Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming mainstream but without an expansive charging infrastructure, adoption can only go so far. With 1.9 million EVs on US roads, the country will need to quadruple the number of charging stations to keep up with demand. However, developing and installing that infrastructure could take years. Mobile charging companies are an integral solution to meet the demands of both consumers and commercial EV fleets to ease range anxiety and increase nationwide charging access.
US charging infrastructure
With only 160,000 EV chargers in the US, EV owners can struggle to find one when they need to. Even then, many encounter issues when attempting to use public charging stations, including broken or dead chargers, long lines and internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles parked in the designated charging spot (commonly referred to as “ICEing”).
The US is playing catch up with charging infrastructure right now. With projections to reach 500,000 public chargers by 2030, EV drivers and fleet operators may still be in need of additional charging solutions to fulfil their needs. EV sales in the US have tripled in the last three years, but without access to quality charging solutions, shoppers may begin to question their choice of going electric.
Charging expansion will only be as great as the quality of the infrastructure. J.D. Power figures show that one in five charging attempts fail, with 72% of those unsuccessful citing malfunctioning or out-of-service chargers as the reason. Without regular maintenance on public charging stations, the risk of a slow-down in EV adoption becomes ever more prevalent.
The cost of fleet electrification
On the fleet side, there were 24,000 light commercial EVs in the US in 2021 but projections expect that number to reach 3.8 million by 2030. Fleet operators are unable to help their drivers plan trips, risking the chance of running out of power mid-route. With a lack of public charging availability, drivers may find themselves stranded, negatively affecting revenue and customer satisfaction for businesses.
Business owners that want to install an electric charger onsite are looking at a price tag ranging anywhere from US$75,000 to US$100,000. That doesn’t include the EVs themselves or permits for the installation and construction required.
Commercial customers are also required to pay a demand charge for their electric bill in addition to the cost linked to energy use, which is another line item in the total cost of EV charging. And with the rise in inflation, many business owners will forgo the idea of an electric fleet to save on the cost and headache of implementing onsite-based chargers.
The case for mobile charging, right now
Until the US can meet the charging demand, a near-term solution is at hand. Mobile charging can be the saving grace of EV adoption. There are no high up-front costs to take into consideration. Both consumers and commercial fleets can take advantage of the almost immediate implementation of mobile charging services.
Chargers that were deployed several years ago are now beginning to slow charging times and without consistent upkeep and maintenance, it will become even more difficult to manage the projected charging infrastructure needed. Mobile chargers are more easily maintained, providing peace of mind for users that their vehicles will charge while plugged in. They also won’t need to worry about encountering broken or dead chargers, long lines at charging stations or ICEd EV parking spots.
Not only are an inadequate number of charging stations available but the quality of the stations is failing EV drivers
Mobile charging also provides peace of mind to fleet customers. Fleet operators can ensure that their EVs will make it to their destinations and back and can plan trips better, incorporating mid-way charging, wherever and whenever needed. Commercial companies will also save on high-priced infrastructure that may take years to implement. Incorporating EV fleets into their business models will no longer be an added stressor to the maintenance of the business.
The current need for chargers is showing to be a challenge to maintain. The rate of EV adoption is far exceeding charging station availability. Not only are an inadequate number of charging stations available but the quality of the stations is failing EV drivers. Mobile EV charging is the logical near-term solution that bridges the current gaps.
The opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the positions of Automotive World Ltd.
Josh Aviv is founder and Chief Executive of SparkCharge
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