By Catherine Welch
Providence, R.I. – Rhode Island's first public charging station for electric and hybrid vehicles goes officially online today. The charging station outside Cardi's Furniture Superstore in West Warwick is the first piece in an electric car infrastructure that advocates say is already outpacing the rest of New England.
Al Dahlberg is the founder of Project Get Ready Rhode Island, a non-profit focused on green transportation. He says while Massachusetts and Connecticut are in the planning stages, Rhode Island's on track for 30 charging stations by the end of the year. Dahlberg says Rhode Island's size gives it a competitive edge.
"I think for electric cars this is a natural state to pilot this," Dahlberg says. "We're a small state, densely populated, we tend not to drive very long distances and we don't like to leave the state."
Dahlberg says the biggest obstacle for getting drivers into electric cars will be the price-- the Chevy Volt is priced at around $40,000, while the Nissan Leaf is expected to go for about $32,000. Those models are scheduled to roll out in the fall of next year, but Dahlberg says, they'll come with a $7,500 federal tax credit.