charging-leaf-city

It’s great to have EV chargers in the city — but that’s far from the only place they are needed. [Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Michael Hicks]

editors-blog-entry3The one (pure) electric car + one ICE crutch household is putting a serious crimp on EV charging infrastructure growth and expansion.

How so?

When 98 percent of EV owners have a gas car crutch in the garage too — this estimate might be a tad high, I don’t know; sadly, no one is keeping track of this stat — and they all ditch their EV in favor of an ICE crutch for mid- and long-range trips, there is NO incentive at all to build out mid- and long-range EV charging infrastructure.

Virtually no mid- to long-range EV charging
And, guess, what? With some exceptions — the ones I know of are in Washington, Oregon and California — in the United States, there is no meangingful, or significant, mid- to long-range EV charging infrastructure for EVs.



The notable, and laudable, stand out, of course, is the Tesla Supercharger network. But that’s being built by — no surprise here — a pure EV car company.

Tesla CEO Elon Musk understands, or, really, cares about, what traditional car makers really do not care about: You need an EV charging infrastructure that gets people, in their EVs, to and from places they could not otherwise get in their EV without that infrastructure.

Traditional car makers are perfectly happy with the status quo, according to which we have 98 percent of EV owners using their EV almost exclusively for local driving, and their ICE crutch for anything, and everything, else.

Traditional car makers need a push here, folks! And it’s not going to come from them.

They need EV owners actually clamoring for mid- to long-distance EV charging infrastructure, and, yes, that means, you and I!

If we EV owners keep leaping into our ICE crutches rather than saying, “I should be able to drive my Nissan LEAF, etc. there and back — and I could, no problem, if there were chargers where I was going, and, for longer trips, chargers along the way,” virtually nothing will happen. Mid- to long-distance EV charging infrastructure will continue to grow at a glacial pace.

My post-divorce household = 1 EV only
I admit that I didn’t see this reality — until I found myself living in an EV only household, namely, my own. And, no, I didn’t plan it this way. Thanks to a divorce that hit early in my two-year Nissan LEAF lease, I no longer have an ICE crutch — a pure EV is my ONLY car.

If, however, a mid- to long-distance EV infrastructure were in place, I could, and would, go there in my pure EV Nissan LEAF. If a robust and wide mid- to long-range EV charging infrastructure existed, I bet you’d go there, too, in your LEAF, etc. and leave that ICE crutch at home, catching dust, or doing what it really should be doing — all of the time.

If I want to drive to mountain hikes 50 to 70 miles away from Denver, Colo., where I live — well, I can’t, or I have to rent a car (in 11 months in my LEAF only household, I haven’t gotten around to doing this).

If, however, a mid- to long-distance EV infrastructure were in place, I could, and would, go there in my pure EV Nissan LEAF. If a robust and wide mid- to long-range EV charging infrastructure existed, I bet you’d go there, too, in your LEAF, etc. and leave that ICE crutch at home, catching dust, or doing what it really should be doing — all of the time.

It’s a chicken and egg issue: No one’s regularly doing mid- to long-distance EV driving (except Tesla owners), therefore there’s no mid- to long-distance EV charging network.  And there’s no network because no one is doing the mid- to long-distance EV driving. Instead, they’re all — except for me, of course 😉 — just hopping into an ICE crutch.

The more often people in EV + ICE crutch households ICE it rather than push hard to be able to EV it, the longer we’ll go where these folks will have to ICE it, and I, in my EV only household, just won’t be able to get there at all 😉

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4 Responses

  1. Fuzz

    Actually, there are a handful of L2 chargers namely in Idaho Springs which make the journey along I70 possible in a LEAF. I have taken mine to Breckenridge. Granted, L3 would make things far more realistic for more than the occasional EV adventure.

    Reply
    • Christof Demont-Heinrich

      You are right, but I would also like to see chargers along 285, 14, 34, 160, etc. — so that I can expand my LEAF possibilities — and avoid I-70 traffic.

      Reply
      • Ray Cardona

        Sorry to disagree but it is not just the charging stations but the type for only a DC Fast Charging network makes LEAF distance travel tolerable and only in the two to three hour range. Once the market delivers 200 miles EV range, as delivered by Tesla and promised by Chevy, with relatively fast charging times, then and only then, is medium distance EV travel practicable. In Cincinnati, Ohio I have worked this issue since last year and now we proudly have NINE DC Fast Chargers that make the LEAF or BMW i3 or other CCS or Chademo capable cars more range but only within the metro area as other near cities lack these. So, both the charging infrastructure AND a car with range and quick charging are needed for what you aspire for. Do work the issue locally as to chargers. Otherwise, wait for the Chevy Bolt or a less pricey Tesla. Good luck.

  2. Dave K.

    We have a pretty good network growing around Atlanta, somewhat because of our state tax credit for pure EVs only(now sadly repealed). It’s really a chicken or egg problem and some institution needs to step up, OEMs, government, or utilities. Ga. has been a combination of the 3…

    Reply

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