ChargePoint and Chevron have partnered on a new corridor of DC Fast Charging stations along California’s Interstate 5 that fill in a few of the key gaps in universal fast charging coverage in the area.
“We’re delighted to leverage our industry expertise to work with Chevron and the CEC to offer charging along some of the nation’s busiest routes, with more openings scheduled in the coming weeks and months,” Rich Quattrini, Vice President of Infrastructure Deployment at ChargePoint said. “When complete later this year, more than 70 locations will be available as part of the CEC program serving drivers on all major California highways, in addition to more than 20 fast charge locations planned closer to urban centers, all connecting communities that previously had limited access to EV charging.”
The stations are being installed as part of a California Energy Commission program designed to flesh out the universal fast charging network capability in the state. Ironically, the stations do not benefit Tesla Model 3 drivers as they are still unable to use any DC fast charging networks other than Tesla’s Supercharging network as the company has yet to provide any functional adapters for its customers.
The first ChargePoint fast charging location funded by the program was opened this week at the Coalinga Chevron and is the only universal fast charging station within 100 miles. Universal here means that it provides CHAdeMO, CCS, and J1772 all in a single location. We have talked about this particular location quite a bit here on CleanTechnica, as Tesla had an early focus on developing charging capacity here as well.
Tesla’s Harris Ranch Supercharger, which has 18 stalls x 125kW on the other side of the highway, was the home to Tesla’s first (and only) public battery swapping station that never really went public. Harris Ranch serves as the critical EV charging linkage between Los Angeles and San Francisco, so adding truly universal charging capability there does help to flesh out the charging network for manufacturers that choose not to build out their own charging networks.
ChargePoint’s new stations utilize Tritium’s 50kW VeeFil RT stations that provide Level 3 DC fast charging in a very compact, familiar footprint. Having said that, the new station serves as a sharp reminder of just how much work we have to do to build out the EV charging network. Leaning on government grants and funding to install the charging stations the drivers of the world need simply doesn’t feel sustainable. Considering that Tesla still has such a small percentage of the vehicles on the road and yet they already need 18 stations at this single location, operating at 2.5 times the speed, the gap is significant.
Locating the new stations at Chevron locations was a clear choice after Chevron Ventures’ made a sizeable investment into ChargePoint last December as part of its $240 million Series H funding round. In addition to the California Energy Commission grant funding, The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, ChargePoint and others also contributed to the funding. It’s an interesting smorgasbord of contributors that all pulled together to see new EV charging stations being installed at petrol stations up and down the state.
“We are excited to be working with ChargePoint to install electric vehicle charging stations at targeted locations in California,” said Adrian Bendeck, general manager of Chevron’s company-owned, company-operated network of fueling stations. “While gasoline and diesel remain an important part of California’s transportation energy mix, we are always testing and exploring how to evolve our offering, helping improve the consumer experience and working to remain the preferred brand choice on the West Coast.”
In total, the CEC program will see 70 new ChargePoint charging locations being installed along critical transportation corridors across the state, but in truth, these are little more than stop gaps. We are coming up on the cusp of a spike in public charging demand that most of the United States seem to be ignoring.
Tesla has addressed public fast charging for its customers in spades and the rest of the automotive industry seems content to let the taxpayers pick up the bill for the initial buildout. If Tesla’s 6X more stations pumping out 2.5X the power each is any indication, an EV charging revolution is needed to build out a fast charging network that will have any shot at keeping up with the demand that’s coming. We need more than taxpayer funded charge points to power the wave of electric vehicles that is coming.
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