EV Project Data Indicates Average DC Quick Charger is Used 4 Times Per Day; Level 2 Chargers Only 0.23 Times Per Day

4 years ago by Mark Kane 10

ECOtality charging points

ECOtality charging points

Studying the latest presentation from the EV Roadmap 6 conference held recently in Portland, Oregon 30–31 July, we find all sorts of interesting and important facts on how plug-in vehicle drivers are using the public charging infrastructure within the US.

ECOtality – the company that leads the DOE funded EV Project – to date installed couple thousand commercial AC Level 2 charging terminals and approximately 80-90 DC fast chargers (CHAdeMO).

Here is the map published in June (note that other documents suggest there are no over 3,000 AC charging points installed in US under the EV Project):


The most important slide is on utilization of non-residential infrastructure (commercial AC and DC), which shows us something rather interesting:

Utilization of non-residential infrastructure in EV Project

Utilization of non-residential infrastructure in EV Project

We see that there are 10,000 DC fast charging sessions per month, which works out to an average of 111 sessions a month per unit (so there must be 90 or so DC units here installed), or almost 4 sessions a day!

In Portland, Oregon – where conference was held – we see a slightly smaller number of sessions per unit (this indicates that approximately 16 chargers are in the area).

The highest utilization of DC chargers is in San Francisco where 20 units are used around 200 times a month on average.

On the flip side, we have Level 2.

ECOtality says there are 30,000 charge events for AC L2 commercial charging points per month. This is three times more than DC, but the number of sessions a month per terminal is just 7, about 16 times lower than the quick-charge DC average! The result for Portland is even worst at 18 times lower.

Additionally, 30,000 divided by 7  shows us that over 4,000 Level 2 chargers have been installed under the EV Project.

Now, when we know these numbers, we can go straight ahead and say that DC is used 4 times a day on average . In comparison, the AC points are used on average 7 times a month and 0.23 a day (once per 4-5 days). This is precipice.

This data confirms that slow public AC charging isn’t very popular. And the reason is the charging time. If EV drivers need to recharge in public to finish a journey, they typically need it done quickly. Of course, AC slow chargers are a welcome addition, but the numbers don’t lie.

Of interest too are these other slides on usage time of day and session length, from which we see that about 25% of DC charge sessions are 10 minutes or less and 44% are 15 minutes or less:

Usage time of day

Usage time of day

Sessions lenght

Session length


Source: The EV Project

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 responses to "EV Project Data Indicates Average DC Quick Charger is Used 4 Times Per Day; Level 2 Chargers Only 0.23 Times Per Day"

  1. Nelson says:

    This study is useless. It’s like having a study about parking lot usage of lots having 50 spots vs. 100 spots without saying where the parking lots are. Wonder why parking lot usage in five 100 spot lots is less than on ten 50 spot lots. Duh, maybe because there is nothing of interest near or around the five 100 spot lots?


  2. vdiv says:

    L2 public charging does not seem popular because the majority of L2 charging stations are installed in rather unpopular places. Those that are installed in well-thought-out places, such as airports, shopping and culture centers, commuter lots, and work places, and those that are guarded properly against ICEing get used all the time.

    L2 charging stations that are overpriced (subjective value judgement of convenience) are also unpopular. Finally, most EVs currently can only charge at half of the L2 available power (i.e. 3.3kW). Once we have more EVs with 6.6 or 7.2kW chargers L2 will become more popular.

  3. ItsNotAboutTheMoney says:

    Hmm, cost is $5/$8/session and $1/hour.

    I wonder why the slower Level 2 is less popular.

    1. Sam says:

      I’d be willing to pay for pro-rated L3 charges, but at 3X what I pay at home I’m very unlikely to ever use L2 charging.

    2. KeiJidosha says:

      “I wonder why the slower Level 2 is less popular.”

      Many L2 are in inconvenient locations. Placed where site hosts would allow them, instead of where EV drivers want them.

  4. Dave R says:

    I’m not surprised at the very low usage of L2 stations.

    As others have stated, there are quite a few stations that are simply poorly located. The stations around here that I tend to use, I very often find that other stations in the same location are also in use. Often, I have come across stations where it’s simply not possible to use them – either because the available unit is in a handicap spot (more on this in a bit) or a non-charging car is parked there.

    It seems that ADA requirements dictate that at least one charging station be made available for handicap use – but I very, very rarely see a plug-in use those stations. ADA requirements dictate that typically you reserve 2-3% of your total parking for handicapped spots. Yet your typical charging station install has 2-3 charging stations (one of those is ADA accessible and usually only ADA accessible) which means that you have over-provisioned your handicapped accessible stations by 25-50x. This is going to drastically drive down L2 utilization rates.

    Add on to this that L2 is generally best suited for charging sessions 3-10x longer than a DCQC station (30 minutes to 5-6 hours for a L2 session compared to 10-30 minutes for a DCQC session) and it’s no surprise that L2 stations are used a proportionally amount less.

    In most locations that I frequent I find that it would be desirable to have _more_ L2 stations, not fewer. And please put these stations in non-desirable parking spots to help keep non-charging vehicles out of them! If you can’t count on an unused station on being usable, it’s as good as not having it!

    1. John Kalb says:

      I believe that there are no ADA requirements for charging stations because charging stations are not parking spots but “alternative fueling stations” and not covered under ADA regulations. I design EVSE siting plans so the first station will be “accessible” but not restricted to just the handicapped EV. Signage requesting that driver “use last” the accessible station helps keep it open for customers requiring accessibility.

      1. Jay Cole says:

        Sorry all I can picture is this:

  5. Spec says:

    Yeah, I agree that many L2 chargers are not in good spots. For L2 to be useful, they need to be at places where you are going to spend several hours. Things like work, shopping complexes, cultural centers, airports, zoos, theme parks, beaches, commuter lots, etc. An L2 charger at some place where you will be at for less than an hour or two is pointless.

  6. Ocean Railroader says:

    Electric cars in general are still very rare in that if I’m lucky I get to see a plug in car at least once a weekend or once every two three weeks. As for fully electrics I have not seen one yet on the road driving udder’s own power or in a store parking lot. The rarity of electric cars could also be a factor in this in that would have to be a very high level of electric cars in a area for a charging station to get used 20 times a day or even five times a day.

    A lot of these unused charging stations could gain more use as the number of EV’s rise on the road and more popular charging stations fill up with cars sending people to go look for the lesser used ones. If the number of EV’s in a small area where to triple or go up five times the question is would the unused charging stations get used more or not.