The government is determined to replace the fossil fuel vehicles on the roads with zero-emission electric vehicles (“EVs”), so much so that President Joseph Biden recently announced that his administration was aiming to achieve 50% electric vehicle sales by 2030. Automakers are already on board, including EV startups and companies that have been around for a while, such as Ford and Mercedes. In addition, we are likely to see more than two dozen new EV models in the next few years. However, thanks to America’s inadequate public charging infrastructure, range anxiety and charging are among the most significant barriers to EV adoption in the country.
At the moment, the United States has a measly 43,800 charging stations compared to 136,000 gas stations, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, and most of them are concentrated in urban areas. On top of that, only 5,000 can be considered fast chargers, which can take approximately 45 minutes or more to recharge an EV, while the majority of public chargers are Level 2 chargers that take five to six hours to recharge compared to gas stations, which take a few minutes.
To experience firsthand just how lacking America’s EV charging infrastructure is, CNBC’s Brian Sullivan and Harriet Taylor took an eight-hour road trip from Southern California to San Francisco in a rented Polestar 2 with a 265-mile range.
The pair started their journey at Enterprise, California, driving 60 miles to Mountain Pass, California, arriving around 5 p.m. on a hot Tuesday afternoon. They first had to download PlugShare, an app that shows where every charging station is — whether it is available or not. Sullivan and Taylor then traveled 98 miles to Barstow, California, where they recharged at Electrify America, a location with eight chargers. Charging took 37 minutes at a total cost of $13.33. After that, they headed to Bakersfield, California, 138 miles away and arrived with just 18% charge to spare. They checked into a Hampton Inn that had only two plugs; they charged their car overnight for 10 hours, reaching a 90% charge.
Another 128 miles left them at Firebaugh, California, with 24% charge left in the tank. They plugged the Polestar into an Electrify America station at a Shell gas station, and after 41 minutes and $21.93, the EV was at 87% charge and raring to go on the final leg of the trip. The two drove 115 miles to Sunnyvale, California, arriving with 24%, which was topped off to 87% after 39 minutes of charging. Sullivan then dropped Taylor off at San Francisco Airport before heading to the CNBC studio with 67% charge, arriving at the studio with 42% left in the tank.
The journey showed Sullivan that while an EV road trip isn’t impossible, it isn’t easy either and requires significant planning and preparation. EV chargers are plentiful for the current number of EVs, especially when you plan your route well, but as the number of EVs on the road increase, the current infrastructure will be unable to meet demand. The biggest issue, however, is the time it takes to charge. Sullivan and Taylor were lucky to find a free charger at each station, but an influx of EVs will put so much pressure on the infrastructure that drivers will potentially be waiting hours to recharge.
The road trip test conducted by CNBC makes it abundantly clear that EV sector players such as Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) and other stakeholders have their work cut out if they are to ensure that the inadequacy of charging facilities doesn’t slow down the uptake of EVs.
NOTE TO INVESTORS: The latest news and updates relating to Net Element (NASDAQ: NETE) are available in the company’s newsroom at http://ibn.fm/NETE
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