Electric car chargers popping up in Richmond

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More and more car companies are coming out with electric cars and now more charging stations are popping up around town for people with these environmentally friendly cars.

The Science Museum is one of the first places in Richmond to have an electric vehicle charger.

Museum Director Richard Conti said a place dedicated to science seems like a natural place for the latest technology.

"The Science Museum wants to demonstrate new technology whenever it has the chance," he said. "We think energy is a big, important topic that's going to be a bigger and bigger part of our lives."

Electric car owners can park in front of the museum and, for now, charge their car for free.

"About the length of a normal museum visit will be about as long as need to charge your car," Conti said.

You might start to see more electric charging stations like this one popping up around Richmond, but transportation experts say we're still nowhere near ditching gasoline.

"These first generation electric cars are really making more of a statement, showing your greenness than any economic rationality," said George Hoffer, University of Richmond transportation expert. "These vehicles really have limited use unless you have the infrastructure."

Sales for the electric cars have been slow so far. Electric cars make up only about one out of every 60,000 cars purchased in 2011.

But there's hope more charging stations like this one will make owning an electric car more practical.

"As people start to see more and more of these out there, they might be more inclined to actually think about investing in an electric-powered vehicle themselves," Conti said. "I think that's one of the issues people are nervous about - where can I have my car charged up again."

The local company Urban Grid installed this vehicle charging station. It has plans to add more chargers like this one to schools and shopping centers around the area.

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