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Highway Chargers Are Holding EVs Back From Becoming Mainstream

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【Summary】Electric vehicles are being held back by one thing when it comes to being accepted and having sales increase and it all boils down to the lack of super chargers along highways in North America.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Dec 09, 2017 9:30 AM PT
Highway Chargers Are Holding EVs Back From Becoming Mainstream

On paper, at least, the current crop of electric vehicles really are do-it-all alternatives to gasoline-powered cars. Range is no longer a concern with the majority of EVs. With cars like the Chevrolet Bolt, electric cars now boast ranges of approximately 238 miles. And some Bolt owners even claim that the compact EV is capable of traveling more than 300 miles on a single charge under perfect conditions. 

Electric Vehicles Have Come A Long Way

Another large upside to EVs is that they require little to no maintenance. Regular services for the Bolt include rotating the vehicle's tires and flushing the coolant at 150,000 miles. Besides that, there's not much the Bolt needs. While the idea of not having to maintain an EV as much as a regular gasoline car is attractive, the high costs of electric vehicles has held them back, as well.

Well, that's been remedied, too, as the Bolt costs $37,495, the upcoming Tesla Model 3 is expected to start at $35,000, and the 2018 Nissan Leaf will cost less than $30,000. All of those prices are before the federal tax credit. Clearly, EVs have come a long way and now are in a position to claw sales away from gasoline-powered machines. But that's clearly not happening. So, what's holding electric vehicles back? 

North America Needs More Super Chargers

According to a report by Bloomberg, it could be the number of super chargers, more specifically, the number of super chargers along highways. Consumers have access to numerous chargers at work, shopping centers, and parking lots, claims Pasquale Romano, ChargePoint Chief Executive Officer, but there aren't a lot of charging areas for drivers looking to go on a long trip. 

"Getting a highway infrastructure up and ready is critical," said Romano. "It's a red-herring that there is no charging network in cities." 

Automakers all over the globe are pouring billions of dollars into researching and developing electric vehicles as countries are moving towards following stricter emissions and pollution standards. Europe, for instance, will put more stringent carbon-dioxide limits into effect in 2021. The decision to enforce stricter pollution standards has driven some automakers to create drastic plans. Volkswagen, for example, has plans to electrify all 300 of its global models by 2030.

If more chargers aren't put in place around the world, none of the automakers' plans will matter, though. To that end, ChargePoint, which is headquartered out of Campbell, Calif. is looking to boost its operations – mainly in Germany and the rest of Europe. The decision to begin developing chargers for Europe and Germany's highways came after the company raised $125 million in an investment round, which was led by Daimler and Siemens AG, reports Bloomberg

While it's easy to point at charging locations and claim there's not enough of them, Romano also believes that there are other factors that are drawing consumers away from EVs. "The infrastructure is segueing naturally, except for highway charging, where Tesla has already proven this can be done without much trouble," Romano said. "It hasn't been in their interest to move very fast on electric cars," he said. 

According to Bloomberg, the number of chargers worldwide has increased by 61 percent from last year to a total of 363,000. China led the pack, reports Bloomberg, while Germany saw the most growth in Europe with an increase of 33 percent. 

With more chargers coming out, electric car sales should soar, as the only negative aspect to the battery-powered machines will be their price.

via: Bloomberg

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