A quiet, but very important, milestone happened recently in the evolution of electric vehicle infrastructure here in the United States. Chargepoint America, which until late last year also was known as Coulomb, completed its nationwide network of home, public and commercial charging points for electric vehicles.
Chargepoint kicked off this program back in May 2010, when it was awarded a $15 million dollar matching grant funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the Transportation Electrification Initiative administered by the Department of Energy (DOE) for doing installation work across the country. It also was given $3.4 million in funding from the California Energy Commission for the installation of residential and public electric vehicle charging infrastructure within California.
With these monies, it aimed at the time to provide “nearly 5000 charging stations to program participants in nine regions in the United States: Austin, Texas, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Orlando, Fla., Sacramento, Calif., the San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area, Redmond, Wash., and Washington DC.” It seems to have come close to that number as, all in all,
4,600 charging ports were installed in single-family homes, multi-family housing, commercial and public locations to support more than 2,000 program vehicles. Ten regions in the United States received EV charging stations: Austin/San Antonio, Texas; Boston; Los Angeles; New York; Orlando/Tampa; Sacramento, Calif.; San Jose/San Francisco Bay Area; Redmond/Bellevue, Wash.; Washington DC/Baltimore; and Southern Michigan (including Grand Rapids, Lansing, Ann Arbor and Detroit).
With the build out now completed, Chargepoint said, it will continue to send EV charging related data collected from its network to the DOE for analysis by researchers, municipal planners and other stakeholders to learn more about where EVs are charged, including when and how much energy is used.
In the end analysis by the company, it feels it succeeded with the network in several ways. These include:
- Leveraging private and state investment in installation resulted in a cost to the Department of Energy of only $3,300 per installed charging station. Typical costs for installed Level 2 EV charging stations in the private sector are more than $5,800.
- All EV charging station installations were performed under the rules of the Davis-Bacon Act, which ensures prevailing wages were paid to the electrical contractors and technicians involved.
- More than 120 EV charging ports in 47 multifamily housing locations were installed.
Chargepoint, looking forward, said it plans to work with Ecotality to link electric car charging networks, according to Bloomberg. In doing this, the two will “share customers and allow billing across their networks” in a venture which will be opened to other “car-charging providers” as well. Ecotality was the other major participant in the DOE’s push to create an EV charging infrastructure.