DRIVETHEARC, a corridor of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations spanning from Monterey to Lake Tahoe, broke ground on Monday with a ribbon cutting ceremony El Dorado Hills, California.
DRIVETHEARC aims to increase the ease of long-distance EV travel along one of California’s most important travel arteries while studying EV use and driving patterns through a smartphone app that will provide a user-friendly charging experience.
It is a joint international project promoted by Japan’s largest public R&D management organization, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO) – under the agreement between NEDO and the State of California Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development, and in partnership with Nissan Motor Co., Nissan North America, Kanematsu and EVgo.
Announced at a press conference alongside the ribbon cutting ceremony at the DRIVEtheARC Station at Raley’s in El Dorado Hills, California – which will host four DRIVETHEARC EV fast chargers – dignitaries from NEDO, Nissan, Kanematsu, EVgo and various California state government offices gathered to share details of the fast charging corridor and its potential impact in forwarding EV adoption in California. The project to collect and analyze data will be completed in September 2020, while installation of the 50 fast chargers along the corridor is expected to be completed by March 2017. This will provide drivers with multiple fast charging points per site at the more than 20 high-traffic locations that are part of the project.
An integrated international cooperation, NEDO is funding the DRIVETHEARC corridor as part of its mission to improve energy conservation and promote new energy technologies, as well to help facilitate government relations, research and information exchange between the U.S. and Japan.
In partnership with Kanematsu, a DRIVETHEARC smartphone app is also in development and will provide users with key real-time convenience features such as navigation to charging stations within cruising range and will help reduce charge waiting times with charger vacancy information. Captured driving stats will be available to users, and Nissan, Kanematsu, EVgo and NEDO will analyze and measure charger use patterns to better inform future EV charging projects globally.
Nissan is also partnering in DRIVETHEARC as part of the automaker’s ‘Infrastructure for All’ strategy. Nissan has played a leading role in growing the number of EV fast charging stations in the U.S. from 250 stations in 2013, to an anticipated 2,000 stations by 2017. This provides Nissan LEAF drivers with access to the largest metro area network of fast charging stations in the country. The DRIVETHEARC corridor enhances the existing EV infrastructure Nissan has supported as part of its No Charge to Charge promotion, by connecting the metro areas of Monterey, the San Francisco Bay Area, Sacramento and Lake Tahoe.
As a global trading house with expertise in the electronics and information technologies business, Kanematsu has been collaborating with Nissan and EVgo to release the new DRIVEtheARC smartphone app. The DRIVEtheARC smartphone app is designed for the DRIVEtheARC stations and the EVgo stations. It navigates EV drivers to optimal stations based on cruising range and charging station status. The app enables EV drivers to monitor the real-time status of the charging stations, select an appropriate station, and charge their EVs using the app’s authorization process or conventional payment authorization methods. The EV cruising range feature based on NissanConnect Data Link Service will be available in the spring of 2017.
As the local partner of the project, EVgo is managing the installation of the DRIVETHEARC infrastructure with the deployment of 50 EV fast charging stations at over 20 convenient locations. Fast charging stations are being installed at key high-traffic retail partners along the route to create a true inter-city charging network that will encourage long-distance EV travel in Northern California. The corridor represents the newest addition to EVgo’s national network of over 800 EV fast charging stations across 66 markets.