Analyst Predicts 4.1 Million Electric Car Charging Stations By 2017

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Polar Network Charging Stations

Polar Network Charging Stations

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There are currently 10,000 or so publicly-available electric car charging stations in the U.S., in addition to countless private charging stations in homes and businesses across the nation. 

The current number of charging stations in the U.S. today makes electric cars trump all other alternative-fuel cars when it comes to finding a place to refuel, but according to a recent report, the number of electric car charging stations in the U.S. could reach 4.1 million by 2017.

The prediction comes courtesy of a recent analysis of electric car charging stations by Frost & Sullivan, a global consultancy specializing in assisting clients with predicting and handling industry growth.

Home-charging wins

Despite an expected increase by 2017 from 10,000 to around 500,000 publicly available charging stations, the study predicts that a massive 87 percent -- around 3.5 million -- of all charging stations will be in residential locations. 

That’s because most electric cars are charged at night while parked at home, when long periods of inactivity combined with specialist electric car charging rates from utility companies provide the ideal opportunity to recharge.

Slow, level 1 charging popular

2011 Chevrolet Volt 240V charging station

2011 Chevrolet Volt 240V charging station

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Because most electric cars spend between 10 and 12 hours per night in a garage not being used, Frost & Sullivan predicts that the majority of electric car charging in 2017 will be carried out using level 1 charging stations. 

Essentially a charging station contained within a chord, level 1 charging stations plug into a readily-available 110-volt outlet, meaning they are both portable and cheap. 

In fact, since most electric cars on the market today come with a level 1 charging chord included for free, Frost & Sullivan predicts that most consumers will forego an expensive, faster, level 2, 240-volt charging station for the slower, cheaper option. 

By 2017, it says, 2.9 million of the total 4.1 million charging stations in the U.S. will be of the slower, 110-volt, level 1 type. 

Level 2 charging in second-place

Of the remaining charging stations predicted to exist in the U.S. by 2017, Frost & Sullivan says that 27 percent -- or just over 1.1 million -- will be capable of level 2 charging. 

Unlike the level 1 charging stations, level 2, 240-volt charging stations must be fitted by an approved electrician, usually in one location. 

Although they provide a much faster recharge time for electric cars than the level 1, 110-volt charging stations, Level 2 charging stations are still reasonably costly to install, especially in public locations like parking lots where additional cabling needs to be laid.

Just two percent for everything else

Portland CHAdeMO quick-charging station (publicly accessible)

Portland CHAdeMO quick-charging station (publicly accessible)

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The remaining two percent of charging stations, approximately 82,000, will account for all the other charging stations in the U.S. by 2017. 

These will include direct current fast charging stations capable of recharging cars in less than 30 minutes.


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Comments (9)
  1. It could happen, electric car charging points only require installation because the electricity is already there. Unlike alternative liquid fuels that have to be shipped by truck from who knows where. In my area last year there were only 4 public charging points, now there are over 40.

  2. disappointing. i rather see 1 million L2 public stations, 100,000 L 3's

  3. Another place is ideal for charging station but has yet to embrace it, work places and business. So far, only a handful large corporation have adopted providing charging stations at work. Google, Adobe, SAP...etc. If all major fortune 500 companies start providing charging stations to employee and customers, the network will grow quickly and significantly. It also fit the model that most people only commute less than 40 miles per day to/from work... Most business and work place already have large electrical infrastructure and population density. Ideal for charging stations.

  4. Movie Theaters. best place for a station. Not only do you get a captive audience you also get eyeballs. Movies are a place where cultures have been built over the decades. Regal needs to get into this. Even if they can put out 120V plugs, they'd be helping. Maybe liability insurance of people plugging something in could be an issue?

  5. Is even workplace charging stations workable once (if) EV adoption is more widespread? Take for example a 200 person per shift company and we are to the point that 15% have adopted EVs. How many and what type level 2 chargers should the company provide? Concerns for cost of infrastructure, and electrical use (demand rate premiums) have to be considered. Should the employer limit use to those that don't have the range to get back home? Employers will most likely charge for this service. Should pricing be to cover electrical cost? all costs? or something attempting to be equivalent to gasoline costs? The latter may help eliminate envy complaints from non-EV users and all may help eliminate charging by those that don't need it to get home.

  6. editor: cord, not chord. 4.1MM is really a ridiculous number. I see now - they are considering "a plug outdoors" as a 120V charging station. This consultancy is a little misleading in their report.

  7. "I see now - they are considering "a plug outdoors" as a 120V charging station. This consultancy is a little misleading in their report."

    Yes, the consultants don't have much of a "feel" for EV's at all. Even Chevy Volt drivers with just 10.3 kWh to fill, after saying "they don't need to look for chargers" in the wild - - - are gravitating toward level two charging.

    And batteries will get larger year by year, following along with increases in battery energy density. Which have averaged 8% improvements yearly for two decades. Leading to higher power needs.

    Clearly 120 volt chargers are not free, there is a cost for them like other automotive components. If most pay-to-charge stations will charge by the hour, level I there will = no go.

  8. I would not consider AC level 1 to be a "charging station" is only the nearest 110V 3 prong outlet (preferably GFCI and isolated circuit). AC Level 2 and DC Fast Charge (aka DC Level 2 - sorry David there is no Level 3) are what should be the article topic.

  9. Thanks for the post, it was interesting to read about the future of electromobility and charging processes. I was surprised as I just read on another website that charging might even be working without cable in the future (so called inductive charging):

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