US is Now Home to 475 Million Charging Stations…Sort Of

4 years ago by Eric Loveday 12

Chevy Volt 110 Volt Charger

Chevy Volt 110 Volt Charger

What most of the general public doesn’t seem to know (or perhaps they do, but simply choose to ignore it) is that the US is home to an estimated 475 million charging stations.

110 Volt Outlet Useable in a Pinch

110 Volt Outlet Useable in a Pinch

These stations, most of which were installed decades ago, function rather well for plug-in hybrid and can suffice (sort of) for patient electric vehicle owners.

Of course, we’re suggesting that the 110 volt wall outlet is the charging station in this case and, though it’s not always practical, at least it’s there, even if only as a backup solution.

Oddly, we came across this figure when perusing the web for EV news.  We stumbled upon in a discussion post.  The 475 million figure, as well as the fact that 110 can be used by most plug-ins in a pinch, was a revelation that few were aware of in that discussion forum.

As one commenter stated:

“If you can live with a charging rate of 5 miles per hour charging, there are more than 475 million 110 V electrical outlets that you can plug into but at 8-10 Amps.”

This led us to believe that maybe the general public in the US is unaware of this.  Perhaps it has not been conveyed well.

Oftentimes, this “revelation” surfaces when some argue that the US doesn’t have enough charging stations.  This 475 million figure is used to dispel that.  However, we wouldn’t suggest that 110-volt charging is practical, but at least it’s there.

The same can’t be said for hydrogen refueling stations of compressed natural gas filling units.

But when it comes to electricity, the infrastructure surrouned us.  All you need to do is look to your right or left.  It’s probably somewhere there.

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12 responses to "US is Now Home to 475 Million Charging Stations…Sort Of"

  1. Josh says:

    I have a good example of this. Last night I went over to a friends house for dinner which is more than half my range away. They were nice enough to let me park in their garage and charge for the four hours I was at their house. I got 18 – 20 miles range in that time and arrived home with 10 miles of range remaining.

    I have used this scenario on many weekend days where my driving patterns where not the norm.

  2. David Murray says:

    I wish more workplaces would supply 110V outlets in the parking lots. It is a very inexpensive way to provide employees with about 40-50 miles range during the day. While not nearly as convenient to the employee as an L2 station, it is better than nothing by a long shot.

  3. Dave R says:

    Technically they are 120V outlets, not 110.

    110/220 is a holdover from like 100 years ago.

  4. Foo says:

    Very first sentence: ” … the US in home … “?

  5. “If you can live with a charging rate of 5 miles per hour charging, there are more than 475 million 110 V electrical outlets that you can plug into but at 8-10 Amps.”

    The key point of ths statement is a “charging rate of 5 miles per hour”. The “miles of range per hour” (MRPH) needs to match ones use case for a planned trip. Studies have shown 90% of daily trips total less than 35 miles per day with typical trip legs of 3-7 miles. Driving 35 miles would require 7 hours at 5 MRPH. Before you all jump up and say “but I drive more” many a day? Realize this 35 miles is a range bonus, not a daily range limitation! Effectively it turns a vehicle with a 75 mile range into one with a 110 mile range. A 180 mile range becomes 215 miles. (Owners still have capability to charge 100% overnight at home)

    The real challenge for EV travel today is the 5% of trips that last over two hours at highway speeds. 5 MRPH is not a sustainable highway speed. To travel more than couple hours highway speed (>55 MPH) a charger needs to supply >40 MRPH. Today we have Quick DC Chargers (CHAdeMO) that supply 80+ MRPH (20-80% in 30 min), and Tesla SuperChargers capable of 200+ MRPH. Even Level2 AC (220V) can deliver 20-30 MRPH. How many times in a day could you drive 1-2 hours (60-120 miles), stop 15-20 min then repeat over & over?

    It’s not that one type of charger is better than another, but being able to use the right type of charge based on driving pattern. Having access to higher speed chargers does greatly extend the effective range, but extending a days range by 10-40 mies… a little 110/120V plug can do!

    1. Mark H says:

      This is well written Brian. Your response would be an outstanding article in itself.

  6. Bill Howland says:

    @Dave R

    Technically they are 125 volt outlets… And when charging at either 12 or 15 amps will lower the voltage actually at the car quiet a bit. In Public Lots I have trouble maintaining 101 volts at the car with no extension cord. 110 would be great.

    With the model S, Tesla tells the white lie that all voltages are 250.

  7. Bill Howland says:

    @Foo

    “The US is home….” is the quote…. New glasses needed perchance?

  8. Bill Howland says:

    @Eric Lovday

    Since you show a picture of Version 2 of the Voltec (Volt) charger, incidentally supposedly each and every one of these has been destroyed and replaced with version 3.. ( I wanted ‘2’ back and the dealer showed mine sawed into 4 pieces.), I would have thought you would have mentioned that 110 volt charging is actually the way the majority of us Volt owners charge our EV. Said differently, only a minority of us went to the trouble of installing an EVSE.

    1. vdiv says:

      Right! For weekend trips quite often my Volt charges twice at 110V. First at night for the drive there, and then at the destination for the drive back while we tool around. No gas used for 70+ mile day trip in a Volt. This by the way is not likely to change if I had a pure EV.

      Of course if I am aimlessly driving around, if available I take advantage of free and paid L2 public charging.

  9. Dave K. says:

    My employer has gratiously installed this solution @ work, and the results have been stunning! Last count we had 42 cars, almost all bought in the last year, many of the owners have long (30-40mile) commutes, this makes sense as they save the most money. The power cost is minimal and the PR alone is worth it. Recently 10 more parking spaces were allocated. L2 and DCFC are nice but all those plugs are either already there or cheap to install, they just need to be available in places people spend a lot of time(like work).

  10. Roger Bedell says:

    In europe things are twice as good – 220V outlets everywhere! Too bad the Zoe can’t charge from normal outlets…Bad choice imho.