Pole-Mounted Chargers Could Spur EV Adoption

One of the most significant challenges America’s nascent electric vehicle industry faces is insufficient and often unreliable charging stations. Although a majority of EV drivers charge their vehicles overnight at home, most experts agree that a widespread network of reliable charging stations is needed to support mass EV adoption.

As it stands, America’s public charging infrastructure is patchy and often unreliable, leading to high rates of range anxiety among drivers. This range anxiety presents a  significant challenge to widespread electric vehicle adoption and could potentially prevent the United States from reaching its carbon emission goals.

A Massachusetts city has now turned to a charging alternative that has the potential to alleviate range anxiety and spur electric vehicle adoption. The city of Melrose recently installed pole-mounted EV chargers on its streets, becoming the first city in the region to incorporate a more accessible means of charging in its public charging infrastructure.

Melrose partnered with utility company National Grid to install 16 pole-mounted chargers in 10 different locations last April, finally providing people who don’t have dedicated parking or private garages with access to convenient and reliable charging infrastructure. Tara Kapila, National Grid’s vice president of growth and marketing, said at the time that deploying the pole-mounted chargers was part of the utility company’s efforts to increase access to EV charging technology.

The city of Melrose was able to cut down installation costs by 70% by mounting the EV chargers on utility poles and eliminating construction and digging-related costs. Speaking during last year’s Earth Day, Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur said that the city was celebrating a decade as a Green Community.

The new program is part of the city’s efforts to promote EV adoption in the community and takes the city a step closer to achieving its NetZero 2050 goals, Brodeur said. It will include a mixture of dual and single charging stations at 10 sites that will allow EV drivers to lower the charge if they need to via a mobile app. Melrose will act as a testing ground for the pole-mounted EV charging program, with data collected from the city being used to help inform future National Grid EV collaborations with other towns and cities.

Pole-mounted EV chargers could have a major impact on EV adoption because they take relatively little space and have significantly reduced installation costs. If the Melrose project is successful, National Grid could partner with additional towns and cities in the next couple of years and deploy multitudes of pole-mounted chargers to increase access to EV charging.

Once the pole-mounted chargers prove to be popular, a way may have been found for automakers such as Workhorse Group Inc. (NASDAQ: WKHS) to sell a lot more vehicles as range anxiety becomes a thing of the past.

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