Updated: Nov 9, 2022
In 2021, Electric vehicles (EV) made up about 2% of road vehicles in the U.S. automobile market. Now in 2022, there are over 15 million EVs on the road and it continues to increase for various reasons. Whether you prefer an electric vehicle or not, these automobiles will one day take over the market. In the next 10 years, it is a predicted goal of the Biden Administration that EVs will make up 40-50% of new vehicle sales and the industry is responding.
Because automobiles and trucks produce about 1/5 of America’s greenhouse gas emissions, EVs can be an amazing and efficient alternative that can also help achieve the federal ‘target goal’ of having net-zero emissions by 2050. One of the top concerns of non-EV owners is the battery charging issues and limited network of charging stations and the strain that this will put on our electrical infrastructure.
Industry and government are responding with investment in developing a charger infrastructure. Ford has committed to providing EV chargers at all of their dealership locations by offering a new business unit, ‘Model e’. This requires dealerships to offer at least one publicly accessible EV charger to be a Model e certified dealership, which can be quite an investment. The Ohio EPA also recently awarded several grants for DC EV charging stations to be installed throughout Ohio. GM has announced the conversion of their engine plant in Toledo to fully take on EV production in the next 2-13 years.
Myths about Electrical Vehicles
As the infrastructure investment continues, many still have concerns about purchasing an electrical vehicle most of this skepticism is based on some of the myths behind them. You may think EVs are worse for the environment because of the power emissions, but EVs tend to have a smaller carbon footprint compared to gasoline cars. At 90-92% efficient, EV may create carbon pollution, but research has shown that they produce lower levels of greenhouse gases than your average vehicle.
Some may also be hesitant to acquire electric vehicles because of the lack of public chargers availability across the U.S. According to Sarah Nielsen, the executive director at Consumers Energy for Electric Vehicle Programs, the average American is only traveling an average of 30 miles a day (especially since remote work has become available). A typical level 2 charger that owners can acquire for EVs can add 20-30 miles per hour of charging, so most people should be able to get around without a problem after charging at home overnight.
However, there is a notable shortage in the number of public chargers available throughout the U.S according to current EV owners. This can be attributed to the increase in demand of EVs; now that they are becoming more popular in America, eventually the number of public chargers will increase as more EVs are on the road, but of course it takes time and money for precise and efficient installation.
In fact, NOACA (Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency) has planned for the demand on chargers and issued $3 million for EV charger installations across Ohio. There will be 120 public charging locations across 5 Northeast Ohio counties. Check out this list of EPA programs and grants that may fund EV chargers in public locations.
How to Avoid Electrical Grid Collapse
While EV owners may want to keep their cars plugged in overnight to achieve optimum charge for the next day so they don’t have to plug in, using other opportunities to charge EV's can reduce the anticipated overnight charging strain on the electrical grid. A new study from Stanford University has shown that utilizing an EV charger during the daytime at a public location when solar power is most abundant could be more beneficial because the grid is less taxed, compared to charging in the late afternoon or evening.
Charging your vehicle at home may be convenient, but if you’re hoping to make a greater impact on the environment as well as the way you travel, you may want to rethink how, when, and where you are accessing the power to charge your vehicle.
Tec Inc’s Experience with EV Charger Installation
In the past few years, Tec has worked on a few projects that feature infrastructure for EV charging stations. At the O’Hare International Airport in Chicago, we provided engineering services for the first public airport fueling station for the Petroleum Marketing Group (PMG). This installation nearly doubled the charging station sites at the airport to support commuters, transportation providers, and commercial vehicles with increased access to these chargers.
We coordinated the design with Tesla manufacturing instructions and requirements for the 1200 AMP superchargers. The sustainable design for this project met LEED certification and included solar panels that are estimated to save $100,000 per year by providing more than half the building with electricity. (2019) See more on this project here.
Another project that we provided electrical design and infrastructure for future installation of EV chargers is the Mazda dealership in Bedford, Ohio. The new dealership was completely remodeled on a green site to ensure sustainability for the future. With the infrastructure created for the dealership site, it is prepared for EV charger installation in the near future to further accommodate the increased use of electrical vehicles. (2018) See more on this project here.
Our largest Electric Vehicle charger project occurred throughout 2019 and 2020 for the new Laketran transit center near Lakeland Community College and in Wickliffe, Ohio. Tec designed the infrastructure for EV chargers at each of these bus stations to give riders access to these chargers after their commutes, further demonstrating the commitment of Laketran to help reduce emissions in their county. In addition, this project provided the first electrified connectors in the canopy of the charging bay in the US for the fleet of electrical buses. See more on this project here.
As the need for EV chargers and infrastructure to meet the demands of Electrical Vehicles grows, Tec Inc. remains dedicated to providing expertise and services to both public and private providers. There are various automakers that will begin to hit the market in the coming years, so we will keep you up-to-date with EV news and be prepared to evaluate new technology in the coming years.
Contact our Engineers at Tec Inc. for more information on EV installation, design, permits or anything related to electrical vehicles. We would love to provide our expertise in this area to your upcoming project to decrease carbon emissions and provide accessible chargers across the country.