How Many Public EV Charging Stations Will the U.S. Need For The EV Transition

Oodles Energy
February 13, 2024

The rise of electric cars is no doubt a sign of progress in sustainability. As we aim for a greener future, the question of how many EV chargers will be needed to fuel these cars arises. The answer, of course, is a complex one. Many factors influence the number of public Level 2 and DC fast chargers required by the end of this decade in the US. In this article, we will discuss the latest research and expert opinions on the topic, highlighting the challenges and strategies.

A recent report was released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), titled "The 2030 National Charging Network: Estimating U.S. Light-Duty Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure." (link -

The report analyzed the US electric vehicle infrastructure, finding that a national network in 2030 could require approximately 1.2 million publicly accessible charging ports and an additional 26.8 million privately accessible charging ports.

The report suggests that the 1.2 million public charging ports should be made up of 182,000 publicly accessible fast charging ports and 1 million Level 2 charging ports at publicly accessible locations. The fast charging ports would be used for long-distance travel, ride-hailing electrification, and supporting those who lack access to residential charging. While the Level 2 chargers would be positioned in high-density neighborhoods, office buildings, and retail outlets.

One major challenge of building out EV infrastructure is the high cost. To add to the challenge, public EV charging often struggles to make a profit.

One solution to this issue is to incentivize private businesses to take the lead on building charging stations, with a promise of financial support from the government. By doing this, the risk of making a profit solely from charging customers can be shared between the business owners and the government, significantly improving the ROI for charging stations.

Another factor that influences the number of chargers we may need is the expected growth of EVs. BloombergNEF predicts that electric cars will account for 60% of global passenger car sales by 2040.

The yearly sales have risen steadily and are showcasing no signs of slowing down, with a current global EV market share of approximately 3.3%. As the adoption rates of electric vehicles increase, so will the demand for charging stations.

One of the most significant challenges faced by EV drivers is charging time. Even with fast-charging ports, charging vehicles can take a considerable amount of time, deterring prospective EV drivers.

Scalability is also a concern, with charging infrastructure not yet designed for ultra-fast charging for millions of EV drivers simultaneously. Charging companies may soon need to find ways to balance charging efficiency with the increasing numbers of cars using the network.

The 1.2 million public charging ports required for a national network in 2030 will undoubtedly be a challenge to build at scale. Further, the challenge in building and maintaining charging infrastructure is just one layer of the many challenges that require strategic consideration as the EV adoption ramps up. Despite the challenges, building a national charging network is a crucial step forward in achieving a greener future. Therefore, companies and governments need to work together to create affordable, efficient, and effective charging solutions.

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