Xcel Energy recently unveiled its vision for ‘what’s next’ with electric vehicles, which aims to speed the transition to electric transportation. The utility’s goal is to develop new services, pilot them, and then roll out the most successful ideas to customers on a broader scale.
Fresh Energy is excited about the Minnesota electric vehicle plan’s emphasis on integrating electric vehicle load in a way that benefits the grid. Xcel’s plan would also develop pilots in high-priority areas—such as smart home charging, electric transit buses, and public fleets—and help speed the build-out of a DC fast charging network.
Smart home charging
Fresh Energy was integral in the development of Xcel Energy’s smart charger pilot, participating in stakeholder meetings and filing comments in support of the pilot.
Fresh Energy is supportive of Xcel’s focus on charging infrastructure for electric transit buses and public fleets. Electric transit buses can save hundreds of thousands of dollars of fuel and maintenance costs over the life of each bus, and strategic additions of electric vehicles in city and county fleets can save taxpayers money over the life of the cars.
DC fast charging
Fresh Energy also supports Xcel’s plan to spur installation of fast charging corridors on freeways and highways in the state. Under its plan, Xcel would provide “make ready” electrical infrastructure, which includes all of the electrical improvements needed to power a DC fast charging station. This reduces the cost of installing a fast charging station considerably, while also allowing independent companies to install, own, and operate the actual chargers. With this approach, Xcel can speed the adoption of DC fast charging while also encouraging the development of competitive markets for charging services.
Overall, Fresh Energy is supportive of the electric vehicles vision that Xcel Energy laid out and is looking forward to seeing more details of the plan. We will continue to consult with Xcel to help shape the plan and encourage the company to roll out the pilots in a timely manner.