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Environment

Two Futures of Electric Cars on Display

Electric cars seem to be finally catching on with some people - but mostly those who live and work in cities. The bugaboo has been how long it takes to get a recharge. But there is a new system that could cut the recharging time exponentially.

They're called DC fast chargers. It's basically a transformer that looks like a gas pump with an electric cord attached. One was on display at USF Tampa campus during a stop on the Florida Alternative Vehicle Roadshow.

Mike Anderson of Georgia-based Efacec USA demonstrated one model plugged into an all-electric Nissan Leaf.

"This is one of the things that's going to relieve the range anxiety that a lot of people have with these vehicles, and also enable them to get outside of that 35 mile radius around their house," he says, "where if they can't find a local charging station, then they have to get back home to charge."

Anderson says this system can cut the recharge time for car batteries from the typical six to eight hours to only a half hour. But right now, it's only good for electric cars made by Nissan and Mitsubishi.

He says there are two major factors in the battle to determine the future of the automobile. One is how many recharge stations are going to be available on the road.  

"And it's going to depend on personal preference, too - how much of a desire is there not to put out emissions in the environment and not rely on oil," he says.

When asked if another factor is where a driver is located - a city versus out in the country, Anderson replied, "Yeah, certainly. If you're living right downtown and you never drive more than 20 miles a day, this is the ticket, man. This is perfect."

The Alternative Vehicle tour will roll into the Venice Community Center Tuesday.