Expanding EV Charging Infrastructure into Smaller Cities

By January 15, 2020 Blog
electric vehicle charging

electric vehicle charging

Across the nation, electric vehicle charging station infrastructure continues to grow. But as might be expected, larger cities and more densely populated areas have seen the largest growth in terms of numbers of available EV charging stations. Cities such as San Francisco, Seattle, San Diego, Austin, Los Angeles, Portland, and Washington, DC, all land squarely in the top 10 US cities when it comes to being EV-friendly.

While the expansion of EV charging infrastructure in these cities is a major step forward, it is the less populated areas of the country which suffer from a dearth of charging stations. This could create significant issues for EV drivers in the future, as demand for charging stations increases not only in the most heavily populated areas of the country, but the less populated areas as well.

Let’s take a closer look at areas in the United States that need more electric vehicle charging stations, including some challenges and solutions.

The Reality of Range Anxiety

According to a March 2019 poll from Morning Consult, the top reason many drivers continue to resist switching from traditional gasoline powered vehicles to electric vehicles is a phenomenon known as ‘range anxiety’, which is the fear that an electric vehicle’s battery will run out of power before the driver is able to reach their destination or a charging station. Given that statistic, it only makes sense that a significant barrier to more widespread EV adoption continues to be the lack of EV charging infrastructure in smaller cities, along longer stretches of interstate, and in rural areas of the country.

Improvements in EV technology are expected to lead to greater EV battery efficiency and longer ranges over the next few years. But this does not necessarily address the real concern that certain parts of the country are far behind where they need to be to meet the rising demand for EV charging infrastructure.

Mapping EV Charging Infrastructure

This map from the US Department of Energy reveals the locations of Level 2 and Level 3 Supercharging locations throughout the United States. As might be expected, both coasts –– from Seattle to San Diego, Boston to DC –– are relatively well equipped with EV charging stations.

Pulling back a bit, it is clear that smaller metropolitan areas throughout the country have clusters of EV charging stations, but in the South, Midwest, and Western regions of the country, much of the surrounding areas lack adequate EV charging infrastructure. Unless more electric vehicle charging stations are installed in these areas, range anxiety will likely persist; the sooner that more Level 2 and Level 3 EV charging stations are constructed to bridge these gaps, the sooner range anxiety will become obsolete –– and the sooner electric vehicle adoption will kick into high gear.

Source: https://afdc.energy.gov

According to this report by The International Council on Clean Transportation, many of the cities that need to increase EV charging infrastructure include the same cities found in the top 10 that are most EV-friendly! That is largely due to recent legislation passed in these areas which will result in a rapid growth in electric vehicle adoption.

Source: theicct.org

Smaller cities which could benefit from more EV charging stations are those which have growing populations, a population which skews younger, and supportive public policies that provide electric vehicle charging incentive programs. While the ICCT report notes that cities such as Nashville, Indianapolis, and Kansas City all have enough charging stations to meet the demand expected by 2025, there are still several smaller cities severely lacking the necessary EV charging infrastructure. Some of those cities include:

  • St. Louis
  • Tulsa
  • Denver / Boulder
  • Salt Lake City
  • Cincinnati
  • Providence
  • Buffalo

There is an additional pressure on these smaller metropolitan areas to expand their EV charging station infrastructure quickly: the lack of adequate EV charging at home. As smaller metro areas continue to draw young people who seek an urban lifestyle but at a lower cost than hubs like New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles, they bring with them a desire to drive electric vehicles.

However, living in these urban centers of these smaller cities often means going without a garage or proper vehicle storage; an increasing number of EV drivers do not have access to EV charging infrastructure. As these cities continue to grow, expanding access to EV charging will be yet another challenge to solve – but that also means that opportunity awaits.

Opportunity Awaits

While the lack of EV charging stations in these areas may be perceived as problematic to the broader adoption of electric vehicles in the United States, there’s a flip side to that coin: opportunity. Unlike traditional gas stations, the business of EV charging is one which has a much softer barrier to entry.

The expansion of the national EV charging infrastructure will be largely driven by business owners who wish to provide an incentive for EV drivers to frequent their businesses; by public administrations that wish to promote sustainable and environmentally-friendly electric vehicles; by utility companies recognizing that EVs will soon be the standard consumer car of choice; and by private networks of EV charging stations looking to become early adopters in what will become the filling station of the future.

We Can Get You There Faster

At EV Connect, our mission is to be the world’s leading provider of electric vehicle charging solutions for commercial, enterprise, and government applications. Our diverse clients include numerous municipalities, large and small, looking for innovative ways to increase the return on their investment in electric vehicle infrastructure.

Our team can help you manage your EV fleet and your EV charging station network, build out advanced site offerings through the EV cloud, and even identify electric vehicle charging incentive programs that can cut costs. To learn more about EV Connect, contact us today by filling out this form or give us a call at (888) 780-0062.

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