ORIGINAL REPORTING: Utilities Cautiously Advance EV Charger Buildout
If you build it, will they charge? Utilities cautious in plans to spur electric vehicle adoption; Utilities are well positioned to enhance EV infrastructure, but many are waiting for a push from regulators and the market
Herman K. Trabish, August 10, 2016 (Utility Dive)
Editor’s note: The expansion in the buildout of EV charging infrastructure has accelerated since this story ran, led by consumer EV demand and a wide-ranging recognition at utilities that it will be good for electricity sales.
One utility's small electric vehicle charger pilot raises a big question: Why is it taking so long to build the infrastructure that could drive the plug-in car industry? Avista Utilities will spend $3 million to install, own, and operate 272 grid-integrated electric vehicle (EV) chargers at about 200 residential, workplace, and public charging sites in its Eastern Washington state service territory. The utility's intent is to understand and prepare for managing the impacts of a higher EV charging load on its system. The state of Washington had over 16,000 EVs at the end of 2015 and the Washington State Electric Vehicle Action Plan targets 50,000 plug-in vehicles by 2020…
Washington state currently has 1,544 public charging outlets, and it doesn’t take a mathematician to divide 50,000 by 1,544 and get chaos. That is an exaggeration of the imbalance, of course, because the number of chargers will grow with the adoption of EVs. But it is emblematic of a potential national imbalance between cars with plugs and spots to charge. The U.S. has 482,217 EVs, according to Plug-in America, and there are 14,040 public charging stations and 35,006 charging outlets, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Considering a level 2 charger’s 10 to 20 miles of range per hour of chargingrate, 35,000 chargers for more than 482,200 cars is not a formula for convenience. And, while small pilots like Avista’s are emerging, the imbalance may be growing… click here for more