In the race towards a more sustainable future, the electric vehicle (EV) industry is gaining momentum faster than a Tesla in ludicrous mode. But for EVs to become a truly viable and attractive option for drivers, we need to scale a robust public charging network across the country rapidly and efficiently. It’s an ambitious undertaking that is not without its challenges. It’s going to take an army of skilled workers and multiple industries collaborating to create a seamless charging network across the country.
My fascination with electricity, sparked by my father’s work as a union electrician, has fueled my passion for electric infrastructure. As I grew older, I became increasingly aware of the incredible potential of EVs and became an early adopter. I was enthusiastic about encouraging others to drive EVs. I even lent out my own Tesla, which often resulted in people getting stranded or not knowing how to charge the vehicle properly. This experience taught me valuable lessons about the challenges of EV infrastructure and inspired me to become an entrepreneur in this space.
In order to achieve mass adoption of EVs, charging stations will need to be situated at auto dealers, public spaces such as parking garages, shopping centers, office buildings, and anywhere else that would make charging your EV as easy as filling up your tank.
The Biden administration recently announced $2.5 billion in grants for EV chargers, which will fund the installation of 500,000 new charging stations across the country by 2030. State and local governments are also providing funding and incentives for businesses to install charging stations, as well as working to streamline the permitting process to make it easier and faster to install new stations. Additionally, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) is working with the electric vehicle industry to develop standards for charging stations, ensuring that they are safe and reliable. This type of collaboration between government agencies and private industry is essential for building a successful public charging network.
Private businesses are also taking an active role in building the public charging infrastructure. Major retailers, such as Walmart and Target, have partnered with charging station companies to install stations in their parking lots, providing customers with the opportunity to charge their electric vehicles while they’re shopping. Garages and gas stations are also exploring the addition of charging stations to their existing infrastructure, creating new revenue streams and attracting a new demographic of customers.
Consumers play a vital role in building a public charging network by advocating for its development in their communities. By encouraging local businesses and government agencies to install charging stations, and by choosing to drive electric vehicles themselves, individuals can contribute to the growth of the electric vehicle industry and the development of a sustainable transportation system.
Today, as CEO of Charge Enterprises, I can attest that building a reliable public charging network for EVs is an excessively complex undertaking. It will require cooperation and investment from corporations, private businesses, and government agencies, all working together towards a sustainable future. We must move quickly to electrify our roadways and eliminate our dependence on combustion engines. While this is a daunting task, with collaboration and determination, we can achieve this ambitious goal.
Highly skilled professionals are needed to install EV infrastructure hardware. My company provides qualified electricians and other workers with the proper skill set and expertise needed to help the U.S. reach the national goals for EV infrastructure.
But in order to achieve a sustainable future, we need a revolutionary shift in our thinking. I witnessed firsthand that even essential work like my father’s as an electrician did not provide him with the benefits and compensation that others enjoyed. We must change this if we hope to create a workforce of skilled electricians and infrastructure workers. That’s why we decided to take our company public and offer stock options to the workers who are installing EV infrastructure across the country. It’s a way to incentivize people to pursue a career in this field and to reward those who are on the front lines of this important work. I encourage other companies to find creative ways to compensate their workers and promote the pursuit of a sustainable future for generations to come. Ultimately, this will have to be a collective effort.
Even with an army of skilled workers, there are still regulatory hurdles, to say nothing of the logistical nightmare of retrofitting older buildings and condos with the latest in EV charging technology.
Building a seamless public charging network for EVs has the potential to transform not only the automobile industry but also the transportation industry as a whole.
One of the biggest societal benefits of public charging is reduced emissions and improved air quality. As more people adopt electric vehicles, it’s crucial that we have a robust charging infrastructure in place to support this transition. But creating this infrastructure is not only about sustainability–but it’s also about creating new, rewarding job opportunities in areas ranging from engineering and construction to marketing and customer service.
As we look towards the future of EV charging, let’s embrace the possibilities and the opportunities. Let’s continue to innovate and improve, to create a world where we invest in the people who improve our lives, sustainable transportation is the norm, and where charging your car is just as easy as charging your phone. The future of EV charging is bright. Charge up, and let’s journey together toward a sustainable future!
Andrew Fox is the founder, chairman, and CEO of Charge Enterprises, a Nasdaq-listed company.
The opinions expressed in Fortune.com commentary pieces are solely the views of their authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions and beliefs of Fortune.
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