California Reaches Milestone in EV Charging

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California has ambitious goals to reduce carbon emissions through phasing out the sales of new gas-guzzling cars by 2035. But in order to get there, people need a way to easily charge their electric vehicles. Quartz reports the state has hit a milestone toward that end, with one fast charging station for every five gas stations now in place. Here’s a breakdown:

California now has 105,000 public or shared private electric charging stations available to drivers, more than any other state. This is in addition to 500,000 at-home charges. The state approved $1.9 billion to install 40,000 more chargers.

Per the Energy Institute blog, availability of electric chargers is crucial for consumer confidence, with studies showing that fear of charging-station deserts is top of mind for potential buyers. The BBC notes some other consumer issues that come with charging even when it’s available. One is time. While filling up at the gas station takes minutes, even fast charging stations eat up hours. This problem is compounded for people who don’t have access to a garage or driveway, especially when chargers are buggy. “One out of every five public charging attempts is a failure,” Elizabeth Krear of JD Power tells the BBC, and a survey of stations in the Bay area found that 23% were faulty.

One way California is expanding electric charging is by tapping into existing infrastructure put in place by Tesla. Per Quartz, all major Western auto manufacturers have agreed to adopt Tesla’s North American Charging Standard. Such moves should help, but as Harvard researcher Ashley Nunes puts it, “It’s still much easier to refuel your vehicle with gasoline than with electrons.” (More electric vehicles stories.)

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