Some factions think nation’s EV infrastructure is weakness
Since 2016, the automotive landscape in the United States has transformed. Sedans are almost completely extinct from model ranges, leaving buyers to choose from mostly truck or sports-utility vehicles as their next purchase…unless they shift to an alternative fuel vehicle – battery electric vehicles (BEVs), hybrids or even the odd hydrogen fuel cell vehicle (FCV). More and more models have all-electric versions, even staunch ICE nameplates like Ford’s Mustang and F-150 pickup.
Over the past 18 months, almost every major car manufacturer began making bold predictions by which they would have half, most or all of their models switched over to EVs – 2025, 2030, 2035 or even 2040. Even though four years sounds like an eternity, in some cases, planning for 2025 model year has already begun.
With all of this recent churn, odds are in favor of BEVs as the rising star of the vehicular world. What is very much in question is our nation’s EV charging infrastructure and how many drivers can actually take advantage of it in the next five to 10 years?
According to KPMG, there are 31,753 public EV charging facilities in the United States but only 4,325 of these have DC fast chargers with 17,409 outlets. These are compared to 168,000 gas stations, which usually have at least eight pumps per station. Estimates are that it would cost more than $2 billion just to set up homes and workplaces with enough charges to meet the needs anticipated in 2025 in the top 100 metropolitan areas; and exponentially more to match the nation’s current gasoline distribution network.
BEVs best suit upper-middle class to upper class drivers, who live in detached single-family homes with garages and who can afford the in-home fast charging option or even to install multiple chargers at home.
BEVs are not the best solution for many inner-city drivers who lack garages and the ability to charge in on-street parking spaces. Similar hurdles exist for many apartment and townhome residents, not to mention the prospect of vandalism and disconnection from neighbors or passers-by.
Beyond these obstacles, there is the nation’s electric grid. It was not designed for a population who would arrive nightly from work to plug-in their vehicles. During August, U.S. summer electricity demand reaches 675 million gigawatts between 3 and 6:30 p.m., leaving little to no room for charging EVs in the driveway or garage.
Indeed, state examples of electric grids that are starting to crumble during extreme temperatures, one need look no further than California and Texas. The former has generated headlines about brownouts for years while look at the double-whammy that has besieged the Lone Star State this year alone. Today, 3.9 billion people live in developing nations with inadequate electric grids.