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Buy Electric Car, Get Free Charger

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A new government-funded initiative will mean people who buy electric cars will get a charger for free.

The Ecotality EV Project is funded by a $114.8 million grant from the Department of Energy and matching grants from GM and Nissan.

Anyone who buys a Chevrolet Volt or Nissan Leaf will get a home charger. The initiative also will cover most of the installation costs, which can range from $2,000 to $4,000.

The program will also install public charging stations in cities including Portland, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego.

The intention is to install 10,000 wall-mounted chargers for residential use and 6,000 pedestal chargers for commercial use.

A Michigan company called Roush Manufacturing Inc. has begun manufacturing the chargers.

“Part of what we’re trying to do with the Department of Energy is to build mature infrastructures so we can study those and learn how to transition from no infrastructure to fully-mature,” said Don Karner, president of Ecotality. “We’re building laboratories that are going to help us better deploy infrastructure and vehicles in the next 50 or 500 cities.”

Karner said the company will be creating a large vehicle operation database as the company collects information from the chargers — driving habits, trip distances — that can be used by federal agencies.

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