Earlier this year, Recargo, the parent company of PlugShare, won a $1.6-million grant from the California Energy Commission to help complete the West Coast Electric Highway, a network of charging stations that will eventually stretch from Canada to Mexico.
In total, four companies were awarded nearly $9 million in grants for the project. Recargo, Chargepoint, EV Connect, and NRG EV Services will install 61 dual-standard DC fast chargers at 41 sites along Interstate 5, Highway 99 and Highway 101.
Ashley Horvat, PlugShare’s VP of Strategic Initiatives, told Green Car Congress that the company recently executed a subcontract with Black & Veatch, which is also working with Tesla to build its Supercharger network.
One of the challenges facing infrastructure providers is making it as easy as possible for customers to plug in, said Horvat. “Being able to pull up and use the charger is a big plus. Redundancy is another advantage. If there is only one charger available, folks are not as likely to use it. We want to provide an experience similar to Tesla’s and also link it more tightly to solar, creating sites that are more scalable where there is substantial renewable energy.”
Recargo is developing charging power levels higher than 50 kW. EV makers are also working on higher charging levels, but it can be difficult to figure out what each automaker is capable of doing.
“One of the questions for automakers is how much to invest in infrastructure,” says Horvat. “I don’t think any one automaker wants to do what Tesla did. The next wave of [EV] adopters is going to be a lot more critical of the infrastructure – the infrastructure needs to be really refined and ready for the next phase of adopters.”