Electric vehicles (EVs) and the infrastructure required to charge them have come a long way since the early days of EV adoption. Electric vehicle driving ranges have increased from a median of 73 miles in 2011 to 125 miles in 2019, not to mention the recent reveal of the 2021 Lucid Air with an expected range of over 500 miles.
Charging station numbers have also increased from less than one million in 2014 to over 7.3 million chargers worldwide in 2020. This means there is less fear among EV drivers of being stranded due to a lack of EV charging stations. Evolving EV battery technology and growing national EV charging infrastructures are enabling EV owners to travel further with a greater sense of ease than ever before.
EV range technology
Ten years ago, we worried about how far EVs could travel on a charge, where they would be charged, and how long it would take to charge. Fortunately, each of these concerns has been addressed by new technology in electric vehicles and in charging infrastructure.
The advancement of battery technologies and their manufacturing processes has helped increase the average EV range. Battery prices have fallen to help EVs become more cost competitive with internal combustion engine vehicles (ICEVs). Additionally, modern EVs have batteries that can receive high-power direct current, enabling many vehicles to gain up to 60 miles of range in just four minutes of fast charging. Between charging at home and the accessible roadside stations, ownership of EVs can likely be as or more convenient than ICEVs.
The average car owner travels less in a day (~30 miles/day) than the fuel range of even the lowest EV range (58 miles), and owners can save on time and money by charging at home or work. Charging overnight when electricity rates are low and when the car isn’t in use can ultimately save on commute time and fueling costs. For the average car owner today, charging at home can accommodate most of the owner’s driving needs.
But what about longer trips or days where the owner travels further than the range the EV’s battery can provide? Fortunately, the charging infrastructure to make your family road trip happen is becoming more common and available in the areas where you’re most likely to need them.
According to a BNEF report, vehicle sales for EVs will be 58% by 2040, and players from the big names in oil and gas as well as start-ups with high capital investors are working to install a national scale charging infrastructure.
Companies like Electrify America, ChargePoint, and Shell are installing charging stations in highway rest stops, big box stores, and even petrol stations —decreasing the average distance between chargers in the US for example to less than 70 miles. What’s more, the road-side chargers being deployed today are high powered with liquid cooled cabling. This enables ultra-fast charging to reach 80% battery capacity in 20-30 minutes.
Since power delivery to the EV is a time limiting factor, drivers may choose to slightly modify their vehicle fueling/charging routine. The charging network is targeting stations in locations where drivers can spend charging time productively. EV friendly trip routes can be found through apps like PlugShare, where stations are clearly marked, and the chargers reviewed by other app users. With planning, and a charging infrastructure including a high number of DC fast chargers, a long distance EV road trip can not only be enjoyable, but also convenient.
The level of freedom offered to EV owners is quickly approaching that of ICEVs. Carbon emission free transportation is becoming a reality, and the price for entry is falling. While there is growth to be made in the EV segment, drivers are already experiencing the benefits of EVs. The infrastructure required to support the emerging market is becoming global and more convenient. The world of EVs is expanding to make electric transportation accessible and there is more to come. Range anxiety is now a thing of the past!
Consumer Report on the growing charging network:
US DOE report on EV fuel range:
US DOE Resource to find Maps and Data for Alternative Fueling Stations:
US EERE report on electric vehicle range:
Shell Press Release on plans to incorporate Smart EV charging at Shell stations:
Power Technology article on players in EV charging infrastructure:
BNEF Study on EV Sales:
International Energy Agency report on EV market in 2020:
CNN Article About the 2021 500+ mile Lucid Air EV:
Statista Report on EV range in 2020 (pay for content):