Pole-mounted electric vehicle chargers can make charging more accessible, and their convenience may get more people driving EVs

  • Pole-mounted electric vehicle chargers are helping EV drivers get easier access to charging.

  • Melrose, Massachusetts became the first city on the East Coast to install pole-mounted EV chargers.

  • Making charging more accessible may convince more drivers to opt for EVs.

Pole-mounted electric-vehicle chargers can provide more charging access for EV drivers, and their convenience could convince more people to make the move to electric.

The city of Melrose, Massachusetts recently worked with local utility company National Grid to install 16 pole-mounted EV chargers in 10 places around town.

The chargers in Melrose are "first-in-the region," according to National Grid, and "intended to expand EV adoption, accelerate usage and lower installation costs."

Installing the chargers on the electric utility poles can benefit EV drivers who don't have private garages or dedicated charging parking lots that are private. The cost of installing the chargers is also reduced by 70% if they're put on utility poles instead of in the ground, because installation doesn't require digging.

"As we mark Earth Day, we know the importance of transitioning to a clean energy future," Tara Kapila, vice president of growth and marketing for National Grid, said in an April press release when the installations were announced. "By deploying these EV chargers on our utility poles, we are doing our part in providing equitable access to this growing technology."

One of the reasons many drivers are hesitant to switch to EVs is because of "range anxiety," or when drivers worry about whether they'll be able to charge their cars when they're out on the road and reach their destination.

A study of Californians who bought EVs between 2012 and 2018 found that one in five of them switched back to gas-powered vehicles because of the inconvenience of charging. The same study found that around 70% of those drivers didn't have access to the Level 2 type of charging they needed at home or at their workplace.

Jennifer Weiss, senior policy associate at Duke's Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, previously told Insider that in addition to workplaces, rural areas and multifamily apartment buildings are also overlooked as places that need charging stations.

President Joe Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill looked to address the lack of EV charging infrastructure in the US, providing $7.5 billion in federal grants for a national network of charging stations. However, it isn't enough to pay for the half a million stations Biden initially wanted.

The US has close to 50,000 charging stations, according to The Verge — 45,000 of which are Level 2. That's almost 100,000 charging stations less than gas stations in the US, the publication said.

Installing the chargers, Melrose Mayor Paul Brodeur said in the National Grid press release, "is an important step in promoting EV adoption in our community, offsetting emissions, and moving us closer to our NetZero 2050 goal."

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