Electric Vehicles

Electric Highway Coalition building EV charging network from West Texas to the Gulf

A new level of cooperation between power companies could help string together a more viable electric vehicle charging network.

Photo by kristinapong detraphiphat/Getty Images

Chargepoint, Electrify America, and EVgo are America's biggest charging networks and each has varying success stories with installation. Even in 2021, none have prolific enough station spread to bridge the gap between stations to make electric vehicle owners as confident owners as owners of internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles while on the go.

This week, six major utility companies together have announced a plan that would seamlessly connect a network of DC fast chargers to major highway systems from the Atlantic Coast through the Midwest and South, and to the Gulf of Mexico and Central Plains.

The Electric Highway Coalition is made up of American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation, Southern Co., and the Tennessee Valley Authority energy companies. They will each take the necessary steps to provide EV charging solutions within their own service territories giving EV drivers the ability to venture across their territory without service interruptions.

This is an effort that some power companies have already undertaken on their own, but with limited success. Georgia Power, the largest Southern Company subsidiary, has installed fast chargers across the Atlanta metro area.

Each utility company will select its own building sites and build its own charging stations. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that it can cost upward of $50,000 to install a single DF fast charger.

Electrify America has been on a tear, making numerous new charging station announcements over the last year. In August they announced a partnership with Love's Travel Stops to install chargers at their locations. A month before that the company completed its second cross-country EV charger route. In February 2021 Electrify America debuted new solar charging stations in California and recently they began selling home chargers via Amazon.

In September, the Edison Electric Institute forecasted that there will be 18 million EVs on US roads in 2030. A number of automakers, including Jaguar and Volvo, have made announcements saying that their lineups are headed into fully-electric territory. Other, like GM and Land Rover, have committed to offering electric vehicles alongside ICE cars and trucks.

"Throughout the ages, travelers have had to figure out how to get from point A to B. From feeding and watering horses, to filling gas tanks, and now recharging batteries, ensuring that there are convenient places to accomplish these tasks is critical," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "With this effort, we are working to help drivers see that EVs fit their lifestyle and their travel plans, wherever the road might take them."

Questions remain surrounding the strength and capability of the U.S. power grid and what impact adding millions of vehicles to the grid will have. Hurricane-prone areas of the country, like Florida, Texas, and Louisiana are often without power for weeks during the worst weather, meaning that residents of those areas would not be able to move around town due to lack of charging capability. Similarly, ice and snow storms can have devastating effects on power, as can long, hot summers and cold winters.

New to electric charging? Nissan has an etiquette guide that might help.

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New electric SUV

The Genesis GV60 is on sale now

The GV60 is on sale in the U.S. now.

Genesis

Today, Genesis announced that its newest vehicle, the electric GV60, is on sale in the United States. The vehicle brings a load of new tech and innovations, and features the brand's distinctive, attractive styling.

The GV60 will be offered in two configurations in the United States. The GV60 Advanced AWD starts at $58,890 and features a facial unlocking system, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and touchscreen, and a Bang & Olufsen audio system. The GV60 Performance AWD starts at $67,890 and brings more power, leather upholstery, a massaging driver's seat, and more.

2023 Genesis GV60Buyers get three years of free charging. Genesis

The Advanced model comes with a 74-kW front and 160-kW rear electric motor for a total of 314 horsepower. A 77.4-kWh battery provides juice for the operation, and returns a range of 248 miles. The Performance AWD model features a 160-kW front and 160-kW rear motor for a combined 429 horsepower, with up to 483 ponies available with a temporary boost mode.

Genesis partnered with Electrify America to provide GV60 owners with three years of free 30-minute charging sessions. Owners can charge anywhere in the United States, and can locate charging stations using their vehicle's navigation system. The GV60 is also the first Genesis to feature Connected Care, which includes several connected services such as enhanced roadside assistance, an SOS emergency notification feature, vehicle health reports, and more.

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Buyers of the new iX and i4 will get two years of free charging sessions.

BMW/Electrify America

BMW is accelerating its electric vehicle efforts and currently offers two brand-new EVs, with more promised soon. To help improve adoption of new technologies and ease people into EV ownership, BMW is partnering with Electrify America, a company that builds and operates charging infrastructure, to provide free charging to buyers of its new electric models. Buyers will receive two years of free charging sessions at any Electrify America location.

BMW i4 ChargingAt max speed, the i4 can recover up to 108 miles in ten minutes.BMW/Electrify America

The service comes with the sale of a new BMW iX xDrive50, i4 eDrive40, or i4 M50 starting in March. At no extra cost, buyers receive complimentary charging at over 3,000 chargers across the country. BMW says the charging benefit will last for two years from the date of the vehicle purchase, and notes that it will provide free 30-minute charging sessions. The service is similar to the programs developed by other automakers, some with Electrify America.

\u200bBMW/Electrify AmericaElectrify America operates thousands of chargers across the country.Electrify America

Charging speeds can be a major issue, but Electrify America's ultra-fast chargers can deliver between 150 and 350 kW. Those are the fastest speeds available today, which enables the i4 to recover up to 108 miles in just ten minutes. The company operates 800 charging stations and around 3,500 individual ultra-fast chargers in the United States. Electrify America plans to more than double those numbers by 2026 with the addition of 1,800 charging stations that feature 10,000 individual vehicle chargers.

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