The way people are charged is changing quickly in the U.S. Tesla has almost won the battle for the standard charge connector, which means that charging will probably become a lot easier in the near future. But charging networks are also growing, and companies like Mercedes-Benz are getting involved.
Mercedes and MN8 Energy said early this year that they would work together to build charging points. Recently, it announced that the first of these sites would finally open in October.
Don’t plan a car trip just yet because the first stations will only be in Atlanta. But right now seems like a good time to take a step back and look at how charging works in the U.S. Where are we now? How far do we still have to go?
What are the major charging networks?
The majority of the infrastructure in the United States is made up of a number of large charging networks. ChargePoint is the largest of them, with a considerable number of Level 2 chargers and a considerably lesser number of DC fast chargers. If you want DC fast charging, the Tesla Supercharger network is the largest, with chargers ranging up to 250 kilowatts – the fastest charging speed that Teslas can take. Tesla provides the most convenient charging experience since Tesla owners who charge at a Tesla charging station don’t have to pay every time – the charger communicates with the car, which has your payment information on file. It all happens on its own.
Blink and SemaConnect are the next in line, owing to their extensive network of Level 1 and Level 2 chargers. However, when it comes to DC fast chargers, Electrify America trails Tesla. Other charging networks include EVgo, which has a vast network, and EV Connect.
Of course, newcomers have the potential to change things up a little. If Mercedes, for example, is able to build out a huge network, it may be able to deliver a better charging experience — especially if faster-charging cars become available. Mercedes has stated that its chargers will be capable of charging at up to 400kW, which is quicker than any other auto charger now available and may allow a car to be fully charged in 10 to 15 minutes if it supports that rapid charging speed.
Which states have the most chargers?
So where is the best location to live with an electric vehicle? Well, the answer is probably somewhat obvious: California.
It is by no means near. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, California had 14,997 public charging stations at the time of writing. Second position? New York, with 3,534 residents. Given California’s larger population and the fact that so many Californians own electric vehicles, it makes sense that the state is so far ahead of the competition. Florida ranks third with 2,876.
It is anticipated that these numbers will increase rapidly over time; currently, only a small percentage of U.S. drivers own electric vehicles, and while many will charge at home, we’ll also need the infrastructure to support public charging.
How many chargers do we need?
Because of the rapid increase in the use of electric cars, we are likely to require a significant number of additional charging stations for electric vehicles in the very near future. By the year 2027, we are going to require approximately 1.2 million Level 2 chargers in addition to 109,000 Level 3 chargers, as stated by S&P Global Mobility. That’s not even half of a decade away. This percentage is projected to increase quite a bit by the year 2030, when it is anticipated that new vehicles will be 40% electric. According to S&P, we will require 2.13 million Level 2 chargers by then, in addition to 172,000 Level 3 charges.
There are currently 126,500 Level 2 chargers and 20,432 Level 3 charges in the United States, according to some estimates; however, the 16,822 Tesla chargers are included as a different category. But even after accounting for everything, we’re still quite far behind.
In other words, we still have a significant distance to travel. More electric vehicle (EV) chargers are obviously better, and more charging firms are also better, as long as manufacturers continue to adhere to the criteria for EV charging. It is very feasible that a widespread transition to the Tesla NACS port will help with that; nevertheless, we can only hope that electric vehicle makers will work on ways to make this process more streamlined, such as the use of a Tesla charger.