Public EV Charge Stations Surpass Gas Stations in Five Years

MAR 27 2013 BY MARK HOVIS 13

Its been a long time coming, its gonna be a long time gone

It’s been a long time coming, it’s gonna be a long time gone…

The total number of EVSEs will surpass the total number of gas stations by 2017

EVSEs on the Rise

EVSEs on the Rise

For the EV enthusiast, this is one of the small milestones that we live for.  Though the comparison is really “apples and oranges” , it gives an opportunity to look at the status of the emerging market. InsideEVs Mike Buchanan previously posted a report from Frost and Sullivan showing our first glimpse of  the raw numbers.

Per the US Census Bureau of 6.13.2012, there were 121,446 gasoline fueling stations in the US. This down from 200,000 in 1994. The rise of  this infrastructure has taken years. So how are EV charging stations coming?

2010 marked the beginning of the new EV revolution with only the Tesla Roadster, the Nissan Leaf, and the Chevy Volt on the way. The number of US EVSEs (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment also known as  EV charging stations)  was probably less than 500. By the close of 2011, the number of public EVSEs had grown by a factor of 10x to nearly 5,000.  According to Pike Research, 2012 global EVSEs totaled 200,000 with a predicted rise to 2,400,000 by 2020.

Parsing the Numbers 

Fight for the top

Fight for the top

Pike Research forecasts that by 2017, there will be more than 1.5 million EVSEs in the US with 1 million being home EVSEs and most of them Level 1 chargers. Compared against 121,446 gas stations and falling, we are rapidly moving toward a day where EVSEs will equal that of the pump. Could we truly be five years away from competing with the gas powered infrastructure? For clarity, there is no perfect comparison in that there is no representation for the number of “pumps” at a station. EVs still make up less than one percent of the market. However, 1.5 million EVSEs would be formidable no matter how you parse the numbers. Though comparing the number of public EVSEs to gas stations really is comparing apples to oranges, any number over 100,000 public EVSEs speaks well of the commitment to public charging and will go a long way toward establishing the electric highway.

Legal Issues

In some states, our US legal system is not quite up to speed with the rapid implementation of public charging with rules limiting the sale of electric energy by the kWh (kilowatt hour).  This has been addressed in California by the California Public Utilities Commission in their ruling that EV charging stations are not to be classified as public utilities.

2013 Milestone

Currently 80% of EV charging happens in the home. The total number of ESVEs (public and private) will most likely surpass the total number of gas filling stations in 2013.  A Northwestern University study in April 2011 stated 56,000 EVs (mostly retrofits)  in the US.  The combined 2011-2012  EV sales were approximately 70,000. This would most likely account for 100,000+ ESVEs with this number rising 5000 monthly.  Again, that does not equal the number of pumps at all stations, but it will equal the number of places an EV has to go to charge given it primarily exists in the form of a home EVSE. Passing the 100,000 US EV or EVSE mark is yet one more milestone in itself on the path to the electric highway.

There are a number of 10-20 mile PHEVs entering the market such as the Ford Fusion, Ford C-Max, Honda Accord, Toyota Prius PiP to name a few. The effective commute of these vehicles can easily be doubled by having access to a L1 (110 v) plug in at their destination.  If employees communicate the need for such simple EVESs, they will easily provide 30-40 additional miles to their commute.

100,000 public chargers combined with your own personal EVSE? Scratch range anxiety off of the list of reasons not to buy your first EV when that milestone is passed.




Categories: Charging


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13 Comments on "Public EV Charge Stations Surpass Gas Stations in Five Years"

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This must be a california thing. Haven’t seen in the Buffalo NY area a new public recharge point in 2 years.

The number of Public EVSEs in the Dallas/Ft.Worth area grew rapidly for about a year, then stopped. I think it will not grow much until there are lot more EVs on the road.

The growing number is really great, but if they are not located where needed to make a trip then the range anxiety persists. If they are occupied, ICEd, restricted in space or time, or out of service, range anxiety persists. If they are unreasonably priced (i.e. $3/hour or $0.49/kWh for a L2) then range anxiety persists.

Damn range anxiety!

A bit misleading. Gas stations maybe, but not gas pumps…

Taking Mark H’s point, since it is SO cheap to have a 120 volt “level 1” charging point
(Most of the time just go up to an existing outdoor outlet, and put a $75 “Electric Cars Only” sign, and Voila!!! youve got a new EV charging spot) !!!

I dont even see any of those, especially since new public building HAVE to have them to get a LEES certification. As I’ve explained many times, then don’t particularly worry about having them work ok. The 3 new outlets in a parking lot of a new art gallery (3 was the minimum required to get a LEES certification), but at 250 feet from the building, my Tesla constanly accuses me of using an extension cord, and I have to lower the charging rate from 15 to 12 amps to get the Tesla to charge at all… Volts should be no problem. I hear anything over 86 volts at the car and the car will start charging.

Also when looking at ‘charging stations’, for EVs we must include homes. Unlike gas stations where homes don’t have a gasoline pump, the the ONLY option for ‘refueling’ is a public gas station.

But more EV ‘refueling’ will happen at home than out in public. Which means that every EV owner has a power outlet, and is their own ‘charging station’. And as more homeowners install solar to capture free and abundant energy, the cost of ‘refueling’ gets lower and lower.

All new homes should be built with solar integrated at some level.