According to the US Energy Information Administration, about 90% of the energy consumed in US transportation comes from petroleum. The EPA adds that the transportation sector is the leading source of greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) in the US, accounting for 29% of the nation’s GHGs. Although motivations among policymakers vary, many states are working to diversify the transportation sector fuel mix and drive down emissions by developing reliable electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure.
The Biden administration has moved to reinstate more stringent fuel economy standards, support state-level vehicle emission authority, and promote 100% zero-emission vehicle sales. These developments lead to broad questions about how much infrastructure is needed to support the transition to EVs. Limited EV charging infrastructure has been one of the main barriers to EV adoption, and deploying sufficient charging infrastructure in unison with EV deployment is critical to ensure EVs are as convenient as conventional vehicles.
Station Locator Tracks EV Charging across the US
“Public EV charging” refers to EV charging stations that are available to all EV drivers and located in publicly accessible locations, such as commercial locations or along highway corridors. The US Department of Energy (DOE) Alternative Fuels Data Center (AFDC) launched in 1991 in response to the Alternative Motor Fuels Act of 1988 and the Clean Air Act Amendments of
1990. Now, the Station Locator explores the growth of both public and private EV charging infrastructure in the US and has data available for the first calendar quarter (Q1) of 2021.
The ZEF Network was new to the Station Locator as of Q1, bringing the total number of networks in the Station Locator to 22.
- AmpUp (AMPUP)
- Blink (BN)
- ChargeLab (CHARGELAB)
- ChargePoint (CPN)
- Electrify America (EA)
- EV Connect (EVC)
- EV Charging Solutions (EVCS)
- evGateway (EVGATEWAY)
- EVgo (EVN)
- Francis Energy (FCN)
- FLO (FLO)
- FPL EVolution (FPLEV)
- Greenlots (GRN)
- OpConnect (OC)
- Powerflex (POWERFLEX)
- SemaConnect (SCN)
- Tesla Supercharger (TESLA)
- Tesla Destination (TESLAD)
- Volta (VLTA)
- Webasto (WEB)
- ZEF Network (ZEFNET)
As of March, 2021, there were 25 states that had at least 1,000 non-residential EV charging units (public and private). California had by far the greatest number of non-residential EV chargers with nearly 37,000 units. New York, Florida, and Texas had well over 4,000 each, while 11 other states had more than 2,000. Oklahoma had the highest share of DC fast chargers, accounting for 64% of the 1,044 non-residential chargers in the state.
What State Incentives are Available for EV Owners?
EVs surpassed 10 million cumulative sales globally in late 2020.
A very cool interactive map has been issued by the National Council of State Legislators that allows users to compare state hybrid and electric vehicle incentives. They also outline how, as of July, 2021, at least 47 states and the District of Columbia offer incentives to support deployment of EVs or alternative fuel vehicles and supporting infrastructure, either through state legislation or private utility incentives within the state. Legislative incentives include measures that provide:
- high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lane exemptions;
- tax credits;
- registration fee reductions designed to promote EV adoption;
- vehicle inspections or emissions test exemptions;
- parking incentives;
- zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) requirements for government fleets;
- utility rate reductions.
Utilities also offer incentives, rebates, and grants for transportation electrification. One of the most common incentives is price reductions for charging EVs during off-peak hours. For example, several electric utilities offer lower off-peak price per kilowatt-hour. Other utilities incentivize purchasing EVs and equipment through rebates.
Midwestern States Collaborate on EV Charging Infrastructure
Recognizing that EV adoption will create jobs, expand economic opportunity, promote energy independence, improve public health, and result in cleaner air and water, the governors of 5 Midwestern Great Lakes states announced a memorandum of understanding about a new bipartisan partnership to collaborate on the future of EV charging infrastructure across the region. The regional framework’s goal is to accelerate vehicle electrification while safeguarding economic security, reducing harmful emissions, improving public health, and advancing innovation.
The “Regional Electric Vehicle Midwest Coalition Memorandum of Understanding between (sic) Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin” acknowledges that electrification will reduce pollutants such as carbon dioxide throughout rural, suburban, and urban areas. Governor Eric Holcomb, a Republican, and the Democratic governors of Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, and Wisconsin signed the non-binding agreement to provide the “foundation for cooperation” on fleet electrification. In order to leverage and collectively increase public and private investment in EVs and EV infrastructure, the states intend to:
Accelerate Medium- and Heavy-Duty Fleet Electrification: Through REV Midwest, participating states will remove barriers to electric medium heavy duty vehicle (MHDV) adoption through coordination on charging infrastructure optimization, cooperation on best practices to standardize regulatory schemes, communications, and charging experience.
Elevate Economic Growth and Industry Leadership: Building on the advanced manufacturing, engineering, research and development, and technological expertise of the Midwest, REV Midwest will coordinate to advance clean energy and mobility manufacturing, safeguard industry electrification leadership, grow the region’s share of electric vehicle production, and elevate access to tools required to equip the workforce of tomorrow. REV Midwest will work to create opportunity for all communities, with a focus on assisting those that are historically disadvantaged.
- Advance Equity and Clean Environment: REV Midwest will advance equity by providing the data and tools to drive an equitable, data-driven, transition to electric vehicles for all communities. To reduce emissions, REV Midwest will cooperate with energy providers to address the full emissions reduction potential and encourage community sustainability through grid advancement.
How Can States Make EV Charging Infrastructures Ubiquitous?
What are the growing home, workplace, and public charging needs through 2030 to support the transition to EVs in the US? A report from Charging up America outlines a series of steps that will be needed for EV charging infrastructures to be commonplace, easily accessible, and worry-free.
- Steady charging infrastructure additions are needed to support the transition to electric vehicles. To support electric vehicle growth through 2030, public and workplace chargers will need to increase 27% annually.
- Broad charging infrastructure investments will be needed to support an expanding electric vehicle market. The charging infrastructure network will need to provide greater coverage for a diverse set of drivers by 2030. About a million chargers will be needed at multiunit dwellings to support apartment residents, and charging will need to grow at greater rates in many rural areas and across the Midwest and South.
- Associated charging infrastructure costs are substantial but are in line with recent trends. The associated 2021–2030 charging investments are $28 billion for public and workplace chargers, including $15 billion for charger installation labor. Direct current fast chargers are 7% of these chargers, provide 57% of the charging energy and represent 66% of the costs, reinforcing the need to install inexpensive and convenient home and workplace charging.
- Charging infrastructure costs can be shared across many interested stakeholders. Electric power utilities, private charging companies, automakers, and property owners each have roles in developing the charging infrastructure network. Charging investments can be spurred by public support from federal, state, and local governments via direct funding, cost-sharing, tax credits, regulations, and city codes.
Photo by Carolyn Fortuna, CleanTechnica