Tucson tech: City ranks 8th for electric-car chargers

Rating for electric-car infrastructure seems low, but local enthusiasts will celebrate Sept. 23
2012-09-04T00:00:00Z 2014-07-02T12:33:11Z Tucson tech: City ranks 8th for electric-car chargersDavid Wichner Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star

As one of the original cities benefiting from the federally funded EV Project to install electric-car chargers across America, Tucson should be one of the leaders in EV charging infrastructure.

And it is, according to a recent ranking of the top EV-ready cities by Xatori Inc., a Silicon Valley-based company that gathered data from users of its mobile and Web applications to find and share charging stations.

Tucson ranked eighth among the top 10 cities for EV readiness, based on an estimate of 5.3 public charging locations per 100,000 residents.

Portland, Ore., led the rankings with 11.1 chargers per 100,000 people, followed by Dallas (10.6); Nashville, Tenn. (8.2); the San Francisco Bay area (6.6); Seattle; (6.5); and Orlando, Fla. (6.3). Austin, Texas, tied with Tucson at 5.3 chargers, though Austin was listed at seventh, perhaps because of rounding. For more information, go to xatori.com

The ranking seems a little low, given the latest count by the Pima Association of Governments, which put the number of public Level 2 (220-volt) charging sites at 75 as of May. That number is closer to 100 now, PAG says.

Using the metro Tucson (Pima County) census population of about 990,000 in 2010, Xatori's charger figure of locations per 100,000 in Tucson works out to about 53 chargers.

Nevertheless, local EV enthusiasts will have a chance to celebrate Tucson's EV-ready status later this month.

"Tucson Plugs In 2012" is the Southern Arizona event of National Plug In Day 2012, the second annual electric vehicle awareness celebration sponsored nationally by Plug In America, the Sierra Club and the Electric Auto Association.

Locally backed by the Tucson Electric Vehicle Association 2 (TEVA2), Tucson Plugs In will be held Sunday, Sept. 23, at the Arizona Inn, 2200 E. Elm St. The historic inn recently installed eight Ecotality Blink Level 2 charging systems on its property.

The general public is invited to attend for free from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The local EV group expects local auto dealers and private EV owners to display their cars, allowing participants to get up close and learn more.

For more information, go to the event blog at tucsonplugsin.blogspot.com

MISSILE CONTRACT EXPECTED

Tucson-based Raytheon Missile Systems is expecting a new development contract for perhaps its biggest prospective weapon program, the Joint Air to Ground Missile, or JAGM.

Raytheon is in a competition with Lockheed Martin to develop and produce the all-weather missile, planned as a replacement for the effective but aging Hellfire, Maverick and air-launched TOW (Tube-launched, Optically-tracked, Wireless-guided) systems.

After both companies tested their JAGM systems under separate $120 million-plus demonstration-phase contracts awarded in 2008, the Pentagon balked at funding the program and a decision on the winning design was postponed.

After Pentagon budgeters left only a token amount in the current budget for JAGM, with encouragement from Congress the Army decided to stretch out the technology-development phase using unspent program funds.

In mid-August, Lockheed Martin was awarded a $64 million contract for a 27-month extended technology development program that will include design, test and demonstration phases for the JAGM guidance section.

At a recent event at Raytheon Missile Systems, President Taylor Lawrence said the company is in talks with the Army for a similar contract.

Innovation Awards finalists

A Tucson electronics company, a local tech startup and a solar-demonstration area at the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park and IBM Corp. are among the finalists for the 2012 Governor's Celebration of Innovation Awards.

Tucson Embedded Systems and The Solar Zone at the UA Tech Park are among three finalists for the Green Innovator of the Year award. EquiSight LLC, a startup developing a real-time video system for horse racing, is a finalist for Innovator of the Year-Start-Up Company, while IBM in Tucson is up for the Innovator of the Year award for large companies.

The UA's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship are finalists for the Innovator of the Year award for academia.

For more information on the awards and event, go to tinyurl.com/85z3qus

Contact Assistant Business Editor David Wichner at dwichner@azstarnet.com or 573-4181.

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