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GE Energy launches advanced new electric vehicle charging system

23 June 2011

GE Energy's new WattStation electric vehicle charging system was officially launched in Europe at the Power–Gen Europe exhibition in Milan at the beginning of June. The new system combines functionality with elegant style and the renowned industrial designer, Yves Behar, played a major part in the development of the project. GE WattStation significantly reduces the time needed for vehicle charging and is an important step towards making electric vehicle ownership a more viable option.

A senior GE Energy spokesman commented "Major manufacturers are now launching electric cars into the mainstream market; however if they are to find widespread consumer acceptance, the power grid must be modernized and charging stations made accessible, quick and easy.  GE Energy is bringing a family of charging stations to the European market, offering domestic and commercial users a range of easy to use, flexible and stylish systems to make electric vehicles a practical everyday reality."

The new system is available in two versions – a free-standing system for use in cities and by businesses and a wall-mounted unit for domestic use.  The user-friendly design will also accommodate future upgrades as more smart technology such as communication and billing options become available. 

Meanwhile, two thirds of motorists (65.7 per cent) say they would be more likely to buy an electric vehicle (EV) if charging posts were readily available at roadsides and in car parks across the UK. Of the 1,417 that participated in the survey, which was conducted in June on behalf of EV infrastructure provider Elektromotive, only 7.8 per cent said that the greater availability of charging posts would not make them more likely to buy an EV.  Over a quarter (26.5 per cent) of those surveyed said they were ‘undecided’, suggesting that a significant minority still need to be persuaded about the viability and benefits of EVs.

The Government is currently operating an incentive scheme that enables consumers to save £5,000 on the purchase price of a new EV.  However, only 534 grant applications were made in the whole of the UK during the first quarter of 2011 when the scheme started, and the Elektromotive survey suggests that the lack of a widespread, publicly-available recharging infrastructure could be one of the main factors holding back EV demand.

Elektromotive is currently the UK’s leading provider of EV charging stations, and so far has installed over 600 Elektrobay charging stations in public and private car parks and on roadsides across the country.  The company says many more charging stations need to be installed in order to eliminate ‘range anxiety’, where motorists fear they will run out of power between charges.

“The development of electric vehicles has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, but many consumers are understandably concerned that if they buy a new EV they might not be able to easily charge it when away from home or the workplace,” comments Calvey Taylor-Haw, managing director of Elektromotive.  “It’s clear that much more needs to be done to create the charging infrastructures that are essential to underpin mainstream acceptance of EVs.”

He adds, “We are finding there are still huge misconceptions and confusion about electric vehicles, not just from the public but, surprisingly, from within the motor industry too.  People are unsure how EV batteries charge, the physics and science of amps and volts, the range, running costs and the types of chargers available and their capabilities.  It’s actually not that complex and Elektromotive will be working with industry partners to educate potential EV drivers about the various benefits of ownership.”

Elektromotive has developed several variants of its Elektrobay charging station for use by passenger cars, public service vehicles and commercial vehicles.  Its extensive range of products, including the new Elektrobay Rapid Charger, is helping Elektromotive lead the installation of EV charging infrastructures in the UK and overseas.

Elektromotive was recently ranked number one in the UK, and third in the world, for recharging post manufacture in a study by market analysts, Pike Research.
To find out more about Elektromotive and its range of products, click here.

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