Today two different car makers announced expansion of their electric vehicle charging station programs. We applaud any increase in charging station deployments, because there is a crying need to switch to electric drive, and more charging stations is an essential necessary step. However, the charging stations aren’t being deployed for public use, but for their own employees, and oh-by-the-way neither of the automakers are seen as leading the push for electrification. That makes it a mixed bag, on the one hand more charging stations in the world is a good thing, but it woulda been much better if these specific automakers would get on with the project of selling electric cars.
The picture above will have clued you in to one of the automakers – Ford Motors. According to a press release sent out today, Ford began installing charging stations in September 2014, and currently has 145 units available for employee use at 43 Ford offices and manufacturing facilities in 6 states and Canada. What’s new is that Ford plans to install 20 more charging stations, and is “in discussions” to add even more in the future. That sounds nice until you recognize that Ford began selling plug-in electric vehicles in 2012 and is a major international automaker. To wait until two years later to begin installing charging stations, and to have so few of them, well I’ll just say that many of us have long suspected Ford’s commit to electrification was weak.
That’s odd, because one factoid does demonstrate Ford’s commitment to electrification, sales of their two Energi cars. “Energi” is Ford’s branding for plug-in hybrids, and for months now the combined sales of the Ford C-MAX Energi and Ford Fusion Energi is bigger than the Chevy Volt and is outsold only by Nissan Leaf and Tesla Model S. With that kind of success shouldn’t Ford be taking more notice of electric vehicles?
The other automaker – Honda – has a much nicer announcement to make. The company will install 120 charging stations at its Torrance, CA campus – for employee use only. Additionally, a 50 kiloWatt DC Fast Charger (both CHAdeMO and ComboCharging System) will be installed, for public use, adjacent to that campus, and will serve both the Torrance community and drivers on I-405 and I-110 highways. That station will be installed in early 2016. Applause to Honda for making a contribution to public charging infrastructure.
That’s not it for good news from Honda. Earlier the company had announced a plan to cancel existing CNG and electric cars, and to unveil new electric vehicles by 2018. This press release reiterates that plan, saying the charging stations were in part preparation for those electric vehicles.
Honda will offer several next-generation, advanced powertrain vehicles, including a new fuel cell vehicle (FCV) set to launch next year, followed by a new battery-electric model and a new plug-in hybrid model by 2018. The new EV chargers on the Torrance campus will complement existing refueling options on-site, including compressed natural gas and hydrogen refueling stations.
California’s Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) Action Plan
Both these announcements came from the “Drive the Dream 2015” event in southern California organized by the California Plug-in Electric Vehicle Collaborative. The ZEV Action Plan was published in early 2013 in support of the March 2012 executive order calling for 1.5 million electric vehicles on California’s roads by 2025. Uh, oh, uh, ZEV’s, that is, which include “hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) and plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs), which include both pure battery electric vehicles (BEVs) and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (PHEVs).”
Honda’s charging station expansion was partly funded by a grant from the California Energy Commission. Ford did not say if theirs received CEC funding.
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