The Phobia of Electric Cars


As the electric car revolution starts to roll, many out of the ordinary stories have started to come up about electric cars and chargers. Amongst them is a Danish town refusing to allow the installation of electric car charging stations, specifically from the battery provider Better Place unless these installations are painted green.

Another story is from the French Ministry for the Environment unveiling guidelines regarding electric car chargers. Among them is the regulation of having only one public charging station per floor of a public parking garage or require parking lot owners to separate electric vehicles being recharged with firewalls.

In another version, the law would require public charging stations to be installed fifty feet apart or placed together in a partially confined space which increases the cost of installing many charging points significantly. The guidelines also covers home charging stations limiting the charging of electric cars on domestic outlets. This means charging from a 230-volt power outlet would be allowed but the government wants to restrict the charging current to 12 amps. This would leave the normal charging time for a car to about twelve hours. Should an owner want to increase the available amperage or have a dedicated hard-wired charging station, they need to pay more and have more inspections. This would definitely increase the overall costs of maintaining and operating an electric car.

The laws were reactions to news reports of electric cars bursting into flames when being charged because of poorly designed battery packs. One report from Hangzhou, China last April showed an electric Zotye Multipla taxi burst into flames. Despite firefighter efforts, the fire could not be controlled and the vehicle quickly turned into a fireball.

In another news report from Barkhamsted, Connecticut, a Chevy Volt is said to the cause of fire in a family garage. According to eyewitness accounts, the electric hybrid vehicle was being charged overnight. The high electricity requirement and the old wiring in the house clearly was a combustible mix, resulting in an overload of the circuit breakers and the consequence of fire.

Thus, in the electric car revolution, there are still many factors and aspects that need to be upgraded to accommodate the needs of the electric car. Not only would the car technology improve, but also accessories such as charging points and home capacity need to be addressed to make the electric car go full blast.