Rural EV Owners Deal with Charger Disparity

It’s no surprise to anyone that gas stations are fewer and further in between in rural areas.

So it shouldn’t be shocking that the same holds true for electric-vehicle charging stations. There’s one big difference, however – most EVs have shorter ranges than vehicles fueled by gasoline or diesel.

The Denver Post chronicles the struggles of EV owners who live in places like the Adirondack Mountains in New York, or in remote parts of Canada.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Nationwide EV Charging Plans

It’s not just running out of range that worries EV drivers – it’s also finding something to do to keep themselves occupied while charging, in the event that they do find a charging station – or plug in to an outlet at a friend’s house.

The lack of charging stations is one problem, and the effects of mountainous terrain and cold weather, in some cases at least, on battery range is another.

SEE ALSO: VW Reveals Tesla-like EV Charging Plans

“When we really go anywhere, I have a whole list of phone numbers of friends who live all over the Adirondacks,” one owner told the Post while her car was charging. “So that at a moment’s notice I can call somebody and be like, ‘Hi, I’m going to pull into your driveway. And do you have an outdoor electrical outlet?’”

Including hybrids, there are more than 600,000 electrified vehicles on the road in the U.S. and Canada, at least according to ChargePoint, a company that operates and manages charging stations. There are more than 18,000 charging stations currently in use, with a total of about 48,000 outlets.

But charging stations aren’t distributed evenly across the land – most are clumped together in California and along the parts of the East Coast that have the greatest population density. Other population centers in the Midwest also claim more charging stations that parts of the country that consist of wide-open spaces.

Still, as EVs and plug-in hybrids gain more of a foothold in the market, more charging stations are opening up. Some EVs also offer greater range – the Tesla Model S has long offered range comparable to that of some gasoline-fueled vehicles. The Model S isn’t cheap, but more-affordable offerings from Chevrolet and Tesla – the Bolt and Model 3, respectively – are on the way to market, and they promise longer ranges than currently available EVs at similar price points.

That should make life easier for EV enthusiasts and buyers who live outside of large population centers. Perhaps there will be less of a need for backup plans in the near future.

The Denver Post


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