We Need More Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

While electric vehicle technology improves and becomes less expensive for consumers, now is the time to built a robust network of charging stations. This network should be considered a public good, just like service plazas with gas stations on the interstate highways and the federal highway system itself. Charging stations are essential infrastructure.

The number of EVs on U.S. roads is projected to increase rapidly in this decade. In 2020, about 300,000 EVs were sold, accounting for about 2% of U.S. new automobile market. However, the cumulative number of EVs on U.S. roads could reach 35 million by 2030. How many charging stations will this require and what sort of challenges will need to be overcome to deliver on this target?   Local regulatory issues and electric grid upgrades also play an important role. Viewed this way, the EV revolution faces important regulatory and technological challenges which require close collaboration among different levels of governments starting with city government! 

Right now, though, electric vehicles are in a catch-22. Many people won’t buy them because there aren’t enough charging stations. The good news is that there is a Bipartisan Infrastructure Law in Washington that will provide $1.5 billion a year for five years to expand the country’s EV fast-charging station network.

The challenge of charging EVs is particularly acute for individuals living in apartments and homes without designated parking spaces. But building new public charging stations requires local governments’ approval of siting plans. A framework or a set of best practices could help streamline engagements between local governments public spaces and affected parties including owners of office and apartment complexes, malls, and parking lots, as well as EV charging companies.

Electric vehicles may not replace gas-powered ones for some time, but cities and the state must stay ahead by building out an EV infrastructure that’s ready for the future. My public records request of the Ohio BMV show Cuyahoga County has 5,864 electric vehicles registered and 44,996 in the State of Ohio.

Lower prices, helped by federal subsidies, will certainly make EVs more attractive. But drivers may still worry about recharging. Where would they plug in their cars and recharge with speed and convenience?  Parma Heights could set the standard. With the demolition of the decrepit NEO Soccer facility, and the possiblity of a new library, that would offer ample space for a charging station. Long charging time means that chargers have to be in places where people park their cars for extended periods. And what better place than Greenbrier Commons where people spend hours at the swimmimg pool, library, tennis courts, pickleball court and possibly the police station(?)  Homes, apartments, and workplaces along Pearl road are also other prime locations. My hope is that the city and their hand-picked "Planning Commission"  must rethink the geography of refueling.

This shouldn’t be considered an act of federal, state or local favoritism toward electric vehicles at the expense of gas-powered ones. Rather, it’s a boost to allow the two types of cars to compete on par by closing one of the main gaps between them: the ease of filling up.

Emery Pinter

Worked in marketing research, marketing, and was a Librarian and Bookstore Manager. Advocate for small businesses.  Member of the Dig, Plant, and Grow Garden Club and 2ND Fridays Parma Heights

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Volume 15, Issue 4, Posted 12:13 PM, 04.01.2023