Electrify America must spend that $2 billion by the end of 2026. The company, based in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., was created as part of Volkswagens diesel emissions settlement with U.S. and California regulators.
The company is spending that money on a mix of consumer education and infrastructure, the latter drawing the vast majority of the funding. Though Electrify America is housed in the same faceless office complex as Volkswagens U.S. headquarters, the settlement calls for it to operate as an independent entity. That was underscored by a network television ad the organization ran last year that featured a number of different electric vehicles, including those from Nissan, BMW and General Motors, but none from VW.
Electrify Americas charging stations are being outfitted to allow any plug-based vehicle to connect, though Tesla owners will need an optional, proprietary adapter.
The first of its charging stations opened for business about a year ago. Since then, more than 160 have come online, with dozens more in various stages of completion. Each station features an average of four to five chargers, with a maximum of 10 at what are expected to become high-volume locations.
The goal is to have about 2,800 Level 2 and more than 2,000 Level 3 chargers in operation around the U.S. by the end of this year, said Electrify America CEO Giovanni Palazzo. To put that into perspective, the U.S. Department of Energy said a total of 54,638 public Level 2 and 3 chargers were in operation across the country at the end of 2018.
Electrify Americas initial focus is on regions with high levels of EV ownership such as California and parts of the East Coast, he said. But it eventually plans to have charging stations that are no more than 70 miles apart along all major roadways in most states. Urban areas where EV ownership is expected to peak will have more of them.