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Electric Vehicles: Rising to the Demand for Shared Charging Solutions

EVs are a consistently trending topic these days, and for good reason. Between cutting edge technologies making charging faster and more convenient than ever and most major auto manufacturers announcing EV releases in the near future, electric vehicles are here to stay, and will only get more popular as offerings and capabilities improve

The EV market is primed for enormous growth in the coming decade, and with that growth will come a significant increase in charging demand. Many utilities and stakeholders are attempting to gauge the scale of infrastructure buildout necessary to sustain EV charging for a majority of the population. The California Energy Commission, for example, recently estimated a need for nearly 1 million EV chargers, in addition to home chargers. It’s important to consider not only the significant charging infrastructure and distribution upgrade costs, but the substantial energy requirements that could further stress a grid that’s already strained under increasing resource variability and our changing climate.

Innovation in both vehicles and charging technologies is advancing at a remarkable pace, driven in part by investors’ eagerness to place bets on companies that are both climate friendly and offering  offer potentially lucrative returns. While some of the new technologies will no doubt fall by the wayside, it’s hard not to marvel at some of these announcements, especially considering the reshaping of the grid that they could require. Breakthroughs in 1+ MW charging and battery technology that promises to make a recharge as quick as a stop for gas no doubt drive excitement among potential EV buyers, but may simultaneously drive many electric system planners to consider early retirement.

This burst of investment and innovation is in part being spurred by favorable policies, such as the growing number of states adopting aggressive vehicle emission requirements[JR2]  and the recent proposal for a fully electric federal government fleet. Yet the growing momentum looks increasingly resilient to changing public policy. Since just the start of this year, U.S. investment commitment to EVs and EV charging has grown by more than $35 billion—and as Will Ferrell recently showed usthe U.S. isn’t necessarily the global leader. With this degree of commitment, utilities must be ready to welcome their new EV charging customers with seamless solutions to charging deployment and customer-friendly approaches to managing charging load.

While any prediction of future charging requirements contains an unavoidable element of uncertainty, given recent trends, it’s reasonable to assume that batteries will be larger and capable of faster charging speeds. With a ‘gas station’ mentality, customers may begin to expect to see their cars charged in a matter of minutes. But catering to that model will not result in a sustainable and efficient electrical grid. Instead, we should seize the opportunity at this early stage of adoption to cement the concept of flexible charging as an economical and environmentally friendly option while simultaneously making it easy with ‘set it and forget it’ programs and technology. Looking to the future and rising to meet this EV revolution today will save time, costs, and headaches down the road.

Utilities play a particularly important role in the rollout of soon- to- be- crucial shared charging infrastructure. It’s a necessary service in high- traffic spaces such as public parking lots and retail, but also helpful in ensuring broad access with installations in multifamily and low-income communities. Today, shared chargers can help to address range anxiety while producing a boost in goodwill and public opinion due to their highly visible placements. If utilities aim to empower their customers to make the switch to an EV without needing to worry about where the nearest chargers are, shared charging is the best path forward.

If you’d like to learn more about shared EV charging, join our free webinar Electric Vehicles: Rising to the Demand for Shared Charging Solutions on March 18th at 12PM CST. We will introduce and break down the ins and outs of shared EV infrastructure, how to break into the soon-to-be-booming market, and how doing so will position your organization to lead the way on electrification education, equity, and reliable grid solutions for an EV-centric future.


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Electric Vehicles: Rising to the Demand for Shared Charging Solutions

Case Study: Electric Vehicles: Rising to the Demand for Shared Charging Solutions

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