We’ll need a lot more EV chargers to keep vehicles juiced: Roadshow

Q: What are the odds that we’ll have easy-to-find charging stations when we’ll all be puttering along in electric cars?

Don Pine, Fremont

A: We face a steep uphill climb. A new analysis from the California Energy Commission shows the state will need nearly 1.2 million chargers by 2030 to meet the fueling demands of the 7.5 million passenger plug-in electric vehicles (EVs) anticipated to be on California roads by then.

In addition to 1.2 million chargers for passenger vehicles, the CEC expects 157,000 chargers will be required by 2030 to support 180,000 electric trucks and buses also anticipated to be on the state’s roads by then.

More than 73,000 chargers have been installed, with an additional 123,000 planned by 2025. These numbers fall short of the state’s goal of 250,000 chargers by 54,000. The Governor’s 2021–22 budget includes $500 million to help fill the gap.

Four in ten of Americans say they would consider an electric vehicle for their next car. The top barrier is uncertainty around finding a charging station when they need it — an indication that an expanded public EV charging infrastructure would help the nation transition more quickly from gas cars to emission-free EVs.

Q: There’s so much hype about electric cars. What other kind of alternative fuel cars are being developed? I’ve heard that hydrogen fuel cell cars can go a longer distance than electric.

Lisa Twardowski, Mountain View

A: Yes, they can, While most electric vehicles have a range under 200 miles, hydrogen powered cars can cover several hundred miles more per fill and could be a terrific alternative if Gov. Gavin Newsom’s executive order banning sales in California of new gas-powered vehicles becomes a reality in 2035. Hydrogen is available at about 50 gas stations in the state now, with more coming.

The Energy Commission is funding the addition of hydrogen to about 100 more stations over the next several years. Gas stations are ideal for hydrogen because vehicles can fuel in about five minutes, matching the time it takes to fill a car with gas.

Go to www.cafcp.org for a list of stations that have hydrogen pumps.

Q: I was at my local car dealer the other day and had a random thought. With major car manufacturers such as Ford and GM committing to the switch to EVs in coming years, won’t dealers have to have a lot of charging stations on their lots to keep cars charged? Can’t let idle cars have their batteries die out, right? It may be a good time to invest in battery charging stations.

Kevin Rooney, Morgan Hill

A: Your idea is a good one and will likely get serious consideration.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at mrroadshow@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-920-5335.






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Author: Gary Richards

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