Electric cars are becoming more and more relevant as the world turns. During a trip to Altanta, earlier this year, it seemed as if Mercedes G-Wagons, but more importantly, Teslas were handed out like free samples at Sam’s Club. Even in some of the smaller cities I’ve drove through, it’s starting to become routine to see a Model X or S, roaming past. With Chevrolet introducing it’s Motor Trend Car of the Year Winnign Bolt, and Tesla finally producing the Model 3’s, and numerous other automakers joining the fold, the electric car is becoming more prominent. However, can the infrastructure required keep up?
By infrastructure, I mean charging stations and repair facilities.
That’s just another road block, EV’s producers have to pass. Tesla has charging stations at their stores, and I’ve seen several generic charging stations at various malls and shopping centers. Automakers even offer home charging stations to charge their owner’s vehicles. These not-at-home charging stations are perfect for where they are located, but what happens for the people who need a charge, but are nowhere near a mall or shopping center, for example. Although, the retailers at these shopping venues are thrilled due to the fact that the people who are charging their cars will get bored and go shopping, the people who are trying to do their due diligence for the environment, might not be as happy.
Granted, the owners of these EV’s probably won’t be traveling more than their range calls for, as time advances, the range of these vehicles will expand. Also, as time advances the price of EV’s will decrease, causing an increase in ownership. That’s perfect for the evironement and perfect for the automaker, which would mean that the infrastructure, would have to meet the demands of the growing demand. At this current moment in time, it would be near impossible because the current demand and affordability for EV’s wouldn’t be justifiable for installing charging stations at various hubs. However, in a perfect future, it would have to happen.
This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In order to meet the demand for charging stations, established gas station brands like, Shell, Exxon and Citgo would have to integrate charging stations at their locations, which would generate more traffic and more money as well. Brands like Pilot, Love’s, Sheetz, and Quik Trip would also have to meet the demand at their locations.
The integration of these charging stations would also, like the malls and shopping centers with charging stations, would also help the gas station evolve. For example, at this moment-in-time it takes more than 6 hours for a Tesla Model S to charge, which means people who are traveling a long distance, would have to burn six hours while waiting for their EV to fully charge. In that six hours, that ample opportunity for travelers and spending money. So let’s just say, in the next few years, the time to fully charge a Model S gets cut down to 1-2 hours, this would still allow for money to spent. If these places also integrated a certified service center, that would also help increase revenue.
With that being said, as electric cars are gaining more popularity, there will be a shift away from fossil fuel powered vehicles. That shift wouldn’t be over night, but it is inevitable. The shift would take many, many years and there would still be a slight dependence on fossil fuels. Fueling stations, would be able to virtually replace the revenue lost from EV’s with gains in other areas including charging for charging your EV, which could be comparable to fuel prices. The dependence on fossil fuels would become more of a vanity or designer type of thing, and there will probably still be plenty of gas or diesel powered rides on the road.
So, are we able to keep up with the infrastructure for the electric car revolution? At this point in time, we are just because the demand is still in it’s infancy. Will we be able to keep up with the infrastructure for the electric car revolution? It just depends on if places like gas stations, are willing to keep up with the shift towards EV’s.