Repairer Driven News
« Back « PREV Article  |  NEXT Article »

EV charging: Public or private? States debate route to take

By on
Market Trends
Share This:

As the Virginia General Assembly’s regular session came to a close March 9, a bill that would’ve created a rural electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure program died. Meanwhile, two states are considering public utility fees for EV charging.

The program would’ve come with a fund to assist private developers with non-utility costs associated with the installation of public EV charging stations in distressed localities. “Distressed locality” is defined in HB 107 as “a city with a population density of less than 1,470 people per square mile or a county with a population density of less than 160 people per square mile” with certain unemployment and poverty rates.

A private developer would’ve been eligible to receive grants of 70% of non-utility costs for public EV charging stations installed in a city or county that met the criteria of a distressed locality, as defined in the bill. The bill had an expiration date of July 1, 2028.

Cardinal News reports that, for three years, Del. Rip Sullivan (D-District 6) has proposed bills to fund rural EV charging stations, but the requested $2 million wasn’t approved as part of the budget.

Sullivan, arguing for his bill in a House subcommittee meeting, said that most of Virginia’s EV charging stations are within a mile of interstates 81, 64, 66 and 95, according to Cardinal News.

“Virginia is a very big state and a lot of people and a lot of businesses are located a lot more than 1 mile from a major interstate,” Sullivan said in a Cardinal News interview. “So the idea was to find a way to fill those gaps and make sure that there was charging station infrastructure going in all around the state.

“It is clear … whether any individual Virginian wants it or not, electric vehicles are coming. … The market has made that clear. … I have felt that this has to be something that happens statewide, not just in certain areas of the state.”

Jordan Hendler, executive director of Washington Metropolitan Auto Body Association (WMABA), told Repairer Driven News that more access to not only the public but to repairers is essential as more EVs hit the road.

“Repairers who regularly work on electric vehicles are coming to grips — or losing their grip, rather — on the monitoring of the battery for these vehicles when they are in the workflow,” she said. “Especially for those repairers who are certified with the all-electric brands and have many on [their] property at one time. Having to rely on the 110V as a charging station when you have several [EVs] becomes problematic in normal temps. Add in a heat wave and batteries are literally killing themselves to stay cooled to the proper temperature.”

Hendler added that repair centers, especially those located in rural areas, could serve as the charging location of choice for the public and as a revenue stream for the business.

“Oftentimes, we have the right type of location, with easy access and frontage to main roads, where serving as the charging point is also good for the business,” she said. “It’s something those repairers who are seeing EVs should be looking into… We shouldn’t be quick to dismiss wanting this on our property, as it can enhance how the motoring public sees us as an industry.”

In Pennsylvania, utility companies are discouraging private investment in EV charging, according to testimony offered during a recent House committee hearing, according to the Charge Ahead Partnership (CAP).

On March 6, the Pennsylvania House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee met to discuss the challenges facing EV charging expansion.

Sheetz has been buying, installing, and operating EV charging stations at its locations since 2012. However, Sheetz Energy and Sustainability Manager Eric McCrum told committee members that the company couldn’t justify its expansion into EV charging in Pennsylvania if electric utilities were allowed to continue using ratepayer funds to directly compete with the private marketplace, a CAP press release states.

“We are eager to invest and continue investing in EV infrastructure, but we need the right signals to do so in a fair, competitive market,” he said, according to the release. “Allowing utilities to ratebase EV charging infrastructure is an insurmountable competitive advantage that we just cannot compete with from a pricing standpoint.”

Rep. Craig Williams has noted that private entities need to invest their own funds to offer EV charging.

“Pennsylvania’s power companies are jeopardizing the state’s EV charging marketplace,” said CAP Executive Director Jay Smith. “When an established retailer like Sheetz can’t compete because of utilities seeking to monopolize the marketplace, what chance does a small EV charging entrepreneur stand? It’s time for policymakers to establish policies that attract, rather than deter, private investment.”

CAP has also followed the issue in Louisiana, where it says the state’s Public Service Commission (LPSC) has spent nearly two years figuring out what role the state’s investor-owned utilities should play in the development of the EV charging marketplace.

In February, staff for the LPSC issued a recommendation to not allow Louisiana’s utility companies to use ratepayer funds to build, own, and operate charging stations.

“If regulators follow staff’s advice, that would be a major step toward a competitive and open EV charging marketplace in Louisiana,” CAP said.

The comment period for the recommendation is open until March 29 then the LPSC is expected to issue a final ruling.

CNBC reported on Wednesday that “EV euphoria is dead” as automakers Ford, General Motors, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin are scaling back or delaying their EV plans.

Ford is significantly increasing its production and sales of hybrid models, which can help ease the transition to electrified vehicles for drivers who may not be ready for fully electric models, according to CNBC.

GM plans to roll out plug-in hybrid EVs alongside EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles while Hyundai, Kia, Toyota and, potentially, Volkswagen, plan to offer different levels of electrification across their lineups, CNBC reported.

However, Kelley Blue Book and J.D. Power predict continuing increases in EV sales.

A record 1.2 million U.S. vehicle buyers chose to go electric last year and, for the full year, EV share of the market was 7.6%, according to KBB January estimates, up from 5.9% in 2022.

EV sales in Q4 2023 set a record for both volume and share at 317,168 and 8.1%, respectively, according to KBB.

Q4 EV sales increased year over year by 40%. The market posted a 49% gain in Q3, and EV sales were up 52% year over year in Q4 2022. By volume, EV sales in Q4 were higher than in Q3 by roughly 5,000. The EV market in the U.S. is still growing, but not growing as fast, KBB said in January.

KBB predicts EV share of the U.S. market will reach 10% this year.

In its October E-Vision Intelligence Report, J.D. Power said that while it took five-and-a-half years for EV retail sales to hit 1 million sales, they quickly accelerated since, taking just 18 months to reach 2 million sales.


Featured image credit: gerenme/iStock

Share This: