Cure for Range Anxiety on Tap, With Boom in EV Charging Stations


  • 2013 Nissan Leaf Picture

    2013 Nissan Leaf Picture

    More EV charging stations are coming to the U.S. and other countries, which should make life easier for owners of vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf. | May 17, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • The number of electric-vehicle charging stations available worldwide will grow to 10.7 million by 2020, up from 135,000 in 2011, according to a new report from IHS Automotive.
  • The highest concentration of charging stations will be in the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Energy, there are currently 5,894 charging stations here.

LONDON — Expect the number of electric-vehicle charging stations available worldwide to grow to 10.7 million by 2020, up from 135,000 in 2011, according to a new report from IHS Automotive.

The report, compiled by IMS Research, a business unit of IHS, says this growth should help relieve "range anxiety," still one of the major drawbacks to EVs among large numbers of consumers. The U.S. Department of Energy says the nation currently has 5,894 charging stations, serving what is still a relatively small number of vehicles.

Electric vehicles typically have a limited driving range. The EPA says the 2013 Nissan Leaf has a driving range of 75 miles, while the 2013 Mitsubishi i has driving range of 62 miles.

The number of electric vehicles is expected to increase significantly during the next decade. While acknowledging the hurdles still to be overcome, the International Energy Agency is hoping to see 20 million EVs on the road worldwide by 2020.

And technology consulting firm Navigant Research says 1.8 million EVs will be sold in the U.S. during that time period.

Several factors will drive this shift to EVs, according to the IHS report, including an increase in emission regulations around the world, rising fuel costs, unease about energy security, concern about climate change, and a population shift to urban areas.

"Sales of hybrid and electric vehicles are set to continue apace over the next 10 years," says the report's author, Alastair Hayfield. "While volumes may not reach the levels imagined in the hype of 2009, it is clear that there needs to be charging infrastructure in place to support this change in mobility."

The report predicts the highest concentration of charging stations will be in the U.S., China, Japan, and Germany, countries where carmakers are now aggressively pursuing EV technology and where government programs and private investment can be expected to spur further development.

Edmunds says: In just a few years, EV charging stations may be as ubiquitous as gas stations.

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