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EV charging infrastructure to grow vastly by 2020: study

Keywords: Tags  electric vehicle, EV, plug-in hybrid, charging station, battery switching, ISM Research, IHS, Corinna Petry

CHICAGO — About 2.2 million charging stations for electric vehicles (EV) and plug-in hybrid vehicles will be built and shipped worldwide each year by 2020, a huge increase from an estimated 70,000 such stations shipped globally in 2011, according to a new research paper.

The study by IMS Research—acquired recently by IHS, which also owns Lexington, Mass.-based consultancy IHS Global Insight Inc.—showed that 135,000 charging stations were installed worldwide by the end of 2011 and forecast that 10.7 million charging stations will be installed by the end of this decade. The need for EV charging stations is growing along with consumer adoption of alternative-fuel vehicles.

EV charging is location based. Drivers need to charge where their vehicle is parked, with the workplace set to be a key location. It suggests that businesses and commercial property owners invest in charging facilities for their employees’ use. If such investments don’t happen, it could negatively impact the EV market.

IMS Research estimated that the United States will have the greatest number of deployed EV charging stations in 2020, followed by China, Japan and Germany.

Many factors will encourage drivers to shift from internal combustion engine vehicles to EVs and plug-in hybrids, including stricter emissions standards, energy security and energy price stability.

But charging times—it takes about four hours today to fully charge a 24-kilowatt-hour-capacity battery using a 6.6-kw on-board charger—must accelerate, according to the IMS study, and the range of driving an EV can achieve on a single charge must rise.

Above all, charging stations have to be convenient, wired for technologies and cost effective compared with gasoline fill-ups, the report said.

One alternative to fast-charging is to replace a fully discharged battery with one that is fully charged. This battery-switching approach is already being done in Australia, China, Denmark, Israel, the Netherlands and the United States, but there is limited support for battery-switching technology among automakers.

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