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The Goal For Electric Vehicle Charging Comfort Is Within Grasp

Carolyn Fortuna

Mar 11, 2024

Electric vehicle (EV) charging comfort is crucial for US drivers. More than others around the world, we insist on the longest range possible in our EVs. A higher range leads to higher national acceptance of EVs, and a limited range has a negative impact on EV adoption, distribution, acceptance, and usage.


The distance an EV can travel before the battery needs to be recharged is a frequent media topic, which is one reason — among several others — why we at CleanTechnica have produced a report that answers many of your questions about EV charging. We want to assuage your concerns, increase your charging comfort, and help you to join others who are making a personal commitment to zero emissions personal transportation.


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As our report, The State and Promise of EV Charging Infrastructureexplains, home charging isn’t an option for everyone, so reliable public charging opportunities are important if we are to establish EVs as mainstream transportation option.


There is a significant demand for EV charging stations that provide higher current and faster charging speeds located in a safe, flexible, consumer-friendly design. A reliable and robust network of chargers, specifically direct current (DC) fast chargers, is required to give the average driver the confidence to tackle long commutes. DC fast charging equipment, which is typically a three-phase AC input, enables rapid charging along heavy traffic corridors at installed stations.


There are 3 types of DC fast charging systems, depending on the type of charge port on the vehicle:

  • SAE Combined Charging System (CCS)

  • CHAdeMO

  • Tesla/ North American Charging Standard (NACS).


Without such a side variety of available chargers, some consumers hesitate to switch to EVs. That means we must continue to advocate for the expansion of national, regional, state, and local networks of chargers. North America has lagged behind Europe in terms of the development of electric mobility. Even when home charging is taken into account, to properly complement forecast sales demand, the region will need to see the number of EV chargers grow more than 8-fold by 2030, according to S&P Global Mobility forecasts.


But there is good news. Companies including Tesla, General Motors, EVgo, Pilot, Hertz, and bp, among others, are announcing new commitments to expand their networks by thousands of public charging ports in the next two years, using private funds to complement federal dollars and putting the nation’s EV charging goals even closer within reach.


Charging comfort is forecast to increase over the next few years as the US electric ecosystem starts to reach parity between EVs and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles. US drivers welcomed almost 1,100 new public, fast-charging stations in the second half of last year, a 16% increase, according to a Bloomberg Green analysis of federal data. By the end of 2023, there were almost 8,000 places to grab some electrons (28% of them exclusive to Tesla).  As a result, the US now has one quick-turn EV station for every 16 or so gas stations.


These charging stations were opened by companies that want to make a profit — they’re convinced that EVs will continue to have exponential growth, and they want to be part of the long-term EV picture. Moreover, the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program goal is positioning charging along major roadways so a public, fast-charging station will be available at least every 50 miles. Alaska, Hawaii, and Kentucky are already putting the NEVI funds to good use.


While charging technology has evolved quickly, stable and frequent electrical infrastructure development across Canada has remained a considerable challenge. Currently, there are about 17,000 public EV charging stations in Canada, or roughly one charging station per 30 EVs. By 2026, the nation could have more than 1.3 million plug-in vehicles on the road, more than triple what exists today; yet, to maintain the same ratio of chargers to vehicles would require building nearly another 30,000 new charging stations in the next 4 years.


As our report outlines, if you’re driving northward across the border, you’ll be pleased to know that Canada and the US have agreed to a collaborative alternative fuel network, called the Binational EV Corridor. It is designed to increase your charging comfort so that EV drivers from both countries will have easy, reliable charging. Both countries have committed to harmonizing charging standards and developing interrelated alternative fuel corridors, drawing on $7.5 billion in the US Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and $1.2 billion (CA) in Canadian funding to build a network of EV fast chargers and community charging options on both sides of the boundary lines.


It’s often been said that manufacturers should improve the quality of the EVs’ batteries to increase driving range and contribute to greater diffusion of EVs. People tend to cite the number of 300 miles of range as an indicator of EV ownership satisfaction. Now that EVs are coming into the mainstream, Bigger is Better is an extended EV theme — the best EVs have bigger size for roominess and bigger batteries for longer range. After all, longer range is elegant, right? It is a Zen-like premium for those who can afford it. It offers security and comfort. But is a 300-mile range really necessary?


Calls for bigger EV batteries tend to neglect to mention an important caveat: larger batteries increase vehicle weight. These hefty batteries are also more expensive, and the extra production elements necessary to get them into your EV add to existing environmental degradation. Remember: Bigger batteries are generally not needed, as a typical daily commute is 30 to 40 miles. But, if you’re still concerned, the number of EV models available in the US that can go 300 miles or more on a single charge jumped to 30 models at the beginning of 2024, a 500% increase in 3 years.


Final Thoughts about the Need to Enhance Charging Comfort


Consumer behavior is shaped by social, economic, and environmental concerns that require different strategies from automotive companies and their subsidiaries. Practical driving experience, together with range-related knowledge, reduces so-called range anxiety or stress, resulting in experience as a means to overcome range anxiety as a barrier. But range isn’t the only factor that inhibits people from making the move to an EV.


Many studies provide evidence that females are more environmentally concerned than males are and, thus, more willing to buy green products. While 33% of US women are considering an EV as their next vehicle, nearly half of all US women in a survey (43%) noted easily accessible, well-lit charging stations in less remote areas would help convince them to purchase an EV – significantly higher than men (34%). In fact, 21% of US females surveyed consider increased security around charging stations as a factor that could influence their next vehicle purchase.  information can be informative for auto manufacturers as they seek to expand their lines into more EV models.

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