The answer to climate change and global warming has been a commitment by all governments and legacy carmakers to turn to electric vehicles by 2030. With the automobile industry looking at an emission-free future by 2035 latest, the tech to run the same is bound to improve. Alongside, the downsides of recharging and the low availability of charging stations, will also be taken care of soon.

According to an analysis by policy think tank Third Way, the U.S. needs 1.03 million new charging stations to support President Biden’s goal of electric vehicles making up 50% of car sales by 2030.

The current EV charging infrastructure is extremely inadequate.

“While private companies are building out more and more EV charging infrastructure to accommodate the accelerating shift towards EVs, we need federal support to ensure a robust buildout and to make sure this infrastructure is available to all drivers, including those in rural and underserved communities,” authors Ellen Hughes-Cromwick and Alexander Laska wrote.

Electric Vehicles by 2030

Companies like 7-Eleven and Walmart install chargers at stores to accommodate customers with electric cars.

The bipartisan infrastructure deal (BID) is a good first step towards building a nationwide, publicly accessible network of charging stations and could help fund as many as 600,000 chargers with its $7.5 billion funds. However, Third Way’s analysis shows the US needs significantly more chargers—1.03 million more than what’s currently available—by then. Adding 1.03 million chargers would cost around $15.86 billion—nearly $6.5 billion more than what’s included in the BID.

The authors of the report recommend an expansion of the 30C Alternative Fuel Refueling Property Credit through budget reconciliation. The credit gives tax benefits to people who install a charger on their premises. It is meant both for residential as well as commercial premises.

 A recent survey by JDPower’s showed that the significant factor behind the decision to buy an EV is its range—how far the car can travel on a single charge. People are waiting for a good charging infrastructure before making a full commitment to EVs.

According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s (NREL) quarterly charging infrastructure trends report, there are now 110,000 EV chargers in the US as of Q4 2020, 96,000 of which are publicly accessible.

This infrastructure is inadequate to charge the number of vehicles on road by 2030 and 2050 both. Third Way projects the US would have a total of 27 million EVs on the road in 2030. These 27 million vehicles would require approximately 1.125 million public chargers to support them or 1.03 million more than the current 96,000 public chargers. This build-out is needed so that consumers will have certainty that they will be able to refuel their EVs wherever they are.

Third Way projections:

  • 50% of light-duty vehicle sales must be EVs to meet 2030 goal
  • 27 million EVs on the road in 2030 to meet 50% sales goal, requiring 1.125 million public chargers
  • $6.5 billion funding needed in addition to the bipartisan infrastructure deal to support EV infrastructure buildout

Automakers like General Motors, Ford, Audi, and Rivian are all planning investments on EV charging to complement their investments in EVs. Non-auto companies such as 7-Eleven and Walmart are installing chargers at their stores to accommodate customers who drive electric cars. But more public and private investment is needed to scale up the charging to meet the expected influx of EVs by 2030.