Just a few years ago, when anyone would mention electric vehicles (EVs), it’d always be followed by the caveat, “but there just isn’t enough charging infrastructure.” These days, though, it’s getting harder to make that argument.
The most striking illustration of how far EVs have come can be found on the website for the Alternative Fuels Data Center (afdc.energy.gov), the U.S. Department of Energy’s online hub for information and resources on electricity, biodiesel, ethanol, hydrogen, natural gas and propane. The site features a map with green dots indicating electric charging stations throughout North America. It’s practically one giant green blob engulfing most of the United States, as well as the major population centers of Canada. According to the site, there are currently 54,689 electric charging sites on the continent — nearly 48,000 in the United States alone. As you’d expect, California’s the state with the most, with nearly 14,500 the last time I checked.
Efforts to expand charging infrastructure even further got a boost late last year when U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm and Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg signed a memorandum of understanding to create a Joint Office of Energy and Transportation to support the allocation of $7.5 billion from President Biden’s bi-partisan infrastructure law to build out a national electric vehicle charging network — particularly filling gaps in electric availability in rural, disadvantaged and hard-to-reach locations.
The joint office, which launched DriveElectric.gov, also is providing technical assistance to states and localities, enabling them to build EV charging stations and other infrastructure.
In March, the joint office signed another memorandum of understanding. This time with the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials and the National Association of State Energy Officials, to enhance coordination between state energy offices and state departments of transportation and provide a framework for collaboration among national, regional, state, local tribal and the private sector to build EV charging stations nationwide.
Earlier this year, the Department of Transportation unveiled Charging Forward: A Toolkit for Planning and Funding Rural Electric Mobility Infrastructure. Although the toolkit focuses on light-duty vehicles, it also addresses funding opportunities and planning considerations for other types, including medium- and heavy-duty delivery trucks.
The initial efforts of the inter-agency collaboration are designed to be consistent with the President’s executive order from last year that called for half of all new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030.
Still, the federal government is not the only stakeholder promoting new developments in EV infrastructure expansion, as the private sector has been quite proactive in helping usher in the electric era.
Last year Daimler Trucks North America (DTNA) opened what it calls a first-of-its-kind heavy duty electric truck charging site called “Electric Island,” across the street from DTNA headquarters in Portland, Ore. The aim of the site, which DTNA built in partnership with Portland General Electric (PGE), is to help accelerate the development, testing and deployment of zero-emissions commercial vehicles. DTNA and PGE will use the charging hub to study energy management, as well as charger use and performance.
Located less than a mile from Interstate 5, Electric Island, DTNA says, is the first location specifically designed for medium- and heavy-duty trucks. It aligns with the West Coast Clean Transit Corridor Initiative (WCCTCI), a collaboration among nine electric utilities and two government agencies.
To locate EV stations near your facility, afdc.energy.gov or at ChargeHub.com.