Photo by Carolyn Fortuna/CleanTechnica

The Increase In EV Charging Stations Comes With Obstacles & Solutions

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Charging obstacles have frequently been cited as a major reason why US drivers decline to switch to EVs. Yet there is now one EV station optimized for rapid turnaround times between trips or deliveries for every 15 existing US gas stations. These EV charging stations are designed to minimize downtime and maximize efficiency, allowing vehicles to quickly complete one task and move on to the next without significant delays.

There are nearly 8,200 quick-turn EV charging stations across the country, with Tesla responsible for slightly more than one quarter of them. “There aren’t a ton of charging deserts left,” Chris Ahn, head of electrification consulting at Deloitte, told Bloomberg. “A lot of location problems have been solved.”

Almost 600 public fast-charging stations were switched on for US drivers in the first three months of the year, a 7.6% increase over the end of 2023, according to an analysis of federal data.

In November 2021, President Joe Biden signed into law the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, also known as the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. Later came the Inflation Reduction Act that provided record funding for addressing climate change. The administration’s National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure program added $5 billion plan to fill in the remaining gaps in the EV charging map.

That means more and more chargers should be up and running across states as they put the federal monies into action. Indiana, for example, opened 16 new fast-charging stations this winter. Missouri and Tennessee each celebrated 13 new stations, and EV drivers in Alabama had 11 new EV charging stations.

While the efforts behind the EV charging scenes may not be as transparent as some would like, new owners of EVs are breathing easier as they see more chargers popping up on their apps. EV charging stations allow EV owners to charge their vehicles while parked at home, at work, or on the street. More EV charging stations mean more confidence in EVs, which increases the profitability of auto sales and companies running charging networks. It’s one of those delightful win-win situations.

Problems & Solutions: New York City EV Charging Stations

“There has never been a better time for car owners to go electric,” says the New York City Department of Transportation. By 2050, the city aims to have 20% of vehicle registrations attributed to EVs. Because reliable, pervasive charging access is necessary for EV drivers, New York City is developing PlugNYC, a comprehensive network of publicly accessible Level 2 and DC fast chargers.

During the installation process, Canadian EV charging company FLO Inc. had to avoid interfering with New York City bike lanes, loading docks and fire hydrants as it developed EV charging stations. So its employees chatted with residents and City Council members about the best and least disruptive locations. “We expected moderate demand” for the city curbside EV chargers, with expected usage rates around 15%, said Roy Rada, project manager for e-mobility innovation at Consolidated Edison Inc.

Instead, it’s been “exponentially higher,” with the chargers online 99.9% of the time with an average utilization rate of 72% in 2024, according to the New York City Department of Transportation. Those rates of utilization of EV charging stations is quite remarkable when you take into account that they were ICEd 20% of the time during the program’s first 18 months from 2021–2022 — being ICEd means an internal combustion engine-powered vehicle is sitting in a parking space dedicated for EV charging. New York City offers an online form for reporting illegal parking, including being ICEd.

Bloomberg reports that the City has announced plans to install 40,000 Level 2 plugs and 6,000 fast chargers by 2030. Add to that number the current 2,200 or so public plugs citywide, 10% of them fast chargers, as documented by the US Department of Energy. The problem is that the distribution of these chargers is unevenly spread across the city, so that ICEd parking spots or damaged equipment at EV charging stations.

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Another UAW Win, Another EV Battery Plant

The United Automobile Workers union on Monday revealed a tentative contract agreement at an Ohio factory making batteries for electric vehicles, a step that is considered a breakthrough in enhancing pay and safety in the EV supply chain.

UAW Local 1112 announced it had reached a tentative agreement at Ultium Cells in Lordstown, Ohio, where workers build EV batteries for GM vehicles. The agreement marks an “historic breakthrough for electric vehicle workers and a path forward that ends the race to the bottom pursued by corporate America throughout the EV transition.”

The local agreement builds on the successes of the national contract that Ultium workers joined as a major win of the Stand Up Strike.

“Eighteen months ago, this company was on a low road path to poverty wages, unsafe conditions, and a dark future for battery workers in America,” said UAW President Shawn Fain. “Ultium workers said, ‘Hell, no,’ got organized, and fought back. Now they’ve more than doubled their wages by the end of this contract, won record health and safety language, and showed the world what it means to win a just transition.”

Next, the 1,600 UAW members at Ultium Cells will review the details of the agreement and hold a ratification vote in the coming days. If ratified, the agreement will “set a new standard for electric vehicle battery workers everywhere and mark a major milestone in the just transition to EVs.”

“We were told at the beginning of bargaining that Ultium workers would never be allowed to join the UAW’s national agreement at GM,” said UAW Vice President Mike Booth. “Not only did we prove them wrong, but we did them one better, winning a major local agreement that sets the standard for the EV battery industry.”

The Ultium Cells contract calls for moving workers to a new wage of $30.50 an hour. Over 3 years, wages will rise to $35 an hour. The national contract signed last fall had increased the Ultium Cells starting wage to $26.91, up from $16.50 an hour when the plant opened.

“Five years ago, when they closed Lordstown Assembly, it was a major gut punch — I know, I lived it,” said UAW Region 2B Director David Green. “They wrote Lordstown off for dead. They thought we’d settle for low wages and unsafe jobs. They thought wrong, and now Ultium workers are leading the way.”

“Organizing to win our union took relentless persistence on behalf of hundreds of my coworkers at Ultium. Negotiating this contract was no different,” said UAW Local 1112 Shop Chairman Josh Ayers. “We want this agreement to become a cornerstone for current and future battery plants across the nation. First we planned. Then we took action. And now we have a tentative agreement to be proud of.”

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Carolyn Fortuna

Carolyn Fortuna, PhD, is a writer, researcher, and educator with a lifelong dedication to ecojustice. Carolyn has won awards from the Anti-Defamation League, The International Literacy Association, and The Leavey Foundation. Carolyn is a small-time investor in Tesla and an owner of a 2022 Tesla Model Y as well as a 2017 Chevy Bolt. Please follow Carolyn on Substack:

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