Drivers of electric vehicles (EVs) may soon be able to drive from Texas to Maine without worrying about finding a place to charge.
The Electric Highway Coalition, with Southern Company as a founding member, is working to build a network of fast chargers across the country that allows drivers to get back on the road in 20 to 30 minutes.
The coalition expanded to 14 members this week, adding eight utilities mostly in the Northeast and Midwest. The coalition already had a significant footprint across the Southeast and mid-Atlantic with Southern Company, American Electric Power, Dominion Energy, Duke Energy, Entergy Corporation and Tennessee Valley Authority as founding members.
The 14 companies serve more than 60 million customers in 29 states and the District of Columbia. An article in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week highlighted the coalition’s work to make long-distance EV travel possible.
“Southern Company is committed to building a clean and sustainable energy future for our customers and communities, and that includes promoting and adopting electric transportation,” said Chris Cummiskey, executive vice president, chief commercial officer and customer solutions officer at Southern Company. “Through the Electric Highway Coalition, our industry is ensuring electric vehicle drivers can travel wherever the road takes them while making the most efficient use of the energy grid and helping reduce carbon emissions.”
Southern Company and operating companies Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power are all instrumental in these partnerships and are committed to helping drivers access efficient and reliable charging options within the system’s service territory.
Preparing to meet this need is the result of years of work. For the past eight years, Georgia Power has strategically mapped and implemented Direct Current (DC) fast chargers based on guidance from the Federal Highway Administration, pursuing make-ready efforts and easing the financial burden on destination charging stations.
“By planning and building things out ahead of need, we not only magnify the impact of our electric transportation ecosystem partners’ efforts but also give our local communities the confidence that Georgia’s infrastructure is ready as customers choose to make the transition to electric vehicles,” said Nicole Faulk, senior vice president of Customer Strategy and Solutions for Georgia Power. “The coalition partnership enables us to connect people with places across the Southeast as we further our goal of making Georgia EV Corridor Ready by 2022.”
Working with the Georgia Public Service Commission, the company has installed 50 DC fast chargers in locations statewide and is investing $6 million over three years in fast-charging infrastructure across Georgia. The company partnered with Cox Automotive Mobility to complete one of the largest single property EV charging installations in the Southeast at the Pivet Atlanta facility near Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport. Georgia Power provides electric service to 24 additional fast charging sites for other networks including Tesla, Electrify America and EVgo.
That same commitment can be seen across the system. Alabama Power is partnering with the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs to increase EV residential and commercial EV range confidence. The plans are to expand electric vehicle fast charging infrastructure along Interstates 20 and 459.
Mississippi Power has several initiatives in place, including partnering with the Coast Transit Authority to bring the first all-electric transit bus to the state of Mississippi later this year, providing electric service to fast chargers for Tesla and Electrify America and expanding availability of public EV chargers across the state.
Being a member of the Electric Highway Coalition is another part of Southern Company’s larger focus on electrification of the transportation industry and commitment to sustainability and clean energy. The membership also showcases the company’s customer-centric focus, as the company and coalition help alleviate range anxiety, the key customer barrier to EV adoption.
Along with the system-wide goal of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, last year Southern Company announced an internal fleet electrification goal to convert 50 percent of its electric companies’ fleet vehicles in the auto/SUV/minivan, forklift and ATV/cart/miscellaneous equipment segments to electric by 2030.