Special Coverage

SAE World Congress

DETROIT – Electric vehicles predominantly will be recharged in two places – and neither of those places is a public station, says Larry Nitz, GM’s executive director-hybrid and electic powertrain.

When EVs are not being driven, “they’re home and they’re at work,” Nitz tells Ward’s following a panel discussion at the 2011 SAE World Congress here.

Recharging in retail parking lots while shopping , a scenario proposed by some charge-station providers, is “inconsequential,” Nitz says.

“The work charge we call ‘the golden charge,’” he adds “It’s the second charge in the day and it can happen five days a week. And it could be a meaningful charge.”

For that reason, Nitz espouses charge-station installations at workplaces. The notion of setting up a widespread network of public charge stations for occasional use is “a good political point of interest,” he says.

A spokesman for charge-station provider Aerovironment is unfazed. It is “presumptuous” to make any conclusions when modern EVs are so new to the market, says Frank Wong, marketing manager-EV solutions.

California-based Aerovironment has developed stations for public use, but it also is the exclusive provider of home stations for the Nissan Leaf.

The Leaf and the Chevrolet Volt are the only mass-produced EVs now on the U.S. market.

“It’s still early to know exactly which business model makes the most sense,” Wong says on the show floor, where Aerovironment is providing charge stations to accommodate EV test drives.

SAE has a small fleet of EVs available to drive on a short indoor track.