USA-Japan collaboration launches fast charging corridor in California


The ‘electrification’ of the USA’s highway network continues to accelerate with the launch of a collaborative demonstration project in California, which will create a corridor of electric vehicle (EV) fast charging stations from Monterey to Lake Tahoe.

DRIVEtheARC 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 an agreement with 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.

he program 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 application that will provide a user-friendly charging experience. Installation of the 50 fast chargers along the corridor is expected to be completed by March 2017, with the project to collect and analyze data due to be completed in September 2020. DRIVEtheARC will provide drivers with multiple fast charging points per site at more than 20 high-traffic locations along the route.

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 as to help facilitate government relations, research, and information exchange between the USA 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.

As the global leader in EV sales, Nissan is partnering in DRIVEtheARC as part of its ‘Infrastructure for All’ strategy. The auto maker has played a leading role in growing the number of EV fast charging stations in the USA from 250 stations in 2013 to an anticipated 2,000 stations by 2017. As the local partner of the project, EVgo is managing the installation of the DRIVEtheARC infrastructure with the deployment of the fast charging stations to create a true inter-city 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.

“NEDO is committed to its best efforts to realize the objective of the demonstration project with Go-Biz and other California government agency (CEC, CARB, CalEPA, CPUC) support, EVgo’s cooperation as the local partner, and through Nissan and Kanematsu’s expertise and partnership in the execution of this project,” said Makoto Watanabe, executive director of NEDO.

“We would like to contribute to solving environmental problems by promoting EV use, which will lead to reduced greenhouse gas emissions, and truly hope that we will be able to help create sustainable EV societies in the future.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).