National EV charging network announced
02.14.2022 - by Noah Barnes
National EV charging network announced

Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm recently announced the creation of a national EV charging network with $5 billion in funding to be distributed to states. The network will prioritize charging stations along highways, giving EV drivers the ability to travel long distances without worrying about access to charging. The funding comes from the bipartisan infrastructure legislation that passed last year.

The federal government’s goal is to have charging available on highways every 50 miles or less with at least four CCS charging stations at each location that can charge at 150 kw or faster. Chargers should be no more than one mile from the highway. There are still many details to be addressed in additional guidance, including how payments will be accepted (i.e. will they all take credit cards?) Broadly speaking, we are pleased that the federal government has bought into the PIA vision that we need minimum standards for the national charging network that provides EV drivers with a uniform and consumer-friendly experience from coast to coast.

Compare the current patchwork public EV charging experience (for non-Tesla drivers) with the experience of buying gasoline. We are not big fans of buying gasoline, of course, but gas stations have done a good job of creating a consumer-friendly and very uniform buying experience. Gas stations always take major credit cards. They might have an affinity card or membership, but it’s optional. The price is always posted. There are always multiple functioning pumps and waiting times are generally pretty modest.

Currently, the Tesla Supercharger network is certainly the benchmark for EV charging. We’d like to see a national EV charging network that is at least as convenient as using the Tesla network or buying gas—or maybe better.

Plug In America Executive Director Joel Levin attended the announcement in Washington, D.C. last week at the invitation of the Department of Transportation. It was a good opportunity to for us to continue pushing for the rights of EV drivers and we are happy to report that they were very receptive. We will keep you posted as the plans for the national EV charging network continue to develop in the coming months.

11 comments on “National EV charging network announced”
  1. Kathy Helliwell says:

    I would like to second the comment made by Mr. Donnaway on February 24th that as a driver of a vehicle that is charged by a Chademo plug, I am feeling abandoned by both Nissan (LEAF) and the National Transportation Secretary, Pete Buttigieg in the infrastructure design of adding only CCS chargers to the highway system. I have reached out to Nissan (case # 46100571) to ask about any plans to develop a CCS to Chademo adapter. Many of us feel quite abandoned and uncertain about the ability to travel with our EV’s. To quote Mr. Donnaway “At the very least, a pure-CCS system should not be adopted until a reliable CHAdeMO-to-CCS adapter is proven reliable and reasonably priced. EVen TESLA drivers can’t use CCS, but have had CHAdeMO adapters for years!”

  2. Jay Donnaway says:

    So Plug In America is rushing to abandon the hundreds of thousands of CHAdeMO- dependent drivers who’s cars will remain otherwise useable for decades to come?! At the very least, a pure-CCS system should not be adopted until a reliable CHAdeMO-to-CCS adapter is proven reliable and reasonably priced. EVen TESLA drivers can’t use CCS, but have had CHAdeMO adapters for years!

  3. Steve Spratt says:

    I have often heard gas stations with snack foods make more money from snacks than fuel; adding a couple of fast chargers to a station would give these operators a captive audience for at least 20-40 minutes of charge time & certainly more $$….

  4. John O. Hedrick says:

    Since the Tesla and VW Electrify America networks already cover interstates, it is important that federal funds be applied to non-interstate US and other primary highways to enable unfettered travel. Level two chargers at restaurants and tourist attractions will also enable wider travel with EVs.

  5. Chuck Edrington says:

    I think a good portion of the funding should go through rural electric coop’s that have service near interstates or US highways.

  6. Sterling Camp says:

    Great idea

  7. Jim says:

    For this to work, I think we need rapid enforcement of ICE blockers and people that deface them. So many chargers are unusable and make a charging network unreliable just due to ICE vehicles blocking them or broken ones.

    @mike freeman, I used to think the same, but with cars charging faster and these being at least 150kw, it should be enough to get us to our destinations with a quick 15 min charge.

  8. David Holland says:

    I hope they standardize the plugs.

  9. Richard says:

    My hope is that the government installs a few charging stations at the interstate rest stops. Even in rural areas, there are a few charging stations at the major interstate exits, so rest stops would help bridge the gaps.

  10. Pat says:

    EV Charging on highways is great. Major impact would be made via EV charging at residences which would be supported by zero interest loans for residential solar. Consider other benefits as well.

  11. Mike Feeney says:

    I have always said it is important to have chargers located where there is something else to do. As I drive around and say “if I ran things…” I would require any food stop that is listed on a highway exit sign to have fast charging. That way, you know you can find charging in a location where there is food and a rest room. Same with any motel listed on those signs…I know I can pull in there for the night and get a level 2 charge.

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