Electric car charging station finds a home at science museum

By: Ben Garbarek - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More car companies are coming out with electric cars. Now more charging stations are popping up around town for people with these environmentally friendly vehicles. The latest one was recently installed in Richmond at the Science Museum of Virginia.

You may not recognize the four foot stand just yet, but it may soon become commonplace. It's an electric vehicle charger and the science museum is one of the first places in Richmond to have one. Richard Conti is in charge of the museum. He says 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 charge their car for free.

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

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 University of Richmond representative George Hoffer. "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," said Hoffer. "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 that vehicle charging station. It plans to add more chargers to schools and shopping centers around the area.

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