Electrification Progress in the Age of COVID

December 11, 2020 1:37 pm
Photo of People in the City by Pikist

It’s pretty clear that vaccine or no, COVID will be here for a while, and with it the new normal of face masks, social distancing, telecommuting and (consequently) less road travel. While some might view this with trepidation, we see it as an opportunity. Since the earliest weeks of the pandemic, major metro areas like Los Angeles, Seattle and Chicago – those with large reductions in automobile traffic – immediately began seeing improvements in air quality, according to articles in the New York Times and Washington Post. More recent, an NPR story noted ozone pollution has decreased as much as 15% in many of these places. It seems an unintended consequence of the lockdown has been to accelerate the transition to responsible mobility by demonstrating its positive effects on the environment.

However, from a practical standpoint, the charging industry in general and our company in particular have faced its share of challenges. The government’s focus on addressing the crisis has resulted in longer permitting times. Supply chain disruptions mean greater waits for switchgear and other critical equipment. Hits taken by travel and hospitality businesses, from forced closures to reduced traffic, mean many potential clients are delaying installation of charging stations. Car sales across the board have dwindled.

Fortunately, since our founding, we have been defined by resilience, actively working to disrupt transportation industry norms and overcome obstacles – real or perceived – to EV adoption. We’ve stayed the course and not only managed to survive these unusual times, but thrive. How so? First, the State of California deemed EVCS an essential business due to our expertise at installing fuel infrastructure. On a state level, the Newsom administration has been extremely friendly toward the EV industry, and with new targets for statewide EV adoption by 2035 announced in the midst of the pandemic, that doesn’t look to be changing anytime soon. On a national level, the incoming Biden administration is poised to provide even more support.

Moreover, much of our funding comes from government agencies that remain fully operational, including state-run transportation boards and energy commissions, which remain vital to the nation’s operational health. For instance, CALeVIP is an organization funded by the CEC to support innovations in fuel technologies and transportation with the goal of improving air quality and reducing reliance on traditional fossil fuels. They currently have $91.9 million in capital to invest in meeting regional goals for Level 2 and DC fast charging, including a target of servicing 1.5 million EVs by 2025, and EVCS will be a prime beneficiary of such investment. COVID has done nothing to slow these initiatives.

In addition, our utilization of advanced networking technologies and staff’s ability to innovate during these ever-changing times means EVCS has barely skipped a beat in pursuit of its zero-emission mobility goals. We’ve adapted extremely well to working remotely, facilitated strategic partnerships with other essential businesses and secured funding for long-term infrastructure investment. In many instances, the pandemic has actually forced changes that improved efficiency and reduced operating costs. And our ability to fund installations means many cash-strapped companies who have temporarily shut down are using this time to put in charging stations.

Bottom line, our mission to increase EV adoption across California (and beyond) remains as strong today as it was when the company launched, and our track record has shown we have the means to achieve it. Vaccine or no, EVCS is extremely healthy and has shown strong immunity to the effects of the virus.

More information about CALeVIP and their mandate can be found on their website here: https://calevip.org/

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