There are now more electric vehicle charging stations in Japan than gas stations. The more than 40,000 EV charging units throughout the country exceeds some 34,000 gas stations. Many of the charging stations are in the homes of those that have purchased electric vehicles.

By next spring, the Canadian city of Montreal will have 106 electric car charging stations at on-street parking spots. The city has plans to install 1,000 EV charging stations throughout the city over the next five years. By that time the province of Quebec expects to have 100,000 EVs on the road. The charging stations will be located at current parking spots reserved specifically for EVs. However, if the parking spot happens to be a metered spot, drivers will be required to pay, just as they would if they were parking a traditional motor vehicle. 240-volt stations will cost $1 an hour, plus the additional cost of the parking meter. 400-volt stations will cost $10 an hour.

IKEA, the world largest furniture retailer, has installed 60-amp electric vehicle charging stations at all 12 of its stores in Canada. Charging is being provided to customers at no cost, on a first come first serve basis.

Scotland has 450 EV charging stations, including 100 rapid chargers which take 20-30 minutes to recharge, according to researchers at Edinburgh Napier University. There are more than 1,700 electric vehicles on Scotland’s roads, with some 700 sold so far this year, according to Scottish Government and industry figures. The city of Dundee has the UK’s largest electric taxi fleet. However, EVs still account for only one in 1,000 vehicles in Scotland and one in 100 automobile sales.

The US state of Georgia had one of the highest uptakes of electric cars in the US, primarily because of a generous tax credit available to purchasers of EVs. However the $5000 subsidy expired on July 1st and since that time sales of electric vehicles have plummeted.  Automotive information company R. L. Polk & Co. reports that in June, the last month of the subsidy,  1338 EVs were sold in the state. This number dropped sharply to 148 in August.

Fleet-management company FleetCarma surveyed data from both electric and gasoline vehicles and concluded the former lose more driving range in cold weather. The firm compared the efficiency of both electric and gasoline cars operating at 0 degrees Fahrenheit, 32 degrees, and 73 degrees. When the temperature dropped from 73 degrees to 0, electric cars experienced an average range reduction of 29%. Between 73 degrees and 32 degrees, there was a 20% drop in range. The equivalent numbers for gasoline vehicles were 19% and 12%. For electric cars, the efficiency loss was due to heating both the passanger cabin and drivetrain components like the battery pack. By comparison, for gasoline cars, the cold’s effect on components and excessive idling or warm-up time were the main factors for reducing the range. The results of the study reinforced the range anxiety for EVs felt by potential customers who live in cold climates.

The US state of California wants to bring electric vehicles to people with low incomes. State officials have announced that California will award a $1.6-million grant to the city of Los Angeles to create a pilot car sharing program for EVs in areas with low-income people. The city will use the funds to deploy 100 electric vehicles and put them at the disposal of disadvantaged communities. In addition the city will build 110 Level-2 EV charging stations at several parking locations in those communities.

Last week Japanese automobile manufacturer Nissan unveiled its prototype electric Leaf-based autonomous car. Nissan is now testing the prototype EV on roads with actual traffic conditions to show it can drive safely on the highway.

A new study from the University of Michigan’s Transportation Research Institute finds self-driving cars are far more accident-prone than ordinary cars. For every million miles driven, self-driving vehicles had 9.1 crashes, compared to just 1.9 for regular vehicles. In other words, self-driving cars were five times as likely to crash as conventional ones, and their passengers were four times as likely to get injured (with 3.29 injuries per million miles, compared to only .77 injuries in regular cars). Self-driving cars were also rear-ended 50% more often than traditional vehicles.

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