- American Electric Power (AEP) has rolled out an electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure incentive program in its Ohio service territory, to provide $10 million for up to 375 EV public charging stations.
- The program provides incentives to offset a portion of the charging equipment and installation costs, primarily for local businesses, apartment complexes and municipalities. Non -government applicants must be commercial or industrial customers. For local governments, AEP said there could be no cost at all.
- In highlighting the program, originally unveiled in 2017, AEP said it will provide the utility and others with information about how EV charging is utilized by Ohio customers. That information, in turn, will be used to help effectively deploy charging stations across the AEP territory.
The program is part of a wave of EV charging rollouts utilities are spearheading in an effort to spur EV adoption. Utilities spy opportunity in the increased electric sales and higher system utilization, potentially helping to lower costs for all customers.
AEP's Ohio pilot is forward looking, acting both to expand infrastructure and gather data. And like many other utility programs, it is focused on driving the development of publicly available charging stations, which will be critical to electrified transportation's success.
The utility is "leading the charge" on infrastructure, says AEP Ohio President and COO Julie Sloat. "Our program is a unique opportunity to learn how the availability of public and workplace charging impacts the decision to make the switch to an electric vehicle."
In 2016, the city of Columbus won the U.S. Department of Transportation's $40 million Smart City Challenge with a proposal that included EV charging infrastructure. AEP says its program was created in partnership with the Smart Columbus project, but the data can be put to use far outside its own territory.
"Using data to develop a regional perspective of transportation is a cornerstone of the Smart Columbus program, and information collected through this EV charging program will help cities and regions around the country develop their own EV charging initiatives," AEP said.
The utility will make funds available in three "waves," beginning Fall 2018 and running through Spring 2019.
Utilities are focused on public chargers, particularly in apartment buildings and workplaces, in advance of what many believe will be a boom in EV adoption. The Edison Electric Institute, which represents the investor-owned utility sector, has projected 7 million zero-emissions vehicles will be on the road by 2025 — up from 567,000 at the end of 2016 and making up 7% of new car sales.