From hurricanes to floods to wildfires, natural disasters bring havoc, disrupt essential services, and leave countless individuals without power for extended periods. The ever-changing environmental landscape has significantly heightened the frequency of natural disasters, costing the United States an average of $18 billion annually over the past five years. As these events continue to escalate, the U.S. must establish resilient disaster recovery solutions that extend beyond traditional emergency responses.
With the electric vehicle (EV) market demonstrating an annual growth rate of 18.17%, and a market volume of approximately $161.6 billion by 2028 in the United States, the future of disaster recovery must include planning for EVs. Here’s what you need to know about how EVs support disaster recovery efforts and emergency management.
EV Charging and Emergency Management
With the help of government investments, electric vehicle infrastructure in the United States has grown exponentially. According to the Department of Energy, the number of Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) ports more than doubled between 2015 and 2020.
This infrastructure serves as a beacon of hope during emergencies. By strategically situating EV charging stations in disaster-prone or remote areas, quick access and deployment becomes achievable. Notably, the 2021 Bipartisan Infrastructure Law has allocated $7.5 billion to expand EV chargers nationwide, with a particular emphasis on rural regions. This National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program will bring DC fast charging to alternative fuel corridors in all 50 states, connecting EV drivers in rural America to major cities.
As the industry grows, EV charging infrastructure frequently integrates backup energy supplies such as battery storage, generators, and solar panels to guarantee continuous operation in the event of power disruptions. The sustained operation of charging stations during emergencies can play a vital role in keeping local communities connected to the electrical grid and supplying power to emergency services.
An upcoming technology, bidirectional charging with vehicle-to-grid network capabilities, can supply power to homes during blackouts and extreme weather events. The power backup duration depends on the battery size, with some forthcoming models having the potential to power a home for up to three days. This new technology is designed to improve grid reliability and may allow businesses and fleets to join money-saving utility programs.
In some cases, simply offering standard EV charging stations is not sufficient. Emergencies can occur on the road or during extreme weather conditions and understanding solutions for EV roadside assistance is crucial.
When seeking roadside assistance for your EV, it’s important to notify providers that you’re driving an electric vehicle, as they require specialized services. Unlike conventional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, EVs lack a true neutral position in their transmissions, necessitating flatbed towing to prevent motor damage. And without a gas tank, refueling is not an option, so most roadside assistance companies will tow the vehicle to the nearest charging station or dealership.
As EVs become more prevalent on American roads, roadside assistance services are adapting to meet the demand for emergency EV services. For instance, AAA now provides mobile electric vehicle charging in multiple cities at no extra cost to its members. Blink Charging is working with AAA and other emergency roadside assistance companies to expand the availability of mobile EV charging.
Blink’s Mobile Level 2 Charger
Blink Charging has introduced a mobile Level 2 charger (L2), offering a lifeline during emergencies and greater range confidence for EV drivers. The Blink Mobile Charger combines the speed of the Blink HQ 200 charging station with the convenience of a mobile charger, facilitating rapid EV recharging in emergency situations. These compact chargers can be easily transported in a truck, ensuring quick deployment when traditional charging infrastructure is unavailable or compromised.
New technology like bidirectional EV charging infrastructure and portable L2s can serve as vital tools to help individuals navigate challenging situations. These innovative solutions not only help disaster recovery efforts but also enhance the reliability of EVs on the road.
Do you own or manage an emergency roadside assistance company? Ask your Blink sales manager how to expand your services with the redesigned Blink Mobile Charger.