Entrepreneurial

Energy grid startup says not enough electric cars

Carbon Day Automotive, a distributor of electric vehicle charging stations in the Midwest, said interest in its products has been rising along with the high price of gas at the pump. The problem is automakers aren’t keeping pace by delivering enough cars.

“The Midwest has been overlooked,” said Brian Levin, Carbon Day vice president and partner. “We’re definitely the chicken before the egg.”

Cars like the Chevrolet Volt and the Nissan Leaf are being rolled out initially in more concentrated urban areas such as the coastal regions. That’s because the cars have a limited range that make them somewhat inconvenient in areas where consumers tend to travel longer distances, said John O’Dell, editor of Edmund Green Car Advisor, which tracks the industry.

“At this stage of the game most EVs don’t deliver more than 100 miles of range,” O’Dell said. “That works in urban areas. It doesn’t work in the vast middle of America.”

Despite these logistical challenges, Chicago-based Carbon Day is still seeing steady interest in chargers on the premise that demand for electric cars will remain steady and automakers will catch up. Its ChargePoint stations, made by Coulomb Technologies, are typically installed at commercial parking garages, corporate campuses and universities.

Innovation is how we make our living: Is China buying?

A wind turbine is seen near a gate of the ancient city of Wushu in Diaobingshan, Liaoning province January 18, 2011. REUTERS/Sheng Li

– Tom Lyon is the director of the Erb Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise, and Peter Adriaens is a professor of entrepreneurship at the Zell Lurie Institute of Entrepreneurial Studies, both at the University of Michigan. The views expressed are their own. –

President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union speech, called for America to “out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world.” But who is the competition, exactly? Who is presenting “our generation’s Sputnik moment”? Who are we racing against to put a million electric vehicles on the road? The president’s answer: China.

Encouraging American innovation is a major piece of the president’s strategy to win the future. And a global leadership position in innovation is ours to lose.

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