Widespread Installation of Electric Vehicle Charging Stations is Essential

Electric Charging Station with cityscape in background

Hundreds of experts on climate change contributed to the Sixth Assessment Report released on August 9, 2021 by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The report paints an alarming picture, describing this most recent assessment of climate change as “unequivocal” and “unprecedented”. The report “underscores a sense of urgency for immediate and decisive action by every country, especially the major economies,” such as the United States, says Jane Lubchenco, deputy director for climate and the environment at the White House ​Office of Science and Technology Policy. The next decade will be critical for combating climate change. “Aggressive, ambitious” targets will be important to shaping U.S. government policy on climate change.

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “transportation still is, and will continue to be, a major contributor to carbon pollution”. Advanced technology vehicles, such as electric vehicles, play a key role in the EPA’s campaign to lower greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Electric Vehicle Adoption is Accelerating

A 2020 nationally representative study on electric vehicles, conducted by Consumer Reports indicated that “there is a significant interest in electric vehicles”. The study found that “71% of U.S. drivers say they would consider buying one at some point in the future, with nearly one-third indicating interest in an electric vehicle for their next vehicle purchase.” And according to a webinar by CleanTechnica, Deloitte predicts that there will be an estimated “31 million electric vehicles (EVs) on the road by 2030”. Plus, the webinar indicates that “100% of General Motors (GM) vehicles will be electric by 2035”.

The Growing Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

With more electric vehicles hitting the road in the near future, demand for widespread installation of electric vehicle charging stations is also expected to grow exponentially. But there are some significant hurdles the industry must overcome.

The Electric Vehicle Charging Station Infrastructure is Not Ready for the Growing Demand

An article by Tim Levin, published in Business Insider, estimates that there are “currently 1.8 million battery-powered cars already on U.S. roads and only about 100,000 charging plugs for them at around 41,000 public station locations. That disparity makes it easy to see how range anxiety — or the fear of running out of juice without a charging spot nearby — is one of the biggest hurdles for consumers considering a clean car.” And the solution isn’t a simple one. There are a lot of factors that need to be considered when developing an electric vehicle charging station infrastructure plan, such as location and charging times.

Existing Building Electrical Services Are Not Sized for Growing Demand

Charging from home, in single-family homes is currently the most prevalent option for electric vehicle owners. And most single-family homes only need to be able to support a few vehicles, requiring minimal investment to make the necessary electrical upgrades required. But as demand for electric vehicles grows, locations of charging points will need to expand to a wide range of building types. EV charging hubs will become a necessity at places where large numbers of vehicles can be found. Office complexes, multi-dwelling units (MDUs), public parking structures, public transportation systems, fleet depots, schools, and commercial centers must all develop an EV roll-out strategy, incorporating many charging stations, requiring a significant financial investment.

Demand Response (DR) and Load Management Technology is a Priority for Utility Providers

As more electric vehicle charging stations come online, they will become the biggest new energy consumer since the air conditioner. Utility providers and electric companies will need to balance grid demand to ensure that if millions of electric vehicles plug in at the same time, during a peak demand period, that those new connections do not strain the system. Demand Response (DR) and Load Management technology offers two-way communication capabilities between smart networked charging stations and utility providers allowing them to control energy demand and energy flow – to shift power between systems during peak periods as needed.

Engineering PLUS Innovative Technology Consulting Services

Engineering PLUS provides consulting services to companies interested in deploying electric vehicle charging stations. We develop feasibility studies to determine how to deploy electric vehicle chargers in an existing environment to maximize capacity or add new services, as required.

Engineering PLUS Electrical Audit Services

The scope of work typically included in an electrical audit includes:

  • Reviewing the electrical utility bill for actual demand loads (in summer and winter).
  • Survey and document the as-built conditions of the main electrical distribution system.
  • Provide calculations to identify available spare electrical service capacity.
  • Prepare a narrative list of survey questions for the tenants to respond to that would help identify the charging station quantity projections for day-1 and future growth of electrical vehicle needs.
  • Provide points of interest to include in the property’s upcoming EV roll-out strategy for existing and perspective occupants to understand how the building is preparing to offer an electric vehicle charging station amenity in the near future.
  • Present two to three deployment strategies for consideration by ownership with rough order of magnitude and budget costs.

For more information on our electrical audit services for deploying electric vehicle charging stations, complete the contact form to connect with our team of experts.