Those gas stations we see dotting our roads may be replaced by electric vehicle charging stations sooner than we think. This week, Volkswagen AG’s Electrify America unit announced plans to install 2,800 EV charging stations across the United States by June 2019. The company will focus first on 17 of the largest cities in the U.S., and 75 percent of these stations will be located at workplaces. The remaining 25 percent will be established in multifamily living areas like apartment buildings.
The ambitious project is slated to cost quite a significant sum — VW has signed on to spend $800 million in California alone and $2 billion across the nation on clean car infrastructure. Granted, this wasn’t an entirely voluntary decision — following the diesel emission cheating scandal of 2015, the German carmaker was ordered to make reparations; this is one of them.
Of course, EV charging stations are becoming increasingly important as the popularity of electric and hybrid vehicles continues to rise. Indeed, BMW recently noted that 7 percent of its sales in the U.S. and western Europe are comprised of EVs, and it seems that nearly all automakers have some form of an electric car in the works. Both General Motors and Ford intend on launching lines of electrified vehicles over the course of the next few years, hoping to give Tesla (which is struggling to keep up with demand) a run for its money.
“One of the biggest barriers to the mass-market adoption of electric vehicles is access to chargers,” Mark McNabb, chief executive officer of Electrify America, said in a statement. But VW hopes to solve for that. In building its new charging stations, the company has selected SemaConnect, EV Connect, and Greenlots to help with installation.
“There hasn’t been a significant catalyst yet for ramping up the number of charging stations,” Scott Fisher, Greenlots’ vice president of market development, told Reuters. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to help create the electric vehicle infrastructure we need across the U.S.”
So if you’re thinking about buying an electric vehicle, sometime after 2019 may be a good time to start looking. After all, with nearly 3,000 additional charging stations available, you will be able to go just about anywhere even without a full tank of gas.
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