Breaking the EV Bubble with Volta

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If you live in California, electric vehicles are a part of everyday life, so much so that you might forget the same isn’t true everywhere. It’s common knowledge that California leads the way for electric drivers, but statistics show that the difference is staggering. Approximately 367,000 electric vehicles were newly registered in the United States in 2018, and nearly half (49 percent) were registered in California, according to data from the Alternative Fuels Data Center. That’s 179,600 new electric vehicles registered in one year, and the numbers since then are only growing. After California, Washington ranked second, registering 19,900 electric vehicles in 2018– about 5.4 percent of the national total. Washington could have registered nine times as many electric vehicles and still wouldn’t have caught California.

This market domination occurs across the board, not just for registrations. In regard to sales, data from EVAdoption shows that 153,422 electric vehicles were sold in California in 2018; New York came in second with fewer than 16,000. Charging infrastructure is more prevalent in California as well– there are over 26,000 public charging outlets in the state. New York comes in second here as well, with fewer than five thousand public charging outlets.

That’s a lot of numbers, and they clearly show that the electric vehicle bubble in California is real. They might also make you think that the bubble is unbreakable, but it is well documented that this expansion is happening nationwide. Data from the International Energy Agency shows there were 180,000 electric vehicles on the road in 2013, compared to 1.12 million in 2018. While California is a substantial part of that growth, drivers around the country are beginning to recognize electric vehicles as a feasible alternative to gas-powered vehicles. This shift could have a positive impact on our environment, especially if other states around the country begin shifting more aggressively toward electric.

But how can we move closer to that point? One of the challenges electric drivers outside the California bubble face is a lack of options for public charging. Data from the International Energy Agency shows that while 1.6 million electric vehicle charging outlets were installed in 2018, more than 90 percent of them were for private use. Range anxiety is a common concern for potential buyers, and it’s understandable– no one wants to run out of power and end up stranded. That’s why building an expansive network of public charging stations is crucial for the growth of the electric vehicle industry, and Volta is helping to do just that.

One Volta user, Alex, tells us about how he utilizes the free, public charging service from Volta to fuel family visits. “I have family up in Sacramento, which is about 90 miles from where I live, also well within the range of my vehicle. I know of Volta charging locations up at Arden Fair, a shopping center there. So I always plan my visit around a visit to the shopping center so I can re-up on charge for the journey home.”

Volta’s charging network already spans the United States, with stations from Boston to Hawaii and many cities in between. We cover major metropolitan hubs like Chicago, our second-largest market with 176 stations. Volta also has a presence in smaller towns like Waterbury, Connecticut, allowing electric drivers to expand their travel possibilities. And we’re not done yet; Volta has plans to double our presence in Washington D.C., and our expansion into Atlanta yielded 54 active stations with more on the way. Improved public charging infrastructure is an important piece of the electric vehicle puzzle, and Volta is helping to solve it. It may take time to break the bubble and make electric vehicles a staple nationwide, but we’re already well on the way.

Blue skies of lockdown show potential for a pollution-free, electric future

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Images of clear skies and thriving ecosystems have filled social media in response to recent transportation slowdowns, an unexpected benefit of the lockdown that has impacted so many. Cities like Los Angeles or New Delhi have seen their skies clouded by pollution for many years, until recently. The clearer skies have both residents and scientists wondering what it would take to make this brief respite from pollution permanent. A switch to the renewable energy of electric vehicles has the potential to do just that.

The reduction of pollution can be demonstrated beyond just the images we have seen on Twitter or Facebook. A decrease in traffic has led to lower levels of pollution, especially in metropolitan areas. Manhattan reported a 10 percent reduction in carbon dioxide and methane emissions, as well as a dramatic 50 percent decrease in carbon monoxide. In China, NASA detected that nitrogen dioxide— a noxious gas emitted from motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities— decreased as much as 30 percent during their recent lockdown.

As such, the blue skies that city-dwellers are currently witnessing should be seen not as a silver lining, but as a wake-up call. Economies around the world have begun to re-open, and if everyone returns to their fuel-burning vehicles and normal routines, our skies will regress back to the gray, polluted shades of life before lockdown. There is hope for a future with bluer skies, though.

Expanding electric vehicle usage and charging networks is just one renewable solution with the potential to permanently reduce air pollution. “We have to recognize that in this crisis there is an opportunity for learning,” said California Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary Nichols.

At Volta, these clear blue skies are a reminder of our mission, as well as inspiration to continue working to inspire change by providing seamless, simple and free charging experiences. To date, Volta has offset almost 30 million pounds of carbon dioxide emissions by powering over 67 million free electric miles. In the past week alone, our nationwide network has had the equivalent environmental impact of planting a new tree every eight minutes.

Volta has spent the last ten years building a system that will help bring about blue skies for good. Our innovative charging infrastructure provides drivers with the power they need and inspires others to join the electric vehicle revolution. As Volta continues to add more stations at more locations where people spend their time, we are ready — for the one million electric vehicles on the road today, and for the 20 million to come in the next ten years.

Driving Community Efforts to Stay Charged Up and Healthy During COVID-19

By | Uncategorized, Volta News

Now, more than ever, we remain committed to keeping our communities charged up. Our goal is not just to continue to provide free electric miles, but to do our part in flattening the curve. We’d also like to recognize the efforts of the Volta community.

To the locations able to keep their Volta charging stations active.  We thank you. 80% of our chargers are near essential services, including pharmacies, grocery stores and hospitals.

To the drivers who rely on Volta to get to and from essential duties, we truly appreciate your hard work and sacrifice. 

Here’s a bit more on how we’re addressing COVID-19:

  • We’re partnering with municipalities, health officials and first responders to broadcast Public Safety Alerts to ensure communities see critical news and updates.
  • We launched messages from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) across our nationwide network.
  • We’re increasing station monitoring and continue to quickly address any issues that might impede reliable charging.
  • Where possible, we’re working with our partners to extend chargers’ hours of operation to help those who may have been cut off from their other typical charging locations. 
  • We’re actively updating our app as quickly as possible to reflect charger accessibility changes.

If you have questions, please reach out to Those of us who are not in the field actively maintaining our network are working remotely and available to help. So, if you hear a dog barking or kids laughing when we call, think of this as an opportunity for us all to get to know each other a little better and a reminder that we really are all in this together.