Here in America, at the end of 2021, there are still a few significant hurdles preventing greater adoption of EVs. One of the biggest is arguably range anxiety. Car manufacturers have made greater progress in addressing this issue, while electric bike OEMs still face additional hurdles imposed by size and shape limitations. Still, all EVs traversing American roads could stand to gain if the National Electric Highway Coalition has its way.
Simply stated, the NEHC wants to provide DC fast charging infrastructure along “major U.S. travel corridors” by the end of 2023. With current projections estimating that around 22 million EVs will take to U.S. roads by 2030, the Edison Electric Institute estimates the need for around 100,000 EV fast charging ports readily available from coast to coast.
That’s a tall order, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s current listings. The DOE hosts a handy map of electric vehicle charging stations across the U.S. and Canada, and you can limit your search to specific speeds and/or connector types as needed. As of December 9, 2021, this map shows a total of 6,845 DC fast chargers across the entire U.S. and Canada. Limit it to just the U.S., and there are 5,644 DC fast chargers currently available. By the EEI’s estimates, that’s nowhere near enough.
So, who’s behind the NEHC? A total of 53 separate energy companies across the U.S. formed this coalition, with most being investor-owned energy companies from whom many of us receive our electric bills every month. The Tennessee Valley Authority isn’t an investor-owned energy company but is also part of this group.
In the NEHC’s December 7, 2021 announcement, the group didn’t really provide details about how it plans to accomplish this mammoth task. In fact, while it says it wants to increase DC fast charger availability, it didn’t even offer any numbers or timelines to tell us how it plans to grow those fast-charger numbers in its allotted timeframe. Hopefully, that information will come sooner rather than later.
“EEI and our member companies are leading the clean energy transformation, and electric transportation is key to reducing carbon emissions across our economy,” EEI president Tom Kuhn said in a statement.
“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,” he continued.
“By merging and expanding the existing efforts underway to build fast charging infrastructure along major travel corridors, we are building a foundational EV charging network that will help to encourage more customers to purchase an electric vehicle. We owe a great deal of gratitude to the electric companies that created so much momentum at the regional level, paving the way for us to expand this effort nationally,” Kuhn concluded.