If you’ve ever considered buying an electric vehicle, the inevitable question likely came to mind: Will I get stuck?
Fears of becoming stranded with no charging station in sight and – gasp! – not a single bar of cell phone service lead many auto shoppers to shy away from EVs. But that’s all about to change – at least if Arizona entrepreneur Bruce Brimacombe has anything to say about it.
Through his latest business venture, GoE3, Brimacombe plans to ensure that no EV driver ever gets stranded again. How? The Scottsdale, Ariz-based startup recently announced the launch of a coast-to-coast network of charging stations, which will allow electric interstate travel between East and West Coast cities in less than 36 months.
You may be thinking, “But that’s not possible!” And you’re certainly not alone. The idea of a network that allows EV owners to travel from state to state, charging up at their leisure along the way, has long been dismissed as a pipe dream. But, not to be dissuaded by skeptics, GoE3 is defying the stereotype with plans for as many as 1,000 charging stations spanning the entire country before 2015, Brimacombe told Earth911.
To get the message out there, the GoE3 team is shooting a documentary film and a reality television show about establishing “The Electric Highway” and changing real Americans’ minds about EVs.
Earth911 paid Brimacombe a visit at the GoE3 office to chat about his newfound love for electric vehicles, the company’s future plans and how he hopes to bring EVs into every garage in America.
“The Electric Highway”
On Earth Day, GoE3 unveiled its first charging station at Biosphere 2 in Tuscon, Ariz. An additional 50 GoE3 charging stations opened for business that same week. Over the next three years, the company will set up charging stations every 50 to 75 miles along interstate highways I-70, I-40, I-20 and I-10 – allowing coast-to-coast EV travel for the first time in U.S. history.
While most prior attempts at EV charging networks focused on setting up charging stations in one city at a time, Brimacombe explained that connecting the cities is a far faster, cheaper and more efficient way to provide hassle-free travel to motorists.
“More than two-thirds of American cars exist outside urban areas – that’s 172 million cars,” Brimacombe said. “And we’re relegating the EV experiment to the cities.”
“If money had been spent to connect the cities, it would open up the entire country to the purchase of electric cars, which is where we’re concentrating our efforts,” he said.
Though charging stations for EVs are already in existence, many are Level Two, 30 Amp – which can take hours to charge modern EVs (if they’ll connect to the charger at all). GoE3 provides lightning-fast Level Three chargers at all of its locations, along with Level Two, 70 Amp or higher, to support all modern electric vehicles.
Drivers can charge up their vehicles for a flat rate of $12.50 per charge – a bargain compared to some charging stations, which can cost as much as $30 for an hour of charging time (adding up to about $1 per mile).
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Mobile Charging Made Easy
To provide an even greater safety net for EV drivers, GoE3 partnered with a mobile charging company that can give stranded drivers a quick charge – the same way a roadside service would pull up with a gas can to assist drivers of conventional cars.
Like most roadside assistance services, the GoE3 mobile charging service is fully covered under drivers’ auto insurance policies. The company also partners with an insurance service to help drivers cover the maintenance costs of their electric vehicle.
“We had to make sure that the people who have these cars have the same experience as they had with a regular car,” Brimacombe said. “It’s one thing to run out of gas, because there are gallons of gas everywhere. But it’s another thing to be out of electricity and you can’t find a plug that fits.”
The GoE3 solution may sound simple. But Brimacombe is confident that it can not only provide worry-free travel to EV drivers everywhere, but also lend much-needed relief to struggling small businesses and help get Americans back to work.