During 2018, the number of electric vehicles in the United States grew to over one million. Now more than ever, it’s clear that the future of EVs in America is no longer a question of whether or not a major transformation will take place, but what that transition will look like over time, and at what rate it will occur.
One of the major factors that will impact the rate of EV adoption is the expansion and accessibility of EV charging station infrastructure across the country.
Ultimately, EV charging needs to become second nature, much like filling up an internal combustion engine car at the gas station is today.
Electric vehicle charging stations need to be accessible, as well as fast and easy to use. We don’t think twice about filling our gas tanks today; we just stop at the corner station, fuel up, and are on our way a few minutes later.
There are no major concerns or problems to think about, and the world of EV charging needs to become just as simple and carefree.
But, determining the details as we move towards that ultimate objective is the immediate challenge we must face in the years ahead. Some of the specific points we need to consider include:
- More charging locations are needed…this is a simple fact. There are not nearly enough charging stations across the country to support the increasing rate of EV adoption, so more must be built.
- Where are the charging stations? How can EV drivers identify and locate them, especially if they’re in an unfamiliar neighborhood, city, or region? Will all locations be listed on apps such as Google Maps, or another resource? How will non-smartphone users find them?
- Will all charging stations be compatible with all EVs? Are charging stations destined to be standardized and easy to connect to all electric vehicles? Today, some drivers face the frustration of seeing a charging station, but knowing their vehicle won’t connect.
- Are charging stations nearby? Is it easy to find them, and unnecessary to plan a complex route in order to reach them?
- Are these issues being addressed at a rate that helps consumers become more interested in EVs and confident that the infrastructure will work in their favor?
- The payment process needs to be simple, too…can you use credit cards, cash, or smartphone apps to pay for charging services, and how easy is it to do so?
- Is charging the vehicle fast and efficient or does it take too long? At this point in time, fast-charging technology is far more expensive to install and maintain than standard EV charging stations, which can be slow and time-consuming to use. Additionally, it’s possible for a driver to locate a charging station, only to find that it’s already being used.
These points only scratch the surface; the truth of the matter is that there are many factors to consider as EV adoption rates continue to climb. While it will certainly take time to overcome all of these obstacles, it is important to be open about the challenges ahead as we find and work on solutions.
Ultimately, we need to focus on the aspects of convenience, accessibility, reliability, and ease of use. Prioritizing these concepts will help to make EVs and EV charging infrastructure a part of our normal, daily lives.