Shortly before the US Presidential Election, President Obama announced a programme to establish 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on American highways.
The Obama Administration has remained committed to taking responsible steps to combat climate change, increasing access to clean energy technologies and reduce US dependence on oil. As part of this programme, the Administration has now announced key steps forward to accelerate the utilisation of electric vehicles and the charging infrastructure needed to support them. The Administration states that this programme demonstrates a continued partnership between the Administration, states, localities, and the private sector to achieve shared goals.
In the past eight years the number of plug-in electric vehicle models available in the US has increased from one to more than 20 while battery costs have decreased by 70 percent and electric vehicle charging stations have increased from less than 500 in 2008 to more than 16,000 today – a 40 fold increase.
For the first time, the United State Department of Transportation (DOT) is establishing 48 national electric vehicle charging corridors on US highways, covering nearly 25,000 miles in 35 states. 28 states, utilities, vehicle manufactures, and change organisations are committing to accelerate the deployment of electric vehicle charging infrastructure on the DOT’s corridors and 24 state and local governments are committing to partner with the Administration and increase the procurement of electric vehicles in their fleets.
The United States Department of Energy (DOE) is conducting two studies to evaluate the optimal national electric vehicle charging deployment scenarios, including along DOT’s designated fueling corridors; and
38 new businesses, non-profits, universities, and utilities are signing on to DOE’s Workplace Charging Challenge and committing to provide EV charging access for their workforce.
The announcements build on a record of progress from multiple programmes across the Administration that work to scale up EVs and fueling infrastructure, including at the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Defense, the Environmental Protection Agency and with the private sector. This summer, the Administration opened up $4.5 billion in loan guarantees to support the commercial-scale deployment of innovative electric vehicle charging facilities and in collaboration with the Administration, nearly 50 industry members signed on to the Guiding Principles to Promote Electric Vehicles and Charging Infrastructure. This effort launched the beginning of a collaboration between the government and industry to increase the deployment of EV charging infrastructure that has been carried forward in the latest announcement.
To make it easier for drivers to identify and locate charging stations, states designated as “sign-ready” have been authorised to use signs developed by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) that identify electric vehicle charging stations and other alternative fuels along the highways similar to existing signage that alerts drivers to gas stations, food, and lodging. Drivers can expect either existing or planned charging stations within every 50 miles.
These initial and future corridors will serve as a basis for a national network of electric vehicle charging infrastructure to enable coast to coast zero emission mobility on US highways.
Early next year, DOE plans to publish two studies developed with national laboratories and with input from a range of stakeholders to support broad EV charging infrastructure deployment, including along DOT’s alternative fuel corridors. The first is a national EV infrastructure analysis that identifies the optimal number of charging stations for different EV market penetration scenarios. The second will provide best practices for EV fast charging installation, including system specifications as well as siting, power availability, and capital and maintenance cost considerations.