The importance of infrastructure in the electric vehicle revolution

The importance of infrastructure in the electric vehicle revolution


Jun 2, 2023

Blog Fuel Cell and Battery Technologies The importance of infrastructure in the electric vehicle revolution

Electric vehicles (EVs) are an indispensable part of the sustainable revolution. Governments cannot achieve net-zero without a mass overhaul of transportation, and electric is key to realizing these goals. Incentives are in place, manufacturers are ramping up production, and consumers are coming around to the idea of EVs. But there remains a big unanswered question: Infrastructure.

Currently, EV charging infrastructure must increase by more than 12 times by 2030 to meet the rise of electric vehicles. That’s a staggering 22 million additional charge points annually, or 1.3x more than present. BCC Research anticipates the global market for electric vehicle charging for wired infrastructure to reach $81. 2 billion by 2027, with growth at a CAGR of 27.4%. But is it enough?

Meeting modern demands

Most people prefer to have their electric vehicle charged before they start their day. If they can’t charge their EV at home, then at their place of work is the next best thing. Having the option to recharge their EV batteries during the day at the supermarket or mall is also desirable. For taxis, public chargers with a quick charging time are essential. 

More fast chargers are required at highway rest areas to allow commuters to top up en route. Electric vehicles must be able to handle such high voltage or current, or both. While this will allow users to charge in 30 minutes or less, it will also increase the cost of the EV and potentially impair battery life.

Currently there’s a huge variance in the number of electric vehicles per public charge point. With no established standard for the number of electric vehicles per public charging station, the path to meeting demand is undefined. It will be a challenge on multiple fronts; There are different charging standards and connector types for different vehicle segments to consider, while also trying to keep charging infrastructure as uniform as possible to cut infrastructure costs. 

Charging points in homes and workplaces should be prioritized for AC slow charging, with fast charging being reserved for commercial complexes and highways. Within city commuting, a taxi will have relatively more demand for top-up as compared to private use. At depots, buses (both AC and DC) require mostly fast and  captive charging. Therefore, a combination of slow and fast chargers will be needed depending on the use case, location and density of electric vehicle usage.

An insight into public charging points

Public charging outlets, found on highways, retail outlets, underground parking lots and hotels, are mainly constructed by governments or by a partnership between private parties. They’re essential for EV users without access to home chargers. Currently, around 65% of all public chargers are from China, but the number of installed publicly accessible chargers is growing – along with the number of EVs on the road. As economies of scale assist in lowering equipment prices, the cost premium for public chargers is projected to fall. 

In China, charger costs decreased by 67% from 2016 to 2019. Some countries provide subsidies for the charging stations built by a partnership between municipalities and private parties. 

In the Stated Policies Scenario, there will be more than 8 million public slow-charging stations and around 5 million public fast-charging stations by 2030. This accounts for more than 500 gigawatts of installed public fast-charging capacity and 90 gigawatts total public slow-charging capacity. In 2030, one-third of all the electricity used for EV charging will come from public stations.

The number of public chargers per EV is generally thought to decrease as the stock proportion of EVs rises. More chargers per car are required to quickly stimulate EV adoption; as the number of EVs increases, the utilization rate of each charger may be low. This makes it challenging for operators to recover capital expenses and turn profits. Government support during this stage can strengthen the financial justification for public charging.

What’s the prevalence of private charging outlets?

Private charging outlets are for private sites to private electric supplies, accessible only to the site and charging outlet owners. Home and workplace charging is typically included in this category.
Based on IEA data, in 2021, there will be 15 million private residential and commercial LDV chargers. Private chargers will make up 90% of all chargers in 2030, but due to their lower installed capacity compared to public chargers, their power rating is closer to 60%. Private chargers will also satisfy nearly 65% of the energy demand by 2030.

The primary factor influencing private versus public charging behavior is access to home chargers. They can take advantage of lower electricity costs and public charging infrastructure, so most early adopters of EVs have access to and utilize a home charger as their primary source of charging. Roughly 88% of EVs in the US currently have access to residential charging.

The distribution of housing types and the age of the structures have a big impact on residential charging. Residential charger installation is more likely to be a possibility for single-family homes. Newly constructed structures are more likely to have the equipment to offer private charging to parking spaces. Accessibility to residential charges varies significantly within and among countries and different population segments. In the US, 10% to 20% of rental apartments have access to home charging, compared to 70% of detached single-unit households.

Understand the opportunities for electric vehicle charging infrastructure

The foundation for wider EV use is now well-established. As the market for electric vehicles grows, the emerging market for electric charging infrastructure is expected to rapidly expand. Indeed, the market for EVs is dependant on the expansion of charging infrastructure. 

BCC Research’s recent report provides a deep dive into the market opportunities for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. Containing analysis of the charging types, charging infrastructure types, installation types and charging services, as well as detailed profiles of major players, the report provides an invaluable guide for those navigating the market.

Download your complimentary report overview or become a member of the BCC Research library today. Benefits include access to the full scope of reports within the fuel cell and battery technologies category. Enquire today to find out more.

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    Olivia Lowden

    Written By Olivia Lowden

    Olivia Lowden is a Junior Copywriter at BCC Research, writing content on everything from sustainability to fintech. Before beginning at BCC Research, she received a First-Class Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia.

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