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article imageElectrify America to build network of charging stations across US

By Karen Graham     Apr 23, 2018 in Technology
Volkswagen Group's Electrify America is rolling out an ambitious plan to partner with retail companies and developers to bring fast charging for electric vehicles to more locations across the United States, and the project is starting this year.
Yes, we can mark 2018 on our calendars as the year wide-spread, practical electric vehicle charging stations came to the United States, and it will be spread all across the country.
Last week, Electrify America announced the selection of four suppliers to build 4 different charging stations for its massive electric vehicle charging network to be deployed in the US over the next few years.
The suppliers include ABB, BTC Power, Efacec, and Signet. Each of these companies is already well-known as hardware suppliers for existing EV charging networks.
Mark McNabb, President, and CEO of Electrify America commented on the announcement:
"These state-of-the-art chargers will provide the latest in charging technology for today’s electric vehicles and those expected in the future that will feature larger batteries. We want to be sure that our systems are prepared for this growing market, and ABB, BTC Power, Efacec, and Signet will help us deliver chargers that are ultra-fast, convenient, reliable and future-proof."
One day later, Electrify America announced a partnership with Walmart for the locations of 100 of those stations. The EV infrastructure at the retail chain will be doubled with the addition of the new charging stations because Walmart already has electric vehicle charging stations at many of its stores across the U.S.
Some of the charging stations being set up in the U.S. by Volkswagen America.
Some of the charging stations being set up in the U.S. by Volkswagen America.
Electrify America
The start of Cycle One
However, building on its previous announcements, On Monday, Electrify America has announced that it will install 2,000 additional fast-charging stations at 484 locations across the country. The good news is that there will be a bunch of different retail outlets where the new fast-charge stations can be found, according to Green Car Reports.
In a statement, the company said that it will invest $500 million in what it terms a cycle-one investment to join with Target, the Brixmor Property Group, Kimco Realty Corporation and DDR Corporation, as well as Sheetz, Casey's General Stores, and Global Partners LP 's Allentown convenience stores.
You will notice Electrify America is focusing on the retail angle for its charging stations - and it is all because of safety issues. All the retail locations are well-lit, convenient and most important, fast. Three more cycles will follow over the next ten years, bringing the total commitment by Electrify America to $2 billion.
Map of locations for fast-charge stations.
Map of locations for fast-charge stations.
Electrify America
Who is Electrify America?
Electrify America is a spin-off initiative that came out of VW's 'emissionsgate' settlement, according to TreeHugger. It began in September 2015, when the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to German automaker Volkswagen Group.
The EPA found that Volkswagen had intentionally programmed turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engines to activate their emissions controls only during laboratory emissions testing. A settlement was eventually reached between the EPA and under a consent decree with the EPA and California, the company agreed to spend $2 billion over 10 years to build a nationwide charging network for electric cars.
Electrify America is a direct offshoot of that settlement, and they have started out with a bang. The best part of the decree is the stipulation that the chargers have to be compatible with and accessible to electric cars made by any automaker.
This means some serious voltages will be available to consumers. By the time the network reaches 2,000 individual chargers, they will range from 50 kilowatt-hours (kWh) in urban locations to swift 350 kWh charging at highway locations. And paying will be easy, too. Customers will be able to swipe a credit card, just like when they are buying gas.
Currently, only the VW Group's Porsche Mission E vehicle will be able to handle 350 kWh, which puts 20 miles per minute of juice back into a depleted battery, reports Business Insider.
Overview of Metropolitan area selection methodology
Overview of Metropolitan area selection methodology
Electrify America
The three types of charging installations
The three groups of charging stations will include 300 major highway fast-charge stations, spaced between 77 and 120 miles apart. Most will be right off the highway, or within a mile. The limit is two miles off the highway.
The second group will be located within cities. Called Metro Stations, they will have three 50-kW fast chargers which can be upgraded to 150 kW, along with one Level 2 charger for plug-in hybrids or electric cars that don't have fast-charge ports.
The third group, called Metro Hubs will be located on the outskirts of 17 major metropolitan areas, They will provide six 150-kW fast chargers in areas with shopping centers or access to several major highways. They will not have Level 2 chargers.
All fast chargers in the network will have both CHAdeMO and CCS Combo plugs, so any fast-charge-capable electric car can use them. Teslas can connect to the CHAdeMO plugs with an adapter.
While these announcements just about cover all the Cycle One phase of the fast-charge rollout, don't be surprised if more news follows.
More about electrify america, Volkswagen, dieselgate, fastcharge stations, charging network