A few years ago I heard on the news about this new service in Europe called ‘It’s a Better Place’. Their tag line is the ‘the global provider of electric vehicle networks’.

At the time we were being drawn into Iraq and the Middle East. Our trade deficit was soaring as was our national debt. The idea that a single solution might address so many things at once, enable the to be more self sufficient in our energy use, to be more self-reliant, to rely less on expensive military, and a solution that does all these things is kinder to the environment too? It seemed too good to be true.

I joined their news release and get updates about their progress. They do make progress, they do have a presence in many nations. Their solution or their primary service is… service stations. Just like we pull into a gas station to fill up, ‘a Better Place’ is in the process of creating and implementing the technology that would allow us to do the same with electric cars, pull into a service station and ‘fill er up’.

Why is this a big deal? Every day we hear about advances in electric cars, greater travel capability, greater charge time. We already have ‘hybrids’ that sport an electric and gas powered engine to address this very issue; the limitation of traveling with a limited charge. So, this is the big deal. When someone begins to deploy charging stations available to most drivers, just like we drive down the road and see gasoline stations every block, the limiting issue traveling only where your charge will get you, (and safely return), will be overcome.

It’s fun to observe time and culture and especially to be at a threshold you might not be aware of. For baby boomers who celebrated the century of travel freedom with the internal combustible engine, it is difficult to imagine a silent car that produces no emissions. It clearly would be science fiction except, it is happening right now.

When we stored 100 megabytes on our pc’s we thought we could map the universe; now we store ten times that amount on a thumb drive on our key chain. So what is so special this week? I have followed ‘its a Better Place’ and observed their steady progress but have hardly heard anything in the United States.

Vanderbilt University will offer charging stations in part of its parking area:

“Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) has announced it will participate in a pilot rollout that will install more than 15,000 electric vehicle (EV) charging stations by June 2011 as part of The EV Project, the largest deployment of EV charging infrastructure in history. The rollout will take place in 16 cities and metropolitan areas in six states, as well as Washington, D.C.”

Cracker Barrel is adding charging stations to many of it’s restaurants:

“Cracker Barrel Old Country Store Inc. has launched a pilot project in which it will install Blink electric vehicle chargers, provided by ECOtality Inc., at 24 restaurants across Tennessee.”

It’s hard to imagine having a road difficulty or simply needing to contact a friend or work colleage and not having a cell phone but the revolution is hardly ten years old.

Next time you pump yourself a full tank of gas, enjoy that dizzy feeling as you inhale just a bit; it may be a faint memory sooner than we know.

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