Details: Electric cars
Friday, January 28, 2011; 3:59 PM
Over the next few months, Nissan will slowly roll out the battery-powered Leaf.
Connect by Hertz
Offers the Smart EV for hourly rental in New York starting at $6; membership is $50 plus a $25 sign-up fee. Will expand to Washington and San Francisco in March. Plans to add the Nissan Leaf in February and the Mitsubishi 'i' in March.
Expects to start renting Nissan Leafs in the next few weeks in select markets with charging stations: Phoenix and Tucson; Nashville and Knoxville, Tenn.; Seattle; San Diego; Los Angeles; and Portland, Ore.
There is no single comprehensive listing of charging stations, and much online information is outdated or not relevant to the new EVs. (The latest models require a J 1772 plug.) For now, the stations are free, though you may have to pay to enter the parking garage ($12 for the Los Angeles Convention Center) or lot ($7, Santa Monica Pier).
Coulumb Technologies has created an online map ( www.mychargepoint.net/find-stations.php) showing units across the country. For access to the stations, sign up for the $9.95 card online.
ECOtality also has an interactive map ( www.theevproject.com/charging-maps.php), though the company won't start building its stations until next month.
The Department of Energy runs the Alternative Fuels and Advanced Vehicles Data Center, which features a map of stations for alternative vehicles. (www.afdc.energy.gov/afdc/locator/stations).
EV Charger News ( www.evchargernews.com ) lists locations as well as driver comments on the units.
You might also contact city halls and tourism offices, which should be aware of any charging stations in their area. Nissan dealerships are also outfitted with stations. As a backup, you can always plug into a regular outlet. When booking a hotel, for example, ask the front desk about available outlets. I got lucky in parking garages.