By Stephen Edelstein | For Ecomento.com
There are several entities working to expand the U.S. network of DC fast-charging stations for electric cars, but ultimately it comes down to the companies that actually operate these stations.
NRG EVgo claims to be pushing ahead of the competition in the opening of fast-charging stations. Over the past eight months, it doubled the size of its U.S. network to 350 stations in 19 markets, according to Charged EVs.
The company claims it now has four times as many stations as any other public network. That includes stations using both the CHAdeMO standard of the Nissan LEAF, Kia Soul EV, and Mitsubishi i-MiEV, as well as the CCS standard used by the majority of U.S. and German car makers.
There are no plans to slow down, either. By the end of the year, NRG EVgo plans to begin operations in another 7 markets, which generally include major cities and their surrounding suburbs. Dozens of sites in half a dozen metro areas are reportedly in the permitting or construction stages.
NRG EVgo already operates 100 stations in the Los Angeles area, 50 in Dallas/Fort Worth/Houston, and 28 in Chicago. It has 10 stations coming online in Denver, and opened 28 stations in the Atlanta area over the past six months.
The company started its campaign in Texas, where parent utility company NRG is headquartered. It now claims to offer enough charging stations for electric-car drivers to freely roam all 8,778 square miles of the greater Houston area. That’s an area larger than New Jersey, NRG EVgo president Arun Banskota notes.
DC fast-charging stations can recharge most electric cars to 80-percent battery capacity in around 30 minutes, giving drivers much more flexibility and increasing the usable range of their cars. The tradeoff is higher construction costs and greater electricity consumption at a given site compared to the slower, 240-volt AC Level 2 stations.
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