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Miami Herald: Electric Vehicle Sales are Up, but in Some States Charging Stations are Hard to Find

Posted by Elaine Povich on Jan 3, 2020

The Miami Herald reported on the rise of electric cars and the uneven availability of charging stations across the nation, quoting AEE's Matt Stanberry. Read excerpts below and the entire Miami Herald piece here. This Stateline News story was also picked up by 25+ newspapers across the nation including the Sacramento BeeRichmond Times-DispatchRaleigh News & Observer, and Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Electric vehicle owners – nearly 1.2 million of them on United States roads today – share the thrills of being energy-efficient and progressive. But they also have one big worry in common: where to plug in. Depending on the state, access to public charging stations can be adequate – or nearly nonexistent.

Purchases of electric vehicles are growing at an astronomical rate – an 81% increase from 2017 to 2018, according to the Edison Electric Institute, which tracks electricity use – and nothing indicates the trend will slow dramatically any time soon. But if anything could stunt the growth, it's the lack of power charging stations in some states.

Drivers can experience "range anxiety" wondering how far they can drive before the next charge and where to find a station before the car dies. It's the electric vehicle equivalent of driving a traditional car on an isolated country road with the gas gauge hovering near empty. Many states want to encourage electric vehicle use to reduce carbon emissions and tackle climate change. But ensuring that there are enough charging stations has been a challenge...

Electric vehicles used for short commutes can be plugged in at home daily; the worry stems from longer trips. For example, let's say you take a trip from Boston to Washington, D.C. In Massachusetts, there's a ratio of 13 electric vehicles to every public charger. But in New Jersey, there are about 35 vehicles to every public charger, and drivers on longer trips might worry that they won't find an available place to plug in. Ford, maker of the electric Mustang, says the new 2021 model's range could be up to 300 miles, though auto experts say it's more like 240. But rather than touting the range, Ford is promoting the car's "sleek silhouette and muscular curves."

That could be because a lack of public charging stations turns off potential buyers, say many experts, including Matt Stanberry, managing director at Advanced Energy Economy, a business trade group focused on non-carbon sources of energy. California has the most charging stations – more than 22,600 (some with multiple outlets) at last count in May by the website, which tracks electric vehicle issues. The state also has the most electric vehicles, approaching half a million. But North Dakota has 36 charging locations and Alaska 26. "There is very good data that shows that (electric) vehicle adoption is slowed by a shortage of charging infrastructure," Stanberry said. "Consumer surveys cite a very high percentage level of charging infrastructure as one of their key concerns."

A survey for Volvo conducted in 2018 by the Harris polling firm showed that the No. 1 barrier to buying an electric vehicle was running out of power (58%), following by low availability of charging stations (49%). And more charging stations was the No. 1 factor that would increase respondents' likelihood of buying.

"We are short on charging infrastructure across the board in every state, even the states that are doing better," Stanberry said in a telephone interview. "We are all playing catch-up..."

Read the entire Miami Herald piece here. Also read this story in the Sacramento BeeRichmond Times-DispatchRaleigh News & Observer, and Pennsylvania Capital-Star.

Topics: AEE In The News