It's been said that "When the time is right to build a railroad, the railroad gets built." This is an analogy which engineers have used to indicate that any new technology is dependent upon the parallel development of supporting technologies and necessary infrastructure before it becomes a practical and widely accepted solution. It also implies that once that infrastructure is in place nothing can stop the new innovation from changing the world.
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In the case of the transcontinental railroad, developing and building a powerful steam locomotive was not enough. It had to be accompanied by adequate steel manufacturing for track production and laying processes, tunneling and bridge design advancements, as well as long-distance communication and signaling technologies. Only when all of these pieces fell into place did the railroad advance across the continent at what today we would call a "viral" pace.
Nationwide EV Infrastructure
Today the electric vehicle (EV) is on the brink of that same type of infrastructure breakthrough as the parallel support technology catches up to the wave of advances in electric motor power and efficiency and modern battery capacity. The hybrid vehicle provided a stop-gap measure to fill the void while charging infrastructure catches up to technological advances in the EV itself but falls far short of the ultimate zero-emissions potential of 21st Century all-electric cars and trucks.
For the EV to achieve maximum impact with public acceptance on a global scale, charging technology needs to be as convenient and timely as a fillup is now at your local gas station. Quick-charging convenience is the last missing piece of the EV infrastructure puzzle. Once it falls into place the EV is likely to make a quantum leap which makes gas driven technology as obsolete as the railroad train made the wagon train. The good news is that EV technology has advanced much more rapidly than projected.
EV Transformation: Not a Matter of If but When
"What people were envisioning would happen three years back by 2030 in a high technology case has already happened. We're 20 years ahead of time as cost projections go," said Prajit Ghosh, head of Americas Power and Renewables Research at Wood Mackenzie, in a report at GreenTechMedia.com.
The charging infrastructure so crucial to EV transformation got a boost from regulatory legislation from state governments such as California, and global support from national governments such as Norway and France. Here in the US states are offering EV incentives in the form of waved emissions inspections, sales tax exemptions, and charging station grant programs.
In NJ the "It Pay$ to Plug-In" program offers $725,000 in reimbursement grants to employers to offset costs of purchasing and installing EVSE. (Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment). In Florida, the Orlando Utilities Commission offers a $200.00 rebate for businesses which install EVSE. Programs such as these have a significant effect on investors who may have been reluctant to pour dollars into EV infrastructure until they could be reassured of an adequate demand for those services.
Smart City Charging Infrastructure
ChargePoint vice president Simon Lonsdale addresses municipal planners about the need for smart city planning for EV transformation explaining, "This infrastructure requires an upfront investment, but it will pay off in terms of time saved, pollution avoided, fuel costs reduced and healthcare costs prevented."
Lonsdale points out that cities need to look at traffic patterns and data, analyzing usage by time of day and location to determine the best strategic locations for EV charging stations. A look at existing charging stations can reveal if they're being used more frequently at certain times of the day or week, and what areas may be underserved by charging infrastructure.
EV Charging Services at Mader Electric
As residential charging stations multiply public utilities will need to adapt to new power distribution demands, and municipalities should be prepared to scale up existing charging infrastructure as the EV transformation progresses and accelerates. Businesses can accommodate EV customers and employees with convenient EV charging stations. At Mader Electric we've been keeping businesses up and running, offering expertise for all electrical needs since 1903. EV Charging Station Design & Installation is just one of many services we provide so don't hesitate to contact us.