PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – When Stephanie Terrell bought a used Nissan Leaf this fall, she was excited to join the growing number of drivers who choose electric cars.
But Terrell ran into a problem on her way to clean driving: as a renter, she doesn’t have a place to plug in her car overnight, and the public charging stations near her are often full. Recently, the 23-year-old almost ran out of power on the highway because the charging station she used was too busy.
She also said, “It was very scary, and I was afraid I wouldn’t make it.” “I like it better than buying gas, but there are some problems I didn’t expect.”
Cities Are on the Lookout for Charging Solutions
Homeowners with garage charging stations are already using electric cars, but millions of renters don’t have access. Cities all over the U.S. are scrambling to come up with creative public charging options as drivers string power lines across sidewalks and install private charging stations on city right-of-ways.
The Biden administration accepted plans from all 50 states to use $5 billion in federal money over five years to put high-speed chargers along interstate routes. States have to wait to apply for $2.5 billion in local funds so they can fill gaps in charging, especially in cities with a lot of people.
Jeff Allen, the head of the group Forth, which promotes electric car ownership and charging access, said that making it easy for people who live in apartments to charge is a big problem.
Cities must understand that “Promoting electric cars is part of making transportation more sustainable. Once they make that change in their minds, they may be able to do many real things.”
With DC Fast chargers, it takes 45 minutes to fill up a car. Still, there are four times as many Level 2 chargers as DC fast chargers. Level 1 chargers don’t work unless you drive your car very little or leave it plugged in overnight.
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To Accommodate Ev Demand, Millions of Charging Stations Are Required
According to the most recent data from the U.S. Department of Energy, there are about 120,000 public charging ports that offer Level 2 or higher charging and about 1.5 million electric vehicles registered in the country. This means that there is a little more than one charger for every 12 cars.
Last year, the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory predicted for the US Department of Energy that there would be just under 19 million electric cars on the road by 2030 and that an additional 9.6 million charging stations would be needed.
Plug-in cars made up almost a quarter of all new cars registered in Los Angeles in July, for example. Yamen Nanne, who is in charge of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s transportation electrification program, says that the city will need to increase its distribution capacity by 25% to 50% over the next 20 years. About two-thirds of the increase in demand will come from electric vehicles (EVs).
In the middle of the growth, dense city neighborhoods are quickly becoming points of stress.