How Many DC Fast-Chargers are Needed in the U.S.?
Electric cars are quickly becoming a reality in the U.S., but the charging infrastructure remains a barrier to mainstream adoption. To support increasing amounts of EVs on the road, the U.S. will need to prioritize the rollout of direct current fast-charging stations. But just how many DC fast-chargers will be needed to support the oncoming wave of EVs?
Above: Tesla vehicles charging at a Supercharger station (Image: Casey Murphy / EVANNEX).
In recent weeks, the Biden administration shared a list of companies and organizations taking part in the push to deploy 500,000 public EV chargers in the U.S. by 2030, as Barron’s reports. The list includes notable automotive industry names such as Uber, Blink Charging, Zipcar, the National Automobile Dealers Association, and more.
The list includes companies that have made “commitments to expand EV fleets, increase consumer education, and grow the availability of EV charging.” As the U.S. works to reach its EV adoption goals, one such goal should include how many fast-charging stations will be enough for EV buyers — a figure which Barron’s attempted to calculated in its recent story on the subject.
The U.S. Department of Energy said that there were around 140,000 EV charging ports in the country at the end of last year, up from roughly 53,000 individual plugs five years ago. Out of those ending 2022, just 28,000 were DC fast-charging ports, according to the agency.
The Transportant Department estimates that there are roughly 280 million vehicles on U.S. roads, while the American Petroleum Institute says there are about 145,000 gas stations across the country. At a very rough average of 10 pumps per station, there would be about one pump per 200 vehicles.
While Barron’s is quick to note that the “magical, correct number for EV chargers is elusive,” the outlet posits the idea that the 28,000 fast-chargers we had ending 2022 should at least target the number of gas stations in the U.S. by the decade’s end.
If the U.S. is to meet the White House’s goal of 50 percent new car sales being EVs by 2030, Barron’s says there would need to be about 45 million EVs on the road, equating to around 3,000 EVs per fast-charger. With the aid of home charging, which most EV owners utilize to slow-charge their vehicles overnight, Barron’s predicts that that figure “might be enough.”
Tesla also plans to open its Supercharger network to other EV brands, which could help in the long run. It’s currently only piloting the program at a few select stations in the U.S., though the company has expressed plans to open them up more widely in the future. To be sure, the U.S. will need all the help it can get to quell consumer range anxiety and to preserve the classic pastime of the American road trip.