The growth of electric vehicles will require powerful charging stations

If EVs really take off as many environmental activists hope, freeway service spots like those along the Mass. Turnpike could need more than 20 chargers and could use as much electricity as a small town to provide fast charging during travel peaks. days, a new National Grid Study found.

To meet its decarbonization commitments, Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Beth Card said Massachusetts will need to have at least 200,000 electric passenger vehicles on the road by 2025 and 900,000 more by 2030. There are about 55,000 electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles on Massachusetts roads today, Card said last month. States and the federal government are also encouraging electric trucks and utility vehicles.

But all of those vehicles will need to be charged somewhere, and making charging stations accessible along major highways and at predictable intervals is key to making it easier for people to switch to an EV without having to worry that their car might not have enough juice. to get them where they are going. To get a better idea of ​​the type of electrical transmission and charging infrastructure that will be needed, National Grid looked at charging station behavior and traffic data to model the expected growth in electricity demand between 2022 and 2045. at 71 sites in Massachusetts and New York, primarily rest. stops and service areas on major highways.

“The future of the electric highway is being prepared now. The time required for network infrastructure upgrades, especially transmission, is much longer than that required for installing EV power equipment. While the feeder installation can be completed in a few months, the construction of larger interconnections and transmission upgrades can take up to 8 years,” the study states. “This study suggests that some sites will need upgrades before 2030. Preparing these no-regrets sites should begin immediately.”

The utility company said more than a quarter of the 71 sites surveyed are expected to need load capacity above 5 megawatts – a threshold at which a site could exceed the delivery limit of a distribution system interconnection. typical and must be connected to the high-voltage transmission network, which often straddles motorway corridors, as early as 2030 and that some sites could reach nearly 40 MW of load capacity by 2045, “a power level equivalent to that demanded by a major manufacturer”.

“These results indicate that transmission interconnects will likely be required to meet demand at many sites,” the report said.

Electric vehicle charging is a hot topic for lawmakers who have pushed the state to do more to encourage drivers to ditch their gasoline-powered car for an electric car. The climate bill Governor Charlie Baker signed into law in August included policies to encourage the adoption of electric vehicles, and the economic development package he signed last week included $100 million to accelerate climate change. uptake of electric vehicles through a state incentive program and supports for the expansion of electric vehicle charging infrastructure. .

When charging stations at the eastbound Natick Rest Area and westbound Charlton Rest Area were out of service earlier this year, state senses Cynthia Creem and Michael Barrett urged the Secretary to Transport Jamey Tesler to fix the problem and told him that having broken EV chargers “makes it more difficult for EV drivers to travel across the Commonwealth” and “fuels an inaccurate but widespread narrative that EVs don’t are unreliable for long-distance travel.

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