Six major utility companies in the US are joining forces to create a new EV charging network on major highways along the Atlantic coast, throughout the Midwest, and in many Southern states. Together they have formed the Electric Highway Coalition to provide electric car drivers with a seamless network of DC fast charging stations that spans their respective service areas. Cars configured for high power charging can recharge their batteries and be back on the road in about 30 minutes. The chargers will be located in places where travelers will be able to rest and relax while their cars are connected to the chargers.
“Throughout the ages, travelers have had to figure out how to get from point A to B. From feeding and watering horses, to filling gas tanks, and now recharging batteries, ensuring that there are convenient places to accomplish these tasks is critical,” said Nichola Akins, CEO of American Electric Power, in a press release. “With this effort, we are working to help drivers see that EVs fit their lifestyle and their travel plans, wherever the road might take them.” The other members of the coalition are Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation, Southern Company, and the Tennessee Valley Authority.
The Edison Electric Institute estimates 18 million EVs will be on US roads by 2030. While many drivers recognize the benefits of driving an EV — such as the ease and low cost of home charging — others are concerned with the availability of charging stations during long road trips. With efforts like the Electric Highway Coalition, electric companies are demonstrating to customers that EVs are a smart choice for traveling long distances as well as for driving around town.
The transition to electric vehicles is a top priority for the Biden administration, which plans to replace all the vehicles in the US government fleet as soon as possible. “The path to cleaner transportation is a robust charging infrastructure along the nation’s major highways,” Lang Reynolds, director of electrification strategy for Duke Energy, tells Reuters. “Range anxiety is a barrier to more EV adoption. This coalition can erase those obstacles and help deliver the benefits of EV ownership to consumers.”
Utility companies sell electricity. It’s what they do, so it makes sense for them to make supplying electricity to the nation’s fleet of electric vehicles as easy and convenient as possible. In addition, many members of the Electric Highway Coalition are offering programs to help EV owners install chargers in their homes, condos, and apartment buildings. Some are offering local incentives to purchase an electric car as well as time of use programs that reward EV drivers for charging their cars when demand for electricity is lowest.
The Electric Highway Coalition welcomes interested utilities to join as it seeks to extend the reach of network. Additionally, it supports and looks forward to working with other regional utility transportation corridor electrification initiatives. If your local utility is not involved in this effort, feel free to contact its executives to ask them to join the coalition.
There are 115,000 gas stations in the US and most of them have 10 or more pumps. That’s over 1 million pumps, give or take a few. The EV revolution will be complete when there are an equal number of EV chargers available to drivers. Thanks to initiatives like the Electric Highway Coalition, that day is getting closer all the time.
Image credit: American Electric Power