ChargePoint seems to be the winner
First Volkswagen and BMW announced the development of East and West Coast electric vehicle (EV) charge corridors. Then Kansas City Power & Light (KCP&L) stated that it would bring over 1,000 EV charge stations to its service area with Nissan’s help. ChargePoint, a manufacturer and network provider, is partnering in both of these initiatives.
The VW/BMW venture will place close to 100 DC fast chargers from Boston to Washington, D.C. on the East Coast and from Portland to San Diego on the West Coast. Key is that between cities they will be placed at no greater than 50 mile intervals. These stations will not help Nissan LEAF owners as the stations will have the SAE combo connectors as opposed to the CHAdeMO connectors used by Nissan, Mitsubishi, and Kia. These DC fast chargers will be supported by additional Level 2 240-volt charge stations.
KCP&L has chosen a different path. Partnering with ChargePoint and Nissan, the fast charge stations in the Kansas City market will charge any electric vehicle. The network will include both DC fast chargers and Level 2 stations, and will be the largest utility supported network to date in the United States. In addition, access to the network will be free to drivers for the first two years.
These two recently announced projects highlight the challenges still facing the young EV market. All parties involved need to come to the table and look to the future of the EV industry collectively and work toward a solution that will be beneficial to all. If that future includes various connectors, perhaps future networks should accommodate them all, just as we now have various gasoline grades available at the gas pump. This would allow each maker the design of their choosing, but not penalize their owners while driving from place to place.