In 2016 Germany’s Volkswagen Group of America division established an “Electrify America” subsidiary to boost acceptance and sales of electric vehicles by installing a network of charging stations.
Based in Reston, Va., the program plans to spend $2 billion over the next 10 years on Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) infrastructure, education and access. “The investment will enable millions of Americans to discover the benefits of electric driving and support the build-out of a nationwide network of workplace, community and highway chargers that are convenient and reliable,” according to the company.
Electrify America “will tackle this challenge head on and intends to develop and deploy a national awareness and education campaign directed at car buyers not yet familiar with EVs.”
Company executives report that “we have already conducted a rigorous study categorizing all vehicle buyers into common ‘segments’ of wants, needs, and avoidance reasons surrounding going electric, as well as their preferred communication channels -- e.g., social media, television. Using this study, Electrify America is developing a marketing and public relations campaign that will feature advertising, social media, learn-and-drive events, and other brand neutral approaches to building EV awareness and consideration in the United States.”
Mike Moran, Electrify America’s head of communications, recently responded to a series of questions posed by Aftermarket Business World:
How many charging installations do you have in place in the U.S.?
Electrify America currently has more than 300 live stations in the U.S. with an additional 184 coming soon. These stations will have more than 2,000 ultra-fast chargers. Additionally, Electrify Canada recently opened its first public EV charging station in Toronto.
What are your installation goals going forward?
Electrify America expects to install or have under development approximately 800 total charging station sites with about 3,500 DC fast-chargers by December 2021. During this period, the company will be expanding to 29 metros and 45 states, including two cross-country routes.
Are your chargers compatible with all the EV models currently on the marketplace?
Electrify America stations offer CCS, CHAdeMO, and J1772 connectors. This means that almost every EV model on the road today can charge with us.
How do you assess the ratio in the U.S. of the availability of chargers vs. the amount of EVs on the road? Are each of the elements keeping pace with each other? Does this present a “chicken or egg” issue in terms of the amount charger installations vs. the amount of EV sales?
One of the ways we aim to meet our goal of increasing EV adoption is to build a robust network of fast-charging stations. Our hope is that by making charging faster and more accessible, we can help both current EV drivers and those considering purchasing an EV in the future -- perhaps through some of the newer models already being developed that can handle higher battery speeds.