Charging Ahead with Electric Vehicles: NMA E-Newsletter #663

President Biden announced earlier this year that he wanted 50 percent of all cars sold in 2030 to be electric. But is that practical? Car-buying decisions by consumers are just one piece of the puzzle.

According to the US Department of Energy, the nation has over 43,000 public charging stations with about 105,000 individual outlets. Approximately 5,000 of these are direct-current fast (Level 3) chargers. Biden wants to have a total of 500,000 chargers online by 2030. The Brattle Group estimates that the US will require 1.25 million public charging outlets to support a projected 20 million electric vehicles (EVs) by 2030. The cost to provide that capacity is projected to be $30 to $50 billion.

The charger designation dictates the cost. The higher the level, the quicker the charge, and, of course, the more expensive the charging station installation.

Automakers continue to promise that someday it will take as little as 10 minutes to charge an EV to about 80 percent capacity. Level 1 and 2 chargers, including home units, generally require four to twelve hours to charge an EV battery fully.

More electric vehicles need to be on the road to support such an expansion of charging capabilities successfully. Kind of like a chicken and egg situation—which comes first?

That’s not an easy task either since it will require a mix of public-private partnerships that involve local governments, businesses, utility companies, and automakers, along with an emerging group of EV charging companies. The logistics of constructing an EV charging network are not as simple as putting in a gas station on every corner.

A YouTube video from a few years ago illustrated just how difficult it is actually to charge your EV if away from your home charger. Convenient and efficient EV charging is a must if Americans are going to embrace the technology.

The Hill recently had an opinion piece called Right Ways and Wrong Ways to Electrify America. This paragraph stood out:

“We must move both fast and smart in this EV revolution. There are some major potholes that we must swerve around in this Indy 500 speedway towards making America all-electric.”

The overriding issue in the electric vehicle discussion is whether consumers will flock to EVs just because the government mandates it?

Currently, only 2.1 percent of the roughly 17 million vehicles sold each year in the US are all-electric. In 2020, EV sales dropped by more than 3 percent from 2018. One in five California EV car owners has already gone back to an internal combustion engine.

Electric vehicle technology must continue to advance for the hearts and minds of the car-buying public to follow, mandate or no mandate.

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