Utilities agree to expand fast charging locations to boost EV adoption


Six utilities said they plan to help electric vehicle (EV) drivers travel across major parts of the country with ready access to a network of DC fast chargers.

The charging stations would be sited along major highways from the Atlantic Coast, through the Midwest and South, and into the Gulf and Central Plains regions.

The plan was released by the Electric Highway Coalition, made up of American Electric Power (AEP), Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corp., Southern Co., and the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA). The companies are each taking steps to provide EV charging within their service territories.

The utilities are not alone in building EV charging networks. EVgo has fast charging stations in 34 states and 67 metropolitan areas across the country. It has deployed fast chargers and Level 2 chargers at shopping centers, parking garages, grocery stores, and hotels, among other locations.

And in January, Electrify America’s commercial arm said it would provide charging equipment, networking, and services to support Arizona Public Service Co.’s Take Charge AZ initiative. The venture includes five charging stations across the state with four individual chargers each.

Electrify America expects to install around 800 charging stations with about 3,500 DC fast chargers by December. Chargers are planned for 29 metro areas and 45 states, including two cross-country routes.

Easing range anxiety

Range anxiety is a barrier to EV adoption. The utility EV coalition said it plans to ease that concern and help consumers benefit from EV ownership. The stations will provide chargers that are capable of getting drivers back on the road in 20-30 minutes.

TVA is working to bring up to $40 million in programs to support EV adoption in the next five years in and around the Tennessee Valley. It said its goals include enabling more than 200,000 EVs to be on Valley roadways by 2028.

TVA also recently announced that it and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation will develop and fund a fast-charging network across interstates and major highways in the Volunteer State. TVA also said it plans to work with state agencies in other states to develop a fast-charging network across the Tennessee Valley.

In 2018, AEP Ohio launched a $10 million program to deploy 375 charging stations in partnership with local governments, workplaces, and multi-family dwellings to increase publicly available charging sites and demonstrate the benefit of public-private partnerships as part of the Smart Columbus initiative.

And, Duke Energy previously launched a program to expand EV charging both internally and externally through several utility pilot programs. An internal Electrify By Example initiative includes an effort to install chargers at all work locations to enable employees to drive electric.

In Florida, the company’s Park and Plug pilot has installed more than 570 EV public charging stations. Fifty of the 570 are fast charging stations connecting areas of Florida previously underserved by EV fast charging infrastructure.

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