With 125,000 gas stations in USA, discuss how many EV stations will be required

With 125,000 gas stations in USA, discuss how many EV stations will be required

Mind boggling. Note, I edited the numbers of cars from thousands to millions, but doesnt affect the story.
Suppose we consider that 125,000 gas stations serve 250,000,000cars (plus trucks etc), the numbers (rounded from a Google search) are very approximate but illustrate my point.
A glance shows one station for every 2000 cars, disregarding trucks.

At some stage, EVs will match, then exceed the number of gas cars, so we might guess that x years downwind we might have 150,000,000 gas cars and 150,000,000 EVs.
Those EVs will require EV stations.
Suppose half of them charge at home, then at the x point I am imagining, 150,000,000 cars of which 75,000,000 charge at home, and also supposing EVs have similar range and fill frequency, will require 37,500 EV charge stations.

If Tesla were to supply charging to every man and his dog, and build out SCs at one per day, they would produce nearly 375 SCs per year. (Well, maybe 300ish).
If point x occurs in 20 years which is when the no. of EVs in USA matches the no. of ICE cars, then in 20 years Tesla will have installed just 7500 SCs.
But I just said that there would be a need at point x for 37,500 charge stations. There will be a shortfall of 30,000 EV charge stations in 20 years, if 20 years is point x.

Therefore there needs to be a major push to build EV charge stations.

We shouldnt miss that there are now more gas stations than EV stations that will be required at point x, so it would be attractive for gas stations to start converting now, from the envelope calcs above, I think there should be about 5(?) conversions daily, but since they dont need that capacity yet, totally electric, then the 125000 gas stations ought to be installing chargers now, in place of some bowsers or their real estate is going to be very old hat.

If point x is 15, or 30, years, the same scenario applies.
Moral: Tesla's rollout rate of SCs is a mere drop in the bucket. I hear they were aiming for one per day but falling far short.


Tarla's Driver | July 1, 2017

I think your assumptions are wrong. I think most EV drivers will do 95% of their driving at home, so we're in pretty good shape already. The Tesla approach of Superchargers along all major highways with destination chargers at hotels is just right. Eventually that needs to be all highways, not just major ones, but that will come in time.

What is currently lacking is urban charging infrastructure for renters and on-street parkers. That's a real problem.

SamO | July 1, 2017

There are 1 billion filling stations worldwide called plugs. I am probably underestimating by an order of magnitude.

Your Tesla can use any plug in the world*

Africa, Asia, Americas, Europe. You can charge your car pretty much everywhere since your charger is onboard your car.

Add in Superchargers (full charge in less than 1 hour) and Destination Charging (full charge in 4-8 hours) and you have a recipe for maybe 30,000 Supercharger slots + 30,000 Destination Chargers would provide better coverage than current fueling infrastructure.

*don't both refuting with some alien plug. I'm extemporizing.

SO | July 1, 2017

As others have stated, the vast majority of the time you will charge at home. So.... how many millions of houses/condos that could allow for charging?

Many times that of gas stations. I have a full "tank" every morning when I pull out of my garage.

Inner city infrastructure does need to improve. But ideally people in inner cities should use public transportation anyway. I know several people from Chicago and NYC who do not own vehicles at all.

DTsea | July 1, 2017

There are maybe 200 million cars and trucks in US so more like one gas station per 2000 vehicles.

60% of americans own a home so they dont need public chargers flr daily use.

100M evs then means 40M users of in town chargers. Assuming once every 4 days for an hour, 10 cars a day, that would be a million SC stalls, but level 2 overnight plugs would cover most of it.

If each SC station had 10 stalls, 5000 locations (500 on highways, 4500 in towns) could probably do the whole job.

joemar10 | July 1, 2017

I read a March 17th article from the NYT that at that time, there were almost as many Tesla destination chargers in NYC as gas stations. That's not counting other brands. Should be many more by now. BTW, it said that the number of gas stations was declining. I don't know how to post links, or I would have.r

Ross1 | July 1, 2017

There is an error in my premise.
There are 125,000 gas stations (google), I got that right, but 250 million cars plus trucks, I said 250,000.
So I will have to revisit or edit

Ross1 | July 1, 2017

DTsea: yes 2000 not 2 sorry, edited now.

But at this point, through traffic at SCs is very slow, not like 5 minutes per gas car per fill, so we need to factor that in too.

Watt fun | July 1, 2017

The statistics in Canada are similar. With about 1/10th the population of the US, we have 12,000 stations, or about 3 stations for each 10,000 residents, or 1 for every 3,300.

DTsea | July 1, 2017

Ross yes i did that.

carlgo2 | July 1, 2017

Home charging, and fast charging, will mean fewer chargers are needed, but not fewer charging locations.

It is not the overall ratio of chargers to cars, rather the number of EVs and chargers near where you are.

In the end the number of charging stations will be close to the number of existing gas stations and the number of chargers will be close to the number of existing gas pumps.

Anything less than this is a limitation.

David N | July 1, 2017

Kinda hard to tell what will be needed. Anyone can put an electrical line just about anywhere, but you can't put a gas station pump anywhere.
It'll be interesting.
You're watching history unfold.

Efontana | July 2, 2017

There will be many more EV charging stations than gas stations, but most will be private.

stevecox51 | July 6, 2017

But wait a minute, when EVs dominate who will be paying the highways taxes. Every gallon of gas generates about 19 cents that helps pay for our roads, at some point the feds will have to come up with a way to replace that. We are in for some big changes in the near future.

Mike83 | July 6, 2017

Semi's at 80,000 lbs cause the damage

SO | July 6, 2017

@stevecox51 - Michigan already charges higher annual license registration fees to compensate for the road gas tax. (Rightly so.)

And as others have stated above, it is the overweight trucks that are destroying the roads.

Haggy | July 6, 2017

Determining how many charging stations will be needed by looking at gas stations is like trying to figure out how many movie theaters will be needed by looking at boutiques. They are simply unrelated.

Probably about 90% of the charging will be done at home, but 90% of the miles is not the same as 90% of the time. If you drive 15,000 miles a year and it includes two trips that average out to 750 miles each, round trip, it might mean that 10% of your miles use superchargers, but you use them on only four days out of the year.

The big change will be that infrastructure will have to catch up for those who have no practical way of charging. Eventually, being able to plug in where you park will become common. Condos and apartments will be equipped, and there will even be on street parking with charging. That will handle everyday needs. Once there's critical mass, landlords won't want to lose tenants over the lack of an outlet. A single vacancy for a month could cost thousands of dollars.

Superchargers will likely be rarely used by most people who can charge at home, but when they are used, they will be used longer than gas pumps and will probably be needed at places where people will want to do business. If your local supermarket had 20 Tesla superchargers and the one across the street didn't, and you spent 45 minutes a week at the supermarket, it would be a competitive advantage for them to let Tesla install superchargers. So solutions for people who can't charge at home won't resemble gas stations.

SamO | July 7, 2017

Great explanation Haggy. +1

reed_lewis | July 7, 2017

@Haggy, they are somewhat related, so the analogy should be more like how many movie theaters compared to televisions in the home. Both allow you to watch movies, but for those who do not have a large TV, then they go to the movies more often.

Other than that, I concur with your excellent analysis.

Watt fun | July 7, 2017

My local very small town (1,400) has 2 gasoline/diesel stations with 6 and 8 (10, but you can't use their diesel and gasoline hoses at same time) 'plugs' (pump nozzles). So, its pretty average at about 7 usable nozzle average, for very roughly 12,000 x 7 = 84K pump nozzles guesstimating for a population of 35,000,000 and the related ICE vehicles. Multiply everything by 10 to get the US equivalents, so approaching 1 million nozzles in the US?

Since 90%+ charging is done overnight at home/while at work parked/overnight at destination, it would seem that other than convenience/topping up while shopping/the *average* per vehicle/driver of less than a week per year on long trips, it would seem that 100,000 plugs or 12,500 charging locations at an average of 8 plugs should be more than enough for 100% OF THE MARKET, after all the little adjustments over time are made. Little adjustments? Building codes changing so that all new /rebuilt houses are plug installed/plug ready so its a cheap universal given rather than a more expensive add-on later. Streetlight/parking meter basic plug charging as a given as is happening in Europe. Mandatory access to charging for all co-ops, condos, and apartments units on a new build basis.

Now, given that EVs are less than 2 percent of the market at present, that works out to 250 locations with average of 8 plugs of the very fast charger type, appropriately spaced. Actually, more are needed due to distance, but you get the idea. So, Tesla with 372 operating Superchargers in the US alone (and 896 worldwide as of this morning; toll on 900!) seems to be on top of the situation generally speaking, as 'all the other fast chargers' (modified HA!) are not included in this total.

The business about grocery stores, malls, etc can change the overall dynamics pretty darn fast, once it is perceived as a necessary business plus (deductible expense, too!) to entice customers. Same with new residential stock/resales. Either you have that 'plus' item, or you accept lower returns. | July 7, 2017

In 4+ years, I've never used any charging other than at home, in-transit for a trip or at a hotel. Not worth the time to connect up (even if it was free) at a supermarket, or other locations I'll be a short time. Vehicles with 200 + miles range make all the difference.

Hotels on travel paths make an excellent choice for Superchargers. On my last trip, totally by accident, the hotel we picked had 10 Superchargers in the parking lot. Another hotel on the same trip had one L2 charger, which also worked great (actually the only commercial L2 charger I've ever used, and it was free). Of course there were another 20+ Supercharger stalls in two locations within 5 minutes as a backup (Los Angeles).

carlgo2 | July 7, 2017

All these trickle chargers and destination chargers...hobby class. A much more predictable charging system is needed and if it does not materialize, neither will mass EV adoption.

carlgo2 | July 7, 2017

I am optimistic that the for-profit model that Tesla adopted, and others certainly will, ensures that a much better system will evolve.

Ross1 | July 7, 2017

While 90% might charge at home now, with the advent of sustainable transport for the masses, ie cheaper and cheaper EVs, that proportion will change, which is why I used 50% charging away from home, as cheaper cars have owners with less prospects of charging at home, rented houses etc.
Factor of 5 between 10% and 50%.

iameddyoswald | April 9, 2018

With technology, it is possible to lessen the ratio of 1:2000 car to gas stations into half.

Total Number of vehicles in a megacity in L.A is approximately 6.5 million. Tesla could potentially have a wireless charging air balloon (like the Alphabets's Project Loon) in megacities and have their next models equipped with EMP receivers and with drivers now can have never-be-charged again vehicles, and there can be cost reduction in building supercharging networks in megacities.

bp | April 9, 2018

"Refueling" is different for a long range EV than an ICE.

ICE's do all refueling at gas stations, and can typically go 300-400 miles between stops (on the average). This means there must be a lot of gas stations located near everywhere that an ICE travels.

For EVs that can be charged overnight at home, EV stations are only needed for road trips - and can be spaced out 100 to 150 miles apart, assuming EVs can go 100 to 200 miles between stops.

For EVs that don't have access to overnight charging, then there will need to be EVs in close proximity to where the EVs are being used. And because EVs (currently) travel less on a full charge than an ICE, an EVs will have to go to an EV station more frequently to keep operating.

Another factor - EV's take longer to refuel, which reduces the number of vehicles that can use a charging station vs. a gas pump.

Initially Tesla had assumed all cars would be recharged at home overnight, and only planned superchargers on the major highways and destination chargers to travel destinations (for away from home charging). This model didn't work, because there are quite a few Tesla owners in locations where overnight charging isn't practical or possible, which has led to an increase in urban superchargers.

Tesla has likely done the math and built a model for all of this. Taking into account the various factors, even with the longer charging times, EVs will likely require significantly fewer EV stations than ICEs. And as the industry shifts from ICEs to EVs, it's likely the places where overnight charging isn't possible today will be reduced, as providing EV charging will become a standard feature for hotels and apartments.

Will be interesting to see what happens to all of the gas stations 20 years from now...

jordanrichard | April 9, 2018

"Initially Tesla had assumed all cars would be recharged at home overnight, and only planned superchargers on the major highways" bp, you are assuming that Tesla didn't already have Urban chargers in mind from the get-go.

It would seem rather pointless for them to put Urban chargers in cities when there is no way for people to go from Boston to Chicago. It is very much like the methodology to clearing snow from the roads. It is pointless to do the local back roads first then the main roads/highways. If you did the back roads first, where would everyone go?

Yodrak. | April 9, 2018

According to U.S. Energy Information Administration, the overall demand for electricity is experiencing a structural decline as consumers make the switch to more efficient electrical components. ... Researchers forecast the rise of electric vehicles and the need for more charging stations will not only reverse the decline but will also stress the grid.

California alone will need nearly 300,000 charging stations by 2025 to meet their 2030 goal of five million EVs on the road.

jpcollins9 | April 9, 2018

Coming at this discussion from a different angle, most gasoline stations would not be profitable were it not for their ancillary sales (snacks, soft drinks, coffee, etc.) As Valero and others have discovered, the addition of charging stations at their existing ICE gas stations is proving profitable since the electric charging process can take longer than the average fill up at a pump, My sense is that the filling station concept will/can convert to charging stations relatively easy and benefit from the conversion as EVs increase. I've had my S85D for three years. It's been a while since I suffered from range anxiety. My favorite charging station was a Valero in Flatonia, TX. Just sayin!

Uncle Paul | April 9, 2018

In the not too distance future, gasoline/diesel stations with underground tanks will be banned from most urban centers due to their pollution of the atmosphere and leaking into ground water supplies. They are a huge fire hazard and close examination of the atmosphere around the pumps will indicate hazardous breathing conditions.

Gas stations make very little profit on pumping gas. Mostly make money by offering convenience stores. Same will be with EV recharging stations. They will offer stores which cater to people spending 30 minutes or so while their vehicles charge up with clean electricity. Coffee shops, Wi-Fi areas, accessories. Could even have solar kiosks selling home solar or home battery storage systems.

Could develop quickly, with little modifications once the environmentally distasterous gasoline storage tanks are removed.

I believe that last year, many more charging stations were installed than new gasoline stations.

The world will be a far better place when those filthy gasoline stations are removed. | April 10, 2018

10,000 Superchargers in the US give or take should take care of Teslas for as far into the future as you like. What will happen when other mfr's finally come on line and need proprietary charging is not certain.

joenanp | April 10, 2018

"What will happen when other mfr's finally come on line and need proprietary charging is not certain."

This is why I initially bought Tesla stock -- they are building infrastructure. They will be the Exxon Mobil of electric charging stations. I am betting they can sell charging to "any" make!

Yodrak. | April 10, 2018

"Gas stations make very little profit on pumping gas. Mostly make money by offering convenience stores. Same will be with EV recharging stations. They will offer stores which cater to people spending 30 minutes or so while their vehicles charge up with clean electricity. Coffee shops, Wi-Fi areas, accessories. Could even have solar kiosks selling home solar or home battery storage systems."

A problem to be overcome (and it will be, eventually) is that every state has an authority that regulates who can sell electricity to end users under what conditions. Many states laws don't have provisions in their laws that cover situations like EV charging, so the regulatory authority can't deal with the situation even if it wanted to. To establish its charging network Tesla has struggled in somewhat the same manner as it struggled to open sales offices in some states.

It's going to take a while, but as EV ownership increases the pressure will increase in the states to deal with the issue of public charging.

milesbb | April 11, 2018

Personal car ownership is going to decline greatly with the advent of autonomous cars. Why own a car when you can be picked up and delivered for much less cost. The companies that provide this car service will want to keep there cars on the road working. I think these companies will be using automated battery swapping systems. Cars will be scheduled to come in one at a time.

Say a battery can be swapped in 2 minutes and a car needs to come in every 6 hours for a battery swap. One swapping system will keep 180 cars on the road. Each of those autonomous cars will replace at least 10 cars personal ownership cars. So one battery swapping system could replace the charging requirements of 1800 cars.

bp | April 11, 2018

When the superchargers were introduced, the Model S specifications were something like "Free long distance charging on Supercharger network".

It took a while before Tesla realized not all owners would have access to overnight charging - and has now come up with a new class of Urban Superchargers.

Though as more people buy EVs, I expect that more places will begin offering overnight EV charging as a benefit.

Unless charging times can be reduced to about the same as refueling for an ICE, it will be better to do overnight charging than to go to a fast charger and wait 15-60 minutes to get a charge.