DC fast charging now available in America's heartland

2013-10-16 - Madison Gas and Electric installed ABB's DC fast charger, and hosted a media event to unveil the unit.
Electric vehicle ownership is growing, especially seen along the west coast and in several other major cities around the country. Yet ABB's new charger installation for the Madison region is a positive indicator that smaller Midwestern cities are also seeing EV ownership on the rise as well.

Madison Gas and Electric (MGE), providing service coverage for greater Madison and communities to the west, recognized the interest in electric vehicles among their customers. As a result, they launched a program dedicated to rolling out charging infrastructure to meet this burgeoning demand. With ABB as a state partner, manufacturing charging stations 70 miles away in New Berlin, MGE chose a local company to provide their first DC fast charging station for public use. The new charger is located at Kelley's Market, a fueling station close to the I-90 and I-94 interstate connection. This is a major corridor not only for Madison-based drivers, but travellers coming through the region from Milwaukee, Chicago, Western Illinois, Iowa and Minnesota.

MGE hosted a media event to unveil the new charger, and Andy Bartosh, Operations Manager from ABB's EV Charging Infrastructure business attended to discuss the charging technology. Regional newspapers and televisions stations were on hand to interview him about the charger and its capabilities. "There was a full variety of people at the unveiling of the charger that enthusiastically supported this development in Madison, including drivers, car dealers, local media and other stakeholders," Bartosh noted of the event. "The charger location draws plenty of interested passers-by and supports EV drivers on their way in, out, or past the city."

"We're excited to see the growth of public DC charging infrastructure expand in the Midwest, where EV drivers are more sensitive to range anxiety during the colder seasons," Bartosh added. "With charging in minutes rather than hours, MG&E is not only meeting the needs of current EV owners, but helping spur further adoption of electric vehicle technology for the future."

This DC fast charging installation is part of a multiyear study of charging equipment use and preference among EV drivers. With this information, MGE hopes to learn how to best support the energy needs of EV use along with its effects on the grid. "In the preliminary data, we're seeing how quickly drivers can increase their driving range," stated Laura Williams, Market Development Manager at MGE. "With the new charger, drivers are able to add more than 50 miles of range in less than 20 minutes of charging. This faster charging makes traveling greater distances much more convenient."

In the first seven weeks of operation, the unit has delivered 480 kWh of energy across 83 charging sessions, which equates to about 1870 electric miles. The utility has also published a video showing customers how easy it is to use ABB's DC fast charger.

MGE (www.mge.com) generates and distributes electricity to 140,000 customers in Dane County, Wis., and purchases and distributes natural gas to 145,000 customers in seven south-central and western Wisconsin counties. MGE's parent company is MGE Energy, Inc. (Nasdaq: MGEE). The company's roots in the Madison area date back more than 150 years.

MGE Station
ABB's New Berlin-based electric vehicle made the 65 mile trip to Madison, pictured here with the new MGE fast charge station, manufactured by ABB. This new station quickly provided the car what it needed to get back home to the Milwaukee area.

A Nissan Leaf getting a quick charge on it's way through Madison.