Major US utilities plan nationwide charging network, anticipating 22M EVs by 2030

The most recent estimate by EEI of how many EVs will be on the road in 2030 was 18.7 million.

Major US utilities plan nationwide charging network, anticipating 22M EVs by 2030

  • More than 50 electric companies are teaming up to install electric car charging stations along major highways across the United States by 2023.
  • The coalition is led by the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), which has increased its previous estimates and now anticipates there will be 22 million EVs on U.S. roads in 2030. This would require more than 100,000 fast chargers.
  • Tom Borenstein, co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at software company BlastPoint, believes that the NEHC's group effort to address range anxiety could potentially have a "large impact" on charging infrastructure and adoption. However, a recent report from the predictive analytics company warns that some areas of the country are not prepared for the transition.

The most recent estimate by EEI of how many EVs will be on the road in 2030 was 18.7 million. This number was estimated in 2018, and it is likely that the estimate has increased a bit since then.

The 17.6% increase in expected EVs points to the need for a rapid rollout in charging infrastructure, say electrification experts, particularly in areas that may be lagging. More information on EEI’s EV sales forecasts and charging infrastructure estimates will be included in a paper expected out next year.

He said that they wanted to get all the electric companies to work together and think about how they can help people who drive electric cars. This will involve filling in the gaps between different service territories.

The National Electric Highway Coalition was formed by merging two groups: the Electric Highway Coalition and the Midwest Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Collaboration. The new group then opened up participation to members of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI). As of now, there are 51 members in total, including electric utilities like Kansas electric cooperative Midwest Energy and the Tennessee Valley Authority.

There are many companies that offer IOUs. These companies are spread out across the country and offer IOUs in different states. Some notable examples include Consolidated Edison in New York, Pacific Gas & Electric in California, Florida Power & Light Co. from NextEra Energy, Oklahoma Gas & Electric, Tucson Electric Power in Arizona, Duke Energy and Dominion Energy in the Southeast, and Xcel Energy which operates across eight states.

The coalition members agreed to establish a basic electric vehicle fast-charging network across their service territories using any approach they see fit by no later than 2023, according to an EEI fact sheet.

The NEHC has so far focused on IOUs, or investor-owned electric companies. Nebraska is the only state in the 48 contiguous states without a footprint in the NEHC because it only has public power utilities. "Our initial push was for those investor-owned electric companies, but we're hoping this can expand over time," said Schefter.

All electric utilities need to prepare for a surge in EVs, said BlastPoint’s Borenstein. Charging infrastructure and vehicle adoption are about to get a big boost from the federal government, which could lead to "exponential growth" in 2022 according to the firm’s recent research. The $1.2 trillion infrastructure package signed in November by President Joe Biden includes $7.5 billion to build charging stations across the country.

EVs are becoming more popular as they become more mainstream. In the next few years, we can expect people who have never bought vehicles before to buy EVs.

BlastPoint's report looks at census data to identify three levels of EV adoption readiness. The report can help utilities understand where their territories stand, said Borenstein. Utilities can use the report to see where their territory stands for electric vehicles.

The NHEC's corridors would cut through a lot of the areas that BlastPoint identified as being difficult to adopt new technology, particularly in the Southeast. This could give a boost to transportation through those regions and to local confidence in going electric.

"The investment that's going into the NEHC, installing chargers along major traffic corridors, is really significant," he said. BlastPoint's report found a "suburban ring of accelerated EV adoption around most major cities," while dense urban areas and rural tracts "are slower to adopt." The NEHC can help address this issue, said Borenstein.

There is a lot of charging infrastructure in "places that are not really accessible to travelers," like hotels and car dealerships, he said. "This initiative to put charging infrastructure along those major routes is significant because it will allow travelers to pass through these areas without barriers to adoption."

He added that this would also provide more options for locals who might want to buy an electric car.

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