Electric Car Buyers Eye Recharge Network Expansion Delays

Electric cars are being adopted at a brisk rate in recent years. Indeed, the electrification of the automotive industry as a whole has turned the market 180-degrees. A decade or two ago, people were saying electric cars would never catch on. Yet, here we are today with manufacturers scrambling to create hybrid-electric or all-electric vehicles as fast as they can. Just as shocking is consumer’s rapid acceptance of the vehicles. But, has the demand outpaced the charging network?

Electric vehicles are not new

Front view of a white electric Tesla Model S
The Tesla Model S sits in a Tesla Store in Barcelona | Photo by Manuel Romano/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Electric cars have been around for a long time. However, it wasn’t until Elon Musk decided to form Tesla that electric cars got the shot in the arm they needed to be raised in the national consumer psyche. Since then, people have watched Tesla grow and address concerns of range and charging network accessibility.

The automotive industry has also taken notice and created its own efforts to meet increasing public demand for electric cars. Now, it seems that the entire industry is awake. Consequently, new products are being launched with great speed into the market. For example, in the next two years, there are going to be more than a handful of new all-electric pickups hitting the market. 

But, can the electric system handle it?

All of this electric car acceptance has raised an eyebrow or two for those connected to the infrastructure system in the nation. Our infrastructure is set up to have gas stations at reasonable distances. But, what about charging stations?

Part of the Tesla brand’s attraction is the promise of having a Tesla charging station available nationwide for people to use as they travel the country. But, Tesla is not the only electric car manufacturer. So, there are non-Tesla charging stations popping up in great numbers as well.

Electric recharge networks are being created and expanded

The United States Department of Energy has an alternative fuel database that keeps track of all the country’s electric charging stations. You can see that site here. Looking at the site does give the impression that there are many recharging locations available for electric car owners. But, there is a difference when considered in volume against a regular gas station for internal combustion engine vehicles. Electric charging stations are not as plentiful.

The lack of available electric recharge stations is changing, of course. Along busy highway travel corridors, many states are rushing to build charging locations to make travelers feel more at ease, and reduce range anxiety concerns. Various dealership networks and gas station chains across the nation are also adding charging stations. Additionally, many employers see providing charging points as a way to boost company morale. 


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The bottom line

Here’s the bottom line. It doesn’t always make sense to get an electric vehicle. If you can’t charge at home or at work, it may be too much of a hassle to find a recharging station. For example, if you rent your home, you will likely not have a recharger at your home.

Before anybody dismisses an electric car purchase, however, it must be noted that things are changing very fast. Charging station locations are growing in number. For instance, Florida recently received funds from the dieselgate settlement with Volkswagen and began the rollout of what will eventually be a 50 percent increase in publicly available charging stations in the state. So, the hassle of finding a recharge station is being mitigated as time progresses. Hence, a switch to electric may not make sense now for a consumer, but it might in the very near future. For now, that purchase just may be delayed while infrastructure catches up to the increasing demand.