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DoT Funds for EV Charging in Puerto Rico is good news

image credit: My own picture of my own car.
Javier  Rua-Jovet's picture
Chief Policy Officer Solar & Energy Storage Association of Puerto Rico
  • Member since 2022
  • 2 items added with 1,895 views
  • Jul 12, 2022
  • 595 views

It is a truly positive development that the United States Department of Transportation (DoT) has designated Puerto Rico highways PR-22, PR-2 and PR-52 as Alternative Fuels Corridors (AFCs) for electric vehicle (EV) charging, opening up substantial funds to our island that where appropriated via President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. DoT Announcement for EV Charging Dollars for 50 States, DC and PR here: https://highways.dot.gov/newsroom/usdot-announces-all-50-states-dc-and-puerto-rico-now-have-alternative-fuel-corridor.

 EVs are here to stay, as their price at the dealer is basically at parity with internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, their long-term maintenance is substantially lower than ICE vehicles and given the fact that electric charging is always much cheaper than gas. The use case for EVs is truly a no-brainer.  Substantial EV growth is a fact in the United States and in Puerto Rico. Even the extremely conservative Federal Oversight Fiscal Board for Puerto Rico (FOMB) forecasts that “…the penetration of electric vehicles is expected to significantly increase in the upcoming decades […] some estimates project that by 2040 EVs could reach nearly 60% of total vehicles sales […].” FOMB-certified PREPA Fiscal Plan of 2021, sec. 6.2.4, https://drive.google.com/file/d/1dXFJldZpOIsAObMZDBd7T2P3j2xMPaal/view.

Public Level II charging stations are modestly growing in the island, but they are still insufficient. I can attest to that as an EV driver myself; even though I can charge at home, and despite the fact that Puerto Rico commuting distances are normally much less than in the continental US (we are just 100 miles long by 35 miles wide), range anxiety can still be an issue during the off-family day trip, or for other activities that require more driving.  And as EV continue to ramp up, Level III fast chargers will also need to be installed, especially to serve the largely urban populations that cannot charge in their apartment complexes. As per PlugShare.com, there are currently about ninety public Level II chargers around the island, and less than five public Level III charging stations in operation in the island, and two of those are Tesla-exclusive stalls.  This DoT initiative will not only result in new station buildout, it will also directly incentivize Tesla to open up its charging network to other EV brands.

Designating Puerto Rico’s PR-22, PR-2 and PR-52 as AFCs will improve the health, environmental performance, and mobility of the passengers and businesses that drive our commonwealth forward. By making EV charging more accessible along strategic corridors, the federal government is helping Puerto Rico’s path to carbon free energy for commercial and personal uses, contributing to our sustainable development, as it is a policy fully aligned with Puerto Rico’s legislated path to 100% renewables by 2050 (Act 17 of 2019).  EVs are, fundamentally, mobile energy storage units and like all front or behind the meter batteries, are critical elements for societies to truly break with fossil fuels and fully embrace renewables.

 

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Matt Chester's picture
Matt Chester on Jul 12, 2022

What's the current enthusiasm in Puerto Rico for EVs? 

Joe Deely's picture
Joe Deely on Jul 14, 2022

Assuming they can make their grid more reliable - Puerto Rico could a great place for EVs. As the article mentions - Puerto Rico is a relatively small area.

Puerto Rico commuting distances are normally much less than in the continental US (we are just 100 miles long by 35 miles wide),

Seems like it would be a great place for e-bikes as well.

Henry Craver's picture
Henry Craver on Jul 15, 2022

I hope this goes better than Tesla's plan to save PR with solar energy following the hurricane in 2017 ... I remember reading of giant solar graveyards just 6 months or so after Tesla arrived. 

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