Electric vehicles are gaining momentum, and major automakers are taking a significant step forward to address consumer concerns about EV adoption. In a joint effort, seven leading automakers, including General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, BMW Group, Mercedes-Benz Group, and Stellantis N.V., have announced an ambitious plan to nearly double the nation’s network of high-powered electric vehicle chargers. This expansion aims to tackle a key consumer reservation about EVs – the fear of not having enough charging stations on the road.
The EV Charging Network Expansion
The plan calls for the addition of 30,000 fast chargers in urban areas and along highways across the United States. As of July 2023, the country had approximately 32,000 such chargers, according to the Energy Department. The automakers are working diligently to ensure that the first stations will be operational by the summer of 2024.
It is crucial to expand the charging network to motivate American drivers to shift from conventional gas-fueled vehicles. Experts predict that U.S. EV sales will account for more than half of all car sales by 2030. However, obstacles such as high EV prices and concerns about charging infrastructure and range anxiety continue to hinder widespread adoption.
Michelle Krebs, an executive analyst at Cox Automotive, emphasizes that automakers recognize the importance of developing robust charging infrastructure to achieve their global EV sales goals. The success of this joint venture lies in the collaboration of major players in the automotive industry. These companies have invested billions in their EV businesses in an effort to catch up with Tesla. As per the recent Automotive Market Trends report for Q3 of 2022 released by Experian, Tesla is maintaining its position as the leading player in the market. With a 65.4% share of the EV market, Tesla remains the dominant force in EV sales.
Fast Chargers: Key to Overcoming EV Hurdles
Direct-current electricity-powered fast chargers are becoming increasingly important in addressing consumer concerns about electric vehicle charging. With the ability to charge an EV battery from 0% to 80% in as little as 20 minutes to an hour, these chargers are significantly faster than traditional “Level 2” chargers. These Level 2 chargers can take anywhere from 4 to 10 hours to achieve the same task. Currently, only 22% of the 142,000 EV chargers in the US are fast chargers, with the remaining 77% being Level 2 chargers.
Challenges in Charging Infrastructure
Although fast chargers are highly anticipated, EV drivers have encountered problems with charging stations of all types, including fast chargers. Reports have surfaced of malfunctioning chargers and complex payment procedures, leading to frustration among EV owners. A survey conducted by J.D. Power in August 2022 discovered that one out of every five EV owners who visited a charging station was unable to charge due to system malfunctions. Nevertheless, the joint venture intends to construct charging stations that resemble gas stations. It will be a big facility with various amenities, including restrooms, food services, and retail stores.
Promoting Electric Vehicle Adoption
This new charging network will be public and accessible to all types of EV models. It will feature connectors for both Tesla’s NACS plugs and the Combined Charging System plugs used by other automakers. The charging stations will utilize renewable energy sources whenever possible, emphasizing a commitment to sustainable practices.
The seven major automakers collaborating to expand the EV charging network marks a significant milestone in the electrification of the automotive industry. This joint venture aims to address concerns about charging infrastructure and range anxiety, making EVs more accessible to the masses. A reliable charging network is crucial to achieving a carbon-neutral future and securing freedom of mobility for all as the demand for electric cars continues to grow. These efforts will make the transition to electric vehicles smoother, offering hope for a greener and more sustainable tomorrow.