DoE Maps Out 4 Possible Charging Station Scenarios For U.S.

DEC 2 2017 BY MARK KANE 20

Geographies Considered: Cities, Towns, and Interstates (source:

The US DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy recently highlighted the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) report on several potential scenarios of how the electric vehicle charging infrastructure will look like in 2030.

The report assumes some 15 million plug-in vehicles to be on the roads in U.S. within the next 13 years. And as such, a few hundred corridors would need to be covered with fast charging stations to enable long-distance travel, while roughly 8,000 are envisioned to serve urban and rural areas nationwide.

Market Conditions for the Central Scenario and Sensitivities Explored (source: NREL)

Summary of Station and Plug Count Estimates for the Central Scenario (15M PEVs in 2030) (source: NREL)

Major Conclusions

EVgo inaugurates its 100th California Freedom Station by increasing capacity to serve four times more drivers at a single site

This report categorizes PEV charging infrastructure requirements by area served (cities, towns, rural areas, and Interstate corridors) and role during early PEV market growth (providing coverage to early PEVs and satisfying demand due to increased PEV adoption).

The analysis makes no assumptions about the likelihood of particular PEV market or technology scenarios. Rather, a range of plausible scenarios explores the relationship between the evolution of the PEV fleet and charging infrastructure.

Communities are expected to have significantly larger charging infrastructure requirements than Interstate corridors under both the coverage and demand assessments. About 4,900 DCFC stations are required across cities with an additional 3,200 DCFC stations required in towns to provide a minimum level of nationwide coverage in the communities where 81% of people live. Such a network would dampen range anxiety concerns by providing drivers with a safety net for emergency charging situations.

Intracommunity charging demand analysis demonstrates how utilization of the DCFC coverage network would be expected to grow in increased PEV adoption scenarios based on a home-dominant charging assumption. Results for a 15-million PEV market estimate a DCFC plug requirement of 25,000 in communities (approximately 3.1 plugs per average DCFC station and 3.4 plugs required to support 1,000 BEVs). Demand for non-residential L2 EVSE (including work and public charging) is estimated as 600,000 plugs necessary to support 15 million PEVs (approximately 40 plugs per 1,000 PEVs).


Tesla’s new Urban Supercharger

Sensitivity analysis of the community results for consumer charging demand indicates a strong relationship between the evolution of the PEV and EVSE markets. As this analysis attempts to arrive at charging infrastructure solutions that fill the eVMT gaps between consumer travel patterns and PEV electric ranges, infrastructure requirements are not only proportional to the total number of PEVs in the system, but also inversely proportional to PEV electric range. Manufacturer and consumer preferences with respect to electric range, charging power, and utilization of residential EVSE have direct and dramatic consequences on the level of charging demand calculated in this analysis.

Results suggest that approximately 400 corridor DCFC stations are needed to enable long-distance BEV travel along Interstate highways between cities (where the majority of BEVs are likely to be concentrated). Understanding driving patterns, vehicle characteristics, and charging behavior and then prioritizing corridors and setting station spacing accordingly—as illustrated in the network scenarios—could help optimize the utility and economics of early-market corridor charging stations.

Regardless of geographic scope, the analysis suggests that organizations planning for charging infrastructure to support consumer adoption of PEVs need to be aware of the importance of consumer preferences with respect to electric range and charging behavior. Furthermore, planners should focus on providing consumers with adequate charging coverage (particularly DCFC supporting adoption of BEVs) while monitoring station utilization over time and increasing charging capacity (both in terms of rated power and number of plugs) as the PEV market continues to grow.

Geographies Considered: Cities, Towns, and Interstates

Geographies Considered: Cities, Towns, and Interstates (source:

The report focuses on non-residential charging equipment to meet consumer coverage expectations and demand. Coverage and charging demand estimates are made for where people live and the highways they travel. They include four specific geographic areas: cities (represented in yellow), towns (in purple), rural areas and the U.S. Interstate Highway System (red lines).

 Scenario: Mega-regions Fast-Charging Coverage

Scenario: Mega-regions Fast-Charging Coverage (source:

Mega-regions are large networks of cities with shared natural resources and common transportation systems. Most of the nation’s rapid population growth is expected to take place in these large networks. Providing coverage for PEV charging on interstates within each mega-region would result in the fast-charging network shown above and would need 96 to 239 fast-charging stations depending on station spacing.

Scenario: U.S. Interstate Highway System Fast-Charging Coverage

Scenario: U.S. Interstate Highway System Fast-Charging Coverage (source:

To provide convenient access to PEV drivers across the U.S. Interstate Highway System (red lines), the analysis finds that 285 to 713 corridor fast-charging stations would be needed, depending on spacing. This map shows the coverage that would result from using fast-charging stations, spaced 70 miles apart on average.

Scenario: National Fast-Charging Coverage

Scenario: National Fast-Charging Coverage (source:

Although full community-based infrastructure may take longer to establish—projected by NREL as roughly 8,000 fast-charging stations in U.S. cities and towns—it could provide travel corridors with charging backup options, route flexibility, and additional coverage along U.S. highways and state routes. This map shows the national fast-charging station coverage enabled by community-based charging stations.

And here we find some very interesting data (however the numbers of charging stations are at least several month old in this case):

Appendix A: Supplementary Statistics on Existing EVSE (source: NREL)

Appendix C: Central Scenario PEV/EVSE Estimates by State (source: NREL)

source: National Plug-In Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Analysis (NREL) via

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20 Comments on "DoE Maps Out 4 Possible Charging Station Scenarios For U.S."

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At least they are thinking about it….

It is interesting that their analysis does not show CA being top on %BEV at 54% compared to say GA at 77%. Did they use sales data before GA ditched their very generous incentives as a baseline? Based on the current political climate I would expect these numbers to be flipped.

Yeah something seems off. I’m not sure how they came up the the %BEV but it doesn’t seem realistic that GA would be that much higher than CA. I’m in GA and own a Leaf, and we do have a lot of them around, but these are forward looking numbers so who knows.

Lots of their data seems to be old. Their numbers for Tesla Supercharger plugs seem to be from many months ago.

They mean BEV versus PHEV.

Any news on VW Electrify America plan? I submitted 2 proposals and haven’t heard anything.

I realize this may be a “dumb” question, but, why can’t gas stations dedicate one or more “islands” over to electric charging?

Because charging takes a really long time, so it’s more suited to a parking spot than a station.

Gas stations are privately owned businesses on private property. They exist for one reason only- to make profit for their owners. To date, charging stations are not profitable in the least, so there is little to no incentive for them to invest in a unprofitable venture.

In addition, most gas stations aren’t places where people want hang around for an hour or more. About 15 minutes is about all most can stand, although there are more and more that are starting to partner with fast food chains and that is an opportunity.

Basically the way I see it, the charging stations would have to be provided free of charge to the gas station owners to make them attractive. They could then make a small profit off the electricity, but this would only work at stations with an attraction such as fast food.

It makes more sense in some of the more remote areas of the highway system. There a gas station is more like an oasis, which includes things like fast food restaurants.

Interesting! In Canada, a lot of ‘Gas Stations’ are Brand Owned, and only Managed Locally! IE: Shell, Esso, Petro Canada, Husky, Sunoco, and – I think there are More!

Plus, did we not just read here about Shell, in GB (England, at least!), adding DCFC’s to their stations there, as a starting Test?

I know of one gas company owned L2 charger in Ohio. The fee is $5.00 per hour for maximum 7.6 KW. I know of several power company owned L2 chargers in Louisville, KY. The fee is $3.50 or so per hour. No one is using these stations as the price screams ” Stay Away” “Do not Use” “Price is Very High.”

This seems like something that would be a good problem for Watson to try & tackle. We know most Americans driving habits, from those that don’t drive more than 5000 miles a year, to those that drive 100,000 miles a year. And there’s a ton more variables: EV range of car, does it have a range extender, does the person charge at home, does the car have DCFC, at what rate, how is range affected by winter, etc. Put in all of the variables into Watson and let it kick out several different models of what would be required for national charging, for different amounts of plug-ins on the roads.

The problem with investing a lot of money in a charging network is the problem of obsolescence. As batteries get better and better and BEVs are more able to drive 400-500 miles on a charge, how many will then bother with the charging stations? Now they are needed, but in 15-20 years from now… ???

It seems that a moderate approach is needed. Electrify the interstates with well placed charging facilities is all that is needed now and let demand in the future drive any further expansion if it is warranted. It could be in the not too distant future we could all be sitting around saying- “Remember those crappy charging stations we used to have to sit around at?”

I agree somewhat with what your saying. However current gas cars have a range of around 400 miles, but you still need gas stations at least every 50 miles or so along the highway. Not everyone starts at the same place, not everyone stops at the same places, and maybe some aren’t paying that much attention to their fuel level, and so on. I actually had an awkward situation on a recent road trip. I had about 70 miles of gas left and my GPS showed a gas station in about 25 miles. So I figured I’d keep on going to that one and drove right past a readily available gas station… Well, it turned out the mythical next gas station didn’t exist (technology fail) and I wasn’t sure at that point whether I could reach the one after. So I had to divert off the highway and ended up in Iraan, Texas. Anyway a couple important lessons learned. 1) Don’t trust technology so much. 2) If below 100 miles remaining in the middle of nowhere, fill up when you can and don’t take a chance. Still I think it’s a good example that you need more chargers than just… Read more »
Or my case: driving up from Florida, back to Ontario, Winter of 2013, 2004 Prius. Gas was Low, wife started telling me to get gas, but I wanted to see how it runs on Electric, without gas (Not the PHV version, and no PHEV aftermarket mods done!), so, after 700 Kms, the Nag Light came on to ‘Get Gas!’ I kept on driving, past Station after station, another 70 Kms before it just went quiet, just North of Charlotte, NC! A call to CAA (AAA), a 30 minute wait, and a Gallon of Gas later, & I was good to go: next Gas Station was 3 Miles, and since it was about Midnight, the Next Door Motel with Vacancy was handy, too! Average Fuel Burn at that point on that trip was 5.2 L/100 Km, per the display. Not my better #’s, of about 4.5 L/100 Kms or better, but a good reference! Not a project recommended in an EV, for sure! On the other hand, PHEV’s and Volts do this all the time, on the EV draining side of the equation! I still want to here from a Volt or other PHEV owner, what there result is, if they… Read more »

And notice that the Tesla network leads everyone else as an example of how you SUPPORT EVs.

I think the analysis is flawed from the start. By 2030 100 mile BEVs and 20 mile PHEVs will not be nearly as numerous as they’re projecting. Well before that point battery costs and energy density will have reached the point where if you’re going to the expense of putting in a battery and electric drive it won’t make sense for it to be less than 50 miles in a PHEV and 200 miles in an EV.

It feels to me like they’re taking current technology and projecting it out 13 years in the future and it simply doesn’t work like that. We’re already on the verge of hundred miles EVs being completely outmoded.

By 2030, PHEV’s could, and Should, have 2 things: 100-150 Miles EV Range with 250-350 Miles Gas Range additional, and ability to drive up (5% and steeper) hills on Gas or Electric, if the other part is Drained! As I see it, having 2 Systems in such cars should make them Both Capable of operating the Vehicle, without the support of the other, or why bother? Plus, 2017 was the 1st full year of ‘More Affordable’ BEV’s with 200 plus Miles Range, yet was it not about 2008, when the 1st BEV arrived, with 200+ Miles Range, in the form of the Tesla Roadster (245 Miles Rated Range)! So that was about a 9 year time delay, and in between, the only other car with 200+ Miles of Rated EV Range, also came from Tesla, as the 60 kWh and Higher, Model S, of Summer, 2012! So, from Roadster, the 1st BEV with 200+ EV Miles Range, to 4 Years Later, to the Next, and abot 4 years later for the Next: 1st Bolt EV Deliveries in December, 2016! Outside of the Model 3, again from Tesla, no other such 200+ Mile Range BEV arrived anywhere on any market I… Read more »

“As I see it, having 2 Systems in such cars should make them Both Capable of operating the Vehicle, without the support of the other, or why bother?”

Cost and packaging. There is no good reason for the range extender to deliver full power. It is cheaper and provides just as much benefit to provide slightly above average power from the range extender. When the battery runs out, you are “empty” and should be happy to move at all. The BMW REX with a real gas tank should have provided another 250 miles.