Environment

US to create nationwide network of EV charging stations

A 2020 vision for a national fast charging network is to be developed
A 2020 vision for a national fast charging network is to be developed
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A 2020 vision for a national fast charging network is to be developed
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A 2020 vision for a national fast charging network is to be developed

The US government has announced "an unprecedented set of actions" to pump up the country's plug-in electric vehicle market, including US$4.5 billion in loan guarantees to create a nationwide network of commercial scale and fast charging stations. The initiative to push for greater electric car adoption calls for a collaboration between federal and state agencies, utilities, major automakers and other groups.

The initiative will identify zero emission and alternative fuel corridors across the country, to determine the best locations to put in fast charging stations, as part of the Fixing America's Surface Transportation (FAST) Act.

As part of a partnership between the US departments of energy and transportation, a 2020 vision for a national fast charging network will be developed, with potential longer-term innovations that include up to 350 kW of direct current fast charging. According to the administration, a 350 kW DC system could charge a 200-mile-range battery in less than 10 minutes. For comparison, Tesla just boosted some of its Superchargers' power capacity to 145 kW, which is claimed the fastest currently available.

Another interesting part of the initiative is the Battery500 research consortium led by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, which will receive up to $10 million per year for five years to develop a cheaper, lighter and more powerful battery. Specifically, the goal is to triple the energy of current batteries to 500 Wh/kg, with 1,000 electric vehicle cycles, while lowering the cost of a battery pack to below $100/kWh – the point at which electric cars are considered to become price competitive with gas-powered models.

Essentially, the loan guarantees are designed to help finance the types of new technologies and innovative projects that typically have trouble finding commercial funding in the US, enabling them to deploy at a commercial scale.

The federal government, which already plans to buy 500 plug-in hybrids or EVs in 2017, will partner with state, county and city governments to acquire fleets of electric vehicles at discounted rates. An electric vehicle hackathon is also planned for later this year, using big data to come up with new and innovative solutions to EV charging, and is open to public participation.

Besides Tesla and Nissan, which currently provide most of the fast-charging stations in the country, other carmakers signing onto the deal include Ford, General Motors, BMW and Mercedes-Benz. Tesla currently has 681 Supercharger stations worldwide with 4,157 charging points. According to the administration, there are more than 16,000 EV charging stations currently in the US, while battery costs have decreased 70 percent since 2008.

Source: The White House

13 comments
habakak
Finally, the age of the electric car is dawning. It's good to see the government moving in the right direction. The benefits of electric transportation is vast. However this has been driven organically by the private sector already and now we are close to the hump of going mainstream (5 to 10 years). For all those naysayers of government intervention and subsidizing the industry, the fossil fuel industry is even MORE subsidized. WAY more. It's not even an argument. ALL businesses are subsidized through tax laws. And energy (which for the past 100+ years has been the fossil fuel industry) is subsidized even more directly.
gizmowiz
My visions of an EV economy are underway. Had those since the 60's racing slot cars. You just needed to race one of those to know that eventually electrics would supplant all ICE technologies as being inefficient (35% maximum; electrics 98%).
piperTom
Here we go again: elites in government deciding to push people where they would not voluntarily go. When you need the force of the state to push your ideas, that means your ideas are weak.
PlanetPapi
Happy to know that finally Government is waking up to the game. Kudos. I hope they post proper signs at these charging stations so that gas cars don't hijack our spots. Unfortunately I face this situation every day. Dumb and arrogant idiots park in EV only spots.
Paul Anthony
I would like to see these charging stations offer outlets for bikes as well. I went to a hotel in an ebike and they got all bent out of shape when I plugged in a bike to be charged while I ate at their restaurant. The bike was not parked in anyone's way and the outlet was next to the bike so no trip hazard. I wish bike racks had this option
Grainpaw
PiperTom, the gummint isn't coming to take your gas hog away. Years from now, there will be clubs and shows for you, just as we have Model A clubs now. And there will be gas stations as long as you can provide sufficient demand to support them. Meanwhile, the rest of us will be enjoying a cheaper, more efficient mode of transport. The future will not be like the past. Stay in your comfort zone, and you can be part of a living history re-enactment some day.
icwhatudidthere
@gizmowiz8 That's something of a false equivalency. The electricity needs to be produced somewhere and AFAIK, no electric production method approaches 98% efficiency, the closest being hydroelectric at 90%.
ljaques
I support the new charging stations, but once critical mass happens with EVs, there will be so many of them out there, they'll outnumber the charging stations by 100k:1. Price is one of the things keeping EVs out of the hands of the people, and I still can't believe that an electric motor, gearbox, and battery cost ten times more than an engine, transmission, exhaust system, intake ducting, radiator, heater core and ducting, exhaust and engine heat shields, extra smog devices, and gas tanks. Can you? I'm thinking that the State makes more money on inspecting, smogging, gas taxing, etc. than they'd like to admit, and it may go away once ICEs are gone, or severely diminished in number.
Knut
Please use the term "also" - when the US finally also does what other countries do. When the US has established an "infrastructure" you can develop technology for this - and not the other way around. You are correct, Tesla is one player, because they sell abroad and use no fancy battery technology. Nissan, BMW, MB and Audi - even Porsche can develop battery technology because they have an infrastructure of charging points to relate to, which makes it possible for them to make and sell battery-powered cars. Any other "inventor" will now have to sell their ideas and technology to those with an infrastructure. This makes remarks about US technology as visionary as some remark of Mr. Donald Trump. Well, finally the US can start to develop, but being a late contender, has to comply with the rest of the world.
voluntaryist
I'm sorry to see the private sector won't fund the research some people would like. Lobbing the bankrupt (owes more than it can pay) govt. to fund your pet project is morally wrong as well as impractical. It's the moral equivalent of crony capitalism. The govt. has to take by force all the money it gets since it consumes but never produces (on net). The irony is this public funding will slow development. Funded researchers get paid to research. Success means the job is done, funding stops. See cancer "research" which goes on, and on and on.
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