Electric vehicles need a place to charge, especially away from home, and carmakers have repeatedly said during the past several years expanding the availability of public charging is vital to growing the acceptance of electric vehicles.
The Biden administration provides a major investment in charging stations in the infrastructure plans being debated by the U.S. Senate this summer — but that legislation is still being worked out. This leaves the void to be filled by charging companies and some are stepping up.
Electrify America announced plans to double its current electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the United States and Canada with more than 1,800 fast charging stations and 10,000 individual chargers installed by the end of 2025.
The expansion will increase the deployment of 150 and 350 kilowatt chargers – the fastest speed available today – and help pave the way for more electric vehicles in North America, according to Electrify America officials, which is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Volkswagen Group of America.
Expansion doubles size of current network
“We have decided to double our current charging infrastructure in North America over the next four years to help meet the need for the rapid growth expected of electric vehicles by virtually all the auto manufacturers, and to help make EV adoption more accessible and attractive than ever,” said Giovanni Palazzo, president and chief executive officer, Electrify America.
“We are making this commitment to support the plans by major automakers and the U.S. and Canadian governments to help the transformation to an electric mobility transportation system.”
Palazzo said announcement expands Electrify America’s previous commitment to invest $2 billion in 10 years — part of VW’s settlement with U.S. regulators due to the diesel emissions cheating scandal — in Zero Emission Vehicle infrastructure, education and access in the U.S.
Charging network to reach new states
As part of the expansion, Electrify America will not only add more stations in established U.S. regions, but also add the states of Hawaii, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming and Vermont to its network.
When the expansion is complete, the network will cover 49 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. The expansion also adds to Electrify America’s two cross-country and two coastal routes for cross-country travel by adding a new electric vehicle charging highway to the upper Midwest.
The additional investment will enhance current ultra-fast charging stations in cities where Electrify America already operates, as well as expand upon offerings in regions such as the California Central and San Joaquin valleys and many new cities such as Austin, Texas; Detroit; and Minneapolis/St. Paul.
Not alone in growth mode
The push by the Biden administration hasn’t deterred private enterprises from trying to get a piece of the growing pie. In addition to Electrify America’s plans, others are looking to expand as well.
ChargePoint, which went public last fall, getting an additional $480 million in funding for its efforts to get bigger. The company’s global network has about 115,000 charging ports, most of them in the United States, and it aims to build that to 2.5 million by 2025. By comparison, Tesla said it has nearly 2,000 supercharger stations with about 17,500 chargers worldwide.
However, even Tesla, which is also in expansion mode, is looking to get in on the act with plans — starting in Europe — to open up its currently proprietary network of superchargers to all EV owners in the next few years.
Electrify America is the largest, open DC (Direct Current) Fast Charging network in the U.S. This new commitment builds on the company’s plans to have about 800 charging stations and approximately 3,500 individual chargers in the U.S. by the end of 2021 and will increase the total number of charging stations to more than 1,700 and 9,500 individual chargers by the end of 2025.
It has installed on average four stations per week since its first charging station opened a little over three years ago in May 2018.