Time to get started on charging stations for electric vehicles

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority has come up with a nine-year program that creates incentives for the building of charging stations for electric vehicles. The plan will encourage the building of fast charging stations at home and at the workplace, and is aimed both at individuals with electric cars and companies with fleets of electric vehicles.

This is a good move — even if we wonder why the “miracle of the marketplace” can’t take care of this. In a way, it’s a chicken vs. egg situation: Which will come first — the public buying enough electric vehicles to make opening a charging station a sound investment, or enough charging stations popping up to make buying an EV seem like a good idea?

To some extent, the marketplace has already responded to this evolving need. Major car makers have gone electric in a big way, with a few promising to stop making gasoline and diesel vehicles altogether by a fixed date. Tesla is going to open its “superchargers” to non-Tesla cars sometime this year. And Ford is promising an electric version of its highly profitable F-150 pickup truck next year.

The new Meriden, Wallingford and Berlin train stations all have charging outlets. And according to the Department of Energy, Connecticut already has 1,204 EV charging outlets at 452 locations.

PURA’s decision also directs Eversource Energy and United Illuminating to provide incentives to customers to install the necessary equipment. Add to that the federal and state money available when someone buys an EV, and this electric future starts sounding pretty good.

(A caution, though, from the state: “Funding is limited.”)

The point of all of this activity, of course, is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and Connecticut has pledged a 45 percent reduction by 2030. It has been calculated that to meet that goal the state will have to put around half a million EVs on the road.

Time to get started.

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