EV Fast Charging in Alaska
Modern electric vehicles are made to drive long distances and recharge rapidly provided that the charging infrastructure is in place. In Alaska several obstacles exist that make long distance commuting time consuming and less efficient. Alaska with the exception of Juneau, does not have any fast charging stations. A fast charger (Level 3) can charge an electric vehicle from zero battery charge to 80% charge in 30 minutes, in comparison a destination charger (Level 2) requires 6 hours of charging to reach the same 80% charge. Fast charging is necessary to allow for long distance commuting, Anchorage to Fairbanks as an example.
The cost and installation of Level 3 chargers is significantly more expensive that Leve 2 chargers. Where a typical Level 2 charger can cost around $500 the Level 3 chargers can cost $50K to $100K excluding installation costs. The upfront cost of Level 3 chargers can be offset through grants and private initiatives. In Alaska, funding for Level 3 charger is available through the Alaska Energy Authority and the Volkswagen Diesel Settlement Grants.
A major fixed expense of Level 3 fast charging is the cost of electric utility demand charges. Level 3 chargers have to be connected to 3 phase power source and draw (demand) 50 kW to 100 kW upon an EV plugging into the charger. The electric utility demand rate fee structure can have a cost prohibitive affect on installation and continued operation of Level 3 chargers in Alaska. Below is an example of what it would cost for 15 minutes of Level 3 charging at 50 kW along the Railbelt for each Electric Utility (demand charges vary for each Electric Utility)
To remove the barriers to Level 3 fast charger installations in Alaska, electric utility companies should create Pilot Programs that remove demand charges from Level 3 charger installation. Further, Alaska Electric Vehicle Association supports the creation of a tariff through the Regulatory Commission of Alaska that makes operation of Level 3 fast chargers in Alaska less costly.