More EVs are coming. Where’s the infrastructure to support them?

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There are currently less than 46,000 public EV chargers in the US

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Charging an electric vehicle is easy and painless — if you have a charger at home.

Automakers are producing EVs at a faster pace with government support. Yet the number of public charging stations critical to mass EV adoption is lacking.

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are less than 46,000 EV Public Charging Site According to data from the Department of Energy, currently in the US. compared to the number of gasoline fuel station A total of over 150,000 in the country.

There are several EV-charging network providers currently on the market: EVgo, Blink, ChargePoint, Volta, Wallbox and Electrify America, which is owned by Volkswagen. These companies maintain, manufacture, operate or lease their equipment to businesses, individuals and governments and provide membership services to members.

The Biden administration aims to have half of all new car sales in the US electric in less than 10 years. At least 1 million fast-charging stations will be needed to reach this goal, according to EVGO CEO Cathy Zoey. There are currently 5,627 fast-charging sites in the country.

EV charging at home allows drivers to plug their vehicles in at night and wake up in the morning to have a full battery charge. Many apartment and condo residents however rely on public charging stations to juice up their emissions-free vehicles, a scenario that could mean longer waits and charging times.

“Thirty percent of Americans don’t have access to a home charger,” Zoey told ABC News. “We need infrastructure to gain consumer trust.”

EVGO is partnering with major retailers such as Safeway, Albertsons, Whole Foods and Kroger to install charging stations in their shopping parking lots. The company partnered with General Motors in 2020 to build 2,700 new fast stations over the next five years.

“We have identified 40 metro areas in the heart of America that are part of this program,” Zoey explained. “Biden Infrastructure money could take us to even more distant places in rural America.”

President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure package, recently passed by Congress, includes $7.5 billion toward a nationwide network of 500,000 EV charging stations by 2030.

Michael Farkas, CEO of EV charging operator and provider Blink, said $7.5 billion – half of Biden’s $15B offer as a presidential candidate – would not be enough to meet electrification targets cited by automakers and government officials.

“It will move things forward but it will take a lot longer.” [money] More than that,” he told ABC News. “Every state lacks infrastructure — even California. We have a huge need for chargers in the US and globally.”

According to Zoey, it can take four to eight weeks to build an EV station and the cost depends on the type of charger. A Level 2 charger, commonly found in residential and commercial/workplace settings, costs between $3,000 and $5,000 to install. The DC fast charger, which allows drivers to recharge 80% of a vehicle’s battery in 30 minutes, starts at $125,000 but can top $300,000.

The major challenge of setting up a charging network may not be the cost. Zoey said getting approvals from local authorities and municipalities can often be a complicated process that takes weeks or even months. Also, connecting to the grid presents its own hiccups.

“We are working with power utilities to ensure that local electricity infrastructure can support fast charging,” Zoey said.

Even in California, which has the highest share of EVs of any US state, public charging stations are far from ubiquitous, said Karl Breuer, executive analyst and longtime California resident at iSecCars.com.

“EVs are still thoroughly planning. You need to know how long your journey is and plan your charging schedule and locations carefully,” he told ABC News. “The infrastructure is terrible. The good news is there aren’t many EVs on the roads.”

Brauer said the ability to charge on the go and travel long distances will move the needle on EV adoption and sales. Yet setting up and installing a charger is a risky business right now.

“It doesn’t look like any money is being made in EV charging stations,” he said. “What is the incentive to buy an EV station when there is no profit motive?”

According to Mark Wakefield, managing director of consulting firm AlixPartners, not enough public EV chargers can deter some Americans from swapping their gas-powered vehicles for green ones.

“The charging infrastructure is difficult. There are a lot of stakeholders involved and a lot of players to coordinate, including the government,” he told ABC News. “Range is the number 1 reason [among Americans] Not to buy an EV. Number 2 reason? Not enough room to charge.”

“Consumers want automakers to minimize their charging experience. They want it to be seamless,” he said.

According to AlixPartners, only 93 US airport locations have charging infrastructure, of which only a few have two stations. EV public infrastructure coverage continues to grow, although “most of the growth has been driven by Level 2 chargers,” the firm said in a recent report. However, DC fast chargers are largely seen as the solution to revolutionize EV ownership.

Wakefield said federal tax incentives and state and local ordinances could help offset the cost of these networks. But the US doesn’t need to invest $50 billion — $7.5 billion to accommodate EV growth, Wakefield said.

John Woelker, a contributor to Car & Driver magazine who has covered EVs extensively, said part of Tesla’s widespread success was its ability to build a supercharging network for its vehicles from the start.

“I don’t think Tesla would have sold such an expensive EV because it did without the ability to drive cross country. The company publicized the existence of this Tesla-branded network,” he told ABC News. “I don’t see carmakers except Tesla putting in major efforts to build these stations.”

He adds, “It says a lot about carmakers’ reliance on the free market to solve everything and their lack of understanding in EVs beyond the vehicle.”

EV stations in city streets and parking garages will also multiply to pacify urban drivers, Volker said, noting that as public charging stations in London have become part of the city landscape, EV owners park their vehicles curbside. Hooked up at the given stations.

EVGO has big plans to expand its charging network from 1,600 DC fast chargers to 10,000 by 2025. Zoey’s team of site developers are actively scouring the country, looking for opportunities to serve new EV owners.

“Chargers will become commonplace,” said Zoey reassuringly. “The advent of EVs could create more car enthusiasts.”

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