Massachusetts Utilities Mull Plans to Boost EV Infrastructure

While the future of vehicular transportation is undoubtedly electric, there are a couple of factors hindering the mass adoption of electric vehicles (“EVs”). Those factors include high upfront costs, consumer ignorance, insufficient charging infrastructure and fears about EV range, dubbed range anxiety. While there’s not much that utility companies can do about the first two factors, the latter are well within their wheelhouse.

Utilities that take initiative to help solve these hurdles will play a major role in helping the nascent electric vehicle sector blossom amid global efforts to cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Consequently, a recent proposal by two utility companies that would help beef up the country’s woefully inefficient public EV charging system has been met with support by clean transportation advocates.

According to the proposal, major utilities Eversource and National Grid would invest $470 million in programs designed to help Massachusetts reach its lofty transport electrification goals over the coming decade. Submitted earlier this summer to the state’s utility department, the proposals will go a long way toward helping the state achieve its EV charging infrastructure goals, says Sarah Krame, an associate attorney with the Sierra Club.

The two utilities aim to install close to 14,000 new charging stations across the state, significantly beefing up its public EV charging network. Additionally, the proposals include provisions for electric buses, new electric car-sharing programs and workforce training initiatives. According to National Grid’s manager of clean transportation Rishi Sondhi, this proposal represents the company’s “most comprehensive, most aggressive” electric vehicle program. With the state of Massachusetts looking to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, the proposals have come at a strategic time.

The state currently has only 36,000 electric cars, a long way from the state’s Clean Energy and Climate Report‘s goal of 750,000 EVs on the road by 2030. To help increase the number of EVs on the roads, Eversource will invest $2 million in electric car-sharing programs in environmental justice communities. Furthermore, National Grid plans on purchasing up to 300 electric buses for school districts located in environmental justice areas.

Both proposals also have provisions that support the installation of home chargers in residential properties as well as workplace and public parking lots. Existing make-ready programs would be expanded to cover the cost of any upgrades for the two companies’ workplace and public customers while single-family homeowners would receive $700 to cover the cost of upgrading their homes’ electrical systems. Properties with two to four units will be allocated up to $1,400.

It is good to see that utility companies and other entities such as Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) are, in their own unique ways, taking on the challenge of facilitating EV adoption. This concerted effort is likely to yield better results than if the matter was left to governments alone.

NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Ideanomics Inc. (NASDAQ: IDEX) are available in the company’s newsroom at https://ibn.fm/IDEX

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