FreeWire Helps Road Ranger Get EV Charging Stations Up Faster

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Installing EV fast chargers is an expensive proposition. This is due to the need for high-voltage electrical infrastructure, which in many cases requires additional construction work and upgrades of existing infrastructure. Additionally, these chargers require more resources and energy than regular wall sockets, leading to increased costs. The complexity of installing fast chargers and ensuring efficient integration with the current grid often causes further expenses, making them costlier than regular charging solutions. Finally, service fees, maintenance costs and other services associated with the installation further contribute to the elevated price tag of fast chargers.

Of these charges, probably the worst ones are the demand charges. Utility demand charges are charges imposed by utilities on consumers for their actual or peak power demand during a specified period of time, typically measured in kilowatts and billed as the average energy used over a billing cycle. This charge is separate from the electricity usage charge and can represent up to 40% of an electric bill for commercial customers. For EV fast charging stations (which could need megawatts of capacity), these charges can be astronomical.

But, as we’ve covered before, FreeWire has an innovative solution to this problem. FreeWire Technologies works to reduce the costs of installing fast charging stations by integrating battery storage into the station. This means that the cost of electricity is significantly reduced, as the electric company only sells enough peak power to charge the battery pack and not the full draw a car needs. The charging equipment, along with 160 kWh of battery storage capacity, is all included in a single cabinet, making the process more efficient and cost effective.

This means that a station can be connected to existing commercial electric service, and can often simply replace a Level 2 station with Level 3 (DCFC).

This Gave Road Ranger A Much Easier Path To Offering EV Charging

Road Ranger is the fourth-largest travel center chain in the United States, with 46 locations across seven states — Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Indiana, Arkansas, and Texas. Its facilities are clean and well-lit with spacious lots for motorists who use its services. Professional drivers appreciate the amenities included at each location, such as CAT Scales and reliable top-tier gasoline. Road Ranger also provides complimentary customer loyalty programs and a wide variety of high-quality hot food to go. For quick-service restaurants, customers can choose from a selection including Ranger Kitchen, Dan’s Pizza, Tejas Tacos, Wendy’s, Subway, Church’s Chicken, Chester’s, Cinnabon, Dickie’s Barbecue Pit, McDonald’s, and Burger King.

In other words, they’re an ideal place for EV drivers to stop and take a break while the car charges, but until now, their travel centers didn’t have fast EV charging. But, working with FreeWire gave them a quick way to get into the game without crazy expenses.

On March 8, Road Ranger welcomed the first of many EV Boost Charging Stations to its Waco, Texas, location. The ribbon-cutting saw the commissioning of four machines, giving the site the capacity to charge up to 8 EVs simultaneously. Road Ranger’s EV Charging Stations are compatible with all Level 3 EVs, as well as Teslas when using an adapter. A single electric vehicle can charge at up to 150 kW, or two EVs can charge simultaneously at 75 kW.

“Our goal is to provide the consumer with the energy they need to keep them going. We know this comes in many forms – whether its food, water, gas, or electricity, we want all travelers to feel welcome here. As we continue to grow, adding EV charging to the already long list of amenities Road Ranger has to offer is very exciting,” said Marko Zaro, CEO of Road Ranger.

Road Ranger has committed to the purchase of 12 Boost Charger Charging Stations as part of its sustainability initiative. This will see 6 sites equipped in 2023, with the expectation that this number will double in future years.

“While we were not the first in our industry to join the EV community, it’s exciting to be a part of such a remarkable step forward, not only in Road Ranger’s history but in the future of fueling. Road Ranger strives to foster a positive relationship with not only our customers but the local communities we operate in as well. Ensuring we offer fueling alternatives is just another way to show the community how much we care about our future together,” said Ryan Arnold, VP of Marketing at Road Ranger.

What’s Great About This Deal

When we report on future EV charging stations (something I do a lot), we often see grand plans on grand timetables. Seeing something like, “We expect to see 500 stations by 2027!” isn’t uncommon. That’s because these companies only have so much money they can invest in EV charging every year, and it takes a lot of time to build a site out.

When a big chunk of the money doesn’t have to go to upgrading utilities and then paying crazy charges for operating them, it frees up money to make plans go a lot faster. It means that instead of giving utility companies more money, these companies can instead put stations up and serve EV drivers.

Plans for FreeWire and Road Ranger aren’t huge, but imagine how bad it would have been if they had to pay a bunch more money per station! Instead of hearing that they’re doing six more sites this year, they might have only done 2-3. So, EV drivers are the ultimate beneficiary of all this.

The other thing that’s great about this is that the flexible architecture of the FreeWire stations means more drivers can be served during an unusual glut of EV traffic. With the ability to charge two EVs at a time, the charging rate will be slower, but everybody gets a chance to hit the road faster than they would have standing in line. With all of the amenities that Road Ranger travel centers offer, spending a few more minutes instead of sitting in the car is probably just as comfortable, if not more so. Hopefully we’ll start seeing more deals like this in the future.

Featured image provided by FreeWire.

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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1953 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba