The number of publicly accessible US plug-in vehicle charging stations rose about 30 percent this year, as more retailers looked to attract potential customers by giving drivers the chance to charge up their Nissan Leaf and Chevrolet Volt plug-in vehicles while shopping.

There were about 6,770 public charging stations across the country as of Christmas Day, up from about 5,200 at the end of last year, according to official US Department of Energy figures. California accounted for 1,475 of those stations, about 22 percent of the country's total. Texas had 488 stations available to the public, while Florida had 398. Washington State and Oregon had 386 and 349 public charging stations, respectively, as their state governments encouraged more stations along US highways.

Among retailers, Walgreens continued to be the most aggressive with its station deployment, boasting 389. Kohl's had 62 stations while Whole Foods is home to 41. These retailers are responding to a plug-in vehicle market whose growth continues to outpace overall vehicle sales. Through November, US plug-in vehicle sales were up 61 percent from a year earlier to about 69,400 units, and that doesn't include the approximately 19,000 Model S sedans Tesla Motors likely sold during the first 11 months of the year (Tesla doesn't disclose monthly sales figures).


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  • 14 Comments
      2 wheeled menace
      • 11 Months Ago
      ~1,500 stations in one yearis a big jump. If this trend continues, owning an electric car with a small-ish range ( 50-80 miles ) is going to become gradually more practical over time. It's those shorter range vehicles which will be affordable and practical for the masses in the near future. We still need 200-500 mile range EVs, of course.
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        Most of these chargers are, at best, "Level 2", which typically deliver only about 6 or 7 kW of charging power, which means that they only supply about 20 miles of range per hour of charging, and even a Leaf will take 4 hours or more to charge at that rate. Such slow charging, while useful at home or work, or maybe at a shopping mall, otherwise does little else to make BEVs practical for longer distance traveling. After all, who would like to drive for an hour or two and then have to stop and charge for four hours? Practical on-the road charging requires "Level 3" DC quick chargers which typically deliver 50-120 kW. Those really encourage BEV use. To the extent that the government encourages deployment of a charging infrastructure, it should focus on Level 3 chargers.
          Ziv
          • 11 Months Ago
          a11, don't let perfect be the enemy of good enough. Sure, L3 chargers would be great for the cars that need them when they need to re-charge from near empty to near full capacity, but being able to stop for lunch and add 20 miles of range to an EREV or 80 mile AER BEV is a very useful tool. One of the 3 shortcomings of my Volt is that it only charges at a 3.3 kW rate, while the rest of the electric car field can charge at 6.6 kW or more. A Volts 11 miles of additional range over a lunch break is ok, but getting 22-23 miles would be even better. This won't get you very far if you are roadtripping, but it will help a lot on the days when you are just a bit short of the capacity you need, which for most of us, happens more often than the roadtrip scenario. But by the time the second generation BEV's/EREV's come out, I think that your L3 charging capacity will be a must, at least as an option.
          Mart
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Ziv The Volt isn't alone. The Mitsubishi I-MiEV is in the same category of charger with the same 16kWh pack size.
          Ziv
          • 11 Months Ago
          Mart, I didn't know that the iMIEV was as pokey as my Volt when it comes to charging.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 11 Months Ago
        @2 wheeled menace
        I definitely agree with that. We need something that charges the batteries at 1-0.5C rates, so that when you've stopped charging after 15-30 minutes of shopping or whatnot, you've got 12-50% of your battery filled.
      Joeviocoe
      • 11 Months Ago
      I think we should be also counting "Total Charger Power capacity" added. In addition to "# of charging stations". Tesla has 63 Superchargers at 120KW+... which deserves a weighted number rather than counting the number of stalls.... since more vehicles can use them over the course of a given time.
      Vlad
      • 11 Months Ago
      Most of them in the wrong spots... Places of work and apartment buildings, that's where there is the biggest bang for the EVSE buck. Best of all, they don't even need to be metered (saves like 80% of the cost), monthly subscriptions managed via old-style window stickers will do just fine.
        Ziv
        • 11 Months Ago
        @Vlad
        I like the current policy of putting them at shopping centers and theaters, but there is no doubt that place of work charging complemented by chargers at apartments and condos would be phenomenal. The problem is that there are so many ICE vehicles and, so far, so few electric cars. 300 people work at my workplace, mine is the only electric car. I live in a 250 unit condo, and mine is the only car with a plug. And i live in Northern Virginia which is second to California in electric car adoption, but not behind too many other places. Vlad, I think if we look back at the end of 2014 we will see a lot more workplace/condo/apartment chargers in place than we see today. I think we are at a tipping point in acceptance. Too bad the big 4 aren't ready to sell as many BEV's/EREV's as we would like. For one reason or another, be it a lack of profitability or the cars being too expensive for most people, all 5 of the 'domestic' car manufacturers are building electric cars at a relatively slow rate. I consider Nissan and Chevy to be the big two, with the sales of Ford's plug ins (Energis mainly) coming up fast, Toyota churning away with their limited range PiP's, and Tesla being the Golden Standard almost all of us wish we could afford and the one that is growing its market share the fastest. http://insideevs.com/monthly-plug-in-sales-scorecard/
          Vlad
          • 11 Months Ago
          @Ziv
          Glad to see a neighbor! I'm a little more lucky - there is another Leaf in our office building, and I see a Volt from time to time. This is a classic chicken or egg problem. The thing is, no one has to install hundreds of chargers in anticipation of the wave of EVs. Just being responsive to the demand (unlike management of the building I'm in) would make all the difference in the world.
      KenZ
      • 11 Months Ago
      I am anticipating the day when there are so many chargers that bonehead EV drivers don't hose everyone. Like last night... went to the movies. Big parking lot, four dedicated EV spaces. All occupied by one Volt and three Leafs. Only one of the vehicles (a Leaf) was charging; the others were just taking advantage of the nice parking spot location and blocking out anyone who needed to charge. Worse than being ICE'd: it's like getting stabbed in the back by your own family.
        2 wheeled menace
        • 11 Months Ago
        @KenZ
        It's unfortunate that people still exhibit that behavior when driving an electric car, but yeah.. scarcity is part of the problem.
        Ziv
        • 11 Months Ago
        @KenZ
        I really don't want to jinx my future charging, but as of late, my 2 go to charging spots have been ICE free for some time. Now the ones outside my "downtown" have been ICE'd nearly as often as not, but they are heathen sorts, not true Locals. But I used to get ICE'd at my two favorite spots fairly frequently, so maybe there is a bit of a learning curve being realized? I know, anecdotal evidence is kind of like statistics, only worse, but I can hope that being ICE'd may be less of a problem in the future.
        Joeviocoe
        • 11 Months Ago
        @KenZ
        KenZ... there certainly needs to be smarter placement. You can only ask so much of any driver. Yes, it would be reasonable for all EV drivers to go back to their cars after alerted about the end of charge. Or perhaps a button on the external part of the EV that alerts the driver's phone to come back and move. The charging station owner should also try to place 1 charger in the shared corner of 4 parking places. This is an engineering challenge of course, but can be done.
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