By Kevin Miller
December saw the first consumer deliveries of the Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt in the US, and Cobo Hall in Detroit was literally overrun with plug-in vehicles earlier this month for NAIAS. While the vehicles will primarily be charged at home (especially by early adopters of the vehicles), much public money is being invested in building a public, pay-per-use charging infrastructure. While the charging apparatus for use in a vehicle owner’s garage must be designed with user safety in mind, such equipment for use by the general public must be even more so.
With the Volt and Leaf now on the road, and additional manufacturers preparing to launch electric and plug-in-hybrid vehicles, many companies are designing charging and supply equipment for the vehicles. Some of the equipment being designed is for use by vehicle owners in their own garages, and some is being designed for public use, whether for free use from utilities, or pay-per-use by private companies setting up their own network of charging locations. As required by the National Electric Code in the US, virtually all electrical equipment must be certified for electrical safety by an OSHA-accredited Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory. This requirement includes stuff like cord-connected appliances in your home, the espresso machine at your local coffee shop, and even EV charging stations. Continue Reading →