The Future of Public Electric Vehicle Charging Locations
As electric vehicles gain popularity in the United States, consumers demonstrate hesitancy in purchasing due to several large insecurities, including but not limited to: range anxiety, vehicle cost, battery life, car maintenance and charging locations.
If you are following along with us on our journey, then you know we just left Lusk, Wyoming. A very small, yet extremely charming, community. (If you’re not following, you can do so here!) For those who might be wondering why we chose to stop in such a small community along the way, it was our only Supercharger option to get us to our next destination.
Prior to our Road Trip; Recharged departure, we received many questions regarding EV charging infrastructure throughout the county. Although much of the continental United States offers several charging options in highly populated areas, there is work to be done to support a large increase in EVs, especially regarding fast charging stations.
In 2017, the University of Michigan, in partnership with the Department of Energy, conducted a study on electric vehicles and determined that the U.S. had about 16,000 public charging stations, including nearly 43,000 individual charging plugs.
Many companies recognize the potential for increased EV charging locations and plan to invest significant dollars into charging infrastructure around the nation in the next few years.
One of these companies, Electrify America, a subsidiary of Volkswagen, plans to spend millions on charging infrastructure over the next few years. Electrify America announced the install of 2,800 new charging stations by June of 2019. The majority of these new charging options will be at workplaces and multifamily homes. The remaining chargers will be placed in high-traffic public areas, such as Target, Brixmor, and Sheetz. Read more about Volkswagen’s announcement.
Last year, Tesla planned to double the number of Supercharger stations in the United States, increasing their total Superchargers from 5,000 to 10,000 in 2018. Although the company did not reach this goal, Tesla did install 3,150 new Supercharging stations by the end of December 2017.
These are just a two of the many companies investing in EV infrastructure. BP, Ford Motor Co., General Motors, Shell and Daimler AG have also announced charging investment plans. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles also plans to introduce new electric vehicle models, however their strategy is not as aggressive as other companies.
Major retailers, including Walmart and Target, will also add hundreds of charging stations in parking lots of their stores.
Minneapolis-based Target, in partnership with Tesla, ChargePoint and Electrify America, plans to add more than 600 charging station parking spaces at 100 store sites in 20 states within the next two years. Read the official announcement on their blog.
Another charging option is similar to that of a Netflix or Hulu subscription. In our research, we discovered that many fast charging locations in Minnesota are actually located in Goodwill parking lots throughout Minnesota. We thought this was interesting, so upon further research, we discovered that ZEF Energy, another Minnesota-based company, has partnered with several organizations in Minnesota and Wisconsin, including Goodwill, to provide a subscription model for charging EVs. This allows EV drivers to pay a monthly fee so they can fast charge for free at any ZEF Energy DC fast charging network location. Learn more on their website.
Even with all of these investments, the United States is significantly far behind EV infrastructure when compared to Europe and China. In January, Reuters reported that electric vehicle investments by automakers to date include $19 billion in the United States, $21 billion in China and $52 billion in Germany.
New research and innovation on electric vehicles will no doubt lead to continued increases in public charging infrastructure. Read our previous post to learn more about locating charging stations near you.