U.S. Rolls Out Nationwide Electric Vehicle Charging Network

David Fessler By David Fessler, Energy and Infrastructure Strategist, The Oxford Club

Alternative Energy

Somebody pinch me…

It’s finally happening.

As you may recall, my first law of technology is “Technology marches on.”

I’ve been looking to D.C. to jump-start this piece of the electric vehicle puzzle… and now it has.

It’s going to be a great opportunity for energy investors.

More on that in a minute. First, let’s look at the details of last week’s announcement.

It all started this past July. That’s when the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) sent out a request to all 50 states to nominate alternative fuel corridors.

The initial response, while not overwhelming, was excellent. Thirty-five states sent the FHWA 85,000 miles’ worth of roadways they consider important alternative fuel routes.

alternative-fuel-corridors

As you can see, there are some major holes after the first round of nominations. For instance, Florida’s 20 million residents had almost no alternative fuel corridors.

It sounds like Florida’s department of transportation was just too lazy to send in a response. It’s either that or it doesn’t believe that Florida drivers are adopting EVs at the same rate as drivers elsewhere.

However, Florida has a strong EV adoption rate 0.52 plug-in EVs per 1,000 people. That means Florida has at least 10,400 EV owners. That compares to an overall U.S. adoption rate of 0.87.

And those EV owners have more than 800 public charging locations with a total of 1,776 charging outlets. This doesn’t include privately owned stations at restaurants and hotels.

florida-electric-stations

I’ll bet that if you superimpose an interstate map over the above charging locations, most would be close to a major highway. Florida needs to get with the program here.

These stations already exist. The roads they are near just have to be added onto the new alternative fuel corridor route map.

Investors will ultimately benefit from companies that provide EV charging solutions for homes, businesses, cities and towns, and just about everywhere else. More on the specific company I’m watching in a moment…

There’s no question that a nationally identified alternative fuel corridor is a great start for identifying charging spots. But EV owners have plenty of other options to find free places to recharge.

If you own an EV, you likely have the free PlugShare app already. It contains a database of more than 50,000 charging locations both here and abroad.

It tells you whether the charger is public, high power and if it is in use. It will also show every residential charger that PlugShare members elect to share with other members.

It turns out that EV owners are a friendly bunch of people – at least, everyone I’ve met so far has been.

But charging stations are just the beginning of options EV owners have for recharging. It turns out that, with a few adaptors, EV owners have hundreds of thousands of additional places they can go to for electrons.

Let’s start with America’s more than 20,000 privately owned and 1,600 state-run recreational vehicle parks. There are apps for them, too.

RV park apps help you find parks anywhere in the U.S. Fees and availability are all included. Even in an emergency, you can probably talk someone in a park into letting you use some electricity just by showing them your car.

But wait, I’m not done yet. Marina-finder apps will point you to more than 3,700 marinas and boatyards. At most locations, you’ll be able to get close enough to a power outlet to power up.

Earlier in this article, I said there would eventually be opportunities for investors… Unfortunately, ChargePoint – the largest manufacturer of EV chargers – is still private.

Eventually, I expect ChargePoint and several other companies will IPO, allowing investor
s to get in on the action. But that doesn’t mean you can’t invest now.

I recently spoke with Adam Sharp, the founder of Early Investing – a new and exciting publisher that works exclusively in the realm of equity crowdfunding. We discussed private equity opportunities in the energy sector, including charging stations.

I initially recorded the conversation for my Oxford Resource Explorer subscribers, but I’d like to share it with you today.

interview-adam-sharp

[Watch Video and View Transcript]

I think ChargePoint will eventually go through an IPO so that company founders can raise additional capital. But there’s no reason not to get in before it IPO’s.

Good investing,

Dave