Home EV Charging Electric vehicle owners look for charging options as industry changes, new vehicles roll out for 2019
Electric vehicle owners look for charging options as industry changes, new vehicles roll out for 2019

Electric vehicle owners look for charging options as industry changes, new vehicles roll out for 2019


Funds for charging stations may be available from the state through a program using proceeds from the Volkswagen emissions settlement.

As of December, there were more than 20,000 public electric vehicle charging stations in the U.S.

The Rev. Inge Williams, pastor at Friedens Church, Upper Bern Township, has trouble finding one in northern Berks County.

The area north of Reading, contained in the west by Lebanon and in the east by Allentown, and including portions of interstates 78, 81 and 80, is virtually an electric vehicle charging station desert. Two Tesla Destination network chargers in Jim Thorpe and Lake Harmony, Carbon County, are the only spots registered on the U.S. Department of Energy’s map of electricity locations north of Reading until Wilkes-Barre, Luzerne County.

“There are literally no fast charging stations up our way in northern Berks County,” Williams said.

Williams puts approximately 20,000 miles per year on her Chevrolet Volt, a plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, or PHEV, she purchased to save fuel and positively impact the environment. PHEVs use a battery-powered electric motor and another fuel, such as gasoline or diesel, to power the engine. She gets more than 80 mpg as opposed to her former vehicle, a Chevy Blazer, which “ran in the teens.”

“And I wanted to do my part for the climate crisis,” Williams said, who charges her vehicle primarily at home overnight. “For any business thinking about putting in a charging station, now would be the time.”

Using proceeds
Funds for charging stations may be available from the state through a program using proceeds from the Volkswagen emissions settlement.

The state’s Driving PA Forward program aims to permanently reduce nitrogen oxide, or NOx, emissions by as much as 27,700 tons, and has created incentives for the installation of Level 2 electric vehicle, or EV, charging stations to meet those goals. Driving PA Forward includes eight types of programs, including the allocation of approximately $7.7 million to fund a 5-year rebate plan for the installation of level 2 EV charging equipment.

“If multiple locations in Berks County apply for funding for infrastructure that fits the requirements, we’ll process the applications through to completion,” said Dave Althoff, director of the Energy Programs Office at the Department of Environmental Protection. “While we hope to have geographical diversity in our incentive investments, we also want to see charging stations installed where they’ll get a lot of use and impact EV purchase decisions.”

To be considered for a rebate through Driving PA Forward a charging station must meet one of four usage criteria: public use at government-owned property, public use at nongovernment owned property, nonpublic use at work places and nonpublic use at multi-unit dwellings.

The program opened on Sept. 20, and rebate vouchers will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. All projects must be approved in advance by the DEP.

“Applicants can apply through March, and the program will reopen if funds are still available,” Althoff said. “We’re certainly looking at projects that build infrastructure along corridors.”

Routes 81, 80 and 78 are federal Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, or FAST, corridors that are approved or applied for in Pennsylvania.

More stations needed
Local consumers are not the only voices clamoring for more charging stations.

The Center for American Progress estimates the U.S. must add 14 million new electric or PHEVs and more than 330,000 new public charging outlets by 2025 to meet the standards of the Paris Agreement.

The Paris Agreement, signed by 194 countries, including the U.S., and the European Union in 2015, was created to bring “all nations into a common cause to undertake ambitious efforts to combat climate change and adapt to its effects.”

In 2018, President Trump announced the U.S. will withdraw from the agreement when legally possible, in 2019.

The future of these charging stations may be wireless.

“The idea of wireless EV charging is not a new one,” said Cheryl Gouker, marketing and public affairs manager at AAA Reading-Berks, Wyomissing. “Wireless electric vehicle charging has been in progress since 2010, the same year the Nissan Leaf debuted.”

In January 2017, automakers agreed on technical and procedural elements to make wireless charging standard. Gouker stated most shoppers considering EVs find plugging in their vehicles to be a nuisance.

“The ability to simply position one’s EV over a wireless charging station could serve to sway consumers back to the green side,” Gouker said.

Williams loves her Chevy Volt.

“It’s a joy to drive,” she said. “It can function like a normal car. I don’t think people realize how reasonable it is. It really is affordable to charge your car.”

Noted for its swift acceleration and solid handling, the 2019 Volt ranks ninth on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best nonluxury hybrid and electric cars. Topping the list is 2019 Toyota Avalon Hybrid.

Dropping the Volt in this ranking is its below-average predicted reliability rating, a factor also considered by AAA, which released the results of its latest EV research on Feb. 7. According to Gouker, the AAA study reports research on items such as increased battery range on newer EV models and their impact on air temperature, use of heating and air conditioning and other items.

“This research will help consumers understand the real-world driving range and operational costs of EVs,” Gouker said.

Other top performers according, to U.S. News & World Report, are the 2019 Jaguar I-Pace for best hybrid or electric SUV and the 2018 Tesla Model S for best luxury hybrid or electric car.

Digital Trends named the Nissan Leaf the best affordable EV of 2019 and called it “one of the most well-rounded electric cars on the market.”

Launched in 2010, the Nissan Leaf became the first all-electric, zero-tailpipe emissions car available to the mass market. The same year Chevy’s Volt became the first commercially available PHEV for sale in the U.S.

But electric cars were on the minds of engineers a long time before then. Between 1828 and 1835, the first small-scale electric cars started to replace horse and buggies. Innovators in Hungary, the Netherlands and the U.S. lead the first charge in electric vehicles.

Clara Ford, wife of Henry Ford, refused to drive anything but an electric vehicle. Her 1914 Detroit Electric Model 47 brougham made by the Anderson Electric Car Co. is on exhibit at the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Mich.

The demand for electric vehicles is nothing new. The demand for charging electric vehicles is the latest hurdle for their success.

Contact Michael C. Upton: specialsections@readingeagle.com.

Source: readingeagle
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network


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