The number of publicly accessible electric vehicle chargers in the US increased by 9% in the first quarter of 2013. This is likely a response to the increased number of plug-in electric vehicles on the road.
Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf, and Tesla Model S sales have been going strong, as we just reported on Monday, and there are several other plug-in electric vehicles on the road, as well. The thousands of people who purchased those vehicles sometimes needed to charge them while away from home, so entrepreneurs have responded with the installation of thousands of public chargers.
As of March 22, 5,678 public charging stations were available in the US, which is 478 more than December 18, according to the US Department of Energy, an increase of over 9%. California has the most charging stations (public + private) by far (3,990), followed by Texas (1,417) and Washington (1,141).
The fast installation of charging stations in public places is partially prompted by the current need for them, as stated above. However, the electric vehicle industry also needs charging stations to be ubiquitous to entice more prospective buyers to switch to EVs.
Some people that lived during the time when gasoline-powered automobiles were still catching on actually remember how scarce gas stations were back then, and how similar that was to electric car charging stations today. We featured this 97-year-old man talking about this subject back in March:
It just goes to show that all industries have to start out small, and have to cut manufacturing costs via economies of scale before they can take off.
The gasoline internal combustion engine as we know it was invented in 1885, but gasoline-fueled automobiles didn’t start to take off until the 1920s, about the stage the electric vehicle is at now, now that it is no longer hampered by lead-acid battery technology (which almost never improved).
With that long struggle out of the way, the tables have turned, and EVs are improving even faster than gasoline-powered cars.