Barriers to EV take-up? They are disappearing
- April 05, 2017
High prices have been one problem holding back the take-up of EVs – but global sales database EV Volumes suggests that battery costs are dropping 20% each year. Another issue is the relative lack of charging stations, but this network is increasing too. In the US, 48 charging corridors are being built along 25,000 miles of highway in 35 states, with the aim of charging stations being located every 50 miles or so. Meanwhile, a European Union Directive last year pointed the way to ensuring that new-build houses in Europe have a charging point – and some companies are already rolling out their networks. In the US, public EV fast-charging station provider EVgo has teamed up with ABB to offer what it says is the first ‘high power’ charging station, located in Fremont, California.
At present, the fastest public charger points have a capacity of 50kW (which produces around three miles of EV travel per minute of charge). What EVgo and ABB are offering is 150kW (nine miles per minute), with the potential to go up to 350kW (more than 20 miles per minute). The Fremont station will not be open to the public, but it will be available for researchers to look at important issues such as standards, range, charging speed and safety requirements – vital elements in public acceptance of new technology. Back in Europe, there is a plan for 400 high-power (350kW) charging stations, backed by BMW, Daimler, Ford and Volkswagen, even as manufacturers are looking to develop EVs with increased battery capacities and longer ranges. “Our goal is to enable improved fast charging service in the future, helping our automotive OEM partners provide even more convenient and appealing options to their customers,” says Terry O’Day, vice president, product strategy and market development at EVgo. And make no mistake, OEMs are on board with this: EVgo offers a variety of charging plans for drivers including pay-as-you-go, low-cost membership and unlimited plans for customers of partner OEMs, including Nissan, BMW and Ford.