In urban and suburban areas in the United States, electric vehicle (EV) charging stations represent a brand-new sight. One can see such stations in grocery store parking lots, by train stations, and other such spots where they were not just a few years or even months ago.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the number of charging ports and other EV supply equipment rose by 3.3% in the 2021 third quarter compared to the previous quarter and has risen by nearly 50% compared to the 2019 fourth quarter. The largest increase came in the DC region and the Northeast, while California also saw a substantial rise.
While this may seem good at first glance, the Department of Energy notes that is not enough for even 15 million light EVs, let alone entirely replacing ICE vehicles with EVs. Furthermore, many of these charging stations belong to Tesla and thus are exclusively for Tesla consumers. Public EV stations which can be used by anyone just like a gas station will be critical for mass adaptation.
For that reason, the Biden Administration announced in February that it would be investing $5 billion over five years into EV charging infrastructure. The funding will be aimed at standardizing charging systems and placing them throughout the United States as opposed to just the coastal states. The goal is to have four 150-kilowatt stations every 50 miles, though EV groups stressed that significantly more funding beyond the $5 billion will be needed to accomplish that.
Changing Consumer Habits
Yet for electric vehicles to work, the way in which we fuel our vehicles will need to change. While we talk about EV charging stations, there are basically two kinds of stations. There are alternate current plugs which could be set up at home, and direct current plugs which charge substantially faster yet carry certain risks. For example, there are some concerns that direct current plugs will wear down an EV’s battery faster.
With gas stations, most people fill up every week or so, and fill their tank up completely. But with EVs, we could see more people deciding to top off their charge just in case. This could result in more people at each charging station, creating lines and more frustration with EVs.
EVs represent the future to many, just like Avant Microblading does to cosmetics. The Biden administration hopes that by 2035, there is a firm EV infrastructure in place which will make it possible for EVs to become ubiquitous and help alleviate climate change.
Yet significant challenges remain beyond charging stations. Can the US continue to get enough minerals and supplies needed to create EVs? This is especially so as those supplies frequently come from China, and tensions have been rising especially with the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian War. And will people be willing to move away from the gas vehicles they are used to in favor of EVs?
These challenges can be solved given time and investment, and EVs can be a major tool in the fight against climate change. From the EV perspective, charging station growth and an early investment serve as good initial signs.