For electric vehicles to outpace gas-powered vehicles, they need easily available charging stations. Utilities are emerging as an option.
Electric vehicle (EV) sales have multiplied over the past 5 years. Now, with major automakers like General Motors and Daimler rolling out models, EVs could soon become mainstream.
But they need more than consumer enthusiasm to take off — they need charge points that can support their pace of growth.
While there currently aren’t enough charging stations, or plans in the works to build these facilities fast enough to support significant increases in EV adoption, utilities are emerging as a solution.
Plugging EVs into the grid could grow the otherwise flat-lining utility industry by as much as 20% per year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). However, there are challenges with using utilities as charging points, from system degradation caused by long-term EV charging to overloads that can result in blackouts.
Still, several utility companies are showing interest in the EV industry. Their participation is opening doors for policies that could bring charging via utilities into the mainstream, and for technologies that could make grid infrastructure more conducive to charging.