With EV adoption on the rise, much work remains in providing reliable, robust public charging options.
A few years ago, I drove my 2013 Nissan Leaf on a 130-mile trek from my home in San Diego to a weekend bachelor party in Venice Beach. On the drive north, I marveled at the sunrise rising above the eastern mountains and spilling out over the ocean along the I-5 coastline. I picked up a friend in LA and arrived in Venice for an early start to the weekend.
San Diego to Venice – zero tailpipe emissions. A dream outcome for an energy nerd like me. But my electron-powered coastal cruise came at a price.
Charging my Leaf during the trip turned into a charging station treasure hunt. My limited-range EV necessitated two stops to charge, stretching my 2:30-hour trip into a 4-hour endeavor.
Home on the Range
It doesn’t take a battery scientist to recognize that’s a problem for getting people excited about electric vehicles (EVs). Edison Electric Institute (EEI) forecasts that one in four new cars sold in 2030 will be electric. My home state of California has pledged to forbid the sale of gas-powered cars by 2035. What can we do to make EVs a more convenient option?
Two historic barriers to EV adoption are battery range and charging infrastructure. Let’s start with EV range. While my Leaf boasted a whopping 75-mile range, most EVs manufactured today start at 250+ miles of juice, enough for a round trip trek from San Diego to LA on a single charge.
While roughly 80% of EV owners charge at home, promoting mass electric vehicle adoption requires filling the remaining 20% of our charging needs with robust charging infrastructure. That means plentiful charging options where we spend time in and around our communities. And EV fast-charging along travel corridors must be fast, convenient, and affordable. To support that vision, EEI calculates the US needs 10 million charging ports.
Building this future requires much work and investment. I’m working with a talented team to build a future where EV owners won’t have to think about charging stations. Charging will be as ubiquitous as parking lot lights. The grocery store, mall, public library, schools, multi-unit dwellings, restaurants, local parks, and (most vitally) bachelor party destinations – if you need a plug, you’ll find it.
Where the Rubber Hits the Road
To support our climate goals, I believe each US citizen’s next vehicle must be electric. It’s my job to help make electric the easy choice. Even with some federal funding for charging infrastructure, supporting 18 million EVs expected on US roadways by 2030 presents a daunting challenge. I’m proud to continue working towards a cleaner, safer, more resilient future in transportation. Let’s get to work!