It Took Time To Build Gas Stations Too, Says 97-Year-Old Driver (Video)

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"I love to drive," says the 97-year-old driver. "And that's, to me, part of my longevity."

But Charlie Yaeger is old enough to remember when gas stations were so sparse that drivers had to memorize where every one was located.

In a new video issued by Nissan, he draws parallels between that experience and today's rapid build-out of public electric-car charging stations.

The man who's driven everything from a 1916 Baker Electric and a Ford Model T to an Eighties Nissan Maxima wagon appears on the video reminiscing about the state of U.S. roads.

Before the Interstate Highway System was developed in the 1950s by President Dwight D. Eisenhower--as a defense measure, by the way--roads were simply paving laid on top of muddy tracks, Yaeger recalls.

"We reveled in the fact that we had 60 miles of concrete from Chicago to Danville," Yaeger says.

"Well, that was the superhighway then: two 12-foot lanes of concrete, with no shoulder."

"It was very gradual until Eisenhower," Yaeger recalls.

But electric-car charging locations, even the DC quick-charging stations, are remarkably inexpensive compared to just a single mile of concrete road.

In most cases, running the appropriate electric wiring from the transformer or building electric panel to the station costs as much as the charging station--with simpler 240-Volt Level 2 stations now available at less than $1,000.

So Yaeger offers a useful long-term perspective on the gradual arrival of vehicle infrastructure.

2011 Nissan Leaf plugged into an EVgo quick-charging station, Texas

2011 Nissan Leaf plugged into an EVgo quick-charging station, Texas

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Indeed, he may be one of the few living drivers who have driven production electric cars separated by 95 years of the gasoline century.

And the all-but-centenarian driver is optimistic about the future for electric cars as part of the U.S. vehicle mix.

“It will be another infrastructure evolution,” said Yaeger.

He's seen it before, remember.

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