Fast-Charging Networks for Electric Cars: A State-by-State Guide

By · March 11, 2014

Charging at Mount Hood

Opening day for the AeroVironment fast charger at the Skibowl near Mount Hood in Oregon. (Jim Motavalli photo)

I am in Portland, Ore., riding shotgun in an Enterprise car-share Nissan LEAF, taking a 100-mile-range EV far further than it normally goes in a day. That's because Oregon and Washington have a Pacific Northwest network of DC fast chargers, including what Harry Dalgaard of Travel Oregon describes as “the first fully electric coastline in the country, from Astoria in the north to Brookings in the south.”

Ashley Horvat, Oregon’s chief EV officer (the first such title in the country) is along for the ride. She tells me the network of AeroVironment stations (37 in Oregon) was paid for with $915,000 in stimulus funding via the Department of Energy (10 stations) and $3.34 million in Tiger II discretionary funds from the Department of Transportation (the rest of it). Oregon also has 20 other DC fast chargers from other projects. Washington State has 26 fast chargers, 12 of them AeroVironment and funded by the state DOT.

The AeroVironment CHAdeMO chargers (all of which have Level 2 units alongside) got our LEAF mostly filled up in about 20 minutes, and all functioned well—though an out-of-network Blink fast charger (now operated by the Car Charging Group) in a Walmart parking lot was D.O.A. during our visit. Here's the early stages of that visit, on video (and the noisy rain):

The network is a partnership with Oregon’s tourist office, so EV owners can access five detailed vacation itineraries online, as well as 170 suggestions. I attended the installation of a charger at the base of Mount Hood, so skiing is now accessible by EV.

Charging at Mount Hood

Attendees witnessed a number of snowboarders clear a Nissan LEAF, at the Mount Hood Fast Charger grand opening party.

Oregon (which has 4,000 plug-in cars registered) and Washington are far from the only states with DC fast-charging networks. Here’s a highly selective rundown of what’s available in some other states.

North Carolina: The state has 1,600 plug-in cars registered, said Tyler Bray, transportation project manager for Advanced Energy. That’s a 133 percent increase from the first year of sales in 2012. According to Sean Flaherty, a senior planner at the Centralina Council of Governments, a network of 30 DC fast chargers, half of them Eaton units and the rest supplied via local Brightfield Transportation Solutions with solar backup, will be strategically located around the state by April 30. Nissan North America is a partner, and Flaherty said, “LEAFs use the CHAdeMO standard, so that’s the priority.” A SAE converter will be offered as an extra-cost (maybe $6,000) upgrade if the sites ask for it.

Tennessee: The state was slow to roll on EVs, despite hosting the factory for the Nissan LEAF and its batteries. By summer 2011, although it was targeted by the EV Project for concentrated charger deployment, less than 1,000 EVs had been sold. There are now 321 public chargers in Tennessee (15 of them are Quick Chargers), and newer data shows that EV drivers there are really using the cars. LEAF drivers in Knoxville are using public chargers at a higher percentage than anywhere else in the country, including San Francisco and Los Angeles. The average LEAF owner in Nashville travels 32.2 miles a day, compared to 29.2 miles for the country as a whole. Since 2011, in partnership with eVgo, Tennessee has had a 12-station fast-charging network installed by and at Cracker Barrel restaurants in a circle around the state (in Texas, too). The state is now looking into building a network of DC chargers along Route 40 from the Mississippi River to the North Carolina line. According to state spokeswoman Molly Cripps, "The project has yet to launch and is still considered to be in the planning phase."

Note that many of the Nashville-area Nissan dealerships have CHAdeMo stations.

Oregon LEAF

A well-traveled Enterprise rental LEAF on the road in Oregon. (Jim Motavalli photo)

Connecticut: Good news here, because not only are there more than 1,000 plug-in cars on the road (not terrible for a state with 3.5 million population), but there are two Tesla Superchargers deployed along I-95, and good public Level 2 support at the municipal level. According to Anne Gobin, a state environmental official, two highway service plazas now have fast chargers installed (funded by Northeast Utilities), and another “is in design.” She adds, “We are also preparing to go to bid for a vendor to build out and operate a comprehensive fast-charging network along all major transportation routes in Connecticut.” That program is not yet fully funded. The chargers on I-95 (others on the Merritt Parkway are under construction) are CHAdeMO-compliant, and will have SAE Combo capability installed later in 2014. The official goal is available public charging always a short drive away. Hey, it's a small state.

Massachusetts: Massachusetts has impressive stats: 202 public chargers (eight of them are DC Quick Chargers) and 2,600 electric vehicles (575 with special EV license plates). It still doesn't have much in the way of state incentives for consumers, but a task force is studying that. Subsidies are available for fleets through the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program. "We are working on a workplace incentive program as well as some funding for DC fast chargers," said spokeswoman Amy Mahler.

California: The state has the most robust fast-charging network in the country, including along the I-5 West Coast Electric Highway it shares with Washington and Oregon. It now has 40.96 percent of the national battery car market and 47.18 percent of plug-in hybrids, according to new state figures. State plug-in sales now approach 200,000. One hang-up, however, is the slow-moving deployment of the 1,040 charging stations that are pledged to be installed as part of a settlement between NRG Energy and California regulators. By the end of last year, just 110 of those had been installed, with NRG citing “unanticipated problems,” including some reluctance among property owners to host chargers—even when they’re free.

Oregon doesn’t seem to have that constraint, and Horvat says that property owners there have been eager to get EV owners’ business. We got fast-charged while eating homemade pie at the Berry Patch.

Comments

· · 2 years ago

There are a few Chademo charging stations listed in NC on Plugshare.com, but no reports of new ones coming. Is there a list anywhere or a map?

· · 2 years ago

Oregon, aka 'Land-O-CHAdeMO' rocks! So many great EV tourist destinations are just a charged range hop, or two away!

"California: The state has the most robust fast-charging network in the country, including along the I-5 West Coast Electric Highway it shares with Washington and Oregon."

The above statement … is a bit misleading.
While California has partnered with Oregon, Washington and British Columbia to construct the WCEH (West-coast Electric Highway), it has yet to deploy any DCFC along I-5 (see Plugshare). There is a 300 mile CHAdeMO desert between Ashland, OR and Davis, CA along I-5. The only DCFC north of Sacramento is at a Nissan dealer in Chico, CA.

This WCEH Map shows CHAdeMO DCFC for CA, OR, & WA:
http://www.westcoastgreenhighway.com/pdfs/WA_OR_EVMap.pdf

· · 2 years ago

California's two main metro centers BayArea (56 DCFCs from San Francisco to San Jose) and SoCal (58 DCFCs between Los Angeles and San Diego) have seen a good increase in the number of DCFC over past year. Less so for the state capital region around Sacramento.

To connect the West-coast Electric Highway to Sacramento, CA would require only ~8 DCFC locations, just a few of the planned 200 DCFC to be installed this year. The WCEH from Sacramento to Los Angles is already included in the planned deployment.
http://cleantechnica.com/2012/05/14/100-million-for-electric-car-chargin...

While a small percentage of EVs in California will make long multi-hundred mile journeys on the WCEH it critical infrastructure. For many locations along I-5, adding DCFC would range extend EVs from 50 to 200 miles, making trips practical between communities and regional cities. Home charging and regional DCFC covers the two most common use cases. (eg: adding a DCFC north and south of Redding is a regional enabler … one more DCFC and travel to Yreka, CA and Ashland north are possible)

The main priority for DCFC should be metro areas, adjusting deploment numbers based on use. (ie: adding second DCFC EVSE to locations as queues become common). DCFC able to attract 10-20+ charge sessions per day are sustainble in they generate psitive revenue. While WCEH DCFC won't have as high use (charge sessions) on a daily bases, they will serve a major range enabler for weekend get-aways and inter-regional trips.

· · 2 years ago

Missing on the list are:

North-East Coorridor: from Washington, DC to Boston, MA … a high density of Nissan dealers with DCFC an other DC EVSE make many range-extended destinations reachable.

Arizona: both Phenoix and Tuson have good DCFC and are connected with DCFC along I-10

Colorado: Denver to Fort Collins along I-25

Flordia: Tampa/Orlando and Mami centers

Georgia: thanks to high LEAF sales, local Nissan dealers now offer a nice ad-hock DCFC network (with some restrictions based on business hours)

Illinois: from Chicago north to Wisconsin along Lake Michigan

Pennsylvania: great coverage near Philadelphia with a scattering of DCFC going westward

Texas: Dalas/Ft.Worth and Houston both have decent DCFC (but missing a DCFC regional connector)

· · 2 years ago

Nice article Jim. The number of quick charge units in Tennessee recently increased thanks to Nissan deploying 7 units at state Dealerships just after Christmas 2013. The count for fast charge units is now 25 for Tennessee.

· · 2 years ago

The headline might not be the author's fault, but "a highly selective rundown of what’s available in some...states" isn't in the same ballpark as "A State-by-State Guide".

Actually delivering/maintaining that would be a welcome idea, by the way.

· · 2 years ago

Kind of a bait and switch. That, or the U.S. is a lot smaller than I remember.

· · 2 years ago

Posting on behalf of Chris Campbell. He did not want to create an account on this site.

---

I can't really take that article seriously since it doesn't even mention Georgia, which now BEATS all of the non-west coast states he mentioned on nearly every statistic. Some 5000-ish plug-in cars, 200 charging stations, and just last week a generous tax credit that was successfully defended from attack.

Strictly on the topic of DC Fast Chargers, we now have 11 DCFC sites including the first SAE Combo east of the Rockies. Per Tesla's latest map we expect 3 supercharging sites in Georgia by summer, and another 2 by end of year. Last week I learned that the state is financing a dozen DCFCs later this year, which I expect will be dual-plug.

Now, I do agree that it's still tough to get out of the region via EV, but regionally we are now swimming in it, and it's only a matter of time before the highway links are covered.

-- Chris Campbell

· · 2 years ago

As a new S owner, I do not know where the all the charging stations are, but I do know that the touch screen in my car will tell me. I am currently in the planning stages of a trip to Myrtle Beach, and have no doubt that the chargers will be able to accommodate my vehicles distance capabilities.
It is only going to get better from here. What is everyone else waiting for? Dump the gas guzzlers and enjoy true freedom!

· · 2 years ago

"...30 DC fast chargers" by the end of April?

It is past mid May, and there are 7 Chademo stations up, not counting the Tesla super chargers.

There are rumors of 15 more Chademo stations by the end of the year in NC. It looks like Charlotte-to-Greensboro-to-Raleigh is possible now.

Still it is good progress.

· · 1 year ago

@VitoBad,

"What is everyone else waiting for? Dump the gas guzzlers and enjoy true freedom!"

Everyone else can't afford a Tesla. So we're waiting for Gen III. Or we're waiting for the 2017 Leaf with double the range. We're also waiting for any semblance of a quick charge network. I do know where the quick chargers are, and the closest one to me is 150 miles away. Even then I can't use it because it's a Supercharger, and my Leaf is incompatible. The closest CHAdeMO is 200 miles away, in another country (Canada)!

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