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The Final Word by Chuck Swann

Where to find a plug-in for recharging your electric vehicle?

Auto and truck makers are rushing to bring more and more electric vehicles into the market. GM alone plans to introduce 20 new electrics by 2023. But there has not been a corresponding rush by electric power companies to respond to this motive transition. Just as the auto and truck evolution/revolution could not have happened without convenient fossil fuel filling stations, widespread adoption of EVs is going to depend on the convenience of recharging their batteries. Up to this point, most EV's are recharged in the owners' garages, carports and truck parking lots. This obviously cannot work for highway travel and heavy urban stop-and-start traffic.

Writing in Energywire, E&E news reporters David Ferris and Jeff Tomich detail the current unease between electric vehicle makers and electric utilities. EV makers want the same ready recharging convenience as exists for fossil duels. The guarded responses of the utilities is that building such facilities will cost billions and billions of dollars. Who will pay and how? Conversations between EV makers and power companies are only barely under way.

Ferris and Tomich describe the Transportation Electrification Accord, which refers to itself as "a roadmap to electrification" and envisions a future in which utilities, regulators, governments, charging companies get behind a standard, open system with EV recharging being simple and everywhere.

The accord says that heavy-duty vehicles such as trucks and buses, should be electrified along with automobiles. Chargers should be available on highways and in cities. State and local officials, including regulators, must get on board. The accord also states that EV chargers should work on common standards and a shared architecture, so that any driver can use any charger.

Britta Gross, director of advanced vehicle commercialization for GM says, in speaking of the need for widespread charging infrastructure, "It is of primary importance. It is urgent. Scaling for EVs is going to happen really, really soon."

Chuck Swann is Senior Editor of Paperitalo Publications.


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