Electronics and Semiconductors

EV adoption hindered by lack of public infrastructure, study

01 August 2023
There is a significant gap between public and home charger adoption with twice as many home characters as public chargers in service by 2027. Source: ChargePoint

Lack of public infrastructure is severely limiting electric vehicle (EV) adoption in urban environments, according to a new study from Juniper Research.

Particularly, the study said that flat and apartment owners cannot have home chargers fitted to their homes. This is just one of the issues the automotive industry is dealing with as it undergoes its largest transition in history from internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles to all-electrified fleets.

Juniper forecasts EV charging points in service will grow from 14.2 million in 2023 to 45 million in 2027 globally. However, the market research firm identified a significant gap between public and home charger adoption with more than twice as many home chargers as public chargers in service by 2027.

“It is clear that regulator initiatives, such as requiring charging points to be added to new buildings, are insufficient by themselves to roll out charging infrastructure on a wide enough scale to drive environmental benefits,” said Nick Maynard, researcher at Juniper. “EV charging networks must work together with both city authorities and each other to identify how best to plug gaps in charging infrastructure, or EV adoption will continue to be limited.”

Infrastructure index

Various organizations are working on the problem. J.D. Power’s EV Index has previously found that a lack of public charging infrastructure has been the top consumer barrier to EV adoption. The index tracks data points on interest, availability, adoption, affordability, infrastructure and experience.

Because of this, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) has selected J.D. Power to establish benchmarks and monitor the development of EV infrastructure in the U.S. The J.D. Power EV Index will help the DOE with data on EV infrastructure development and consumer experiences with public charging networks.

“Universally accessible, equitable and reliable EV charging infrastructure is a cornerstone to widespread consumer adoption of EVs,” said Michael Berube, deputy assistant secretary for Sustainable Transportation and Fuels in DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. ​“It is critical that we consistently evaluate detailed trends in the availability of public chargers, specific obstacles consumers face with the existing charging network, and regional variations in consumer demand to ensure resilient grid infrastructure, provide adequate EV charging capacity and coverage, and support access to EVs by all Americans.”

Initiatives underway

The good news is that initiatives are underway to help increase EV charging stations globally in the hopes the supply will be able to keep pace with demand as automotive OEMs launch further electric models onto the market and phase out ICE cars.

Just last week, seven automotive OEMs — BMW, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai, Kia, Mercedes-Benz and Stellantis — plan to create a joint venture to build a fast-charging EV network in North America.

The JV will leverage both public and private funding to create a network of 30,000 chargers with the goal of making EVs more accessible and reliable. The charging network will use both a combined charging system (CCS) and Tesla’s North American Charging Standard (NACS). The chargers are expected to meet or exceed the requirements of the U.S. National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) program.

Meanwhile, GM, Ford Motors and Volvo made deals with Tesla Motors to adapt the NACS connector to their current EVs that will allow access to 12,000 fast-charge points in North America. The deal will expand not just the overall number of chargers but the access to fast chargers in the hope consumers will continue to be wooed to purchase EVs in the future.

Shortly after these automotive OEMs adopted the NACs, many third-party EV chargers and software makers came out in support of the NACS adapter as well. Some had already planned to support the technology earlier this year.

This will also help in allowing EVs with either an NACS or CCS connector to access the third-party EV charging ports as well as expanding availability even further. Additionally, the SAE International is working to standardize the NACS adapter meaning more EVs will be able to use not just Tesla’s stations but those third parties with the adapter as well.

And this doesn’t include plans by automotive OEMs to expand their own networks of public charging systems in North America and globally.

Not enough

But these initiatives are not enough, the Juniper Research study said. Initiatives from governments are not sufficient to accelerate EV adoption and new business models are needed.

The number of different charging rates, payment systems and access requirements are harming overall consumer enthusiasm for EVs, Juniper said. EV charging networks should simplify and develop interoperability to make the ownership experience simpler to match symptoms.

To contact the author of this article, email PBrown@globalspec.com

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