ROME—Italian energy company Enel announced it will build 10,000 public fast chargers near U.S. highways by 2030, nearly doubling the number of fast EV chargers in the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reports. This follows the EPA’s announcement last week of new proposed standards for tailpipe emissions as part of the Biden administration’s push for more electric vehicles on American roads.
To meet the demands of an increased number of EVs, a more reliable and expansive network of chargers is necessary. Enel is the latest company to commit to building that network. “We can come in and make a big commitment and take a long-term view on it,” said Chris Baker, who leads Enel X Way North America. “It’s an infrastructure play.”
Baker indicated the company would likely apply for U.S. government subsidies to help cover the cost. Enel also plans to enter the at-home charging arena by building fast chargers for owners. Overall the company expects to build at least two million chargers in North America by the end of the decade.
Currently, the U.S. has about 11,500 fast chargers open to any EV, while Tesla has a network of approximately 18,700 for drivers of Teslas. Right now, the business model for fast chargers hasn’t had enough EVs to support it. At the same time, industry experts posit many consumers won’t make the switch to EVs until rapid chargers have widespread coverage across the U.S.
Gas stations and utility companies have been duking it out in several states about who owns and operates EV chargers, which can generate high utility bills. In addition, companies providing the service and charging gear have been plagued with faulty equipment, driver payment system failures and vandalism.
Utility companies and gas stations have been arguing across several states about who will own and operate EV chargers. The expensive utility bills that can result from delivering quick jolts of power have been a particular point of contention. Meanwhile, the young companies that provide charging gear and services have struggled with equipment not working, vandalism and driver payment systems, a frequent source of failure.
Nio, a Chinese EV company, now offers battery replacement, rather than charging, at swap stations in Europe.