Xcel proposal would support 70 new public charging stations for electric vehicles

$25 million effort would support charging stations for public and agency use.

Article Summary:

Xcel Energy is taking a deeper dive into electric vehicles, providing charging infrastructure for fleet cars and participating in the creation of 70 public charging stations.

Minneapolis-based Xcel, the state's largest electric utility, unveiled the plan Monday.

"This is definitely the biggest step we have taken into the electric vehicle space," said Aakash Chandarana, Xcel's regional vice president for rates and regulatory affairs.

Electric vehicles (EVs) currently make up only a sliver of total automobile sales. But the EV market is expected to grow exponentially and it faces a key challenge: a viable — and cost-efficient — charging system.

Utilities and public policymakers throughout the country have been struggling with the issue. Chandarana said Xcel's initiative is "modest" compared to some power companies on the East and West coasts, where program costs have been up around $250 million.

"I think this is a great first step" by Xcel, said Andrew Twite, a senior policy associate at St. Paul-based Fresh Energy, a research and advocacy group for clean power. "It is definitely the first part of a bigger plan."

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Published on November 13, 2018