As electric vehicle adoption continues to increase across the state of Ohio, businesses and local governments look to “fast chargers” as a tool for economic development. The recent increase in fast charger availability is also expected to increase electric vehicle drivers’ ability to travel longer distances between cities while decreasing range anxiety.
Direct current fast chargers utilize twice the voltage of “level 2” chargers, filling an EV battery 80% in as few as 40 minutes compared to the 6-7 hours typical for level 2 chargers. Public stations offering both level 2 and fast chargers have increased dramatically in recent years, with fast charger availability in Ohio increasing by more than 50% to 94 stations since the beginning of 2019.
Local governments, businesses, and electric utilities are responsible for this dramatic increase in charger availability. Interest in funding fast chargers comes as a response to growing electric vehicle adoption in the state and the broad economic benefits of charging infrastructure.
In late 2019, the City of Worthington installed two fast chargers in the city’s commercial area to attract customers to local businesses. On March 13, the City of Athens held a ribbon cutting for southeast Ohio’s first fast charger, which promises to attract visitors and those traveling along State Route 33, as well as greatly easing range anxiety within the region.
“This charger is an advantage for anyone living in or driving through Athens,” said Mayor Steve Patterson. “People traveling up and down 33, to and from Columbus and West Virginia, will stop at this charger, spending time in our community and spending money at our local businesses.”
In addition to local government action, businesses such as the Mickey Mart gas station and convenience store in Bellville have installed fast chargers with the goal of attracting customers. Mickey Mart views their station as a vital amenity to drivers along the I-71 corridor. In addition to the commercial impact of the station, electric vehicle drivers will benefit from the ease of travel between Columbus and Cleveland.
For Stark State Community College in North Canton, installation of a fast charging station this spring will be an important educational tool in instructing future electric technicians, as well as an amenity for students, staff, and travelers through the region. The station will be the first of its kind along the 90 mile stretch of I-77 between Cambridge and Cuyahoga Falls.
All three fast charging stations were supported by AEP Ohio’s $10.5 million electric vehicle charging infrastructure rebate program which has funded 89 fast chargers in the utility’s Ohio service territory. Site hosts plan for many more of those fast chargers to come online throughout the rest of 2020.