With Rapid EV Growth Expected, Electric Companies Are Leading the Effort to Electrify Transportation

With Rapid EV Growth Expected, Electric Companies Are Leading the Effort to Electrify Transportation
(AP Photo/Eric Risberg, file)
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More than 2 million electric vehicles (EVs) are on U.S. roads today. And we now project that number could grow to as many as 22 million within a decade. While this is great news for customers, communities, and the environment, we must do more now to build the infrastructure needed to meet the moment.The stakes are especially high, given that reducing emissions in the transportation sector is essential to any effort to reduce emissions economy-wide. Transportation is a leading source of carbon emissions around the world, and it is the single largest source of U.S. carbon emissions.Today, the biggest barrier to EV adoption is not a lack of EVs. It is lack of access to charging infrastructure from coast-to-coast. Our estimates show that more than 10 times the current number of public EV fast charging ports are needed to support the projected growth in EVs in the United States.America’s electric companies recognize the need for action. Just last week, our industry announced the formation of the National Electric Highway Coalition. With more than 50 investor-owned electric companies, one electric cooperative, and the Tennessee Valley Authority as members, the coalition is focused on meeting the challenge of creating sufficient coast-to-coast charging infrastructure. Each member of the coalition has committed to make a good faith effort to build a foundational network of fast charging stations across major highway corridors in their service areas by the end of 2023.This new national coalition merges together the Electric Highway Coalition and the Midwest Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure Collaboration and now includes additional participating electric companies from across the country. The companies have come together with a shared goal of enabling long-distance EV travel and to pursue this goal by working collaboratively with stakeholders and policymakers to complement existing and planned EV charging infrastructure. By filling the charging gaps along major highways, electric companies are committed to giving drivers the confidence they need to drive EVs along major U.S. travel corridors and will help further accelerate the adoption of EVs.This is an ambitious goal. Yet, if we are to make the carbon reductions necessary to address climate change, we need to accelerate the electrification of the transportation sector. This will require major new initiatives and significant investments. Edison Electric Institute’s (EEI) member electric companies throughout the country are already approved to invest more than $3 billion in customer programs and projects to deploy charging infrastructure and to accelerate electric transportation with more than a billion dollars of additional investment pending.In addition to the investments that electric companies are making to expand charging infrastructure, the federal government is making key investments. The recently passed Bipartisan Infrastructure and Jobs Act provides $7.5 billion in funding to help build a network of EV chargers. It is important that these much-needed funds complement and leverage the investments being made by electric companies, charging companies, states, and businesses. Additionally, the bill invests $5 billion in clean school buses, $5.25 billion for low- and zero-emission transit buses, and more than $2.5 billion for electric ports and ferries.Our industry also is leading by example when it comes to electrifying our own fleets. EEI’s members, collectively, are on track to electrify more than one-third of their fleet vehicles by 2030. Electric companies also are engaging with commercial fleet customers to work together on their fleet electrification planning. This work is critically important as the electrification of medium- and heavy-duty trucks can have a huge impact on emissions reductions and charging power requirements.We are excited about the future of electric transportation, and we look forward to engaging with our regulators, federal and state partners, and customers to build a safe, reliable, resilient, and clean energy future. 



Tom Kuhn is president of the Edison Electric Institute, the trade association that represents all U.S. investor-owned electric companies.

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