Steve Nash drives one. So does Drew Brees. More importantly, so do hundreds of thousands of Americans -- Americans who make up the fan base for professional sports teams and players all over the country. Electric vehicles are surging in popularity, and drivers need an increasing number of places to charge them.
While there are a handful of stadiums and arenas with EV charging spots already, the future presents even more opportunities to build out a robust charging network, and that can include a network geared specifically for sports fans.
Encouraging fans to drive EVs over traditional gas cars to games reduces the negative environmental impact of the event. Fans driving EVs reduce CO2 emissions by an estimated 30 percent compared to other drivers.
Also, having EV charging at a stadium or arena makes sense on a practical level. Unlike with a traditional gas-guzzling car, EV drivers have the luxury of fueling up while they run errands like shopping or while they work or sleep. EV charging stations are already common at retail outlets, offices, and homes.
When people head out to the stadium or arena to catch a game, chances are they're going to be there for several hours -- a perfect opportunity to plug in and recharge an electric car. In fact, level 2 EV charging stations can charge an EV to full in about four hours, which just happens to be the length of a lot of baseball games.
In 2012, AT&T Park -- home to the beloved San Francisco Giants -- became the first ballpark and the first MLB team to offer level 2 charging stations for its fans. A fitting move for the team that just unveiled an edible garden and has proactive recycling practices.
Also in the Bay Area, the fourth annual Green Sports Alliance Summit is taking place this week. The event provides a platform for the sports community to unite around sustainability and engage in meaningful dialogue about better environmental practices.
The timing and location of this year's summit is fitting when you consider all the momentum around sports and sustainability in the Bay Area and surrounding communities.
The brand-new Levi's Stadium for the 49ers has just been completed, and there is sure to be even more infrastructure popping up around it. The Golden State Warriors are getting a new stadium in San Francisco. And the nearby Sacramento Kings are about to begin construction of a new downtown sports and entertainment center, with the goal of building it to be the greenest arena in the country -- complete, of course, with EV charging.
As a sponsor of the Green Sports Alliance Summit, ChargePoint hopes to expand partnerships to enable fans to transition to a more sustainable way to drive.
All of this is happening at a time when the EV industry is really taking off. We recently saw a record month for sales of electric vehicles in the U.S. (12,453 sold in May alone) along with a record number of charging stations on the ChargePoint network, which has more than 18,000 charging spots.
We expect this pace to continue as more EV models become available, prices continue to drop and drivers continue to realize how EVs are better -- they're more reliable, cheaper to power and maintain and better for the environment.
Drivers who use the ChargePoint network have already saved more than 5.3 million gallons of gasoline and driven more than 110 million gas-free miles.
As more and more people drive EVs and more and more sports teams go green, we expect to see charging spots become a must-have feature at arenas and stadiums around the country. We are excited to see what's in store for this growing and innovative industry, and the day when every sports fan is driving home, celebrating the win of their home team, in a fully-charged electric vehicle.
Dimitrios Papadogonas is vice president of marketing for ChargePoint, the world's largest EV charging network. He holds a business degree from the University of Alberta.