While early adopters won't need many public charging points for their electric cars, conventional wisdom has it that the public at large probably will.
And according to a May report by Pike Research, that's exactly what will happen. The clean-technology market research firm predicts that by 2015, the U.S. will have almost 1 million publicly accessible electric-vehicle charging stations. Globally, the total will be 4.7 million.
2011 Coda Sedan prototype - charging socket
Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric car at quick charging station
Most electric vehicles in the U.S. will still be charged overnight at their owners' homes, Pike's report says. Public charging will be relatively more important in the rest of the world, where fewer households have their own private garages.
As noted before, the additional power demand from EV charging won't have much impact on grid reliability, if any, but utilities may have to beef up their distribution equipment and transformers in neighborhoods with many electric cars.
The public chargers will largely be funded with government dollars in the early years, Pike says, and fees are likely to be low (or zero) due to the ease of charging at open plugs and individual residences.
Retailers may also install chargers as a marketing tool, offering free power to lure in consumers to shop.
These conclusions and more come in a report that looks at the business and technological issues around rolling out chargers and other infrastructure for electric vehicles in different markets across the globe.
Entitled Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment, the report covers drivers and barriers to growing the EV market, profiles utiliities and the companies that sell charging equipment, and forecasts sales volume for that equipment through 2015. It is available for purchase through Pike Research.