It’s not unusual to hear people wave off the change to fully electric to when EV chargers are as plentiful as gas stations, and when vehicle charging can be done, in a pinch, in nearly the same time.
One side of that equation has already arrived—in the UK. According to Nissan UK, there are about 9,300 public charging stations, as opposed to 8,400 gas stations.
Shell charging station in Britain (higher res)
The number of gas stations has been on a slight decline for the past 50 years in the UK, and some places are becoming petrol deserts. Just four gas stations exist in London’s congestion-charge zone, for instance, while Transport for London has installed more than 1,000 charge points in the past year.
As for the other thing—the speed of charging stops when you’re in a pinch—there’s been progress. About 1,600 of those locations are fast chargers—generally of the 50-kw level and above. That won’t get charging stops quite close enough to gas-station speeds yet, but it does assure that a wide range of EVs (the Nissan Leaf Plus, for example) can get an 80 percent in less than an hour (or much shorter in some instances, like the Tesla Model 3 or Audi E-tron).
Gas stations versus charging stations in the UK [Nissan UK]
Nissan notes that according to Zap-Map, two new fast-charge stations were opened every day the last month. Zap-Map also points to a current total of 290 Tesla Superchargers in the UK.
Not the case in the U.S.
In the U.S., gas stations remain far, far ahead. According to the U.S. Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are 22,408 charging stations in the U.S., including 3,092 DC fast charge stations. And according to the EPA there are 168,000 gas stations in the U.S.
So Brits, celebrate your victory. In the U.S. we have some infrastructure-building to do.