American auto manufacturers are churning out electric vehicles by the thousands, but what about EV stations? For now, it seems that electric vehicles will have to charge at home for the most part.
EV Stations Lagging Behind EV Production
Even as automakers produce electric vehicles at a frantic pace, the number of EV stations to support these vehicles is sorely lacking.
According to Department of Energy data, there are around 46,000 EV stations in public sites nationwide. In contrast, gas stations across the US number more than 150,000.
In addition, several EV charging network providers currently dot the landscape. These include EVgo, Blink, ChargePoint, Volta, Wallbox, and Electrify America.
They build, operate, maintain and lease equipment to businesses. They also offer subscription services to members.
EVs Vs EV Stations
Meanwhile, the administration of President Joe Biden set the ambitious goal of requiring that EVs comprise 50% of all car sales within ten years.
To reach this goal, at least 1 million EV stations need to go into operation. This is according to Cathy Zoi, CEO of EVgo. However, only 5,627 fast-charging sites exist in the entire US.
Instead, EV owners will have to make do with charging their vehicles at home. That’s assuming living in a house with a garage within the premises.
Many apartments and condominium dwellers remain dependent on public EV stations to charge their car batteries.
Ultimately, the lack of EV stations can mean long lines and even longer charging times. “Thirty percent of Americans do not have access to home chargers. We need the infrastructure to get consumer confidence,” Zoi said.
Infrastructure Money To Help Build EV Stations
As a result, EVgo partnered with major supermarket chains to install charging stations in supermarket parking lots.
The company also partnered with General Motors last year to build 2,700 fast charge EV stations over the next five years. “We’ve identified 40 metro areas in America’s heartland that are part of this program.
The Biden infrastructure money can get us into places even farther afield in rural America,” Zoi added.
The infrastructure money Zoi mentioned referred to President Joe Biden’s $1 trillion infrastructure package. The budget includes $7.5 billion toward building a nationwide network of 500,000 EV charging stations within the next ten years.
However, the $7.5 billion budget might not be enough. Michael Farkas, CEO of Blink, said that Biden only budgeted half of the $15 billion he proposed as a presidential candidate.
This money falls short of what’s needed to accomplish the electrification goals set by the administration. In the end, “it will take substantially more [money] than that,” Farkas said. “Every state is lacking in infrastructure — even California. We have a massive need for chargers both in the U.S. and globally.”
EV Stations Need Four To Eight Weeks
Building an EV station will take between four to eight weeks. The final cost depends on the type of charger used. A Level 2 charger usually found in the workplace or home garages, can cost between $3,000 to $5,000 to install.
However, DC Fast Chargers, which allow EVs to complete 80% charging in 30 minutes, require an investment between $125,000 to $300,000.
However, the cost is not the biggest challenge for EV stations. Securing approvals to build stations from local officials can tie up the work for weeks or months.
Even connecting to the existing grid can present its own complications. “We’re working with the electric utilities to make sure the local power infrastructure can support fast charging,” Zoi said.
Watch the CNBC Television video warning consumers beware of EV charging station companies:
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