February 23, 2012
It could be the fuel of the future - plug it in and you get 100 miles of battery power in under 30 minutes.
"It's a new technology that's being made here in Virginia," said John Aker, founder of Aker Wade.
Located off of Airport Road in Albemarle County, Aker Wade designs, builds and ships chargers for electric vehicles all over the world.
"That's the most exciting part of our job is that we are here in Virginia and we ship internationally," said Jennifer Linkous, a Sales Manager at Aker Wade.
The company, which started in 2000, builds around 1,000 chargers each year for industrial forklifts. They also designed the first fast charging car station in Australia, along with two others in Charlottesville. "We've been working with the Department of Energy and the City of Charlottesville to create this stuff," said Aker.
The city will receive three Nissan Leaf electric cars. Aker Wade will be designing their chargers thanks to a grant from the US Department of Energy. One of the cars will be for the Charlottesville Police Department and the other two will be used for the city's Public Works department.
Aker Wade hopes to have the charging stations up and running by the end of March.
"We haven't really done these kinds of research and development projects very often, so the fact that we are all on an interesting learning curve makes it nice to be dealing with local folks," said Kristel Riddervold, the Environmental Administrator for the City's Public Works Department.
Aker Wade is a local resource that uses local talent, employing graduates from the University of Virginia and other nearby universities and community colleges.
"Charlottesville is a rich city for engineering talent, with the University of Virginia and other local universities," said John Upson, the Director of Operations at Aker Wade. "It's possible gas could by four dollars by the summer, and electric cars are going to be more popular than they are now."
Expanding on Upson's comments, Aker made a prediction. "What you are going to see by the middle of this century is a world that is fueled by renewable energy," he said.
An electrifying change that Aker Wade hopes to help drive.
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