EV Infrastructure Making Meaningful Strides
As electric vehicles have stormed into the mainstream, more conversation has taken place around not only the vehicles themselves but how prepared the country is to support those vehicles.
One of the biggest hurdles to widespread EV adoption, as has been discussed numerous times on ADAPT over the past few months, has been the lack of consistently reliable infrastructure. More specifically, the country doesn't have nearly enough charging stations to make the transition to an electric car or pickup viable outside of densely populated urban areas.
A quick look at the U.S. Energy Department's EV charging station location map, as cited by a previous ADAPT story, reveals large clusters of EV chargers near densely populated urban centers and large, empty spaces in between. That's more than serviceable for city drivers who may only average somewhere between 25 and 50 miles of driving a day; for drivers who put significantly more miles on their vehicles, though, having to wait hours for a full charge isn't a viable solution.
Though the charging problem can't be fixed overnight, OEMs and other parties invested in the EV transition have made meaningful progress toward a more equitably distributed charging infrastructure.
This past month, several major OEMs, including Ford and Stellantis, announced plans for major U.S. battery factories and EV facilities. Stellantis has partnered with LG and Samsung SDI to build two separate plants, both targeted to start production by 2025, as part of its "aggressive electrification road map" outlined by CEO Carlos Tavares during an announcement in October. The automaker has committed $35.5 billion to its electrification efforts through 2025.
Ford received nearly $900 billion in incentives from Tennessee lawmakers for its $5.6 billion EV mega facility in the state. In addition to housing production facilities, Ford's Blue Oval City will have a segment specifically dedicated to battery research and optimization.
Significant interest and investment in batteries by automakers over the long-term will help increase battery range and decrease cost, making EVs even more efficient and viable in the coming years. More immediately, charging stations are being installed across the country at a faster rate than ever before. A report from ArsTechnica citing data from the U.S. Energy Department shows the country installed its 100,000th EV charger at some point in 2021. More importantly, most new charging stations that are being installed are level 2 chargers, which take just a few hours to fully charge a vehicle.
More over, already-existing infrastructure may be getting a huge boost from Tesla; earlier this month, the California-based EV automaker said it will open some of its chargers in Europe to non-Tesla vehicles with the intention on extending that offering globally.
EV infrastructure still has a long way to go, but it is becoming increasingly accessible and more robust, helping pave the way for widespread EV adoption in the not-too-distant future.