US plans electric car charging networks along highways

You'll have a better shot at driving your EV cross-country.

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Reuters/Robert Galbraith
Reuters/Robert Galbraith

While the range of modern electric cars is good enough that you can safely commute around town without running out of power, cross-country trips are still challenging. Tesla drivers have access to Superchargers, but what if you're driving a rival EV with a less robust charging network... or you're going somewhere that has no chargers at all? The Department of Transportation is changing that. It's creating 48 EV charger "corridors" in US highways that will address 35 states and cover approximately 25,000 miles. You'll find stations (both current and upcoming) every 50 miles, and states will use common signs to let you know when charging is available at the next exit.

Numerous companies are involved in making the corridors a reality, including automakers BMW, GM and Nissan as well as charging station veterans like ChargePoint and EVgo. GE, New York state and multiple power companies are lending a hand as well.

There's one glaring omission in the plan: a timetable. It could be years before you can drive from one side of the US to the other without worrying about where and when you'll top up along the way. Also, which standards will it support -- will you have guaranteed fast charging no matter what you drive? However, the very existence of the plan is important. Much as the national highway system changed how Americans got around, the charging corridors could almost eliminate one of the major anxieties about ditching gas-powered cars. The biggest challenge after that is making sure stations keep up with both demand and evolving technology, since a robust network of small or outdated stations won't be useful.

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