Article Courtesy of ChargePoint

Much of the prioritized geography for the $5 billion electric vehicle portion of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) is likely to fall within cooperative and municipal system areas. 

This means that rural energy providers will play a vital role in the facilitation of infrastructure placement on member and customer sites. Input from the electric cooperatives and public power is key as these entities lead the effort to deploy infrastructure in a way that is meaningful to the impact of clean infrastructure.

Here are a few factors that should be reviewed when considering a location for EV charging:

  • What types of drivers will be served? Is this a travel location with a need to refuel in 15-30 minutes, or a place with a longer dwell time that may benefit from a 90 – 120-minute stay?
  • Distance from the highway: Locations that are within 1 mile of an alternative fuel corridor are ideal for funding consideration, but other options should be allowed given the lack of density in most rural areas.
  • Three-phase power: DC fast charging requires three-phase power, most often 480V. Areas that do not need line extensions are ideal, while the addition of EV charging in some locations may provide a basis for a line extension project.
  • Economic Development: Communities, where there are amenities such as restrooms, good lighting, restaurants, and shopping, may get the most out of EV charging placement.

Other Considerations:

  • Renewable Energy: While renewable energy should not be a requirement for EV charging placement, various energy management tools should allow for the incorporation of renewables where appropriate n the EV charging ecosystem.
  • Flexibility for underserved communities: Electric vehicles are not attainable for a large portion of the population. Rideshare and public transportation options should also be considered when designing rural infrastructure that serves all communities.
  • Changing power requirements:  More power can be added later as needs increase. Sites should consider deploying infrastructure that slightly exceeds today’s standards while building for future-proofing over the next 10-15 years.
  • Ownership and hosting: EV charging projects can be executed in a variety of ways that combine funding opportunities, operational management, and population served. 

In short, rural energy providers tend to have the community relationships that matter to the execution of innovative infrastructure projects. Connecting rural communities with the same grassroots efforts that built distribution across most of the US is an indispensable core competency of electric cooperatives and public power. Gresco can help make these connections with potential site hosts and other partners to affect a nationwide rural electrification system with cooperative energy at its core.

For more information on EV chargers, contact your Gresco sales representative today!