Saturday, February 27, 2021

WSJ: The Achilles Heel of the Electric Car Revolution- Poor Charging Infrastructure

Bradley Wilkinson is the owner of a 2017 Chevrolet Bolt, and the kind of electric-vehicle diehard who knows how to squeeze every last mile of range out of his vehicle.

Even so, during his most recent road trip, from Tampa, Fla., back home to Fort Carson, Colo., he spent about 58 hours on the road. In a gasoline-powered vehicle, on average, the 1,900-mile journey would take about 30. His relatively sluggish pace was due to his need to regularly power up the Bolt’s battery at a “fast” charger—so called because they’re many times faster than typical home chargers.

Less experienced EV owners report far bigger inconveniences than Mr. Wilkinson’s. Those include: too few charging stations, too much demand at the stations that are available, broken chargers, confusing payment systems, exorbitant electricity rates, and uncertainty over how long their cars need to charge.

While EVs can be powered up at home, industry analysts and academics believe that a fast-charging infrastructure is essential to getting beyond their current limited adoption. This next wave of slightly-less-early adopters is critical to a global automotive industry betting heavily on battery power.

Yet so far, only one carmaker has offered a reassuring pitch about conveniently and reliably recharging on the go: Tesla. And Tesla’s fast-charging technology doesn’t work on non-Tesla cars.

Building the requisite charging infrastructure for the rest of the EV universe will be expensive. The Biden administration has proposed building a network of 500,000 chargers in the next five years, which would cost billions. The fact that many believe such a government investment is required shows just how little faith many industry insiders have in the ability of private enterprise to solve this problem. One issue: Building out the nation’s charging infrastructure might not be profitable.

Read the rest here.

1 comment:

unreconstructed rebel said...

Ok. So the EV is not yet suitable for long road trips. Where the EV comes into its own is for in town driving where the internal combustion engine has its worst carbon footprint. Between charging at home & rooftop panels to add a few extra miles a day, the EV becomes an excellent commuter vehicle.

So, you want to make a long road trip. How many time a year does one do that? Keep a second car/truck for long haul travel and/or kiddie transport. Or, go rent a car for the occasional long haul.

Look, the transition from sail to steam took time while boilers blew up & ships caught fire. Likewise, the transition from prop to jet powered commercial aircraft took time while jet liners blew up. But, once steam or jet technology got sorted, that was the end of crossing the Atlantic by sail, or later, by prop.

Stop whining & think things thru.