Who Should Own the EV Charging Network?

EV chargers near San Francisco. Image source: U.S. Department of Energy.

Charging infrastructure isn't the problem

Part of what works against PG&E, and utilities building chargers in general, is that charging infrastructure isn't a major problem within the U.S. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are 10,000 commercial EV charging stations across the country, with 26,681 outlets. And California has the largest network of any state. More chargers are needed, but who should pay for them?

Tesla Motors is building out its own supercharger network for the Model S and now Model X. It also sells chargers for the home and will work with most charging stations for public use. ChargePoint and PlugShare are also building out infrastructures of available chargers that charge customers for usage. NRG Energy even tried building chargers that could be used with a subscription.

It doesn't seem like there's a lack of chargers or a lack of new ideas on charging business models. For now, though, utilities are getting shut out of that market and it's a lost opportunity for them.

Utilities trying their hand at charging

PG&E will get to test the ownership concept after getting approval for a 2,510-charging-station network. But it remains to be seen if it will be allowed to build chargers in large numbers and charge them to its utility customers.

With threats coming from rooftop solar and energy efficiency, utilities are looking at EV chargers as a way to add assets to their books and charge customers for them long term. It's a great idea if you're a utility, but so far, it hasn't been for regulators or customers, who have plenty of charging options.

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The article Who Should Own the EV Charging Network? originally appeared on

Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns and recommends Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days . We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy .

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