECOtality will install some of its fast chargers in Seattle, Phoenix, Tucson and Tennessee, the majority are to be placed along Interstate 5, connecting Vancouver, Canada, to the Mexican border. Installation is set to begin in the first quarter of 2011.

-- Susan Carpenter

Photo credit: ECOtality