Rising gas and energy prices are paving the way for yet another resurgence of the electric vehicles (EV) in the United States. But unlike previous efforts to put gasoline-free cars on the road, this campaign is showing signs of long-term stability. A more robust infrastructure, cultural acceptance and auto manufacturer enthusiasm are putting more EVs on the road, which in turn calls for more electrical charging stations.
There are currently 1,300 public charging stations nationwide and the U.S. government is said to be spending more than $100 million to help install 22,000 residential and public charging points nationwide by 2014. ABI Research estimates that there will be about 642,000 commercial charging stations nationwide by the end of 2015, many of which can charge a battery to 80 percent capacity in about 30 minutes (Wired Magazine).
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As demand rises, electrical charging stations will proliferate in parking garages, gas stations, and at roadside electrical charging stations. Restaurants, big box retailers and other places where people spend an hour or more and make purchases are also investing in electrical chargers as a value-add to their customers. IKEA is installing chargers at locations across several states. NRG Energy has announced plans for charging stations at Best Buy and other retailers. And even traditional drug retailer Walgreens announced it will install chargers at 800 stores nationwide.
While use of some stations may be provided free by some retailers, EV owners can expect to pay for charges using self-service payment solutions, similar to how they pay for gas currently. With range being an initial concern for EV owners, the ready availability of charging station and simple payment solutions will go a long way to drive adoption of EVs in countries deeply rooted in gasoline use.
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