Posted: 10 months ago
Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure
Passenger Electric Vehicles and Charging Stations
In 2008, there were just a handful of electric cars available for purchase, now there is almost 54 different models available from several manufacturers in 2018. Along with government incentives to purchase EVS and the increased offerings have led to over 750,000 vehicles on the US market. Although the number of Electric cars on the road has increased considerably the introduction of more vehicles on the roads is being held back by the lack of infrastructure to support electric charging. According to the Department of Energy’s advanced Fuels Data Center there is over 19,209 public electric vehicle charging stations with roughly 49,877 ports available to charge roughly 750,000 vehicles on the road in the United States. Essentially there is 15 cars on the road for every available charging port. Which is why consumers are still concerned about the limited range of the vehicles compared to gasoline or hybrid fueled vehicles.
Charging stations and gas stations have a few similarities including both accept payment for some form of energy dispensed into a vehicle, gas for combustion engines and electricity dispensed at a certain kW level for a certain period of time. However, the big difference is chiefly in the amount of time it takes to dispense these different forms of fuel. It’s unlikely for most consumers filling up a combustion engine that it would take more than a few minutes to fill a tank from empty to full.
Charging Stations Types
Electric vehicles charging stations come in three types: Level 1 (110 V), Level 2 (220 V) and Fast Charging (440 V). The first two charging stations can be installed in homes and in most work places without much modifications. Surveys show that half of homeowners in the United States have access to a plug to charge their vehicle. Level 1 and Level 2 charging stations can charge a car typically between 8 – 16 hours depending on the Kilo-Watt Hour (kWH) capacity of the vehicle. Fast charging stations require access to voltages greater than can be delivered using a normal distribution transformer that brings 110 volts into most homes in the United States. A fast charging station typically requires 440 volts nominally to provide the power output necessary to charge an electric car at a fast rate. Providing this power requires the installation of a transformer to deliver this voltage level, that is why fast chargers only remain available at places of work, business and specially purposed charging stations. The enablement of fast charging at a residential home without a transformer and perhaps with the use of a DC battery to supply the load may one-day enable this.
Building a Charging Network
Tesla one of the first electric car manufacturers to produce in volume realized that without a fast charging network their vehicles would not be able to travel long distances. This led Tesla to build out hundreds of charging stations across the United States in strategic locations along major interstate highways and frequently traveled routes. Along with Tesla California has been taking the lead in building electric car infrastructure by authorizing the investment of over $768 Million to expand the availability of charging stations to further the state’s goals of putting 5 million vehicles on the road by 2030.
The continued growth of charging stations is expected to continue with companies such as ChargePoint which manages a network of EV charging Stations worldwide has stated it has a goal of building out 2.5 million public charging ports by 2025. This continued growth will be necessary to increase the adoption of EVs and convince consumers that when they are looking for a place to charge they’ll be able to do so quickly.