eVgo bringing Freedom with more DC fast charging stations
NRG Energy’s eVgo has had a successful run thus far providing charging infrastructure for residential and commercial customers. eVgo recently announced agreements in California that will allow the installation of over 200 “Freedom Stations,” the company’s name for DC fast charge stations (DCFC).
Though not as powerful as a Proterra electric bus charger, these stations are capable of rapidly recharging electric vehicles in a half hour or less depending on the battery size, and address an important barrier to EV adoption.
eVgo refers to their model as “Freedom Stations” because they allow drivers to go farther with their electric vehicles and worry less about range limitations. So far, DCFC stations have been wildly popular despite their limited numbers and high price tag. One station can cost anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 installed compared with $2,000 to $5,000 for a typical, more common Level 2 station that charges at much lower rates.
As NRG eVgo VP Terry O’Day observed, “As this network is built out, it will make buying an EV attractive to even more drivers across California.” This is why public charging infrastructure is important to mass adoption of electric vehicles. An extensive network of charging stations, particularly DC fast charge stations, gives drivers greater flexibility and confidence and if executed well can effectively eliminate range anxiety. But the ideal business models are still emerging and some companies have done well while others have struggled and been resurrected; the players in this new industry are learning that current customers still prefer to charge at home if they can.
However, the rise of DCFC is also important because, coupled with installation of charging infrastructure at apartments and condos, it makes EV ownership possible for the large percentage of Americans that don’t have a private garage. For EVs to go mainstream, reaching this market segment is crucial and eVgo understands this. In addition to its expanded DCFC rollout, the company is also forming partnerships with real estate development companies and property partners to make high-density housing EV-ready. Soon the lack of a private garage may no longer be an obstacle to electric vehicle ownership, which could represent a critical point in the shift to electrified transportation.