Owners of electric cars will soon find new places to charge up.
Federal Realty, a national real estate and development firm, is working with Car Charging Group to install eight electric car charging stations at its properties along the East Coast, seven of which are in the Washington area. In Montgomery County, Rockville Town Square at 200 E. Middle Lane and Bethesda Row at 4950 Elm St. will feature car charging stations.
Car Charging Group, a Miami-based electric-vehicle charging-service company, will install level II, 240-volt charging stations. Charging stations come in levels I through III; The higher the level, the faster the car charges.
“Here’s where we start,” Michael Kelleher, director of asset management for Federal Realty, said of the endeavor. “I fully expect that electric cars are going to continue to grow in various forms.”
Electric vehicle charging stations function like gas pumps; an electric vehicle pulls up, plugs in and pays for the electricity with a credit card.
Eric Coffman, senior energy planner with the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, said the county has at least five charging stations. Private companies tend to be responsible for installing the stations.
“What we see is a lot of grant activity, a lot of interest from private building owners to encourage their employees to adopt electric vehicles,” Coffman said. “A charging station really says, ‘We’re really into sustainability and getting fossil fuel vehicles off the road.’”
There are 202 plug-in vehicles registered in Maryland. Of those, 94 are registered in Montgomery County, according to the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles.
People purchasing a plug-in electric vehicle titled in Maryland through July 1, 2013, are eligible to claim a $2,000 excise motor vehicle tax credit and can combine it with an existing $7,500 federal tax credit for purchasing an electric car, Montgomery County officials said.
And electric car owners are also eligible to claim a $400 tax credit toward installation of electric vehicle charging stations in their homes.
Rockville now features three charging stations, at 1101 Wootton Parkway, 2000 Tower Oaks Blvd. and 805 King Farm Blvd., according to the Maryland Energy Administration and Coffman’s account. Silver Spring has three locations.
The state has 80 charging stations at 40 locations, according to the Maryland Energy Administration.
Federal Realty will determine whether to add more charging stations by the demand of the market, Kelleher said.
The station at Rockville Town Square is expected to be open by the middle of next month, he said.
Most electric vehicles can travel about 100 miles to 200 miles before recharging, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Fully recharging the battery pack can take four to eight hours.
Electric car owners can pull into a parking garage in Rockville — Federal Realty has yet to determine the location of the charging station — plug in and shop or eat, he said.
Dave Goldstein of Gaithersburg usually plugs in his hybrid gas and electric Chevy Volt at his home or in public parking garages in the District.
Goldstein, the president of the Electric Vehicle Association of Greater Washington, D.C., a nonprofit of electric car owners and enthusiasts, compares charging stations to watering holes in the desert.
“These types of charging stations are really essential to the future of electric vehicles,” he said.
Goldstein purchased his Volt about two months ago and often charges on Old Georgetown Road in downtown Bethesda.
“I’m always looking for charging stations,” he said. “If there’s a location like a shopping center or public parking, you can bet that’s where I’ll be.”
Car Charging Group has stations at 47 locations nationwide, said Andy Kinard, president of the group. The stations at Federal Realty properties will be its first in Maryland.
Electric car owners can log on to the Charge Point network at www.mychargepoint.net, which is a collection of privately owned charging stations, to find an available charging station.
In Maryland, car-charging-station owners are viewed as utility companies, Kinard said. This means the group must charge customers by the hour. Charging for one hour probably will cost $3, Kinard said.