For the full electric vehicle (EV) movement to gain a lot of traction I believe we must develop the “Electric Highway”, an extensive network of EV DC fast charging stations every 50 – 150 miles. Tesla Motors has done a great job with their “Supercharger Network” but it’s only for their cars. Being an owner of a Model S, it’s reassuring that I can travel the US knowing that there are plenty of Superchargers available on any route I take. What Tesla has accomplished in a short time is remarkable. The Supercharger network is strategically placed anywhere from 80 – 150 miles apart (give or take). Tesla Motors could be a huge template for success with the other car manufacturers.
The Nissan Leaf has been around for a while and seems to be the leader in short range EV market as of now. It’s really not a bad car but the biggest issue with the Leaf is the range. We are all starting to notice other car manufacturers developing their own EV’s as well. So with that, why aren’t they looking at developing or improving the charging network. Sure when you buy an EV you first think I have to have a charger at my house and you are correct, but what about trips? Car manufacturers want us to think the “average” miles driven is around 25 miles per day. I think they only say this to keep from building long range EV cars because it would hurt the sales of their other models. So instead, they want you to buy this for a commuter car not a car to take on long trips like Tesla. If they would get their head out of the sand and develop their own Electric EV Highway or work together, it could be a game changer for all manufacturers.
In my opinion we need multiple ways of thinking to get the Electric Highway built. First look at Tesla with their Supercharger network. The other manufacturers could license their technology or just use it as their building block to develop a charging network. If they don’t want to license Tesla’s technology, I would say they need to require their dealers to have 4 – 8 charging stalls with DC fast chargers. This would allow the consumer to purchase their EV’s with confidence that they can travel around the US without range anxiety. This to me is the best way to develop their version of the “Electric Highway” without a lot of time and cost. I know what you are thinking. Dealerships already have charging stations on their property and you are correct but have you ever tried to use them without asking someone if they could move one of their ICE cars out of the way. Also you might see at most, two chargers on the property. I know, at dealerships space is at a premium, but if they want true success they need to be forward thinking.
This is just an average Joe’s simplified version of the Electric Highway. It doesn’t have to be complicated. It just needs to work.
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