Detroit’s NextEnergy Charges Ahead With First Michigan Power Station in Electric Vehicle Program

8/31/10

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it sounds like—to prepare cities for the introduction of plug-in hybrid vehicles.

It was at a Get Ready planning session about a month and a half ago that representatives of Coulomb Technologies approached NextEnergy and said the Detroit location would be a natural spot for a charging station, considering it’s already a kind of crossroads for much of Michigan’s electric-vehicle development.

Coulomb is also providing free charging stations for owners of the soon-to-be-released Chevy Volt hybrid electric vehicle.

Of course whenever a big push is made for a particular technology there’s always the question of whether it’s the right one. There’s a chance of betting on the wrong horse. A few years ago, corn ethanol was all the rage. These days, not so much. And where do hydrogen fuel cells fit in?

“I’ve been involved in plug-in electric vehicle activities now for almost five years, and I was also involved in fuel cells before,” Gauthier says. “They are certainly two different technologies as it relates to the transportation market and I think over time both of them will have a place. It’s more the level of development at this point in time that has the impact and also the source of the energy. We’ve got a monstrous electrical grid out there that has power that we can use. There’s not a lot of hydrogen to be had at this point in time.”

Gauthier says both technologies have a future as parts of the solution to our energy problems as time goes on. But for now, he indicates, we are entering the age of the electric car.

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