A Plug for Cleaner Air

The First Electric Recharging Station Debuts in Washington

By Tom Sherwood
|  Tuesday, Nov 16, 2010  |  Updated 9:10 PM EDT
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The city's first public charging station for electric cars is in service.

Tom Sherwood

The city's first public charging station for electric cars is in service.

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It seems ever-rising gasoline prices are the way of the future -- and those smelly hands you get from messy gasoline pumps won't go away, either. But there's an alternative future that's starting to show up in Washington and soon will be in the suburbs.

The D.C. Department of Transportation on Tuesday unveiled the first of what will be hundreds of battery recharging stations for drivers with electric cars. 
 
The first public recharging station is on 14the Street, right outside DDOT headquarters in the Reeves Center at U Street.
 
"And it really sends a signal," said DDOT Director Gabe Klein, "that the government will have the infrastructure you need" if  you own an electric car.  He said the recharging stations -- $3 per hour --- are part of the city's broad effort to make city streets friendly for vehicles, bikes and pedestrians.
 
The new charging station is just the first of almost 500 that will be placed in areas around the Washington region as part of a $37 million federal energy program.
 
People who passed by the new pump were -- can we say it? -- pumped about the electric car station that takes up only one parking space.
 
"I really love it," said Sandra Butler-Truesdale, a longtime activist in the city who runs the Emma Mae Gallery, a rhythm and blues and gospel museum at the Reeves Center. "I'm all about the future and history. This is a way for us out of gasoline and to get some clean air."
 
At the unveiling Tuesday, a $40,000 Chevy Volt was on hand to demonstrate how electric cars hookup. It was getting as much attention as the charging station.

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