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Stateline News (Pew): Got an Electric Car? Great! Where Do You Plug it in?

Posted by Elaine S. Povich on Jan 2, 2020

Stateline News (Pew Trusts) highlighted the current challenge of the low number of charging stations among states given the rise of electric vehicles, quoting AEE's Matt Stanberry. Read excerpts below and the entire Stateline piece here

Electric vehicle owners — nearly 1.2 million of them on U.S. 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. Some states provide incentives for private investment, while others are relying on millions from a settlement with Volkswagen over its falsification of emissions tests to subsidize the building of commercial charging stations...

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 Stateline News piece here

Topics: AEE In The News