Southern Company, Alabama Power’s parent company, joined five other energy companies Tuesday in announcing plans to ensure electric vehicle (EV) drivers have access to a seamless network of charging stations connecting major highway systems across significant regions of the country.
The Electric Highway Coalition – made up of Southern Company, American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation and the Tennessee Valley Authority – wants to collaborate on a network of DC fast chargers from the Atlantic Coast through the Midwest and South and into the Gulf Coast and Central Plains regions.
Southern Company and the others are each taking steps to provide EV charging solutions within their system service territories. The announcement represents an unprecedented combined effort to offer EV drivers convenient charging across different utility footprints and allow uninterrupted travel.
The Edison Electric Institute estimates 18 million EVs will be on U.S. roads by 2030. While many drivers recognize the benefits of driving an EV, such as the ease of low-cost home charging, some have expressed concern with the availability of charging stations during long road trips. With collaborative efforts like the Electric Highway Coalition, energy companies demonstrate to customers that EVs are a smart choice regardless of distance.
The coalition will provide drivers with effective, efficient and convenient charging options to enable long-distance electric travel. Sites along major highways with easy access and amenities for travelers are being considered as coalition members work to determine final charging station locations. DC fast chargers can get drivers back on the road in 20-30 minutes.
“At Southern Company, we are committed to being a leader in building a clean and sustainable energy future for our customers and that includes continuing to increase the reach of electric transportation for more and more drivers,” said Chris Cummiskey, executive vice president, chief commercial officer and customer solutions officer at Southern Company. “By increasing the number of EV fast-charging stations across our footprint, we are providing drivers with additional transportation options that are reliable, efficient and more convenient while helping reduce carbon emissions for the benefit of our communities we serve.”
Being a founding member of the Electric Highway Coalition is another part of Southern Company’s larger focus on electrification of the transportation industry and commitment to sustainability and clean energy. Along with the systemwide goal of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, last year Southern Company announced an internal fleet electrification goal where the company plans by 2030 to convert to electric 50% of its electric companies’ fleet vehicles in the auto/SUV/minivan, forklift and ATV/cart/miscellaneous equipment segments.
The Electric Highway Coalition welcomes interested utilities to join as it seeks to extend the reach of network. Additionally, its members support and look forward to working with other regional utility transportation corridor electrification initiatives.
(Courtesy of Alabama NewsCenter)