EV Project nowhere close to projections
We had high hopes for the EV Project lo these many months ago. Based on their original information, the project would put into place an electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure that would provide a kick start to the industry. Six states plus the District of Columbia. 18 cities or metropolitan areas. 14,000 Level 2 charge stations and 400 DC fast chargers. In fact, these same numbers can still be found on their website linked to above. The reality is that they are nowhere near close to installing this level of equipment.
As recently as June of this year Colin Read, vice president of Product Development with Ecotality, the company behind the EV Project, stated that San Diego would be home to 1,000 commercial charge stations by the end of the year. At the National Plug In Day celebration at the California Center for Sustainable Energy Andy Hoskinson, The EV Project’s San Diego area manager, provided a dramatically different picture.
According to Mr. Hoskinson, there are currently 22 installed publicly available charge stations and 6 workplace installed charge stations. Granted, the end of the year is not with us yet. But the remainder of the year offers no hope of meeting the announced project goals. Currently, the EV Project has signed contracts for a total of 55 more charge stations. With the time needed for installation, it is unlikely that all of these facilities will be in place by year end. From 1,000 to 77 or less? Something is seriously wrong with this system if less than 10 percent of the stated goal has been reached. 23 more are also under contract at various workplaces in San Diego. These will be useful for employees of those corporations, but the general public? Not so much. Mr. Hoskinson states that the EV Project is in negotiations for another 400+ sites.
A quick look at the EV Project shows that the first joint press release in the San Diego market with San Diego Gas & Electric dates to June of 2009. Over two years later, and negotiations are still going on? One would think that at least some of these negotiations started sometime in 2009. Perhaps it is time for a review of the EV Project by the Department of Energy with a determination made as to whether this is truly the best way to spend $115 million of our tax dollars. The Federal government provided a grant of almost $100 million in October 2009. An additional $15 million in funding was granted in June 2010. These funds are to be matched by EV Project partners, which means that $230 million is at stake. We haven’t looked closely at other markets in which the EV Project is operating, but the San Diego experience leaves us thinking that a closer examination is in order to determine the status of the project and as importantly, the grant and partner funds. Grant funds are being spent monthly on salaries of area managers that are making little headway in installing this purported infrastructure development. It is about time that we asked – where is the promised infrastructure?