First oil-free gas station in US opens, only charging electric vehicles

Alex Woodward
An electric car at a charging station: Reuters

A petrol station in Maryland is the first of its kind to completely transition from traditional pumps to electric vehicle charging stations.

RS Automotives in Washington DC is the US’s first fully petrol-to-electric refuelling station, exclusively for electric vehicles, when it opened earlier this week.

It can charge up to four vehicles at once within 20 to 30 minutes.

The conversion was supported by the Electric Vehicle Institute, which received a $786,000 Alternative Fuel Infrastructure grant from the Maryland Energy Administration in 2018.

The station joins the state’s network of 600 charging stations that will support more than 20,000 electric vehicles registered in the state. Between 2017 and 2018 the number almost doubled.

Maryland’s popular electric vehicle tax rebate has not been able to keep pace with the demand.

In January, the state approved the installation of 5,000 charging stations as part of a five-year-long pilot program for residential, workplace and public use.

That network of charging stations is expected to grow as the state anticipates 60,000 electric vehicles on the road by 2020, and as many as 300,000 by 2025, according to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.

Electric vehicle infrastructure has increased across the US as governments anticipate drivers moving away from traditional petrol-powered rides, and companies are banking on an increase in electric vehicle ridership.

Venture capital-funded projects and private companies like ChargePoint, which boasts more than 100,000 charging points worldwide, and EVgo, which has more than 1,600 chargers in 66 metropolitan areas in the US, are scaling for rapid growth and partnering with auto makers like Volkswagen and Nissan to expand their footprint.

FLO, which offers charging stations for home and commercial use, says it has sold more than 6,500 home charging units, while electric car company Tesla has installed more than 1,600 charging stations for its customers.

Meanwhile, this fall, the New York City Department of Transportation will begin replacing 120 street-parking spots with charging stations.

Installing stations like the ones at the RS Automotives service centre is a “significant step in providing a ‘gas-station’ like charging experience” for electric vehicle drivers, according to Matthew Wade, chief executive of the Electric Vehicle Institute.

In a statement, Governor Hogan said: “Maryland is proud to be a national leader when it comes to clean and renewable energy, climate change, and the promotion of electric infrastructure and vehicles. This fully converted, gas-to-electric charging station is a prime example of our administration’s commitment to the environment and transportation."

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