For many folks, electric vehicles (EVs) are still a difficult idea to embrace. They think about payload, towing capacity, and most of all driving range, and they decide the technology is not for them…yet.
Especially for those who live in rural areas, the EV discussion feels like an “either/or” proposition with clear advantages still coming down on the side of traditional fuel vehicles. Folks who depend on heavy trucks and heavy equipment for their livelihood can be forgiven for thinking the EV conversation just sounds like noise.
But as with all changes in life, little steps toward a new way of doing things make the transition easier. After all, EV technology is anything but static, and new EV developments and capabilities are coming online every year.
So what does the immediate future look like on our nation’s roads? We expect to see a continuation of the trend toward electric vehicles, especially in urban areas where daily commutes are shorter and the case for EVs is clear and obvious.
Outside the cities, EVs will begin to appear more and more attractive as electric batteries support heavier loads and longer driving ranges. While heavier-duty electric vehicles were not the first priority for manufacturers, “work truck” fleet vehicles are definitely on the way.
Importantly, these trends will be supported by a growing network of EV charging stations that is expanding across the country right now. Federal funding and good old-fashioned market demand are seeing to that.
So, as EVs become more common across the country, we will enter a period during which our nation’s roadways feature a shifting blend of traditionally fueled and electric vehicles. Only the ratio will change, as EVs become more prevalent and vehicles that run on legacy power will begin to phase out.
This hybrid transportation state that sees both petroleum-powered and battery-powered vehicles sharing the road will likely last for years. We’re not the only ones who think so, by the way.
For proof, look no further than the industries that were built to support gasoline-powered and diesel-powered vehicles. They have recently moved over a bit to make room for the new tech on the block.
Truck Stops and Fuel Providers See the Future
A recent joint press release from NATSO, the trade association for the nation’s travel plaza and truckstop industry, and SIGMA, which represents independent chain motor fuel retailers, shows how businesses that were traditionally aligned with gas and diesel are anticipating the rise of the age of EVs.
In response to announcements from the US Department of Transportation and the US Department of Energy that $5 billion has been made available under a new National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program, both NATSO and SIGMA stepped up to claim a leadership position during this time of change.
According to the press release issued by both organizations:
According to these two industry leaders, EV drivers in the very near future will require a safe, seamless, and predictable experience, the same experience drivers currently enjoy with the nation’s network of traditional fueling stations. They point out that drivers of gasoline-powered and diesel-powered vehicles do not currently have to deal with “range anxiety” thanks to the existing network of fueling stations.
Further, NATSO and SIGMA assert that for EV drivers to enjoy the same benefit, the proposed national network of EV charging stations should piggyback on the existing fueling infrastructure already in place in thousands of locations across the country.
In the end, NATSO and SIGMA support the US Government’s move to deploy funds in a manner that directs states to contract with private sector entities to install and operate EV charging stations in a growing network along designated Alternative Fuel Corridors. And with their joint announcement, they signal their commitment to leverage the extensive network of existing fueling stations when providing for this expanded EV infrastructure development.
This is big news for consumers who are interested in purchasing an EV, but who have reservations about the accessibility of powerful, quick, Level 3 public charging stations. With these rapid chargers coming to truck stops and travel centers across the country, “range anxiety” will soon be a thing of the past.
DC Fast Charging Stations Will Power the Switch to EV
At locations like the ones represented by NATSO and serviced by SIGMA, DC fast-charging stations will dramatically increase the national “buy-in” for EVs. In 2020, just over 15% of public EV charging ports in the U.S. were direct-current (DC) fast chargers. That number is rising dramatically.
Charging stations that feature fast charging ports typically rely on 208/480V AC three-phase input. Today, DC fast-charging stations feature three different connector types: SAE Combined Charging System (CCS), CHAdeMO, and Tesla.
CCS connectors, sometimes referred to as “J1772 Combo” connectors, are almost identical to the J1772 connectors, but include two additional bottom pins. CCS connectors allow users to use Level 1, Level 2, or DC fast charging equipment with only one connector.
CHAdeMO connectors are the most common fast-charging connectors.
Tesla connectors are unique and come with adaptors that allow users to charge their EVs at every type of charging station.
FSG Supports NATSO with Turnkey Solutions for EV Charging Stations
With expertise and experience in the design, engineering, installation, maintenance, and repair of EV charging stations, FSG is a natural fit for NATSO-affiliated truck stops and travel centers looking to improve their EV infrastructure. With FSG, you can confidently take full advantage of the new federal funding in place to support the growth in electric vehicles.
FSG can provide electrical engineering and design solutions for local governments and businesses, and when the plans are in place we can follow through with industry-leading equipment and installation services that you can trust.
Our experience with EV infrastructure provides the confidence you need to make a good choice for your new EV charging station. We are a contracted service install partner for Tesla, and we have ongoing affiliate relationships with industry leaders like Leviton, Blink, EVConnect, Efacec, ChargePoint, and BreezeEV.
Remember this: In the current environment, there will be no shortage of newcomers to the market with brand new EV infrastructure equipment and a desire to “ride the business wave” for a while. Vetting the form, fit, and function of EV charging equipment is an FSG strength you really should consider.
FSG stands ready to guide you through the conception, design, engineering, procurement, installation, and ongoing service for your EV charging station. But what about all the details? Who can help you understand the fine print on all of this new EV infrastructure?
Once again, FSG is the answer. Our National Accounts Team and our ESCO Support Team are ready to guide you through the maze of grants, rebates, incentives, and state-level programs that can support your decision to get on board with EV infrastructure today.
Most importantly, know that FSG is not here to gain your trust for a moment only. Since 1982, we’ve known that our best customers are those that enjoy an ongoing relationship with our products and services, and who consider us the one and only call they need to make to get solutions to a wide variety of facility challenges.
Plan for Change, Change the Plan
The NATSO and SIGMA joint statement illustrates the fact that even disruptive technology can find a comfortable home within our existing transportation infrastructure. Change is not always a bad thing.
For many consumers, the decision to purchase their first EV is only days or weeks away, and in the coming months and years, the number of Americans driving EVs will only continue to grow. With an expanded national network of charging stations up and running, this fact will seem like common sense.
But today’s common sense felt like a leap of faith yesterday, and many businesses still have questions about taking the first step with an EV charging station for their customers. Think about it, read up on it, then give us a call.
When you are ready to get on board with new or improved EV infrastructure, call us today at (877) 293-6689 or contact us online. Take advantage of this moment in history and step into the future with an EV charging station of your own!
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