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Unfortunately, the typical charging landscape — American sprawl. Photo by Joe Wachunas

Clean Transport

Essentially No BEV Charging Infrastructure In USA

Recently, I wrote an article about the Dutch intention to install 1.5 MILLION charge points in the next 9 years. That is half a million private charging points and a million public charging points before the end of this decade.

Please, dear people, do the math. The USA has 20 times the population of the Netherlands and nearly double the cars per capita. Yet, BEV advocates in the USA are happy with the tiny 500,000 chargers the Biden administration thinks is a good idea.

The USA has lost its position of leading the world in electric driving. First to China, then to the EU, and now even diesel-loving Germany buys more BEVs than the USA. I know it is unacceptable for the USA to be the laggard in the transition to the new world of electro mobility. Within a few years, the USA will again be in the vanguard. Norway is so far out of reach, though, we will not even talk about leading.

The very conservative expectation is to have 2 million BEVs on Dutch roads by 2030. That makes 40 million not unlikely on the roads of the USA. More people can charge in their own driveways than in most other countries, but those 40 million will also drive more often and longer distances than the average Dutch driver.

Again, multiplying the Dutch numbers by 20 gets us to 30 million chargers to install before 2030. For the difference in housing, I’d go with 20 million private chargers in driveways and 10 million public chargers. At $1,500 per private charger, $5,000 for Level 2 public chargers, and $50,000 for 350 kW superchargers, that is an $85 billion market between now and 2030. It will only be growing after 2030.

Compared to what is needed, there is essentially NO charging infrastructure in the USA. Not even if we include the private Tesla network.

By the way, the grid needs some upgrades too. The good news: A green economy needs jobs, lots of them. And they are better paid jobs than burger flipper!

Do not expect Ford, GM, Toyota, Honda, etc. to do what Tesla has done. Tesla needed to install a vast charging network by itself because there was no charging infrastructure or ecosystem, not even an agreed upon standard for charging stations. There are now charging companies which make, install, operate, sell, maintain, and abandon chargers. That industry has to do this job. It needs some stimulation from the carmakers, and some kicking in the behind from policymakers.

These players are looking at a chicken and egg problem, unfortunately. They as, “where are the BEVs?” Potential BEV buyers ask, “where are the chargers?”

You need the chargers before you can expect the transition to BEVs to happen without huge frustration and many stranded drivers. That is what the kicking in the ass is for. Go and do it.

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Written By

Grumpy old man. The best thing I did with my life was raising two kids. Only finished primary education, but when you don’t go to school, you have lots of time to read. I switched from accounting to software development and ended my career as system integrator and architect. My 2007 boss got two electric Lotus Elise cars to show policymakers the future direction of energy and transportation. And I have been looking to replace my diesel cars with electric vehicles ever since. At the end of 2019 I succeeded, I replaced my Twingo diesel for a Zoe fully electric. And putting my money where my mouth is, I have bought Tesla shares. Intend to keep them until I can trade them for a Tesla car. I added some Fastned, because driving without charging is no fun.


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