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Q&A: Don't rely on public charging stations for electric cars

Don't rely on public charging

We're interested in the new Chevy Volt, but we live in a condo, which means we don't have a garage with an electrical outlet. Is there any other option available?

Because the Chevy Volt won't be available in Florida until late 2011 or possibly mid 2012, according to General Motors, your best option probably would be to use that time to convince your condo association that your complex needs a charging station for electric cars.

Because, while there's a move afoot to start building public charging stations, that's likely to be an unpredictable process until electric vehicles such as the Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf become more common.

Those who live in single-family homes or have access to garages or carports can buy a charging station. Those run about $2,200, but most of the cost is covered by federal funds.

A full charge from a 110-volt outlet is expected to take six to seven hours, while a charge from a special Chevrolet-built 240-volt station would take two or three hours.

One thing to remember: The Volt is not just an electric car. It also has a traditional gasoline engine that kicks in once a driver has exhausted the battery. The range of the Volt battery is about 40 miles.

The Volt's price is expected to be about $41,000, though there's a $7,500 tax credit available to buyers. Chevy is also offering leases at $350 a month for 36 months with $2,500 down.

A closer look at BayLink pages

I've been a Times subscriber since 2002, for the most part quite satisfied. However, the way you cut the page in half in the BayLink section . . . is unbelievably annoying.

We turned to our friends in the production department to answer this question. Todd Mendenhall, operations process manager, writes:

"The (partial-width) pages you sent us were intentionally produced as half pages. So why do we do that?

"The way newspaper presses are designed, we have to add pages in two-page increments. Sometimes when we are preparing our BayLink pages, the number of ads that come in are such that an odd page count would work much better than an even one. In these cases we have two choices.

"1. Find filler for the extra page to keep the count even, or

"2. Run a shorter newsprint roll which gives us two half pages instead of one whole page (this keeps the total number of pages even while effectively taking out one page of newsprint).

"You are not alone in finding the half page to be somewhat aggravating. So you might ask why we continue to do it. Saving one page of newsprint may not seem like much but when you multiply it by nearly 300,000 daily papers, it adds up to saving over a ton of newsprint every time we do it. That makes environmental sense and helps keep our costs down, so we, in turn, can keep the costs down for readers and advertisers."

Q&A: Don't rely on public charging stations for electric cars 12/27/10 [Last modified: Monday, December 27, 2010 9:31pm]

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