An optimal public charging infrastructure is key to increasing EV sales and decreasing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; yet potential buyers can often be put off buying by the limited availability of charging stations.

We find that electric vehicle registrations respond positively to the installation of charging stations, yet the size of their effect is surprising small – in particular, one station’s treatment effect results in only an increase of 1.7 registrations four quarters post installation.

1. Increased Access to Chargers

To increase the number of electric vehicles on American roads, chargers must be accessible. Both private passengers without home charging capability as well as commercial fleet drivers who require public charging stations for long trips will require access to an extensive network of charging stations that are well-located, visible and sustainable.

These factors explain why our empirical results demonstrate that an increase in density of EV chargers leads to greater treatment elasticity on average. When there are more chargers within a certain distance, consumers are more likely to purchase an EV.

Our study also illustrates that new stations tend to have the biggest effect when there is little existing infrastructure, suggesting indirect network effects may be an effective tool for optimizing policy on charging infrastructure provision in new electric vehicle markets. This strategy could address key barriers to adoption such as limited charger availability that limit driving range.

2. Increased Convenience

Infrastructure bill funding will facilitate the expansion of national charging networks along highway corridors and in communities, making EVs more attractive to people who rely on public charging, including those living in multifamily housing complexes. But where and how those chargers are situated will have a direct bearing on uptake rates.

EVCS’ business model relies heavily on working with apartment buildings to install charging onsite, but also looks for opportunities in nearby grocery stores where charging can provide easy access for tenants.

Offer off-peak prices – which are less expensive than peak rates – in order to encourage consumers to shift energy demand away from peak times, such as nights and weekends, such as in convenience stores with battery back-up systems that allow them to draw power slowly throughout the day during periods of reduced demand, rather than rapidly charging at once and incurring costly additional charges from utilities.

3. Reduced Range Anxiety

Range anxiety refers to the fear that electric vehicle (EV) drivers might run out of charge and be unable to find a charging station quickly enough in time. This fear of running out is one of the key impediments to EV adoption and must be overcome if we want increased sales and reduced emissions from ICE cars.

Electric vehicle (EV) drivers need access to multiple charging stations in order to feel confident when traveling long distances in their EV. This may pose a difficulty for new or current EV owners if their home charging capacity is insufficient, or there is no level 2 public charging available near where they work.

An infrastructure of charging points will help reduce range anxiety by making it simpler for drivers to refuel at locations they know. Furthermore, reliable EV charging networks will alleviate drivers’ anxieties regarding waiting in queues, vandalism or broken equipment when using public stations.

4. Increased Safety

With electric vehicles (EVs), your battery can also provide electricity back into the grid (known as vehicle-to-grid or V2G) as well as your home via an intelligent charging station (known as vehicle-to-home or V2H). This technology holds much promise for saving costs while managing energy consumption more effectively.

City leaders need to adopt creative solutions in order to quickly construct an efficient charging network. New York, for instance, is taking an innovative approach by using private funds alongside record federal investments in fast chargers to expand the city-operated fast charger network to 80 plugs within two years.

Electric cooperatives have taken an innovative approach, employing their local market knowledge and installing and promoting electric vehicle (EV) friendly infrastructure in their service areas. White River Electric Association was instrumental in installing charging stations in Meeker, Colorado – creating a destination for EV drivers while helping relieve range anxiety among rural consumers.

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