It’s a fixture in parking lots. The same 120-volt electrical outlets used to keep Canadian cars’ engine blocks warm in the winter can be used to power plug-in hybrid electric vehicles—PHEVs—year-round, avoiding the need for extensive infrastructure in which more temperate cities would have to invest, says a leading transportation think-tank.
Arne Elias, executive director of the Centre for Sustainable Transportation at the University of Winnipeg, said next year, when PHEVs are to be for the first time widely available, the unassuming outlets will enable most Canadian cities to forgo the need to install recharging stations.
Hybrids available for sale today use the electric motor only for slow speeds, idling and maintaining velocity—acceleration is achieved through the use of a parallel gasoline motor.
PHEVs run exclusively on their electric battery until it is drained, when it switches over to gasoline.
The 120-volt outlets already in parking lots take between 8-14 hours to fully recharge a car battery, while specialized 240-volt outlets charge in about half that time.
Vancouver’s city council passed legislation last week requiring all new condominiums built in the city to install the 240-volt outlets in 20 per cent of all parking spots – the first city in North America to do so.
Source: Vancouver Sun