Battery-powered vehicles may now face a different kind of stumbling block on the path to widespread acceptance. A new study from Carnegie Mellon University suggests that over the next 30 years, penetration of EVs into the national fleet will be curtailed if society doesn't first find a way to solve its parking problem.
Titled "US Residential Charging Potential for Electric Vehicles," the study contends that only 56% of vehicles now have a dedicated off-street parking space and just 47% have access at an owned residence. Those numbers are important, the study says, because consumers will be less inclined to buy EVs if they don't know where they'll charge them.
"Many consumers will be wary of making the extra investment if they can't plug in and charge at home," Jeremy Michalek, professor of mechanical engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, told Design News.
At least two studies have forecast EV adoption rates of 80%. A study by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology (blue line) predicts 80% by 2030. The Electric Power Research Institute (brown line) forecasts 80% by 2050. Carnegie Mellon’s study, however, argues that changes will be needed to reach such numbers. Exceeding 22%, it said, calls for more residential infrastructure investment to increase access to home outlets. Exceeding 47% calls for chargers to be available to renters. To pass 56%, major changes will be needed in residential parking. (Source: Carnegie Mellon University)
In the long run, the problem could have a profound effect on the overall penetration of electric vehicle technology, which is projected by some studies to rise as high as 80% sometime between 2030 and 2050. Carnegie Mellon's study argues that just to reach beyond the 22% level, however, "would require residential infrastructure investment to increase access to outlets." Hitting 47% would necessitate additional accommodations, such as the availability of residential charging for renters.
In some cases, the accommodations could pose costly engineering challenges, Michalek told us. Bringing charging stations to public parking spaces could require laying of new electrical lines and possible addition of transmission equipment to handle the load. High-voltage fast chargers, which can recharge an EV battery in 20 minutes, might require costly special connections to the electrical grid, he said.
Michalek, who is a plug-in car owner, told Design News that he regularly deals with the charging conundrum. When he's able to secure a space near his home, he runs an extension cord out to his car. "Even then, it's not a great idea because the extension cord has to cross the sidewalk, creating a trip-hazard," he said.
Michalek contends that the parking challenge could affect sales of both battery-electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids, largely because both need to find a charging outlet. "Some adoption is happening now and that's great," he told us. "But this tells us that for electric vehicles to be a really big part of the solution, we're going to need some major changes."
You're correct. Consumers will find innovative way to overcome inherent weakness in the infrastructure...or lack of...to support EVs.
San Francisco is well known as a bicycle friendly city. The city's first transit policy promoted cycling in 1973. But no infrastructure was created to support cycling until recently. That's because organizations like the Bicycle Coalition fought for more bike lanes and bike parking or years. None of which was funded by the city until 2009, with completion in 2011.
EV parking will be plentiful if and when EV owners get together to fight for it.
Fast has a valid point. In my residential area about a third of the people don't park in their driveways, they park in the street because then they don't need to back out of the driveway. Just plain LAZY, but running a power cord across the sidewalk would indeed be a real hazard, not only because of the real tripping hazard, but because of the hazard of finding the cord missing in the morning and the vehicle not charged. Also, consider that the best that could be done with a regular #12 wire cord would be 20 amps, which it would take a while to recharge with that rate. Also, none of the houses have outside outlets for anything like vehicle charging. And in our area having it done by a contractor would be a few hundred dollars and the city hall will demand both a permit and an inspection, so there is a lot of money already and that does not include a charger. That is just the labor costs. But it is possible that people could be convinced to park their EVs in the driveway and have an outlet close to it on th house. That would be a real plus.
BUT, for those folks who don't have a personal parking spot, charging at any kind of charging station puts them at the mercy of the same type of folks who would love to charge us $5 a gallon for gasoline. So my vote is for the plug-in hybrid type of vehicle. They may never need to plug it in.
@Akwaman yes if people are provided with proper and good public transport why would they feel the need of having a vehicle or buying a vehicle . Secondly people will go towards these electric vehicles definitely if they feel certain advantage either in case of saving money of feuling or getting good luxary and milage . Again all these varry from person to person some needs cost saving some are just carefree about cost they just a luxurious and good vehicle .
Exactly Andy, you are absolutely correct initially every technology has to pass the hard time but once it gets fully marketed the consumers are totally aware of the advantages then they find innovative ways to overcome the weakness of the technology and this is actually happening these days as well.
Charles (and others) make good points about hybrids, it is a good interim solution that doesn't require a plug when away from home. I think this is going to go by the wayside in the future, and electric cars will get their electricity from H2 and fuel cells. This is the kind o of thing that will keep people chained to the pump, and still provide a source of income for the greedy rich who want a steady cut of our income. The smart people will have H2 charging stations on their property to power their house and cars, powered by the sun and wind. There will still be plenty of people left that will still pay a the pump religeously, especially those in a city environment, where such power generation is not possible with homes on top of each other (apts and condos). Of course, living in a city... who needs a car?
Most people who already drive electric cars were used to paying for gas in the past and am sure they won't have any issues paying to charge their cars if they can do it conveniently. Once enough people have bought the EVs, I believe we will see many parking spaces/ paid charging spots opening all over.
I think the benefits of an electric car against the conventional gas powered cars far outweigh the inconvenience of having to drive around looking for charging points. In the end, once people wake up to these advantages, they will find innovative ways to charge their cars anyway; society is like that.
By the way, running an extension cord across the sidewalk is not only a hazard but it is not a legal use of public right of way, for obvious reasons. Provision of dedicated parking would seem to run counter to the whole sustainable development movement.
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