Utilities Leading the Way On EV Growth

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Energy Fairness has consistently supported electric vehicle (EV) growth while maintaining that power grid reliability must remain a priority. While EVs will account for 20 million cars sold annually by 2030, only 10,000 public fast-charging stations exist in the U.S. That number will need to increase ten-fold to account for the influx of EVs. Fortunately, utilities are being proactive about getting ready for an EV revolution. 

Last year the Edison Electric Institute (EEI) announced that a coalition of more than 50 U.S. power companies will join forces to build a coast-to-coast fast-charging EV network along major U.S. travel corridors by the end of 2023. Fifty EEI members, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and two existing EV charging groups, the Electric Highway Coalition and the Midwest Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Collaboration, make up the coalition. 

While the group did not set a numerical goal for charging stations, it said its first actions would be to fill the gaps in the steadily growing EV charging infrastructure along the Interstate Highway System.

“[W]e are committed to investing in and providing the charging infrastructure necessary to facilitate electric vehicle growth and to helping alleviate any remaining customer range anxiety,” says EEI President Tom Kuhn.

Not to be outdone, a coalition of 31 electric coops in the Upper Midwest have also banded together to create a regional EV charging network across some of the more rural areas of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Iowa. The CHARGE EV network has invested in more than 40 Level 2 and Level 3 chargers across these four states.  A level 2 charger is the most commonly used level for EV charging.  It can replenish between 12 and 80 miles of range per hour. A Level 3 EV charger can recharge an EV at a rate of 3 to 20 miles per minute.

As we’ve noted before, concerns about battery life and a lack of charging stations have held back large-scale EV adoption. However, having access to a robust network of charging stations in rural and urban areas will undoubtedly change the trajectory of the EV transition.

The Biden Administration is also doubling down on EV support. In August, the President signed an executive order to have electric vehicles comprise half of the cars and trucks sold in the U.S. by 2030. 

And last month, on the heels of the passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (PL-117-58), the Biden Administration unveiled an EV Charging Action Plan to implement the $5 billion included in the new law for states to build out a national charging network.    

The investment in the EV charging network from the utility and government sectors is a cause for celebration. The shift to EVs is a very viable means of cutting vehicle and overall carbon emissions while at the same time facilitating the development of a robust domestic electric vehicle industry.