Major countries across the world are seeing a massive shift to electric vehicles taking place right now. It's happening quite rapidly, too.
In the U.S., a number of federal incentives and grants are being put in place to help push the infrastructure so desperately needed to handle the number of new EVs expected to hit the road over the next few years. And the power of capitalism is showing how motivating money can be, because, over the past year, the U.S. has seen 125 new chargers online every single day.
As of today, the U.S. has 169,330 chargers across 65,015 locations across the nation. This is up substantially—70%—since the Biden administration took office and began pushing efforts to bolster the number of chargers (as well as EVs) on the road.
The number of chargers is expected to continue to grow substantially through the top of the decade. The U.S. has set a goal to deploy 500,000 publicly available chargers nationwide by 2030. In fact, it's set to eclipse that number. US Energy Secretary, Jennifer Granholm, recently told Cnet Roadshow that recent figures indicate a whopping 1.2 million chargers will come online by 2030.
All of that new charging infrastructure is desperately needed to help support the domestic transition to electric vehicles. Of the 15.5 million cars sold in 2023, more than 1.4 million (9%) were EVs—and those are chump numbers compared to where the industry is going.
California, for example, is looking to ban the sale of new passenger cars powered only by gasoline engines by 2035. The California Air Resources Board recently asked the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to review its plan before it progresses, and, once it does, at least eight states (Connecticut, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, and Washington) of the 17 which at least partially follow CARB's recommendations plan to join California in that ban.
All of those shiny new battery-electric vehicles need somewhere to charge. That comes down to both coverage and density.
Of the 169,330 chargers available today, only 38,090 (23%) are DC Fast Chargers (DCFC), which are capable of replenishing battery-electric cars from zero to 80% in around half an hour. And of the 65,015 total station locations, only 8,921 (14%) have DCFCs. This works out to about one charging station location for every 350 miles in the continental U.S., each of which can charge about 4.3 cars at any the same time, assuming they are all in working order.
It's worth noting that the real winner for DC Fast Charging is the North American Charging Standard. Or, more specifically, it's all of the automakers who recently announced their move to Tesla's charger inlet.
Data shows that Tesla's NACS standard makes up 64% of all publicly available DCFCs across the nation. However, there are significantly fewer NACS-equipped charging station locations versus CCS chargers. For every NACS-equipped station, three stations equipped with CCS exist. That being said, NACS stations have, on average, 11 chargers at each location versus two plugs at each CCS-equipped station.
Level 2 chargers are a bit different. These are meant to charge EVs over a few hours rather than a few minutes, and are often referred to as "destination chargers" given that they are used once a vehicle reaches its destination and has time to be plugged in before being used again—think of a hotel or shopping mall. These chargers average approximately 2.2 ports at each station. Level 2 NACS chargers have about the same density.
The U.S. is stepping up its commitment to the transition toward electric vehicles and the results are becoming apparent very quickly. The industry has made tremendous movements toward supporting infrastructure in a very short amount of time. It's expected that these companies will continue to show massive growth over the next several years, as long as the financial incentive is there, at least.
125 chargers per day is quite an accomplishment. Hell, it's more than I expected the first time I road-tripped in an EV back in 2020 when the infrastructure was not nearly as solid as it is today. But if the Department of Energy expects to now reach 1.2 million chargers by the end of 2030, that means production has to ramp up even further. At its peak, we could see as many as 405 chargers per day popping up.
Regardless, it's good news for the consumer. More cars mean the need for more chargers, and the consumer wants ease of access. That's the key to a smooth transition to electrification, and we're seeing it happen today.