EV fast charging infrastructure isn’t growing fast enough – utilities must step up to accelerate this critical infrastructure buildout
Anita Tendler and Matt Lichtash, energy and utilities experts at PA Consulting, authored an article for POWER Magazine discussing EV fast charging infrastructure challenges, and explaining how US utilities can help to accelerate this critical infrastructure buildout.
Utilities are just beginning their journeys to speed up deployment of electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure in reaction to increasing EV penetration. In the U.S., EV sales have risen nearly 50% between 2022 and 2023, now accounting for 8% of total industry sales (the Biden administration has a goal of 50% new vehicle sales comprising zero-emission vehicles by 2030). Fast chargers are critical enablers of EV adoption by allowing drivers to recharge in minutes when taking road trips or living in dense urban areas without home charging access. Indeed, according to a recent AAA study, a lack of charging infrastructure is why more than half of U.S. consumers are hesitant to switch to an EV. An NREL report shows that the U.S. needs to install 25,000 fast chargers per year, but the U.S. installed fewer than 10,000 fast chargers in 2023. Utilities, as entities responsible for the critical charger development steps of approving and billing customers for connecting their charging sites to the grid, are in prime position to take a more proactive role in enabling this critical infrastructure.
While the lack of funding support has long played a role in languishing charger buildout, that is no longer the case: the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) provides up to $100,000 in tax credits per fast charger (in addition to support from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Formula Program for targeted corridor-based fast charging development). So, what are the remaining barriers?