Ionna On Track to Install 30,000 Charging Stations
The transition to EVs requires a robust charging infrastructure. The recent announcement from most major OEMs to adopt NACS/J3400 (North American Charging Standard) previously known as the Tesla charging port, was a sign that the companies involved were ready to find a solution that works best for consumers. The Ionna partnership between seven automakers further proves a desire to produce a robust charging infrastructure that benefits all drivers.
Ionna announced it received regulatory approval to install at least 30,000 charging stations in the United States with the first stations being installed this year. The first locations will be in the US with Canada to follow. Ionna says that the stations are intended to be powered by renewable energy.
The venture also announced a new CEO, Seth Cutler, previously the Senior Vice President of Technical Operations at EV Connect.
Ionna states that its stations will be located under canopies and near restrooms, food, and retail. Some current EV stations are located in dimly lit, remote locations. These stations are less than ideal for those who need to charge late at night.
The stations will support both NACS and CCS, the two main ports on the current crop of EVs on the market. Without remarking on the speed of the hardware, the company did state that would deploy high-powered charging stations. Hopefully, that means 350kW capable hardware for the increasing number of 800-volt vehicles capable of charging at speeds above 200kW.
The Ionna partnership between BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz, and Stellantis was announced in July of 2023. In its initial announcement, the joint venture noted that according to the U.S. Department of Energy, as of July 2023, there were 32,000 publicly available DC fast chargers in the United States. With a goal of 30,000 chargers, Ionna seems on track to nearly double that earlier number.
In a statement concerning the news of his appointment and regulatory approval of Ionna, Cutler stated, "I am honored to lead IONNA and work alongside these esteemed automakers in shaping the future of electric mobility. Our shared commitment to creating an extensive, high-powered charging network reflects our dedication to revolutionizing the entire EV charging experience and helping to drive widespread EV adoption."
Other charging station companies are currently expanding their charging footprint including; ChargePoint, EVgo, Electrify America, and Tesla. This influx of additional stations will require a robust workforce to install and maintain the hardware and software. Recently, ChargerHelp and SAE announced the first graduating class of a training and certification program for electric vehicle supply equipment (EVSE) technicians in Michigan.
Sam Abuelsamid, principal research analyst leading Guidehouse Insights’ E-Mobility solutions told SAE "I would say the auto industry that's not Tesla has clearly come to the realization that not having considerable control over the charging network and being able to ensure the quality of that charging network is a major stumbling block to getting consumers to actually adopt EVs."
Abuelsamid continued, "The decision to band together and build out this quite large network is a really important one for the industry."
Ionna has not announced where its first charging station will be located and how quickly it plans it scale up to 30,000 stations. But as it does, it will certainly need a skilled workforce.
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