Utilities Lead in Building Out EV Charging Networks

by | Feb 11, 2022 | Electric Vehicles, Gas Infrastructure, Utility of the Future

One of the biggest obstacles to wider adoption of electric vehicles (EVs) is range anxiety and “charging deserts,” or disadvantaged areas where public charging stations are not readily available.

Currently, there are 5,000 EV charging stations in Canadas. There is no consistent payment process and some chargers, like those manufactured by Tesla, are not compatible with all models of vehicles.

Globally, electric vehicle sales reached 6.6 million in 2021, representing nearly 9 percent of car sales and more than tripling 2019’s sales, which reached roughly 2.5 percent. There are an estimated 16 million electric vehicles in use, consuming 30 terawatt hours of electricity annually.

Battery electric vehicles and passenger cars made up three-fourths and two-thirds of the market, respectively, and the Asian-Pacific market, followed by Europe and North America, have the largest demand for EVs, with the three regions making up approximately 90 percent of global sales.

In Canada, electric vehicle sales rose by more than 30% in the early months of 2022 to reach more than 55.1k vehicles, or 7 percent of all cars sold in the country. An estimated 1 in 14 Canadians will purchase an electric vehicle in 2022 for a total of over 100k sales. The CD Howe Institute states 70 percent of vehicles on the road must be EV by 2030.

Canada sales are boosted by tax credits and the rollout of a wider range of models, which grew by 18 models this year. Many new models will be designed from the start as electric vehicles, instead of adaptions of existing internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. At the same time, fuel costs for ICE vehicles have soared and rules restricting vehicle emissions, such as the Federal government’s environment and climate change regulations, have made electric vehicles more attractive then ever.

Additionally, several automakers have announced goals to reach huge electric vehicle sales targets. For example, Volkswagen committed to having half of their sales consist of EVs; Ford, General Motors and Stellantis jointly set a goal of 40 to 50 percent of sales; and Toyota is working to achieve 3.5 million electric vehicle sales, all by 2030.

In the public sector, Budget 2022 provided an additional $1.7 billion to extend the government’s purchase incentive program until March 2025. Canada’s infrastructure Bank pledged to invest $500 million in revenue-generating large-scale ZEV charging and refuelling infrastructure. Individual provinces are also encouraging adoption with tax credits, rebates and research.

Polls have shown that many residents are leery of purchasing EVs because a lack of charging stations in disadvantaged areas, such as rural communities or neighbourhoods with lack of access, the “charging deserts,” that primarily include low- to moderate-income communities and people of color. Vehicle manufacturers, such as GM, are working to lessen this issue by providing charging stations for some car buyers, in addition to installing hundreds of public stations across the country.

Utilities will lead not only in meeting the increased demand for power to charge EVs but will also in building out a charging network to address range anxiety and charging deserts. With utilities in a leadership role in EV charger network-building, it’s not surprised that many new EV owners are turning to their utilities for guidance in navigating having a home charger installed. Utilities can improve customer satisfaction by providing a frictionless charger installation journey through a turnkey solution that allows customers to purchase a charger, schedule an installation and have the dispatched electrician provide information on incentives and time-of-use rates.

HomeServe is among the first to provide a Level 2 EV charger installation and repair plan that provides a pre-vetted, nationwide network of licensed and insured electricians and fills the gaps in manufacturer’s warranties by covering normal wear-and-tera and protecting out-of-warranty devices.

Contact us to learn more.