U.S. needs 'make-ready' infrastructure to promote electric vehicles

March 4, 2021 4:10 PM EST

FILE PHOTO: The charging socket is seen on Ford Motor Co's all-new electric Mustang Mach-E vehicle during a photo shoot at a studio in Warren, Michigan, U.S. October 29, 2019. REUTERS/Rebecca Cook


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By Stephanie Kelly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. utilities need to invest in so-called "make-ready" infrastructure to promote electric vehicle use, which includes wiring parking lots to support vehicle charging, company and government officials urged at the world's largest energy conference on Thursday.

Affordability of electric vehicles will be crucial to the transition away from fossil-fuel use in transportation, they said at IHS Markit's CERAWeek virtual conference. Though electricity is the fastest-growing energy source in the transportation sector, it is expected to power only a fraction of the sector by 2050, according to U.S. government forecasts.

If built correctly, the industry's development could also improve power grid reliability, which could draw more consumers in, said Pasquale Romano, chief executive of ChargePoint, an electric vehicle infrastructure company.

"Where all of these distributed resources actually can provide value back to the grid - be able to capture it and provide it back to customers in a meaningful way - is likely to be one of the drivers of accelerating consumer adoption of electric vehicles," added Badar Khan, president of utilities company National Grid US.

Scaling up for the industry will also depend on the affordability of the electric vehicles themselves, and work there needs to be done, said Gil Quiniones, CEO of New York Power Authority.

"As the price points go down, and as we accelerate the charging infrastructure, the entire system rises, then the adoption across the board will also increase," he said.

(Reporting by Stephanie Kelly; Editing by Marguerita Choy)



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