By Gordy Leach, WCCO-TV

MAPLEWOOD (WCCO) — Usually being charged is kind of negative: You are being assessed a fee, accused of a crime and perhaps people or animals are running at you to attack. However, not so with the Charge Point electric vehicle charging station recently installed at 3M’s corporate HQ in Maplewood.

They had a press event a few weeks ago to show it off, and had a Chevy Volt there for demonstration purposes.

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

This was the first time I had seen a Volt in person, and it looks …. really normal. The round door just behind the left front wheel covers the socket where the power cord connects.

You will remember that the Volt is a plug-in hybrid, which means it functions as a pure electric vehicle until its batteries reach a certain point of discharge. At that time, a gasoline engine kicks in, not to drive the wheels, but to provide power to the electric drive system.

Since the idea of a car like the Volt is to use as little gasoline as possible, charging stations will be more and more common. That’s why car makers and charging station companies came up with a common plug. And is it just me, or does the charging station look an awful lot like a miniature version of an old-fashioned gas pump?

(credit: CBS)

(credit: CBS)

The Volt, and other electrics, can be charged at 220 volts (faster) or normal 110 volt household current (slower).

3M included a brochure from Coulomb Technologies in their electronic press kit, and I have included it here for your viewing pleasure. Do you know what a bollard is? I learned from reading this brochure (Coulomb Brochure) that a bollard (I looked it up on is a “a thick low post, usually of iron or steel, mounted on a wharf or the like, to which mooring lines from vessels are attached.”

In the case of an electric car, the “mooring line” is electrified. By the way, a charging station usually works when you give it the proper “charge card” or credit card, but 3M, at least for now, is letting visitors to their administration building charge their electric cars for free.

As electrics become more common, “getting charged” will have at least one positive connotation.