Six major U.S. utilities are joining forces to launch an unprecedented effort to expand access to electric vehicle (EV) charging. The Electric Highway Coalition – comprised of American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation, Southern Co., and the Tennessee Valley Authority – will move to install DC fast-charging stations in their respective regions.
The utilities’ individual efforts will make for seamless EV travel “on major highway systems on the Atlantic coast, in the Midwest and South, and in the Gulf and Central Plains regions,” according to the announcement press release. Coalition members will place stations in areas that are easily accessible from highways and have amenities for drivers, though final locations are still being determined.
“The Edison Electric Institute estimates 18 million EVs will be on U.S. roads by 2030,” said Dominion Energy in the release. “While many drivers recognize the benefits of driving an EV, such as the ease of low-cost home charging, some 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 driving around town, as well as traveling long distances.”
President and CEO at Dominion Energy Robert M. Blue said in the release, “Dominion Energy is committed to equitable and reliable charging access so our customers may experience the benefits of electric transportation, including reduced carbon emissions.” “We’re excited to collaborate with our utility partners on this important initiative to connect customers to charging resources and encourage electric vehicle travel.”
Last month, the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation confirmed in early February that they would co-develop and fund a statewide EV fast-charging network. The collaboration will add fast-charging stations every 50 miles on the state’s major highways and interstates – an effort that will make for around 50 new locations, tripling Tennessee’s current network.
“Through this partnership, TVA is positioned to be a national leader in electric transportation by making it easier for local power companies to install fast-charging stations, which make electric vehicles an easy choice for consumers to make,” remarked TVA President and CEO Jeff Lyash.
The announcement of the Electric Highway Coalition comes at a transformative moment for America’s EV prospects. Earlier this year, President Joe Biden committed to replacing the Nation’s federal vehicle fleet – more than 645,000 vehicles as of 2019 – with EVs, a move that aligns with his campaign trail commitments to make the EV transition a priority.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 authorized over $35 billion for clean energy technology development, largely through Department of Energy programs. The Energy Act of 2020, located in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, reinstated the Diesel Emissions Reduction Act. Additionally, the Energy Act’s Grid Modernization component “creates programs for research and development into integrating renewable energy and electric vehicles onto the electric grid,” according to the law firm Sidley Austin LLP.