Electric Vehicle Charging Stations Coming to Truck Stops

A company that builds EV charging stations across Colorado is teaming with a national trade association representing truck stop operators to make it easier for electric vehicles to recharge nationwide.

by Judith Kohler, The Denver Post / February 10, 2020
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(TNS) — A company that is building electric vehicle charging stations across Colorado has teamed up with a national trade association representing truck stop operators to make it easier for electric vehicles to recharge nationwide.

ChargePoint and the National Association of Truck Stop Operators announced Friday at a conference in Aurora that they are working together to build high-speed charging stations at more than 4,000 truck stops and travel plazas across the country by 2030.

ChargePoint is the company tapped by the state of Colorado to build build 33 high-speed charging stations along the state’s major transportation corridors. The state awarded a $10.3 million grant in November to ChargePoint, which has built charging stations across the country, Canada and Europe.

The money for the grant came from part of Colorado’s share of the settlement between Volkswagen and the federal government over allegations that the auto company modified computer software to cheat on emissions tests. The stations are expected to be completed by summer.

Representatives of ChargePoint and the truck stop operators’ association, NATSO, said they hope to raise more than $1 billion through public-private partnerships in the next decade to provide charging stations along highways and in rural areas. The goal is to reduce people’s “range anxiety,” or worries about being able to keep the vehicle’s battery charged on long trips.

“It’s super critical that the highway and rural infrastructure get enabled correctly when people want to drive beyond their battery range,” said Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint president and CEO. “It’s a huge impediment to buy an electric vehicle in the consumer’s mind if that’s not solved properly.”

The plan by NATSO to work with its members to establish a network of charging stations to fuel electric vehicles is “the first of its kind national planning initiative,” Romano said. The state-level programs aimed at getting more electric vehicles on the roads are important, he said.

“But the state initiatives have not been connected cross neighboring borders,” Romano added. “If you want to drive from Denver to Flagstaff, Ariz., you don’t want to get to the border and not be able to get the last miles in.”

ChargePoint and NATSO have been talking for two years about the agreement they announced Friday, said Lisa Mullings, president and CEO of the trade association. The association’s board voted unanimously to pursue the plan.

“One of the things we do at NATSO, in addition to advocacy and education and everything else, is that we really try to help members look toward the future and make sure their businesses stay relevant,” Mullings said. “They are looking to put in what consumers want and make a profit on it. That’s what we’re trying to help them do.”

Partnerships like the one between NATSO and ChargePoint are critical to ensuring “we have the infrastructure needed to grow the (electric vehicle) market and address the impacts of transportation-related emissions,” Christian Williss, transportation fuels and technology director at the Colorado Energy Office, said in an email.

“Travel plazas and fuel stops will help create a national charging network and serve as important charging locations as fleets across the U.S. incorporate electric mid- and heavy-duty vehicles,” Williss added.

Mullings and Romano said many of the plan’s details — which stations will add charging stations, who will build them, the timing — will be worked out. Mullings said NATSO and ChargePoint will likely use the corridors U.S. Department of Transportation has identified as locations for electric vehicle charge points and alternative fuels as a blueprint.

Colorado has made increasing the number of electric vehicles in the state a priority. Gov. Jared Polis and his predecessor, John Hickenlooper, approved polices and executive orders to get more of the vehicles on the roads to help cut air pollution. The state Air Quality Control Commission has approved mandates to increase fuel efficiency and require auto manufacturers to offer a certain percentage of electric vehicles for sale in Colorado.

The state’s electric vehicle plan calls for getting 940,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2030.

©2020 The Denver Post. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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