Star Charge Integrated PV-ESS-EVSE Charging Hub Solution

EV Charging Station Blues Banished By Fresh Flood Of Money

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If you noticed a torrent of news about EV charging stations over the weekend, that’s no accident. New federal funds for building out the nation’s EV charging station network are finally beginning to kick in. As for where all those new charging stations are going to come from, that’s a good question.

EV Charging Station Maker Comes To Ohio

At least some of those new EV charging stations will come from the the global firm Star Charge. The company is headquartered in China and manufactures equipment in China and Vietnam. Last December, Star Charge also announced it is setting up shop in Columbus, Ohio, with the aim of producing 20,000 EV chargers per year, including DC fast chargers compatible with federal NEVI (Next-Generation Electric Vehicle Infrastructure) standards.

Twenty thousand could be just for starters. “The US is one of the largest EV markets and is expected to continuously grow over the next decade,” Star Charge CEO Herman Chang explained in a press statement.

“Alongside this new plant, we are actively seeking to engage with local talents, foster strategic partnerships, and establish dedicated service teams to enhance our operations and accessibility to our US customers,” Chang added.

CleanTechnica’s Kyle Field had the opportunity to speak with representatives from the company last November.

“One of the key new markets StarCharge is targeting is gas stations. Hundreds of thousands of gas stations across the country are trying to figure out how to get their piece of the EV charging market, and StarCharge is moving in to fill the gap,” he noted.

To the extent that selling liquid fuel is a loss leader for gas station convenience stores, EV charging stations are a bottom line benefit. “With EV charging taking more time than filling a tank of gas, the opportunity to rake in revenue from food, snacks, and drinks is that much larger,” Field noted.

More Bad News For Fossil Fuels

NEVI is a five-year, $5 billion national EV charging station buildout program, financed with federal dollars through the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill. The funding is focused on ensuring that long-distance EV drivers can find charging stations at convenient locations along the Interstate highway system and other roads designated by the Federal Highway Administration as Alternative Fuel Corridors.

The program launched in February of 2022, with a September 2022 goal for certifying plans submitted by the states.

Though some states have been slow to pick up the EV charging station ball (looking at you Mississippi), others have been charging full speed ahead so to speak, with or without an assist from NEVI.

California, of course, has been a perennial EV charging station headline-maker. The latest news dropped on Valentine’s Day, when the California Energy Commission announced a new $1.9 billion plan to build out the state’s EV charging network as well as its hydrogen fuel stations, with a particular emphasis on underserved communities.

“These investments will help deploy infrastructure for light, medium, and heavy-duty zero-emission vehicles (ZEV) across California, creating the most extensive charging and hydrogen refueling network in the country,” CEC stated. If all goes according to plan, the new funds will add another 40,000 new EV chargers to the 94,000 already installed in California.

“The funding is part of the $48 billion dollar California Climate Commitment, which includes more than $10 billion for ZEVs and ZEV infrastructure. The state has also received billions from the Biden-Harris Administration for clean transportation,” CEC notes.

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Illinois Chimes In With More Charging Stations

More charging station news dropped last week from Illinois, where Capitol News Illinois reported that the state is following through on a goal of supporting 1 million electric vehicles.

The million-EV plan was announced in 2021. As of last summer, the tech firm Recurrent noted that just 76,071 EVs were registered in Illinois, so there is a lot of ground to make up. Nevertheless, Recurrent also noted that “Illinois has increasingly become a hot spot for electric vehicles. IIllinois now has the ninth highest number of vehicle registrations.”

Capitol News reporter Cole Longcor also noted that the state’s EV charging infrastructure is already on track to double in 2024, “buoyed by an influx of state and federal dollars.”

“State funding allocated in 2023 put Illinois on course to double the number of direct current, or DC, fast charging ports on state roads within a year, from 993 to 1,914.,” Longcor elaborated. “The increase brings the number of fast charging ports to over 25 percent of the 7,000 DC ports estimated to be needed to support the state’s EV goals.”

That’s a good headstart. Overall, state officials expect that 36,000 public charging ports will be needed to support 1 million EVs, including about 7,000 fast charging ports, Longcor reported, citing an email statement from Megha Lakhchaura, EV coordinator at the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

In addition to NEVI funding, Illinois is also deploying federal funds from the Charging and Fueling Infrastructure program to support local EV trips, along with a financial assist from the Illinois EPA and Department of Transportation.

A new state law requiring EV charging infrastructure for all newly built homes will also help ensure that EV drivers in Illinois have all the charging stations they need, and then some.

What’s Up With Mississippi?

Check out that Capitol News story for many more details on the EV charging station efforts in Illinois. Now let’s take a look at Mississippi for a study in Valentine’s Day news contrasts.

On February 14, the nonprofit news organization Mississippi Today took stock of the state’s dismal record on EV adoption and EV charging infrastructure.

“In Mississippi, only about 3 out of every 10,000 people own an electric vehicle — the lowest ratio of any state in the nation,” noted reporter Alex Rozier.

With 145 total stations, the state has just under five for every 100,000 people, much lower than the national rate of 19 per 100,000,” he added.

On the bright side, Mississippi will begin installing 30 new EV charging stations with an assist from $50 million in federal NEVI funding, to be focused on highway locations.

Don’t hold your breath. If all goes according to plan, the new stations won’t show up until 2026 at the earliest. As reported by Rozier, the holdup is a lack of planning.

“There are some states nationwide that already had programs before the national program was established. We are not one of those states,” Jessica Dilley, director of Alternative Program Deliveries at the Mississippi Department of Transportation, Rozier. Coordinating with utilities, local communities and other stakeholders all had to be done from scratch.

It remains to be seen if more EV charging stations propel EV sales in the state. Dilley also told Rozier that her agency received a “good amount” of negative responses during a public comment for the new EV plan, some expressing resistance to EVs altogether, and others criticizing the use of public funds.

The outlook could look brighter if the EV industry grows its footprint in Mississippi, and that is happening. Just last month, state legislators approved a public incentive package aimed at bringing a new $1.9 billion EV battery factory to Mississippi.

The new venture is owned by the Accelera branch of Cummins along with Daimler Truck and PACCAR, and the Chinese lithium-ion battery firm EVE Energy Co., Ltd.

“The companies intend to invest about $1.9 billion for the plant in Marshall County, near the Tennessee state line, and it would be the second-largest corporate investment in Mississippi history,” Associated Press reported on January 28, so stay tuned for more on that.

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Image: Solar-eneabled EV charging station with microgrid courtesy of Star Charger via prnewswire.com.


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Tina Casey

Tina specializes in advanced energy technology, military sustainability, emerging materials, biofuels, ESG and related policy and political matters. Views expressed are her own. Follow her on LinkedIn, Threads, or Bluesky.

Tina Casey has 3331 posts and counting. See all posts by Tina Casey