Recap on Considerations for EVs: Charging Station Projects and Grid Impacts

On November 16, EMLF hosted Considerations for EVs (Electric Vehicles): Charging Station Projects and Grid Impacts. Featured speakers were Stephen Campbell, Senior Attorney with Clark Hill in Detroit, and Tom Castle of East Kentucky Power Cooperative, (EKPC).

Government emissions standards are becoming stricter. Automakers want to sell EVs consumers will buy. Consumers want to be sure they’ll be able to charge them.

Campbell said his firm works with clients all over the country to install charging stations – just about anywhere people park their cars – schools, retail centers, hospitals, and airports.

“When considering installing an EV charging station project, it’s important to think about the entire life cycle of that project up front,” Campbell said. “From initial design, installation issues, through construction, operation and maintenance, all the way to the end of life of the contract or the charging station.”

Castle discussed charger types: Level 1, an overnight home charger; Level 2, something you might find at an office park; and the third, a fast-charging DC unit.

“We’re mostly interested in these Level 1, Level 2 items because we believe 80 percent of EV charging is going to occur at the house,” Castle said. “Someone comes home between 4-7 pm, we would expect them to plug up and start impacting system demands.”

Castle said Kentucky hasn’t felt a lot of impact from EVs yet, so he studies areas that have. When load goes up, the transmission wires can heat up and sag, and voltage can drop. The load of heavy truck charging is another concern.

“It’s still up in the air whether heavy trucks are going to head towards hydrogen. We’re just kind of standing back and watching and waiting for that to happen,” Castle said.

For more information, visit the National Renewable Energy Laboratory: https://www.nrel.gov.

Campbell and Castle took audience questions, such as whether enough charging stations exist to travel safely. Campbell suggested a new filter for charging stations on Google Maps and Castle suggested the app PlugShare to help plan trips with EVs.

Thank you to Michael Moore, who introduced our speakers, and Bobbie Conklin and Ryan Daniels, for technical support. All are with Steptoe & Johnson. 

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