Reaction to last month’s column on the progress on electric vehicles confirmed what we already knew: Some people look right past the positive to the negative. The column was essentially an update on the technological and commercial aspects of electric cars and trucks and it was mostly an upbeat report because there’s a lot to be upbeat about. But the kvetching that followed, Oy vey. “I won’t be able to drive all the way to New York on one charge,” or “It takes too long to charge,” or “My apartment building doesn’t have a charging station.”
It’s understandable, I guess. Americans are impatient. We want everything now. In the case of EVs, now is finally coming. More public charging stations are going up. Battery technology has improved and started to reach the scale that makes the price point of electric cars and trucks fall.
A lot of the talk about EVs is still futuristic, no doubt. But — and this is partly the news media’s fault — Americans need to get up to date. The picture is getting clearer and brighter for those who want to give up gasoline for the rest of their driving lives.
Here’s an example of news you might have missed: Fastest of the fast chargers installed at the Baltimore region’s main airport.
The following is a verbatim press release from BGE:
Four 150+ kilowatt capacity electric vehicle (EV) fast chargers are now available for public use at BWI’s cell phone lot – these utilize advanced technology able to provide a quick charge in a matter of minutes. Six more of these publicly accessible chargers will soon be online at BWI’s Rideshare Lot.
“Expanding access to electric vehicles and infrastructure is a major step toward ensuring a cleaner and brighter future for our community,” said BGE CEO, Carim Khouzami. “We are excited about this first step related to our EV Rideshare Program and our public EV infrastructure rollout, and to partner with Lyft to help drivers and riders benefit from cleaner transportation.”
These chargers are part of BGE’s smart Program which also provides customers with rebates, tools, and information that they need to go electric. They are also partially funded by a U.S. Dept. of Energy grant awarded to BGE in 2020, in partnership with a Mid-Atlantic coalition, to support an EV Rideshare Program consisting of up to 100 EVs, administered by a rideshare provider, and designed to provide access to more equitable, clean, point to point transportation options.
With the grant funding, BGE will operate more advanced fast charging infrastructure well-suited to rideshare drivers on platforms like Lyft and other drivers’ needs not only at BWI, but also in communities around Baltimore that will be convenient to drivers and riders in and around those neighborhoods. In addition, through the grant and working with Lyft, BGE plans to support the introduction of electric cars in the greater Baltimore region, which may be used for more clean, easy access to grocery stores, healthcare, jobs, and other travel needs.
“At Lyft, we’ve committed to reaching 100% electric vehicles on the network by 2030 and partnerships like this one with BGE will help propel us toward our goal,” said Jon Walker, Sustainability Policy Manager, Lyft. “EVs have the potential to make a transformational impact on society and the environment and we’re uniquely positioned to help ensure that their benefits are distributed equitably – especially as nearly half of Lyft rides start or end in historically underserved communities.”
The EV Rideshare Program will aim to increase EV access to drivers and expose more riders to the technology. Through electrification, drivers benefit from lower operating costs, passengers have the opportunity to take cleaner rides and it results in healthier air for communities.
BGE will install and operate a 500-charger network available to all EV drivers containing L2 chargers, 50 kilowatt DC Fast Chargers (DCFC) and 150 kilowatt DCFC once fully built. BGE is working with state, county, and municipal government agencies throughout its service area to determine optimal locations, on government-owned property, to site the chargers. Publicly available charging infrastructure is also critical to electrifying vehicles operating on transportation network companies’ platforms.
More information on EVs, chargers, and federal and state incentives can be found at bge.com/electricvehicles. Users can explore online savings calculators that compare EVs to gasoline-powered cars in terms of fuel and commute costs, carbon impacts, and more. BGE customers can also apply for rebates to help offset the cost of chargers.
The EVsmart Program is a joint effort by Exelon’s Maryland-based utilities (BGE, Delmarva Power, and Pepco) and fuels progress on Maryland’s Air Quality and Chesapeake Bay goals, which include having 300,000 zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs) on the road by 2025.