Brother, can you wait for a charge?

One of the biggest dilemmas posed by an electric car or plug-in hybrid is range, followed quickly by "How the heck do I recharge this?"

The Nissan Leaf has a range of about 100 miles, the Chevy Volt about 40. The Volt can cruise farther using its tiny gas motor to produce energy for the electric drive.

So for somebody like me who has either hitchhiked or broken down far too many times to ever want to be stranded on a highway again, the Volt would be the only choice. Freedom is important.

But this just in from the Bay Area Air Quality Management Division: "$5 million for electric vehicles recharging stations."

Cool. Drop in the bucket, but you've got to start somewhere.

The Bay Area Air District says it will help establish a network of "accessible charging sites where electric vehicle owners can conveniently recharge while conducting their normal business, running errands or shopping." The money will pay for grants that include 3,000 home chargers at single family and multi-family homes, 2,000 public chargers at businesses and high-density parking areas and 50 fast chargers close to highways.

“The past several years have seen exciting progress in the development of electric vehicle technology,” said Air District Executive Officer Jack P. Broadbent, in the statement. “Creating a useful charging network will make it easier for Bay Area residents to Spare the Air every day by going electric.”'s Christopher DeMorro called fast charging "a real game changer" in a post about another company rolling out fast chargers this quarter. A conventional trickle charge takes about eight hours.

Still, I'm not convinced this electric thing will work. Say I'm on the Grapevine dangerously low on power. I pull into a charging station, twiddle my thumbs waiting for an outlet with the other green traveling yahoos, then plug in. Say it takes 15 to 30 minutes for a fast charge. That adds maybe an hour to your Fresno-L.A. commute, after all is said and done. Sort of like catching traffic on the 405.

Photo: Fast charger offered by Monrovia, Calif.-based AeroVironment.