Nissan has outlined its strategy for tripling the current electric vehicle quick-charging infrastructure in the United States with the addition of at least 500 quick-charging stations in the next 18 months, including the greater Washington D.C. area's first fast-charge network.
Nissan and its charging infrastructure partners estimate that about 160 fast chargers are currently available for public use across the United States, and no fast chargers are available for public use in Washington D.C. Most electric vehicle (EV) drivers now rely on home charging, and having additional charging options can significantly increase their rate of EV driving.
"We envision a quick-charging network that links communities and neighborhoods where people live, work, shop and socialize," said Brendan Jones, Nissan's director of electric vehicle marketing and sales strategy. "Having a robust charging infrastructure helps build range confidence, which boosts interest in and use of electric vehicles."
Nissan's strategy is focused on a three-prong approach to increase the number of available fast chargers though its dealer network, workplace campus charging and opportunities within local neighborhoods that help interconnect communities where drivers spend the bulk of their time and do the majority of their driving. Nissan is working with its dealers, local municipalities and infrastructure partners that include NRG Energy and its eVgo Network to increase the current number of public charging options.
A key part of this infrastructure enhancement is eVgo's new greater Washington, D.C. ecosystem, which will include a network of 40 eVgo Freedom Station sites across the area. Each Freedom Station site will have a Nissan fast charger that can provide EVs such as the Nissan LEAF with up to an 80 percent charge in less than 30 minutes. NRG's new greater Washington, D.C. network will be the first such network of fast chargers in the northeastern United States. NRG currently operates similar networks in Houston and the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and has announced networks in the San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Joaquin Valley areas.
Through its subsidiary eVgo, NRG's investment of approximately $150 million in EV charging infrastructure will provide EV drivers with access to hundreds of public fast-charging Freedom Station sites along with level 2 (240-volt) charging stations at homes, offices, multi-family communities, schools and hospitals across Texas, California and the greater Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. eVgo provides charging solutions directly to EV owners as well as businesses looking to serve the EV charging needs of their residents, tenants, employees or customers. Service plans offered by eVgo enable EV owners to avoid paying large up-front costs for a charger and provide unlimited charging at Freedom Station sites for a monthly fee.
"NRG's new ecosystem in the greater Washington, D.C. area will provide range confidence and convenience to EV drivers," said Glen Stancil, vice president at eVgo. "Nissan's fast chargers are a critical element of the overall ecosystem, which will also include charging solutions for single-family homes, multi-family communities and workplaces. This eVgo ecosystem will enable drivers in our nation's capital to confidently enjoy the benefits of electric vehicle ownership."
In addition to growing the number of public charging stations, Nissan aims to make charging available in more workplaces. While the majority of electric vehicle owners heavily rely on home charging, workplace charging has grown in popularity with an increasing number of companies providing this benefit.
"There are now about 1,500 private charging stations that exist in workplaces, allowing for what's called 'end-to-end' charging. That means that the car's battery is fully charged when the driver leaves home, and it will be fully charged when that person leaves work," said Jones. "It's another way to give electric vehicle drivers more flexibility to run errands and make other stops between work and home."
To encourage more companies to offer charging benefits on their campuses, Nissan has collected best practices from corporations who already offer incentives for electric vehicle owners to share with other corporations who are interested in growing the workplace charging infrastructure.
Nissan has launched a study with about 30 dealers to help determine best practices for leveraging dealer participation within the fast-charging infrastructure to provide public access.
For more read Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure 2012-2022: Forecasts, Technologies, Players .