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 RICHMOND, Va., Nov. 9 /PRNewswire/ -- Virginia Power has taken an initial step toward helping the development of a safe and advanced infrastructure for recharging electric vehicles.
 The company has signed a letter of intent with Hughes Power Control Systems (HPCS) to become a regional licensee for the HPCS inductive charging system. The state-of-the-art technology assures maximum safety for consumers and high levels of protection for electrical dit?ribution systems.
 "Electric vehicles hold great promise to help our nation use energy more efficiently and protect the environment. These benefits cannot be realized, however, unless drivers have access to a safe, simple, uniform recharging system," said James T. Rhodes, Virginia Power president and chief executive officer. "The HPCS system's benefits extend beyond convenience and safety. The use of this system as a standard will help protect the integrity of electric utilities' high quality distribution systems while assuring their efficient use."
 Virginia Power's support of the inductive charging system is part of the company's ConserVision commitment to seek out and develop advanced programs and technologies that help customers use energy wisely and reduce environmental impacts.
 Electric vehicles, which produce no tailpipe emissions, are increasingly seen as a remedy for urban air pollution problems. The number of electric cars and trucks on American roads is expected to grow rapidly during the mid to late 1990s as federal and state laws requiring their increased usage go into effect. Recent studies indicate emissions of pollutants such as carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds can be reduced sharply through the use of electric vehicles.
 An important aspect of the Hughes inductive charger system is that it can be easily linked to utility systems that manage the demand for electricity. This feature will help protect electrical distribution systems from overloads and allow utilities to reduce the overall demand for power during peak periods.
 The Hughes system is also best equipped to protect the integrity of its electrical distribution system, according to Rhodes. Distribution facilities may be placed under great stress if electric vehicles become commonplace and are recharged with systems lacking the HPCS inductive chargers' safety features. The HPCS system minimizes power quality problems that could damage electrical equipment as well as utility distribution facilities during vehicle recharging.
 "The inductive charging offered by HPCS is an exciting and promising technology, and we believe our cooperation with Hughes will help this system become the standard for recharging throughout the southeast and the country," Rhodes said.
 Inductive charging is an advanced technology originally developed by HPCS for operating valves on undersea oil drilling rigs. The system uses magnetic fields to transfer electricity from an alternating current circuit to an electric vehicle's batteries. A paddle-shaped inductive coupler attached to the charger is inserted into a port on the vehicle. The insertion sets up an interaction of magnetic fields that completes the circuit and transfers the energy.
 Unlike conductive chargers which use plugs, the HPCS devices have no exposed contacts and can be used safely in all weather conditions.
 "We are pleased that Virginia Power's evaluation led them to adopt our inductive charging system," said Troy Nestor, Hughes program manager. "With Virginia Power's help we are developing a responsive and seamless distribution system for the convenience of electric vehicle consumers."
 The letter of intent signed by the two companies commits Virginia Power and HPCS to negotiations for the development of a licensing agreement. As regional licensee, Virginia Power would have the right to sell the inductive charging system in nine Southeastern states and the District of Columbia. Virginia Power would also be authorized to sublicense other utilities in the Southeast to sell the chargers outside its service area and hopes to work with utilities throughout the region to promote this technology.
 Virginia Power's licensing agreement with HPCS would cover the states of Virginia, Delaware, Maryland, West Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Georgia and Florida, as well as the District of Columbia.
 A licensing agreement would enable Virginia Power to promote and sell the complete line of HPCS chargers, including residential systems using 220-volt service to recharge vehicles in two to three hours. HPCS also manufactures curbside rechargers for use along streets and in parking decks, as well as larger recharging stations for electric vehicle fleets.
 HPCS and Virginia Power hope that the inductive system will be adopted as a national and international standard for charging electric vehicles. HPCS has already entered into agreements with Boston Edison and EV Power Inc. of Dallas for regional distribution of the inductive charging system.
 Hughes Power Control Systems is located in Torrance, Calif., and is a unit of GM Hughes Electronics' Delco Electronics Corp. subsidiary.
 -0- 11/9/93
 /NOTE TO EDITORS: The HPCS chargers may be viewed and photographed from 3-5 p.m. today at Virginia Power's corporate headquarters, One James River Plaza, 701 E. Cary St., in Richmond. The chargers will be in the lobby area in front of the auditorium on floor 1-B. Virginia Power personnel will be available in the lobby area to answer questions./
 -0- 11/9/93
 /CONTACT: William H. Byrd of Virginia Power, 804-771-6115, or Kearney Bothwell of GM Hughes Electronics, 310-334-4997/

CO: Virginia Power; GM Hughes Electronics ST: Virginia IN: UTI SU: PDT

KD-IH -- DC014 -- 3639 11/09/93 11:29 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 9, 1993

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