Will overwhelmed infrastructure lead to doubled or tripled recharge times for EVs?

And will that drive sales of plug-in hybrids, given their increased powertrain flexibility, including the ability to switch to internal-combustion engine power?

One consultant says yes, that’s what will happen.

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Nicholas Meilhan, a Paris-based consultant for Frost and Sullivan, posits that consumers will prefer plug-in hybrids over EVs, because in his view, the charging infrastructure won’t be able to keep up with EV sales.

In addition, drivers want to be able to take long trips, so they might turn to plug-in hybrids in order to have the ability to make a weekend drive to visit family or friends. Meanwhile, these same drivers might see an EV as more of a city car.

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“Most drivers leaving for a long-distance weekend or holiday trip run the risk of their trips taking double or triple the time for a diesel or gasoline internal combustion engine vehicle. A battery electric car with ‘fast’ electric charge (50 kW) is approximately 25-times slower to fill than a vehicle with conventional fuel. Gasoline or diesel drivers will take five minutes to take on board what it will take two hours for a battery electric car as they will get six-times less energy in 20 minutes – the equivalent of 100 kilometers compared with 600 kilometers (62 miles versus 372 miles),” Meilhan said.

Meilhan also said there won’t be enough of the faster, more-expensive chargers, and will lead to charging delays. Frustrated drivers will instead turn their preferences to plug-in hybrids.

A ChargePoint executive clapped back, suggesting that longer charge times (a best-case of 40 minutes to recharge versus five minutes to fill with gas or diesel, according to Meilhan) won’t be a problem for consumers.

“ChargePoint, now having data from nearly 25 million charging sessions, envisions that charging needs will divide into two categories – around 80 percent of charging will take place in home and work, while another 20 percent will be at public sites like parking lots, street-side or fast charging stations,” Simon Lonsdale, vice president of business development for ChargePoint, told Forbes. ChargePoint just sold 200 rapid-charge systems to a British company called InstaVolt.

“Fast charging is for the rare occasions when drivers travel longer distances. Charging for the overwhelming majority of the time will be where drivers are, at home, work, or around time as they are doing something else,” he added.

Meilhan also pointed out that driving at highway speeds reduces EV range by up to 60 percent.