If you want the growth of electric sales to happen, you need to provide customers with reliable public charging infrastructure. Today in the U.S. there are only 16,457 EV charging stations, with 44,999 outlets in operation, mostly on the coasts, but also including Tesla's network of Superchargers along major intercity corridors and other superfast charging stations. The presence and visibility of these stations should help build confidence among consumers thinking about buying battery EVs that they will be able to charge wherever they want. But once people live with an EV, they often realize they don't need access to public chargers as much as they once needed public gasoline stations, or require the same kind of quick fill-up.
After all, millions of Americans have some basic form of charging infrastructure in their homes. They plug in overnight, just as they do with their smartphones, and top up at other times when they're home or out running errands. Tesla is the only automaker with its own network of high-speed chargers, and none of them offers a five-minute fill-up. Instead, the Superchargers can refill a Tesla battery from nearly empty to about 80 percent full in 20 to 30 minutes. The network is designed to make long-distance road trips practical in an EV and help drivers make the most of their charging time.
As the EV market evolves to include ever more models with more powerful batteries, longer ranges and higher charging "acceptance" rates, chargers will need to evolve, too. So, too, will assumptions about the best locations and typical usage patterns.