A new petition for plug-in vehicles aims to quick-charge support for a national quick-charging infrastructure sponsored by the government.

The petition created on the White House website contends that fast-charging stations need to be placed at 50-mile intervals along the U.S. interstate highway system to facilitate mass adoption of plug-in vehicles.

Ryan Mackenzie, a 29-year-old self-described EV enthusiast from San Antonio, has attracted 402 signatures in 10 days. Successful petitions are forwarded to policy experts for an official response.

The push for an electric-charging infrastructure already has the support of the U.S. Department of Energy, automakers, engineers, plug-in vehicle enthusiasts and electric vehicles equipment suppliers.

In July we reported on the Interoperability Center launched at Argonne National Laboratory to harmonize standards across the auto world to facilitate the mass adoption of plug-in vehicles. A key component of that is a fast-charging infrastructure powered by a smart power grid.

Consumers need to be assured that they can get to their destination without inconvenience or worry, also known as range anxiety, and the infrastructure supplied will be compatible with their vehicles. The DOE has pumped $4.5 billion, matched by the auto industry, into reducing these anxieties.

The vast majority of plug-in vehicle owners do their charging at home with a Level 1 or Level 2 AC charger. A fast-charger, or DC charger, can recharge a plug-in to 80 percent in 20 minutes. Not only is it hours faster than a Level 2 charge, it’s also more like the current gas station infrastructure we’re used to.

It’s hard to estimate how many public chargers have been installed three years into the age of the plug-in vehicle 2.0. In Illinois, Gov.  Pat Quinn’s ambition for the state to be the nation’s largest network of fast-chargers got temporarily unplugged as the service provided floundered and its replacement has been mired in litigation. Some 280 Level 2 chargers are planned, with more than half completed, and 73 fast-charging stations are slated for the state’s roadways.  

It’s only a matter of time. Over 110,000 plug-in vehicles have been sold thus far. Mackenzie feels the urgency to create the infrastructure to support the growing number of plug-in drviers. The petition needs 100,000 signatures by August 22, 2013 for the Obama administration to respond to him. There are only 389.

rduffer@tribune.com; Twitter @chitribuneauto