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Future Talk

Charging Up Your Car

The country is inundated with convenience stores where customers can gas up, buy a burrito and be on their way. But anyone who purchases one of the electric vehicles coming online in the near future may search in vain on the road for an energy boost. Public electric charging stations are virtually nonexistent.

That has to change, says Bill Ford Jr., executive chairman of Ford Motor Company. “Customers don’t want to be panicked when they get their car about where and when they can recharge their vehicle,” he said recently at a plug-in electric vehicle conference in Detroit. “We have to make it easy for them.”

Several top business leaders have formed the Electrification Coalition, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group that will advocate for policies and actions leading to the mass deployment of electric vehicles, including convenient electric charging stations. In its first act, the coalition released a document called the Electrification Roadmap that sets a lofty goal: By 2040, 75 percent of the light-duty vehicle miles traveled in the U.S. should be electrically powered.