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Push for Clean Mobility Spurs Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Expansion

Bulger Veterinary Hospital in Lawrence, MA, utilized National Grid’s make-ready program to help finance the installation of nearly a dozen ChargePoint stations. (Steven Bullock, courtesy of Voltrek)

Kathleen Connors

Headlines these days are buzzing about the burgeoning electric vehicle (EV) market. The strong push for clean mobility is energized by various factors, including technological advancements in batteries and electric motor design. Industry advocates also seek to reduce the nation’s reliance on fossil fuels, especially in the transportation sector, the single-largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.

More drivers than ever are willing to drive electric, especially with a wider range of EV models coming to market. Yet some still hesitate due to “range anxiety.”It’s a valid concern, given that charging stations are few and far between outside of a few major metropolitan areas, according to the Pew Research Center. With a reported 216,000 charging stations available in 2020, the nation currently has about 10% of what it requires to support future projections for plug-in vehicle sales, according to a July 2021 white paper by the International Council for Clean Transportation.

The increasingpopularity of EVs, decarbonization efforts, and other priorities are bolstering investments in EV charging infrastructure. In fact, President Joe Biden recently authorized a $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that will be a real game-changer for e-mobility. The funding package includes $7.5 billion to support his vision of adding 500,000 EV charging stations nationwide.

Several states in the northeastern U.S. already rank high on the leaderboard of EV-friendly places to live. The latest “State Transportation Electrification Scorecard,” published by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE), uses a 100-point rating system to identify states with robust programs and policies that encourage EV adoption. The top 10 list includes New York (63.5), Massachusetts (54.5), and Vermont (49). New Hampshire, with only 13 points, did not qualify for ranking.

In 2021, Voltrek’s home state of Massachusetts was No. 2 in the nation for incentivizing EV infrastructure investments, according to Plug In America, a leading EV advocacy group. Voltrek’s EV charging experts partner with businesses, cities, government agencies, and utilities across the Northeast to deploy commercial-grade charging stations. Most of these installations are open to the public and easy to find; here are some convenient spots where drivers can recharge their vehicles.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (U.S. DOE) Alternative Fuels Data Center, the majority of U.S. public charging stations are Level 2, which are compatible with any EV and can typically top off a vehicle in five hours or less. There are also high-power Level 3 (direct current fast charging) systems available that feature either a CCS, CHAdeMO, or Tesla connector and usually replenish batteries in under an hour. The fastest EV charger on today’s market is ABB’s Terra 360. Slated for U.S. rollout in 2022, the Terra 360 is capable of fully charging an EV in 15 minutes or less.

For 2020, the median EPA-estimated driving range for all-electric vehicles exceeded 250 miles, with an estimated maximum range of 400+ miles. Newer, more advanced models can cover even longer distances. The high-performance 2022 Lucid Air Dream Edition Range, for instance, can reportedly top 500 miles between charges.

Many EVs have applications built into them that help drivers identify charging locations. There are also other great resources with information about the different EV charging options available, how to locate them, and estimated charging times. ChargePoint, the world’s largest EV charging network, has a useful app for locating stations for its brand as well as other major charging providers. Another go-to resource is PlugShare, a free app with the most accurate, comprehensive public charging map worldwide. Its database contains info on nearly 500,000 charging stations—including 190,000+ in North America. Plug In America is a great option, too, offering a wealth of information about purchasing EVs, incentives for charging station installation, charging station mapping, and more.

Electric mobility represents the next natural step in the transportation evolution. Investmenting in EV infrastructure is critical, as it helps to ensure that Americans from coast to coast have equitable access to clean mobility options. For those interested in supporting EV adoption, visit www.pluginamerica.org for ideas on how you can make a difference.

Kathleen Connors is the founder and CEO of Voltrek, an EV infrastructure solutions firm based in Lawrence, MA.

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