Electrify America has released its new national plan for the the 30-month period beginning in July and it mostly focuses on building DC fast charging locations at 18 metro areas across the country with a smaller focus on adding sites along regional highways near some cities. That general focus is consistent with the separate Cycle 2 plan for California released late last year.
The company, created as one part of Volkswagen’s legal settlements resulting from it’s “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal, is required to spend $2 billion dollars over 10 years. The planning is split into four investment periods of $500 million each. California receives 40 percent of the investment under the settlement so $300 million goes towards the rest of country.
The company plans to spend between $145 million and $165 million on metropolitan area DC charging at sites with typically 5 charging spaces that will support 150 kW CCS charging rates. At least one of those charging spaces would include support for CHAdeMO. Some sites could have as few as 3 charging spaces or be limited to 50 kW charging rates while others could have as many as 10 spaces depending on expected utilization and the available site facilities.
Of the 18 metro areas, five are completely new. They consist of Atlanta, Baltimore, Honolulu, Las Vegas and Phoenix. Nine of the areas are carried over from Cycle 1 but will get substantial new funding. Those areas are Boston, Chicago, Denver, Miami, New York City, Philadelphia, Portland, Seattle and Washington, DC. Four additional new metro areas are adjacent to existing areas including Boulder, Colorado near Denver along with Bridgeport, Connecticut near New York City and finally Bremerton and Olympia near Seattle, Washington.
The large majority of these new metro DC charging sites are planned to be near retail shopping locations with a few located selectively at multi-unit housing complexes along with some dedicated stations aimed specifically at “shared mobility” drivers such as taxis and Lyft or Uber vehicles.
About 10 existing metro locations built in Cycle 1 will be upgraded for faster charging or to install additional charging equipment.
Some additional highway and regional routes would support travel outside of metro areas and receive between $65 million and $85 million in spending. Substantial regions of the country in the western US will continue to lack highway charging such as Wyoming and the Dakotas.
Electrify America plans to set aside up to $5 million to experiment with adding renewable energy generation and may build two custom charging sites with equipment designed to charge automated driver-less vehicles.
A total of 215 new DC charging sites are expected to be added during Cycle 2 in addition to the 484 sites defined under the Cycle 1 plan. Schedule estimates show that between 30 and 50 of the new Cycle 2 locations may be operational by the end of 2019.
Overall, a total of about $235 million is expected to be spent on new charging infrastructure with the remaining $35 million going to educational and marketing efforts and $30 million going to support the company’s operational business overhead.
In addition to spending on new charging sites described in the Cycle 2 plan, the company expects to spend some Cycle 2 funds on completing approximately 28 sites planned as part of the Cycle 1 network.
The new plan does not seem to include the substantial investments in 240V “level 2” AC charging at several hundred workplaces and multi-unit residential complexes that were included in the Cycle 1 plan. Instead, the plans call for some DC fast charging sites to be located near clusters of high-density residential housing.
Confirming previous statements by company officials, subscription-based pricing will be enabled through Electrify America mobile apps. Although not stated in the new plan, the new apps are expected to become available within the next two months, according to an company executive.
As in the Cycle 1 plans, no money is being spent on hydrogen refueling stations for fuel cell cars. Electrify America says it was unable to identify investments that would be consistent with a viable long-term business plan. The company owns and operates most of the DC charging it is installing and is allowed to make a profit.
The new plans do not mention the use of stationary on-site battery storage that was recently disclosed as part of 100 or so Cycle 1 locations being completed this year.
For the first time, the company plans to spend $10 million on advertising its own charging locations. In addition, it will spend $25 million to improve general public awareness of zero-emission vehicles similar to spending done in Cycle 1. As part of this, it expects to develop a new television ad campaign similar to the “Jetstones” advertising in Cycle 1.
The new national plan still requires approval from the EPA but the company has already had an advanced review and feedback session with the agency and its Cycle 1 plan previously received swift approval in 2017.