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The International Energy Agency Reports the Number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points Grew By 60% Globally in 2019

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【Summary】According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of publicly accessible charging points for electric vehicles (EV) jumped 60% in 2019, the biggest increase in three years. The pace of construction is even outpacing the sales of fully-electric vehicles.

Eric Walz    Jun 15, 2020 1:00 PM PT
The International Energy Agency Reports the Number of Electric Vehicle Charging Points Grew By 60% Globally in 2019
Photo: Electrify America

Before the auto industry can fully commit to electric vehicle production, new charging infrastructure needs to be built throughout the world so EV drivers have a convenient places to charge without the worry of running out of juice. Luckily that's been happening at a rapid pace. 

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of publicly accessible charging points for electric vehicles (EV) jumped 60% in 2019, the biggest increase in three years. The pace of construction is even outpacing the sales of fully-electric vehicles.

In its annual Global EV Outlook, the IEA said the number of public slow and fast charging spots reached 862,118 globally. Most of these new EV chargers (60%) are being built in China, which is the world's biggest market for electric vehicles. Of this amount, fast chargers make up 31% of all the new charger being built.

DC fast chargers are capable of delivering around an 80% charge in under 40 minutes and as fast as 15 minutes, depending on the vehicle. DC fast chargers include Tesla's Supercharger network.

The IEA defines slow charging as providing power of up to 22 kilowatts (kW), which often takes hours to charge an electric vehicle's battery using a standard 110 volt outlet. DC fast chargers however, can deliver up to 350 kilowatts of power, significantly reducing charging times.

Electric car sales have soared over the past decade. In 2010, there were only about 17,000 EV on the world's roads. By 2019, that number had climbed to 7.2 million, of which 47% were in China. 

The increase in new public EV charging sites reflects efforts to build critical infrastructure to support an expected boom in EV sales over the next decade. Electric vehicles accounted for just 1% of all global car sales last year, according to the IEA.

In 2019, 2.1 million electric vehicles were sold worldwide, representing a 6% growth from the previous year. However, this number is down from year-on-year sales growth at least above 30% since 2016, partly due to China's cooling auto market as well as a reduction in government subsidies for so called "New Energy Vehicles (NEVs) in China.

Some countries like Germany are offering incentives to build new charging infrastructure. 

As part of its economic stimulus plan, Germany announced earlier this month that it would provide 500 million euros ($563 million) to support the rollout of private charge points, of which there are 6.5 million worldwide. These include chargers installed in private homes, multi-unit apartments and workplace chargers.

"I view this as an organic step in the right direction, but not a revolution with big winners or losers," said Thomas Daiber to Reuters, founder of e-mobility advisory firm Cosmic Cat.

Automaker Volkswagen is investing $2 billion in EV charging infrastructure in the U.S over the next decade though its Electrify America subsidiary. Electrify America was founded in 2017 as part of Volkwagen's admission of guilt in the dieselgate scandal. The company serves as a catalyst to promote the adoption of electric vehicles in the U.S. 

Electrify America is focused on building a "future proof" network consisting almost exclusively of DC fast chargers, which are expected to become the industry standard. These DC fast chargers offer electrical power up to 350 kilowatts (kW) for rapid charging. The Electrify America chargers are also part of the Ford Motor Company's "FordPass" Charging Network.

The FordPass Charging Network is North America's largest public charging network with more than 13,500 charging stations and almost 40,000 individual plugs.

Electric automaker Tesla also continues to expand its EV charging network for owners. The company's Supercharger network has grown to 1,870 Supercharger stations with 16,585 individual Superchargers.

Currently most EV charging takes place at home or at work, but the rollout of public charging infrastructure will help to convince prospective EV buyers that charging will be easily accessible wherever they travel to. 

The fear of running out of juice is commonly known as "range anxiety" and it's viewed as detrimental to the widespread adoption of EVs. But with the rapid rollout of new EV chargers across the world, range anxiety might soon be a thing of the past.


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