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."
EV purchasing is already greatly hampered by local (too cold or hot), commute distance (can't make it to and from work on a single charge), lack of resources (can't afford to buy a second commute car).
The final approval of the new Apple campus meeting brought up this problem. Apple is planning to provide only 1,000 charging stations in their parking lots. The Cupertino Village is concerned because Apple employers are already parking in Village charge stations, then pulling their bikes out of their trunks to ride to work.
There's a lot of infrastructure and control over who gets to use what before EVs become a significant part of everyday life.
Seems to me that what we have is a classic example of the "chicken or egg" conundrum. UNTIL the local gov'ts, electric utilities, etc. come to a common solution, good throughout the land, regarding charging/parking facilities, the number of EV or HYBRID vehicles sold will be stymied.
And, all this new investment of infrastructure does NOT come free. There will be a mighty significant cost involved to outfit all these "spaces" to accommodate the EV-class vehicle.
Call me Neandrethal, but I STILL maintain that the gasoline or similar fuel-powered vehicle is as viable today as it was at the turn of the last century when the automobile challenged the horse & steam engine for transportation needs. I am NOT opposed to new technology, BUT unless science & engineering & manufacturing can come together to make an electric power storage device with the same or better overall efficiency of the modern gasoline or diesel fuel powered vehicle, I see these EV type vehicles as occupying only a niche market for decades to come.....
I have lately been reading, and conversations with friends that live in core areas of Boston, Chicago, Washington DC, New York city, and San Francisco corroborate that in many cities gasoline stations are slowly disappearing over time. No new ones are being built and older end of life gas stations in high cost of living areas are being closed and repurposed for other uses that make more money for the owners. So now in many core city areas people are being forced to drive to the near suburbs to find an open gas station. So in these core city areas maybe the electric infrastructre will be just as good, or better than the fossil fuel infrastructure.
No question that this is becoming more and more of an issue.
Home charging still accounts for 80% of charging. There is no question that EV adoption will be reduced if we don't address the issue for those living in condos and apartments.
Recently during the relocation of our office, I negotiated a charging station for our new building. This is the first commercial building in our area providing a charger to ONLY the tenants (limited use for proxy card holders). This clearly raised the bar in our area and added to the growth of EV adoption.
Unfortunately, the chargers are normally located close to the building (perhaps due to proximity of available electricity). This creates some anxiety as the Non-EV-ers see the EVs as the "privileged and elitests" that get the "special" spot.
Sometime back i came across that either they are planning or they have already implemented the installation of EV charging stations throught the cities. If such charging stations are installed or are in the process of installation then how come the rise of these vehicles can decline instead of increasing .
"Road rage will not be an issue in the future, parking rage will become a news item we will start hearing about. Seems I recall hearing that in the big downtown metro areas, parking spots are sold for a premimum (I maybe thinking of Europe?). Imagine if you bought a parking spot and found someone in it. I think sparks may fly (pun intended)."
GTOlover, in future EV vehicles there may be options for charging the vehicles, while running through road. Recently I read about similar experiments in EU by embedded some charging strips over the road. So by electrical contacts through strips, vehicles can get charged.
"What will happen is that people will start plugging in their EV's when ever they see an outlet. Similar to what you see in an airport when everyone is trying to charge their phone, tablet, or laptop. Of course, this leads to an issue of who pays for the 'free' electricity:"
GTOlover, that's a tricky situation but the thing is most of such charging points are kept inside the airport, where passengers are lobbing. Anyway we won't be able to take vehicle that much nearer to the plugging point.
Tesla Motors’ $35,000, 200-mile electric car may not revolutionize the auto industry by itself, but it could serve as a starting point for a long, steady climb to a day when half of the world’s vehicles will be plug-ins.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.