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NewsTrucking

NATSO, ChargePoint map out charging infrastructure for 4,000 travel plazas

Need for highway and rural charging of electric vehicles drives collaboration.

ChargePoint, which has more than 108,000 electric vehicle charging stations, and NATSO, the trade association for truck stops and travel plazas, will collaborate to build out a network of 4,000 off-highway charging stations, including in rural America, by 2030.

The two will use money from the Volkswagen “Dieselgate” emissions scandal settlement plus grants and plaza owner investment of up to $1 billion to knit the mostly direct current (DC) fast-charging network, which ChargePoint will manage. The plan addresses the growing number of electric cars and a nascent expansion of battery-powered commercial vehicles.

“We are embarking on a major shift in transportation with electrification poised to fundamentally transform mobility,” Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint president and CEO, said in a statement. “Collaborations like this are vital for the rapid expansion of charging around the country and will ensure that the United States remains at the forefront of the EV revolution.”

The National Highway Charging Collaborative intends to extend electric vehicle charging “to every corner of the nation,” including underserved rural areas, Romano said.

“Range anxiety continues to rank as one of the biggest concerns among consumers who are considering purchasing an electric vehicle,” said NATSO President and CEO Lisa Mullings.

NATSO has worked since 2016 with the Federal Highway Administration to expand the use of alternative fuels and infrastructure under FHWA’s Alternative Fuels Corridor Program, she said.

That includes advocacy for the recent congressional extension of the biodiesel blending credit, which makes selling cleaner diesel fuel affordable at the pump by a $1-per-blended-gallon tax subsidy.

“Fifteen years ago, federal policies such as the Renewable Fuel Standard and the biodiesel tax credit created a strong incentive for fuel retailers to invest in the infrastructure necessary to bring cleaner-burning biofuels to market,” NATSO spokeswoman Tiffany Wlazlowski Neuman said.

“This resulted in a vibrant market for biofuels because the private sector responded to those policy signals and incentives and made the investments necessary to bring new fuels to market,” she said. “Our belief is that the same approach will work with respect to EV charging infrastructure.

ChargePoint and NATSO will work together to identify public and private sources to support the build-out. The deadline is Feb. 26 to apply for Volkswagen Settlement Appendix D Funds, money set aside by the German automaker following its 2015 diesel emissions cheating admission.

NATSO member companies, including large service plaza operators, are expected to invest in the infrastructure plan, said ChargePoint spokesman Darryll Harrison Jr.

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Alan Adler

Alan Adler is a Detroit-based award-winning journalist who worked for The Associated Press, the Detroit Free Press and most recently as Detroit Bureau Chief for Trucks.com. He also spent two decades in domestic and international media relations and executive communications with General Motors.

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