Infrastructure supporting a robust, consumer-friendly electric vehicle charging network is critical to meeting and increasing consumer demand for electric vehicles.
Electric vehicles (EVs) are at an inflection point. Both the automotive industry and policymakers recognize the importance that EVs will play in advancing a cleaner, safer, and smarter transportation future — and what is at stake to ensure the infrastructure framework is in place to support this historic transition.
Strategies to incentivize consumer demand for EVs are paying off, resulting in encouraging sales trends. In Q3 of 2021, more than 168,500 electric vehicles were sold in the United States, up 82,000 units from the same period in 2020. This is thanks, in part, to the strides automakers have made in introducing a range of innovative new EV models, including crossovers, SUVs, and pickup trucks, which are part of the nearly 130 models that will be available for sale by 2026. EVs are no longer just for consumers looking for a 4-door sedan.
The public and private sectors are committed to building on this success and securing the future that EVs promise to deliver, as demonstrated by the shared goal of the automotive industry and the Biden administration of reaching a total of 40-50 percent EV sales by 2030. To meet this ambitious milestone, automakers are investing $330 billion in vehicle electrification by 2025, and the new infrastructure law makes a significant down payment on building EV charging stations across the country. And there is much more work ahead.
Some states are seeing exponential growth in the EV segment — California alone accounts for 40 percent of EV sales nationwide — and we hope to see this kind of growth in every corner of America in years to come. However, the act of charging your electric vehicle remains one of the biggest challenges for consumers making the switch to EVs.
Even in states like California that are leading on EV charging infrastructure, long charging wait times, lack of signage, and inconsistent pricing structures can make the process of charging more difficult than that of refueling an internal combustion engine vehicle. Building a nationwide charging network that prioritizes the attributes consumers are looking for in charging stations will help us better satisfy the current marketplace and encourage even more consumers to make the shift to electric vehicles.
Securing the future
There are several key elements we must consider as we look at the future of public charging infrastructure. Firstly, chargers should be quick and convenient so consumers can efficiently get back on the road. Varying electric vehicle technologies and configurations should also be supported to serve the greatest number of vehicle owners. Pricing and payment method should be standardized and easy to understand, and charging stations should be open and operational with the same reliability of a standard filling station.
Consumers, the economy, and the planet will all benefit from policies that invest in electrification. Additionally, the nations that lead the development and adoption of innovative technologies, such as electrification, will also shape supply chains, define global standards, and, potentially, reshape the international marketplace.
We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to change the future of personal mobility. Technological advancement and innovation have already brought electric vehicles so far; with continued collaboration across various sectors, both public and private, there is no telling how much further we could go.