In a major acceleration of its electric vehicle charging business in the US, Siemens plans to produce more than 1 million EV chargers for U.S. homes and businesses over the next four years, according to the German engineering giant.
This would be a significant jump from the roughly 75,000 EV chargers the company installed in the US over the past decade, John DeBoer, head of Siemens' eMobility Solutions and Future Grid Business in North America, said in an interview. It also reflects "an important inflection point" and "call-to-action moment" for America's adoption of electric vehicles, DeBoer said.
Siemens based its decision to expand its EV charging business in the U.S. on the prospect of significant public funding for charging infrastructure through pending federal legislation, a "massive transition" among logistics companies and fleet operators to electric vehicles, and the need for charging to catch up to the pace of EV sales, according to DeBoer.
'A powerful stepwise change'
Despite disappointment among numerous EV and public health advocates regarding the proposed $7.5 billion for EV charging in the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, DeBoer said that level was "a powerful stepwise change." The funds would help to achieve President Joe Biden's goal of building 500,000 charging points across the country, DeBoer said.
Biden initially called for a $15 billion federal investment to reach that target.
In an Aug. 9 letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, 28 members of Congress called for a much larger $85 billion investment in EV charging infrastructure.
"In addition to supporting the deployment of charging stations, this scale of investment will help add utility electrical capacity to enable robust charging, increasing the supply of renewable energy, and build grid resilience in the face of climate change," the lawmakers said.
While $7.5 billion is just a start, "I think what this is doing is sending a powerful enough indicator to allow companies such as Siemens to make the right choices to then go accelerate the market further," DeBoer said.
Eyeing $10 billion market
Through its expansion, Siemens is positioning itself to compete for what it sees as a $10 billion market for EV charging infrastructure in North America through 2025, ranging from chargers to wires and other electrical equipment needed to power millions of EVs, according to DeBoer.
"There's a very significant chain of electrification that Siemens is able to provide and support," he said.
The company is still vetting sites in the US for the new production facility, expected to create 100 jobs while complementing Siemens' EV charging equipment plant in Wendell, North Carolina, where it makes chargers for buses, trucks and heavy-duty vehicles. Siemens plans to identify the manufacturing location later this year and start producing in early 2022.
Workforce development initiatives will be an important part of the company's EV charging build-out.
"We're starting new programs and initiatives to help ensure that we're not only investing in the infrastructure, but we're also investing in the people that need to be retrained and kind of modernized with this massive industry change that's going on," DeBoer said.