Could western Maryland finally be getting DC Fast Charging? It’s been promised for years. Way back in April, 2014, then Maryland Attorney General, Doug Gansler, announced a $1 million grant program to build a statewide network of DC Fast Chargers that specifically included the western counties. That Maryland Fast Charging money was spent entirely between Hagerstown and Ocean City.
Recently, two Fast Chargers were built in Hancock, MD, about 20 miles west of Hagerstown. These are welcome, but it still leaves a lot of miles and elevation gain for EV drivers traveling to the mountains of Garrett and Allegany counties.
Potomac Edison has identified nine areas in their electric utility service area in Maryland where they wish to place public Fast Chargers under a pilot program approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission. They include, McHenry, Grantsville, Cumberland, Hancock, Thurmont, Frederick, Myersville, Mt. Airy and Urbana.
According to a report filed with the PSC, Potomac Edison is in the design phase to place two Fast Chargers and a Level 2 at the Deep Creek Visitors Center in McHenry. They are also working to place two Fast Chargers at a park on Main Street in Hancock, a few blocks from the existing pair of chargers.
The report stated that the utility has faced challenges in finding suitable sites with close proximity to the highway with amenities like restaurants nearby that also meet the requirement by the PSC that they be on government owned property.
Electrify America is building an electric vehicle charging station in Ellicott City, Maryland. The chargers are being installed in the south east corner of the Walmart at 3200 N Ridge Rd.
It appears that there will be four chargers on two side-by-side islands. There are four dispensers seen onsite, shown in the photo above.
Second EA Site in Howard County
An Electrify America charging station opened at the Walmart on Dobbin Rd. in Columbia, MD in November, 2019. That site is the largest CCS/CHAdeMO fast charging site in Maryland with ten stalls, delivering up to 350 kW.
Five other Electrify America sites are open in Maryland. They are in Abingdon, Hagerstown, Clarksburg, and Bowie. There are also at least three other Electrify America sites currently under construction in Maryland including Frederick, Arundel Mills and Annapolis. We don’t yet know when the Ellicott City site will open. Stay tuned.
Downtown Columbia, Maryland is a hotbed of electric vehicle charging station growth. In February this year, 40 charging ports came online in the Merriweather District Garage near the Merriweather Post Pavilion concert venue.
The stations at the apartments may be there to satisfy the Howard County EV-Ready ordinance that became effective in January, 2019. That new law requires the developer to put in at least one EV charging station for each 25 living units for newly constructed multi-residential buildings. It looks like the developer is working toward LEED Gold certification so that may be a factor in placing a few extra charging ports beyond the EV-Ready requirement.
Just down the street from Merriweather, BGE installed six charging stations at the Howard County Library Central Branch. These utility-owned public charging stations are part of a five-year ratepayer-funded pilot program approved by the Public Service Commission in 2019. The Level 2 stations at the library cost $0.18/kWh. That price may change periodically in response to market conditions subject to review by regulators.
Locations by Nordstroms and the Cheesecake Factory
The Mall in Columbia is within a short walk of the library. Volta Charging has started construction on a series of free EV charging stations at different spots around the mall. According to a permit issued by Howard County on May 22nd, they are working on 14 new electric car charging stations. Among the areas marked for construction is in front of Nordstroms and by the Cheesecake Factory.
Funding is available again, starting July 1, 2020, for the Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) Rebate Program administered by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA). The Maryland EVSE Rebate is available to qualified individuals, non-profits, state or local governments, and businesses that install an electric vehicle charging station.
Eligible participants must apply for the rebate through the MEA. Rebates will be issued on a first-come, first-served basis until funding is depleted and is subject to the conditions of the program’s guidelines. The total amount of funding that is available for the fiscal year 2021 (July 1, 2020 to June 30, 2021) is $1,800,000.
The rebate amount for residential charging stations is 40% of the equipment purchase price and installation cost up to $700. Complete instructions on how to apply for the Maryland EVSE Rebate are located on the MEA Program page.
An Electrify America charging station is being built at the Walmart at 7400 Guilford Dr. in Frederick, MD. Construction is underway on the eastern side of the store at the edge of the parking lot. It appears that there will be four chargers situated on two islands. The charging dispensers are not yet on site.
On the morning of July 12th, 2014, a group of Tesla enthusiasts gathered at Newark, DE to embark on a 3,605 mile cross country drive. That summer, the Great American Road Trip was finally electrified — empowered by the newly completed coast-to-coast Supercharger route.
It was California or Bust for the Tesla faithful. The destination was the annual TMC Connect conference held by the Tesla Motors Club in Monterey.
Five cars covered in decals formed a convoy as they left Newark. Others joined the parade as they made their way across the USA. Nightly stops were in Maumee, OH, Albert Lea, MN, Lusk, WY, and Green River, UT.
As of July 1, 2020, a Virginia Right-to-Charge law is in effect. This will make it easier to install an electric vehicle charging station for residents who live on property with a Home Owners Association or Condo Board. The law also applies to proprietary lessees in Virginia.
The law creates a framework for residents and property owners’ associations to follow. This includes requiring the unit owner to pay the cost of installing the charging station as well as the electricity used.
Virginia Right to ChargeJoins Six Other States
Six other states have Right to Charge laws including New York, Florida, Colorado, California, Oregon and Hawaii. Maryland lawmakers considered such a bill in 2020 (HB 111). It passed the House but died in the Senate, possibly due to the abrupt adjournment of the session due to the pandemic.
Virginia Senator Scott A. Surovell proposed the Virginia Right to Charge bill (SB 630). An EV driver himself, Surovell told PlugInSites, “We need to facilitate EV ownership and several people including constituents have reached out to me regarding difficulties encountered installing EV charging stations in condominiums. I’m hoping that my legislation will create a roadmap that facilitates the efficient deployment of charging stations in homeowners associations, condominiums and cooperatives.”
Here is the text of the Virginia Right to Charge law with links to the source.
They call it Tail of the Dragon — a treacherous twisting road squiggled into the hills and hollows of the Great Smoky Mountains. “The Dragon” famously squeezes 318 wheel-whipping curves into 11 magic miles. This legendary stretch of US 129 on the Tennessee/North Carolina border attracts drivers from all over the world.
Hollywood has come calling for decades. Scenes from Thunder Road, Two Lane Blacktop and The Fugitive with Harrison Ford were filmed there. The Dragon is always ready for her close-up, Mr. DeMille.
She’s also a merciless killer. More than 24 lives have been lost to accidents on the Dragon since 2000 according to a TV show called “Hell Roads.” This area is as remote as it is wild. Forget about cell service. If you wrap yourself around a tree, the nearest hospital is an hour and a half away.
On summer weekends, the din of superbikes and turbocharged sports cars echo through the hills. Give it the gas. Brake. Accelerate hard. Brake for the next curve. Repeat 318 times. Doesn’t this plot seem scripted for an electric car? An EV’s low center of gravity, instant torque and regenerative braking is perfect for riding the Tail of the Dragon.
DriveOhio, a part of the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), released an 85 page Electric Vehicle Charging Study to assess and coordinate a state-wide approach to developing EV charging infrastructure.
Fast Charging Every 50 Miles Along Ohio Highways
A key recommendation is to place EV charging stations at least every 50 miles along highway corridors throughout Ohio. Highway corridor charging would be high-powered DC Fast Chargers located within a mile of a highway.
The study identifies Fast Charging gaps along highway corridors and suggests options to fill them. Most of the charging stations are suggested to be installed at private site hosts such as larger gas stations and convenience stores. Some charging gaps could be filled by placing DC Fast Chargers at Ohio Turnpike Service Plazas or ODOT rest stops.
Level 2 charging needs that can support Ohio tourism are also identified. Destination charging stations are suggested at popular Ohio attrations such as the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Cedar Point Amusement Park. EV drivers can then recharge their vehicles using Level 2 stations while they are visiting these destinations.
75% of BEVs Registered in Ohio are Teslas
According to data in the report, about 75% of the all-electric vehicles registered in Ohio are Teslas. The Model 3 accounts for 27% of all plug-in vehicles (including plug-in hybrids) registered in the state.
The report calls for collaboration among the following state agencies to implement the proposed strategy: ODOT, the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, the Department of Administrative Services, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Development Services Agency, and the Ohio Department of Public Safety.
Ohio has reason to support the expansion of EV charging infrastructure with Lordstown Motors taking over the former GM manufacturing facility to build electric pickup-trucks in the state.
Last year the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the implementation of a five-year pilot program for utility-owned and operated public EV charging stations. Since the program began on July 1, 2019, BGE, Pepco and Potomac Edison have installed approximately 118 charging ports at 24 sites. One of the first BGE sites was installed in Westminster last December.
We are documenting the progress at this point in time with the unofficial map above. The orange pins designate the sites we know are open that have at least one fast charger. The green pins are the sites with only Level 2 connectors. Click the pins to reveal more detail.
Semi-Annual Report Due in August
The utilities are required to submit semi-annual progress reports to the PSC. The report that covers the first half of 2020 is due in August.
Below are photos of many of the completed utility-owned sites we’ve visited in Maryland. More charging stations are currently under construction or being planned. Stay tuned for updates.