FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Electric vehicles are set to become mainstream in the future. With that comes many questions about its workability and the costs.
Congress included investments in electric vehicle infrastructure as part of President Joe Biden’s Federal infrastructure plan passed back in 2021. $100 million from the plan was given to Indiana to build EV charging stations across the state.
The installation of EV chargers is part of the Federal government’s goal of building 500,000 charging stations across the United States within the next decade.
Many gas stations are hesitant to begin installing EV chargers into its stations. One of the reasons is the high electric utility fees EV chargers come with that gas station owners/operators have to pay, making it more difficult to make a profit.
The increased costs is because of the amount of electricity being used at once to charge EVs. The increased fees can cost gas stations up to $250,000 a year.
Ray McIntosh, President of McIntosh Energy, said it takes a lot of power to run electric vehicles and can often take up to 15-20 minutes, sometimes longer, to charge up an EV.
“EVs typically only have 1-2 charging units each. That creates the issue of availability compared to gas pumps, where there are 6-10 hoses available for people to use when one is down or occupied,” he said.
Another concern for gas stations is how to set the price for people charging EVs. Gas stations operators are still unsure how to charge customers for using the stations and what price to set.
He said it’s not like how gas stations charge people by the gallon for gasoline and that they want to be able to set prices that are affordable for customers and at a price where stations owners can make a profit.
Lack of competition is another issue with EV chargers. Fort Wayne only has one electric utility company in Indiana Michigan Power. McIntosh Energy has multiple oil companies to choose from when it comes to purchasing gasoline, but currently doesn’t have that option with electric utility companies.
McIntosh is a member of an organization called the Charge Ahead Partnership, who’s goal is to efficiently and effectively develop charging networks for EVs across the country. He said he along with others in the industry are working on the ultimate objective of making electricity affordable for EV drivers and make the pricing more competitive.
“We have to make sure that we can buy electricity and be able to get a return on our investment,” he said. “We still have questions about how to charge enough to make a profit and how it will work for utility companies.”
He believes utility companies need to gain a better understanding of EV power since they mainly work with household power.
“There is an opportunity on the horizon, but we need to understand all the costs behind it and what’s involved to make a long term solution,” he added.