Fast Charging Networks in the US

Electric car charging stations in Ludwisberg (Germany)

From the recent events, we can say that the future is electric and governments, companies, and investors are investing a huge amount of money in it. For any new technology to gain momentum in the market there is a tipping point or in other words, it has to be proven that it is more efficient than the prevailing technology. 

When it comes to electric vehicles or electric cars to specific, what is the one thing that stands between electric cars and their market dominance? There is actually not one but a few reasons for it. They are,

  • The range of the electric car
  • The price of the electric car
  • The charging of the electric car

Now the first two problems are almost resolved to a great extent since the electric cars currently available in the market is having a pretty impressive range and as the technology advances on both the manufacturing process and in the battery, (it is said that the battery system alone costs one-third of the total price of an electric car) the price of an electric car is predicted to be dropping and at a point, it would cost nearly as a conventional IC powered car.

But Still, there is a huge problem that concerns the customers as well as the automakers themselves.

The charging problem

According to a study, it is concluded that people wants their car to be fully charged in 31 minutes or less and to be frank that’s a bit challenging. Given that most of the charging stations in the U.S is 240 Volt charging points and it will take a minimum of 8-9 hours to fully charge your electric car.

For a daily commutator and a city driver who travels 40 miles on average, it is okay because he can charge his car while he is asleep and the car will be fully replenished as he is, in the morning.

For a lone traveler, it is really a concern and makes him a bit skeptical about EVs. The players on the market have identified this threat, that’s why huge investments are made for improving the charging infrastructure in the country by the car manufacturers and by other established companies and a few startups as well. Though it seems to be a threat to the EV market, companies and investors are planning to take leverage on the issue by resolving the problem in an efficient way.

In order to address the issues, many companies have come up with great plans. 

Let us explore them one by one.

The Tesla supercharging stations

Now, for a number of people all over the world, Electric car means Tesla. Is it only because of the Musk way of advertisement and promotion campaign? The answer is ’NO’.

I agree that promotions and campaigns have a significant impact on the popularity of Tesla, We have to admit that Tesla has a number of merits to its credit.

Tesla charger network

Beginning from the early years of the company Tesla had a perfect vision for their car and its supporting infrastructure. They were very particular about the battery and charging system of the car. On the first day itself, they knew that the battery and the charging system play a huge role in the success of their models and the company.

Tesla has been expanding its fast-charging network called Superchargers at a furious rate since 2012, the year Tesla started selling the Model S and started the Supercharging stations. 

The network has been a key to the success of the business, as well as the car itself. Tesla has always been prioritizing fast charging. Up to 15 miles per minute can be added by Tesla’s newest V3 stations, Which is a charge of 75 miles in 5 minutes.

Currently, Tesla has more than 20000 fast-charging stations in the U.S and the majority of them is in North America.

Let us look at some of the promises tesla given on their V3 Charging stations.

  • The new “V3” Supercharger will charge some of the Model 3 at a rate of 250 kW, which Tesla claims is fast enough to add 75 miles in 5 minutes
  • Over Tesla’s V2 chargers, which have a potential capacity of 150kW, but are limited to 120kW, the V3 Supercharger is a major improvement
  • Tesla is introducing a pretty impressive feature called ‘On-Route Battery Warmup’
  • The feature will preheat the battery to an optimum temperature to aid the charging rate because the temperature of the battery plays a vital role in fast charging
  • One of the major concerns about the company’s current charging stations, which is that consumers will experience “power splitting” or slower charging speeds when many of the adjacent stalls are in service, is addressed by Tesla’s third-generation Superchargers
  • In order to ensure that the higher-capacity stations do not overheat or catch fire, the new superchargers also have a built-in liquid coolant system

With these revolutionary upgrades being made consistently to their fast charging stations Tesla continues to be the leader in the Fast charging industry. Tesla is addressing issues regarding the charging of their cars keenly and it seems that they are not stopping it. 

Apart from the upgrades in the infrastructure company is making changes in the software to facilitate an improved charging rate.

But now Tesla has got competition from various companies There’s a growing number of highway fast-charging stations that are accessible to all EV drivers in the U.S.

Some of them are,

Electrify America

Electrify America is Volkswagen’s electric-car infrastructure subsidiary, which, besides Tesla, is making the biggest effort to build electric car charging stations for any company. Electrify America hopes that the increasing number of charging stations will put EV owners at ease and will enable more people to shift from conventional IC-powered vehicles to EVs.  The Electrify America is a piece of exciting news for the owners of non-tesla EVs and those who are planning to buy a non-Tesla EV.

  • Electrify America is on a quest to build a robust fast-charging network in the U.S
  • At present, it operates 461 charging stations with over 1,580 individual chargers and adds more at a fast pace
  • The network has recently completed its second cross-country route and has vast corridors that span both coasts, the Florida-Chicago axis, and more
  • According to the network, its charging stations are located about 70 miles apart on average
  • It ensures that EV drivers have the confidence to travel throughout the region. Up to 350kW speeds are offered by the high-powered chargers
  • By the end of 2021, Electrify America plans to build or have about 800 total charging stations with about 3,500 DC quick chargers under construction
  • At Electrify America locations, Porsche Taycan customers will receive unlimited 30-minute charges for three years
  • Audi e-Tron owners earn over four years of 1000 kilowatt-hours of charging at these places

Being a brand-neutral fast-charging network, and with the pace at which it’s growing, Electrify America has the potential to make drastic changes in the EV sector of the country. It gives hope and confidence to the non-Tesla owners.

EVgo and ChargePoint

EVgo claims to be the largest public DC fast-charging network in the U.S. In 67 metropolitan areas, with more than 800 fast-charging sites and thousands more in development. Anyone who has signed up can also benefit from a ChargePoint roaming access agreement, which allows them access to more chargers without having to register with ChargePoint for an account. The Electrify America, EV Link, and Nissan deals have also been revealed by EVgo.

Tesla and Electrify America seem to be leading the race of fast-charging networks in the U.S but companies like EVgo, ChargePoint, etc are making huge moves as well.

Not so surprisingly Fossil-fuel giants such as Shell, BP, etc are investing keenly in the electric charging networks all over the world. They are following the motto “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”.

Investors all around the world have understood the potential of the EV market and it gains even more momentum when the governments’ supports are being poured to facilitate for a greener tomorrow. That’s being said the problem we identified above, would be resolved in a couple of months are one or two years. 

It is certain that the future is electric for more information on the electric vehicle market keep visiting

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