As policymakers and the industry rush as fast as they can into the electrified vehicle future, eyes will be on a number of potential paradigm shifts.
Among these were factors revealed by a recent report by global consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan which predicts a massive increase in EV charging units in the U.S. from just 10,000 or so today to 4.1 million by 2017.
Although public charging units are expected to crest to around 500,000 installations, the biggest growth is likely to come from residential units; 3.5 million according to the report.
What’s more, because of cost considerations, it’s believed most of those residential units will be level 1 charging devices, which– unlike level 2 units – do not require installation by an approved electrician. Level 1 chargers in fact use only 120-volt household current, and merely plug into the standard wall receptacle while providing a cord to reach the vehicle’s charging socket.
For most EV owners this would mean overnight charging at home will be essential for operating their vehicles. In many cases, a full charge will take 10-12 hours.
But, given the emphasis on a modern 24/7 culture, that could pose an inconvenience, although automakers and technology companies are also working to reduce down time via new-generation batteries and improved charging devices.
Utility companies are also keeping their eyes open to prevent over-burdening local grids and it’s believed electricity supply challenges will be met as needed.
The predicted rise in EV charging stations further represents an interesting juxtaposition against conventional gasoline filling stations, which in most Western countries have been on the decline in recent years.
According to data from the National Petroleum News Survey, the number of gas stations in the U.S has been dropping significantly in the last two decades. From 202,878 in 1994, there were 164,292 in 2007 (the most recent year we could obtain figures).
Although it’s still far too early to predict, there is a possibility that sometime in the future, driving an EV could actually prove far more convenient that filling up at the pump.