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Charging Stations

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Charging Stations

Auto manufacturers are investing $225 billion to electrify their fleets in the next few years.

Key Insight

In the coming years, an unprecedented number of charging stations for electric vehicles will come online, driving demand for a new kind of car and disrupting the traditional gasoline supply chain and retail business.

Why It Matters

Auto manufacturers are investing $225 billion to electrify their fleets in the next few years.

Examples

Ford launched an all-electric F-150 pickup truck and the electric Mustang Mach-E. General Motors will launch 20 new EV models by 2023, and BMW, Nissan, Jaguar, Porsche, Audi, Volkswagen, Volvo, and Tesla introduced EVs this past year, with more models to come.

There are now more than 20,000 charging stations and 1,600 Tesla Supercharger stations in the U.S., and more are being built this year.

Building new charging stations involves plenty of red tape with local utilities and real estate. Most networks are being installed by governments, utilities, and third-party companies. California leads the way: Former Governor Jerry Brown promised to get 5 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030 and 250,000 EV chargers in the ground by 2025. Oklahoma, New York, and Colorado state governments also recently unveiled plans to invest in networks of electric charging stations. Electrify America will put charging stations in 100 Walmarts in 34 states. The nation’s largest charging company, ChargePoint, will open 2.5 million charging stalls by 2025, up from 53,000 according to the company. Another company, EVgo, created a modular fast-charging station that can be installed in a matter of days.

Google Maps, ChargePoint and PlugShare will make it easier for people to find those electric vehicle charging stations from their smartphones, see the types of charging ports and prices and then rate and review them.

What’s Next

To help EVs really take off, though, someone needs to reinvent the battery—and that’s starting to happen. Spanish startup Graphenano built a battery out of graphene that charges a car in eight minutes, and will open the first battery manufacturing plant using this material.

Solid state batteries promise to be safer, cheaper, and boost the amount of energy a battery cell can store—not to mention they may help cars charge faster. Such batteries also promise to bring the driving range for an electric vehicle more in line with what you’d get on a full tank of gas. By using solid materials instead of flammable liquids in batteries, automakers could benefit, because most existing electric vehicle batteries have hit the limits of their storage capabilities.

Plenty are working on the task, including Daimler AG, Fisker Inc., Jiangxi Ganfeng Lithium Co. in China, and spinoffs from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and Tokyo Institute of Technology. If they’re successful, EV charging times could drop from several hours down to 10 minutes. (See also: Better Batteries.)

Impact

As more charging stations expand into communities everywhere, it will start to have a chilling effect on independent and corporate gasoline station chains, as well as on the local communities that are supported by them.

Watchlist

Blink CarCharging, BP, ChargePoint, Chevron Corporation, China National Petroleum Corporation, ConocoPhillips, Electrify America, Envision Solar, EV car manufacturers worldwide, Exxon Mobil, Google, Ionity, Kuwait Petroleum Corporation, Lukoil, Petro China, PlugShare, Royal Dutch Shell, Royal Farms, Saudi Aramco, SemaConnect, Sinopec, Suncor Energy, Tesla, the state governments for Colorado, California, New York, New Jersey, and Oklahoma, Valero Energy, vendors to gas stands, Volkswagen, Wawa.