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9 December 2021

US utilities gang up to push 100,000 fast chargers by 2030

51 US utilities have got together to form the National Electric Highway Coalition, to provide EV fast charging along all major US travel corridors by the end of 2023. The coalition is formed from merging the Electric Highway Coalition and the Midwest Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Collaboration and it is made up of 51 investor owned utilities plus an electric cooperative, as well as the Tennessee Valley Authority and it has been coordinated by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI).

EEI President Tom Kuhn said, “With the formation of the National Electric Highway Coalition, we 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.”

So far EEI members claim they have invested $3 billion in projects to deploy EV charging infrastructure and it estimates that 100,000 EV fast charging ports will be needed in the US by 2030.

We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings but the US will need a lot more ports than that, in the hundreds of thousands of public ports, but up over ten million if you include all private charge points in people’s homes, according to a report out this week from Rethink Energy entitled “Tesla versus ExxonMobil – who’s right,” and including a global forecast for EVs and its’ infrastructure. There is a mistaken belief that fast charging is only needed on highways and the rest of public infrastructure will remain slow charging, but over the next two to three years Rethink expects at least 33% of all public charging posts to be fast charging, and this will eventually grow to 100% as the cost of installing charge points fall.

However if you add the 100,000 fast charge points on highways and the 500,000 that the US government has pledged to build (there may be considerable overlap) this seems to be a rapid acceleration of charging posts that will definitely relieve range anxiety

This is also a bid for the utilities to take control of what the oil companies felt was their own territory, filling up cars with energy and it will certainly instill energy into alternative visions of the future of charging.

At present the USA has 533,000 charge points, with just 23% of them being public and the great bulk at people’s homes for their own use. We see this reaching 3.6 million by 2025.

The currently installation aim is for an average of 3 public chargers for each 24 cars. The company ChargePoint is market leader, then Tesla and then the Blink network, and then the US utilities. Expect a showing from major car companies like VW, GM and Ford, potentially in joint ventures with others, and of course eventually the oil majors.

Rethink believes that the US will deploy 18 million EVs by 2025, some 6% of all the cars in what will be a 300 million fleet of passenger vehicles by that time. By 2030 this will rise to a 20% penetration, and 63.5 million, but beyond 2025 we expect utilities to deploy and power the lion’s share of charge points in people’s homes, and for there to be a dogfight for the remaining public charge points at the top end.

The press release says that EEI member companies are electrifying their own fleets and, collectively, are on track to electrify more than one-third of all fleet vehicles by 2030. This is because their belief is that it will take a lot longer to electrify than the rising pace of EV sales in the US – actually whether these fleets know it or not, they will find it tough to support an Internal Combustion Engine fleet after 2030, and the transition will become an avalanche.