North Dakota’s DCFC Network Has Improved Drastically, EA Opens First Station

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Sometimes, I think I have it bad as an EV driver in New Mexico. Only very recently did all of the state’s interstate highways get CCS charging, and many popular U.S. highways in the state don’t have any charging at all, not even from Tesla. In the past, if I wanted to feel better about things, all I had to do was look at North Dakota on Plugshare. It wasn’t long ago that the state didn’t have a single DC fast charging station.

A screenshot from Plugshare.com centered on North Dakota in January 2020. Both CCS and Supercharger stations of the time are shown.

But, things are changing. Today, both I-94 and I-29 have decent coverage. Several other parts of the state north of I-94 have one, too. The Bismarck area has several fast chargers, as does Minot and Grand Forks. Now, another town has a second station, providing important redundancy, greater capacity, and faster charging speeds.

Electrify America’s New Station & Future Plans

Electrify America recently announced the opening of its first EV charging station in Jamestown, North Dakota. This not only marks the network’s debut in North Dakota, but provides a second station to the town, making it a lot less likely that drivers could get stranded.

“With our entrance into North Dakota, EV drivers are now able to enjoy hyper-fast charging speeds in 47 states,” said Brandy Mathie, director of site acquisition and portfolio management at Electrify America. “This is a significant milestone in making EV ownership accessible to all communities.”

The new station is located at The Shoppes at Jamestown, 2617 8th Ave. SW. This is on the opposite side of town from an existing one-stall 150 kW station that Plugshare users report isn’t turned on yet.

Like all current-generation Electrify America stations, the new station boasts six “hyper-fast” chargers capable of speeds up to 350 kW (power is shared). It also has eight stalls, so it greatly increases the capacity of EV travel in and through the town (the latter seems more likely at present). Reliability problems with past-generation chargers don’t seem to be showing up nearly as often in these newest ones, so this is all-around good news for the company and for the state.

In addition to the station in Jamestown, a new station is coming soon to Grand Forks, near Interstate 29, with two more stations in North Dakota expected to follow in 2024 (Electrify America doesn’t want to give us locations for those yet). But, in the case of Grand Forks, the CCS network is going to get another good infusion of stalls for capacity and redundancy.

What About Tesla’s Network?

Looking at Plugshare, Tesla currently has 5 Supercharger stations in the state, which is 5 more than they had 3-4 years ago. As you’d expect from Tesla, all of the stations are highly rated, have a good number of stalls, and just generally work well. The only bad thing about the current situation is that they’re all built along I-29 and I-94, leaving the rest of the state out in the (literal) cold.

But, it’s not like Tesla drivers can’t charge at CCS stations, so the only real hole left now is the strip of land south of I-94. The rest of the state is now pretty accessible in just about any EV.

Even better, most cars sold by other manufacturers are going to be able to access the Supercharger network starting in a few months. One of the big stories of 2023 was almost every other EV manufacturer choosing to switch to the NACS standard for their cars and buying access to Tesla’s network. Even my Bolt is going to get an adapter.

From a CCS-owner perspective, these five stations provide even more redundancy to the network along the interstate highways, allowing for more confidence traveling in the state. Add this to EA’s improved current-generation stations, and things are getting a lot better for everyone.

GM & EVgo Are Entering The Fray, Too

As I’ve previously reported, there’s a partnership between GM and EVgo to install charging stations at many Pilot and Flying J travel centers all over the United States.

The charging stations themselves will be of high quality, offering a maximum output of 350 kW. Perhaps more importantly, the stations are getting canopies to provide protection from rain and sunlight, ensuring not only a comfortable charging experience, but probably better reliability for the charging stations, cables, and connectors long-term. GM also said that whenever possible, the stations will be arranged in a convenient “pull through” configuration, allowing EVs pulling trailers to easily access the charging points without having to unhitch and rehitch the trailer (as an EV driver who pulls trailers, I REALLY appreciate this).

One of these stations is going in right on the western edge of the state, in Beach, North Dakota. This is an area not currently served by other CCS providers or by Tesla, so it fills a gap and makes the distance between stations shorter.

Another one is going in on the south end of Fargo, all the way across the state. Fargo already has several CCS stations, but this one will add some more stalls and capacity, and with future EV adoption, every good station we can get is needed. This is also true for the upcoming GM/EVgo station in Grand Forks.

The South End Of The State Needs Some Love

As I’ve pointed out several times in this article already, North Dakota south of I-94 is still a big hole for EV charging. Sure, you could drive north, go along I-94, and then go south again, but that’s a long distance to go out of one’s way. For people going east-west along the south part of the state, or those coming in from South Dakota, it’s an even bigger detour to stay in range of EV charging stations.

I’ve never been up there (Mike Rowe’s advice about welding and North Dakota didn’t seem applicable to a homeschooling mom), but from what I can see on the map, the roads south of I-94 aren’t trails for cows or Jeeps. On the western edge of the state, there are U.S. highways 12 and 85. 85 runs all the way from Canada to Mexico, even if most of it’s unsigned down south, and it’s also known as the CanAm Highway (which connects Canada to Mexico City).

On the other side of the state, I-29 south of Fargo really needs some stations. Two other U.S. numbered highways also have little or nothing until the next interstate in South Dakota.

In other words, there’s a lot left to do, even if things have improved a lot.

Featured image provided by Electrify America.

 


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