Electric car owners seek more outlets

Steve Bernheim shows off his Corbin Sparrow fully electric auto in the driveway of his home in Edmonds, Wash., on Oct. 8. He has discovered several local charging stations to power his vehicle while on-the-go. Elaine Thompson, The Associated Press

AP

Steve Bernheim shows off his Corbin Sparrow fully electric auto in the driveway of his home in Edmonds, Wash., on Oct. 8. He has discovered several local charging stations to power his vehicle while on-the-go. Elaine Thompson, The Associated Press

By Phuong Le

SEATTLE – Owning an electric vehicle requires more than global-cooling ambitions. It takes planning, sharp vision – and a 50-foot extension cord.

Steve Bernheim knows accessible outlets like a firefighter knows hydrants. He has to – his Corbin Sparrow runs only 25 miles per charge.

“You do guerrilla charging where you locate these plugs,” said Bernheim, an attorney who lives in the Seattle suburb of Edmonds.

While California has more than 500 public charging stations at parks, malls and grocery stores to serve electric vehicles, the network is still thin across the rest of the country, forcing drivers to get creative.

That may change as charging stations crop up in San Jose, Calif., Seattle and Portland, Ore., to serve early adopters and pave the way for a new breed of mass market plug-in cars.

“Every auto company in the world is developing all-electric or plug-in hybrids,” said Zan Dubin Scott, a spokeswoman for Plug In America, a nonprofit advocacy group for electric car owners. The vast majority of electric vehicle owners charge their cars at home while they sleep, so most trips aren’t a problem.

With electric cars becoming more popular, these charging stations may soon be spotted nationwide, in easily accessible areas.