NATSO Vice President of Government Affairs David Fialkov and ChargePoint CEO Pasquale Romano sat down with Transport Topics Radio in Denver, Colorado, to discuss the new National Highway Charging Collaborative. NATSO and ChargePoint announced a landmark partnership at NATSO Connect to extend EV charging to every corner of the nation. Over the next decade, the Collaborative will leverage $1 billion in capital to deploy charging at more than 4,000 travel plazas and fuel stops that serve highway travelers and rural communities. What follows is an excerpt from that radio interview, which aired on Sirius XM.
Dan Ronan: How is this going to change the world of electronic charging?
Pasquale Romano: The biggest thing about driving an electric vehicle isn’t being able to charge at home or work … the big uncovered piece is how to connect the dots on highway for long-haul driving for both consumers and trucking operators and large fleet operators and this is where NATSO comes in. The world has had a century of trying to figure out where the best places are where trucking and fleet operators need to refuel their vehicles when they are on a long-haul route. The marketing is essentially done from a site location [perspective.] Now what we have to help out here is to work with NATSO to do a planned roll out of charging infrastructure so you can drive, whether it be rural route or big national long-haul route, anywhere in the country electric and not worry about where to fuel.
Dan Ronan: Would these be for commercial vehicles and also for my personal car?
David Fialkov: We see in the near term that there is probably going to be more activity on the light duty and passenger vehicle side. But undoubtedly we need to be responsive to our customer’s demands. It looks more and more going into the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years that more and more of travel center customers are going to be demanding a place to recharge their vehicles, and we want to be ahead of that and be responsive to that need and continue to serve them.
Dan Ronan: What was the impetus for this idea?
Pasquale Romano: [NATSO] is the only trade association that has national coverage. It’s got mom and pops and chains, but they all come together under one national umbrella. We’ve been working with NATSO to drive national policy so that the funding that is coming in from say the Appendix D programs that were the result of the VW settlement … that funding is directed to states….it has created programs in every state to provide funding for sites like this. We’re trying to make sure that it gets directed in an appropriate way so that we can jump start businesses inclusive of all of the operators that are members of NATSO to be able to take advantage of that to get the market started. We trying to create something here to light the fire of this initial market and then have it self sustain. It really requires good, national, aligned policy.
Dan Ronan: Are you finding that your members are receptive to the idea?
David Fialkov: One of things that attracted us to ChargePoint was … that they recognize the business model our members have, which is one that is not loyal to any one particular type of fuel but really loyal to providing our customers the type of fuel they want. If you look at the last 15, 20 years, there’s been a huge increase in the volume of renewable fuel that has been sold. The reason for that is not because NATSO members advocated for ethanol or biodiesel 15 or 20 ago but policies were developed that incentivized them to bring those fuels to market at a low cost, which drives consumer demand. We view that as something that can inform our position for how electric vehicle policy incentives should be developed and structured over the next 10 to 20 years so that at that point in time we are advocating for electric vehicle incentives the same way today we are advocating for renewable fuel incentives.
Dan Ronan: The calendar may be working in your favor. At the end of September the FAST Act expires.
David Fialkov: There is a real desire [among lawmakers] to see increased penetration of electric vehicles. But what that incentive structure and regulatory regime looks like is still being developed. NATSO wants to show policy makers that if they come up with policies that are designed to incentivize our members to make the type of investments that they want us to then we can achieve big things in the next 10 years. That’s what this collaborative is designed to do.
To listen to the entie radio interview, click here.
Courtesy of SiriusXM and Transport Topics
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