Maryland EV Fast Charging Network Details Emerge

Electric Vehicle DC Fast Charger potential locations shown in green shaded areas. Click map to enlarge.

On April 24, 2014, the Maryland Attorney General held an event in Maple Lawn to announce $1 million in funding for a statewide Fast Charging Network for electric vehicles. (I posted video of that announcement here). At the time, particulars of the plan were still being worked on. Many of us had questions about the plan especially which charging connector standard (CHAdeMO or SAE Combo) will be used.

The Maryland Energy Administration has begun accepting applications for the Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Grant Program (EVIP) and I’ve learned some new details including proposed locations, the timeline for completion and which charging connectors will be used.

The goal of the EVIP is to aid in the development of a DC Fast Charging Network in Maryland. A press release says the program is intended to promote energy independence in the state by facilitating greater investment in clean fuel automobiles. Widespread adoption of electric vehicles is also a critical tenet of the Maryland Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Council (EVIC), which seeks to have 60,000 electric vehicles in Maryland by 2020. EVIC recommended that the state incentivize EV ownership by ensuring adequate availability of EV charging infrastructure.

The funds for the grant came from a Consent Decree for alleged violations of the clean air act. Part of the Consent Decree is establishing charging infrastructure necessary to address “range anxiety.” Range anxiety describes a condition in which the consumer is hesitant to buy an EV due to concerns about being stranded without access to a charging station or being unable to complete a trip given the constraints of the vehicle. This EV infrastructure grant program is designed to help alleviate this concern.

The program is expected to fund 20-40 stations. Proposed locations include Western and Southern Maryland, as well as the Eastern Shore and the Baltimore-Annapolis-Washington DC metropolitan areas. EVIP is a competitive grant requiring at least 50% cost sharing. Once installed, there will be a fee to use the DC Fast charging stations.

In order to facilitate charging of all vehicles, the DC Fast Charging stations installed through this grant must be configured with both CHAdeMO and SAE Combo charging standards at each location (either as a dual connector station or as two separate stations).

Proposed stations must be located either within 1⁄2 mile of Federal or State highway exits, or within Metropolitan areas. Distances between charging stations should be less than 30 miles in Western Maryland, 40 miles in Central Maryland, 40 to 60 miles in the Eastern Shore and Southern Maryland.

The map above indicates the general areas, by zip code, where stations would be desirable but is only used for guidance. Locations in the map seem to include the following: Ocean City, Cambridge, Princess Anne, Aberdeen and the area near the Delaware border off I-95, Cumberland, Deep Creek Lake, Brunswick, Thurmont, Hagerstown, Northwest Baltimore and the North Laurel area in Howard County.

A requirement of the grant applicant is that chargers apply the Open Charge Point Protocol (OCPP) communication standard that allows charging stations from different vendors to communicate. This will allow drivers to charge at stations outside of their network or charge without needing membership in any charging network.

The winning applicant will be announced in November, 2014 and the installation of all stations should be completed by October 1, 2016.