The news that six major utilities including American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation, Southern Co., and the Tennessee Valley Authority, are teaming up to form The Electric Highway Coalition raises the question of the role infrastructure will play as America transitions to a zero-emissions future.
The utility leaders will work in their regions of operation to add electric vehicle DC fast-charging sites in an “unprecedented effort to offer convenient EV charging options across different company territories and allow EV travel without interruption.” This will create a system of charging stations spanning 16 states from the South to the Midwest, allowing EV drivers to rest assured that they will be able to recharge during their trip.
The Edison Electric Institute forecasts that 18 million EVs will be in use in America by 2030, the press release notes. And, while a major perk of driving an EV is that you can save money and the environment by charging at home, long-distance driving requires the use of public charging stations. That’s where the crucial role of EV charging infrastructure comes into play. Though EV giant Tesla has an impressive “Supercharger” fast-charging network, major utilities and the federal government have more recently begun to shift their focus to this priority. The emergence of the Electric Highway Coalition and the Biden Administration’s ambitious electrification goals indicate that the tide is turning and that “the American energy sector is serious about catching up to Tesla.”
There are many questions surrounding President Biden’s pledge to build a network of “500,000 new charging stations across the nation by 2030, about 10 times what the U.S. has now,” such as how much this will cost, where they should be located and where funding for them will come from. Despite these unanswered questions, the prospects are promising for a more sustainable and innovative future. As Bloomberg reports, “According to the Biden campaign’s estimates last year, this EV charging infrastructure would span the nation and allow any American to travel coast-to-coast in an EV by 2030.”
General Motors – which has established itself as a leader in the zero-emissions movement and has pledged all-zero-emission vehicles by 2035 – is also working to make more charging stations available for Americans. The Detroit-based automaker last summer announced a partnership with the company EVgo, which operates the Nation’s largest public EV fast-charging network, “to triple the size of the nation’s largest public fast-charging network by adding more than 2,700 new fast chargers over the next five years, a move set to help accelerate widespread electric vehicle adoption.” While we still have a long way to go, the agreement among automakers, the White House, and utilities that now is the time to bolster America’s EV infrastructure is a sign that we are headed for an EV future that could certainly be “made in America.”