Charging Scarcity Holding Back EV Growth

Lisa Ann Pinkerton, May 19, 2014


Electric vehicles are so much cleaner and quieter. Their capability for rapid acceleration is unmatched by any internal combustion engine vehicle. Now, in daily commutes there's no need accelerations of that level but having no fumes on the road would be nice. If every car was electric, windows can be rolled down even in bumper to bumper traffic through a tunnel. So why aren't we all driving electric? Lisa dives into the need to support charging infrastructure so drivers can have the confidence to switch to electric.

"At the turn of the 20th Century, it took only 13 years to replace the the horse and carriage with automobiles. A system that had dominated for centuries as a preferred means of transport was displaced seemingly over night.. Today, transportation is witnessing another technological shift to electric plug-in and extended range vehicles. However, four years in to the shift, it’s still to early to say how the transition to an electrically dominated automobile industry will compare to the switch from horse to “horsepower.”
At the 4th annual Silicon Valley Leadership Group’s Driving Charged and Connected event last week, experts debated the challenges and speculated on the speed of the move to electric vehicles. The answer promoted by many was that the issue is not one of technology development, but a question of the public’s desire to deploy it, i.e. a willingness to finance the infrastructure needed.
In 2011, Google announced it would install 450 charging stations with free “fill ups” to employees. Today, the Mountain View campus is conducting over 900 charging sessions a day. That’s a charging load of approximately 7.5 MW of energy each day. “We built it, and the EVs arrived, and they keep on coming,”said Rolf Schreiber, technical program manager for electric transportation at Google. “That amount of power is like displacing over 500 gallons of fuel.”
Schreiber says Google’s current charging stations are over-subscribed and the campus’s electrical infrastructure has exceeded the ability to put in more charging stations. “Our expanded charging system has helped several Googlers decide to buy new EVs of their own,”said Schreiber. “Now we must develop strategies to balance the needs of drivers who need to charge, verses those that want to charge.” "

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