The electric vehicle charging infrastructure in the US still has a long way to go, but the progress over the past few years is promising.
A new report from University of Michigan researchers using data from the Department of Energy suggest that there are now ~16,000 public electric vehicle charging stations with ~43,000 connectors in the US.
Of course, the key word being “public” here.
The report is quick to compare it to the number of gas stations:
“As is evident in Figure 11, the number of publicly available charging stations has grown rapidly since 2011. For comparison, there are approximately 112,000 individual gasoline stations covering all 50 states and the District of Columbia (U.S. Census Bureau, 2015).”
Most of the electric vehicle charging load is handled at home with private chargers, which makes a comparison with gas stations almost useless.
But it also brings up another interesting point. Here’s the figure 11 showing the growth of public chargers in recent years:
Since most of the charging is done at home for commuting, the main role of public chargers is to enable long distance travel and that’s done through DC fast-charging.
That’s where the data is less encouraging since most of those stations are slow level 2 chargers:
As a sidenote, I am not clear on how they are categorizing the chargers since they are putting Tesla’s proprietary chargers on a separate category, but only for “DC fast-charging”, which would be the Supercharger. But Tesla also has its own connector for its level Destination chargers and there are thousands of those in the US.
Anyway, it’s clear that the US charging infrastructure needs more DC fast chargers. Also, more chargers per stations wouldn’t hurt either. That’s what Tesla plans to do with its latest Supercharger expansion.
There are other interesting initiatives that should result in meaningful expansions of the number of fast-charging stations in the US. Like VW and its plan for California, which includes installing ultra-fast 320 kW chargers, and the plan for the whole country, which includes a ‘nationwide 150 kW+ fast charging network’.