Four Thoughts on 48 EV Charging Stations
Yesterday, the White House announced that 24 state and local governments have agreed to increase the number of electric vehicles, zero-emissions vehicles, or plug-in hybrid vehicles in their respective municipal fleets. Even more importantly, the Obama administration revealed plans to build 48 national electric-vehicle (EV) charging networks on nearly 25,000 miles of highways in 35 states across the nation.
Four thoughts inspired by this charging station announcement:
- The first step of a long journey. The 48 charging stations are a step in the right direction, particularly if they lead to more similar projects from the private sector. At present, electric vehicles are wonderful for city driving. But, adoption rates for these vehicles won’t begin to hit a tipping point until our highways have thousands more of these charging stations, making city-to-city driving much more realistic.
- EV charging is still not easy. Not having to deal with the mess and fuss of gas stations sounds great. However the reality of the current landscape is that EV charging is still far from simple at. Power stations are often difficult to locate. These different power stations often have lots of different payment procedures — and different is the enemy of simple. A story published in Wired in December 2014 (“A Two-Day Battle To Charge My Car Convinced Me We’re Not Ready for EDS”) is unfortunately still too accurate: “The problem is not a lack of places to plug in: There are at least 20,000 stations in the US, and that number is quickly growing. But they’re no help unless they’re both easy to find and available. In my case, they were neither.”
- New vehicles will provide new momentum. These charging problems notwithstanding, the entry of many new products in this space indicate that the market is ripe for growth. In addition to the Tesla Model 3, new companies like Faraday Future and NextEV will broaden the scope of this market. Hear NextEV CEO Padmasree Warrior talk about her vision for tomorrow’s driving experience at SXSW 2017.
- There’s nothing lame about this duck. The ugliness of 2016 presidential campaign has made for one of the most depressing periods of recent American history. A flurry of progressive moves by the outgoing Obama Administration have been the only positive counterweight to the November 8 race to the bottom. We wish that every day was Christmas and that every administration took a lame duck approach to its forward-focused policies.