Fill ‘er up: Examining electrical vehicle charging facilities in US


(NewsNation) — As gas prices soar, the car world is going electric and car brands including Ford, Cadillac and Lexus are planning to make the switch.

The only problem is that there are more gas stations than charging stations in the U.S.

Despite less than 1% of the 250 million vehicles on U.S. roads being electric, EV sales more than doubled worldwide from 2020 to 2021.

To accommodate the rise, President Biden wants to build 500,000 EV charging stations across the U.S. at a cost of $7 billion.

At this time, most EV drivers charge their cars overnight at home. And if you don’t have a garage, outdoor charging is safe, even in the rain — they use Level One or Level Two chargers.

Level One chargers require no installation, only plugging into an outlet. The cost to fill up is only a couple of dollars, depending upon electricity prices. The downside is, this is the slowest way to charge — at three to five miles of EV range per hour, it could take a full day to fill an empty battery.

That’s why some folks opt for the Level Two option. The battery refills overnight at home and users only have to fork over the upfront cost of the charging unit, plus a little more for the power.

Level Two is the most common charger in the U.S., with more than 90,000 and growing. They’ve been deployed in every state and can be found in all sorts of popular locations.

If you run out of range on the road, what you’ll pay for a charge varies widely, as does how long you’ll have to wait. Some providers offer free charging, while others charge by the kilowatt-hour, approximately $1 to $5 per hour.

And how long between fill-ups? An 8-hour charge on a public Level Two will come close to filling the battery of almost any EV. But direct current fast chargers (DCFCs) are the future. They’re the fastest chargers available, taking a battery to 80% in 20-40 minutes. The maximum charge rate often depends on how quickly the car can take in the power.

There are about 21,000 of these in the U.S. right now, and they can be found in industrial and commercial locations. Your charge will cost a couple of bucks more than a Level Two, but you’ll be back on the road much sooner.

Although most people charge at home, it’s clear the U.S. needs a more robust electric charger infrastructure. Currently, there are more than 48,000 public charging stations in the U.S., compared to about 145,000 gas stations.

The Biden administration’s pledge, while it is a massive infrastructure project, will help the U.S. meet their climate goals over the next decade.

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