In 2020, there were about 216,000 chargers for electric vehicles (EVs) in the US. That number will have to increase tenfold by the end of the decade, as EV ownership continues to grow at an exponential rate. Accelerating the expansion of EV infrastructure, however, can be quite challenging.
A new EV charging solution
“We want to unlock mass EV adoption, but the grid is simply not in a position to accommodate that,” says Vince Wong, chief operating officer for ElectricFish, a startup aiming to revolutionize EV infrastructure.
The company is pioneering a new type of charger that relies on a large battery rather than the grid to supply electricity. The battery charges throughout the day when there’s excess solar or wind energy. “We can store that energy and then detach the EV charging load from the grid itself,” says Anurag Kamal, the company’s CEO.
Doubling as energy storage
In addition to adding more charging capacity on the streets, the approach also helps solve another problem: Since the grid is not always able to absorb excess wind and solar power, we need more energy storage solutions.
Now that’s exactly what the ElectricFish EV chargers aim to provide, by doubling as storage. The system is also likely to be cheaper than charging at home, as demand for electricity grows and utilities charge more for plugging in during peak times, reports Fast Company.
Electrifying the gas station
The company’s first charger is expected to be unveiled in Los Angeles by the end of the year. While installing a conventional fast charger requires expensive electrical upgrades, the new chargers can plug into any existing electrical connection. With that said, the company aims to partner up with gas station owners to help them adapt to the quickly changing transportation infrastructure.
“When we think about the equity aspect of things, first is the gas station owners, which are 70% individually owned in the U.S.,” says ElectricFish cofounder Folasade Ayoola. “So these are really small businesses that are being disrupted. And there’s a ton of real estate now, and assets that are at risk.”