There’s a lot of hype (overhype, in my opinion*) about the need for more public EV charging stations. But I don’t think anyone realizes just how fast these charging stations are rolling out. AutoblogGreen reports that “US public and private entities are adding publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations at a clip of about 180 units a month, which would put the country’s total at about 7,400 by year end, according to US Department of Energy figures.” That’s pretty impressive. Much faster than I realized.
The total number of publicly accessible charging stations is at 5,548 as I’m writing this, according to the DOE. The number of charging stations per state follows population pretty well — #1 is California, #2 Texas, #3 Florida. (California and Texas are also #1 & #2 in population, while Florida is barely #4, just below New York — but is much more auto-centric than New York.)
AutoBlogGreen also notes that, through February 28, “Walgreens hosted 365 stations, Kohl’s had 55 and Whole Foods boasted 39 stations open to the public.”
EV Charging Activity In New York
As the charging network grows and expands, there’s also a bit of consolidation going on. Up in New York, for example, CarCharging recently announced that it is about to acquire EVPass (of Central New York) and has just acquired Beam Charging (of New York City), as well as their EV chargers/networks, of course.
“Bottom line, EV sales are growing. EV sales in January 2013 were more than 300% greater than January 2012, and EV sales in February 2013 were nearly 330% greater than February 2012. To support the increasing EV market, it is our intent to expand our EV charging infrastructure through organic growth and acquisitions of other EV service providers,” said Michael D. Farkas, CEO of CarCharging, in a statement published yesterday. “With our recent acquisition of Beam Charging and the pending acquisition of the CNY Network, CarCharging will expand its footprint throughout New York State and gain additional strategic property partners.”
Regarding some of the locations of the EVPass charging stations, CarCharging writes: “These destination locations are comprised of: New York shopping malls, including Pyramid, one of the largest shopping mall operators in the Northeast; higher education institutions such as SUNY-ESF and Syracuse University; entertainment venues such as the JFK Arena in Rome, NY and the Oncenter Convention Center in Syracuse, NY; and 39 downtown commuter parking locations in Syracuse, NY. Additionally, CarCharging will administer the pending NYSERDA grant awarded to EVPass, which includes installing EV charging stations throughout Upstate New York.”
Beam, meanwhile, was the largest EV charging service provider in the New York City metro area. In a statement from late February, CarCharging wrote: “Together, CarCharging and Beam operate the majority of all EV charging points throughout New York City, and have existing agreements with Central Parking, and Icon Parking, as well as Simon Properties. Beam’s partnerships with additional garage companies, such as Garage Management Company, Sylvan Parking, and Imperial Parking, expands CarCharging’s current list of more than 45 strategic partnerships including retail, multifamily residential and commercial property owners, municipalities, and parking garage management companies. Beam provides CarCharging with over 400 additional parking garages under contract in New York City, and the combined entity is positioned to provide the largest EV charging infrastructure to EV drivers in New York and beyond. In addition to CarCharging’s nationwide network of EV charging stations, CarCharging and Beam overlap in areas, such as Boston, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C., and are now jointly expanding into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.”
With New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s strong push for electric vehicles, it looks like the region will be an exciting place for the industry. Congrats to CarCharging for its quick expansion.
CarCharging uses ChargePoint’s EV charging stations. Here’s a bit more on on what CarCharging offers, and how to sign up:
EV drivers can easily request CarCharging’s evCharge card online to initiate use and payment at any intelligent CarCharging station. The CarCharging card also allows drivers to use charging locations on the ChargePoint® Network, the largest national online network connecting EV drivers to EV charging stations.
Users can pinpoint EV charging station locations using the CarCharging map at www.CarCharging.com. The ChargePoint® mobile application for iPhone, Android, and Blackberry phones also provides real-time charging station location information with turn-by-turn directions.
ECOtality & ChargePoint Team Up
One more piece of big news this month related to EV charging stations is that ChargePoint and ECOtality have teamed up. They announced on March 7 that they have formed Collaboratev, LLC. What is Collaboratev? I think they can best describe it:
“Collaboratev will enable charging network interoperability, exchange session data and allow financial billing reconciliation services among electric vehicle charging networks. The new company will actively encourage other charging network providers to join as affiliates and enable EV drivers throughout the United States to seamlessly charge among all affiliated charging networks. ChargePoint and ECOtality will connect the ChargePoint and Blink networks to Collaboratev later this year.”
In other words, Collaboratev is increasing access to public charging stations, streamlining the payment process, and providing EV drivers with more data.
“This is a clear sign of market maturation by establishing a seamless process for EV drivers to charge across networks,” stated Ravi Brar, CEO of ECOtality. “As industry leaders, we want to ensure we are always putting the needs of our customers first. We are fostering an open ecosystem and invite others to join us in making it easy for EV drivers nationwide to get the charge they need whenever and wherever they are.”
*Don’t get me wrong, I know they are a big help, but I think that EVs would work well for most people today already, and that there’s a misconception that most people wouldn’t be able to comfortably own an EV until more charging stations rolled out. Basically, I think the whole thing has been overhyped by the media and some car companies and politicians, artificially limiting consumer demand for electric vehicles.