Population and society
In August 2021, President Joe Biden signed an Executive Order setting a target that 50% of all vehicles sold in the US will be net-zero emitters of greenhouse gases by 2030. While US electric vehicle (EV) sales rose in the last decade, the number of EV charging stations would need to increase to meet the growing demand.
There are currently more than 56,000 EV charging stations with about 148,000 charging ports across the country. While this is enough to sustain the current number of registered EVs, the US would need to roughly triple installations rates over the next eight years to support the anticipated number of EVs on the road by 2030.
The market for EV charging stations is spread out between about 30 private companies, though more than two-thirds of this market are controlled by three of them.
The Biden administration has allocated billions of dollars across the 50 states and Puerto Rico to help develop the infrastructure to fuel electric vehicles. But to complete that task it would take additional private or public funding.
According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, there are currently 56,256 EV charging stations across the country as of Nov. 8, 2022. Approximately 52,375 were available to the public, and 3,816 stations were private.
Currently, 4,284 stations are labeled as “temporarily unavailable,” meaning they are undergoing some form of maintenance.
These stations support roughly 147,700 individual charging ports, referred to as electrical vehicle supply equipment, which are classified by the rate at which they recharge EV batteries. Charging time can range from less than 20 minutes to several hours depending on the type of charger.
An estimated 2% of these ports were level 1 chargers, which charge at a rate of 5 miles of range per hour. Approximately 117,368, or 79.5% of ports were level 2 chargers, which charge at a rate of 25 miles of range per hour.
Lastly, 18.5% of ports were Direct Current (DC) fast charging ports, with a rate of 100 to 200 or more miles of range per 30 minutes of charging.
As of the first quarter of 2022, DC fast charging ports are the fastest growing type of port compared with the level 1 and level 2 options.
Between 2015 and 2020, the number of charging stations across the country more than doubled. And EV stations grew by more than 55% between 2020 and 2021.
California has the largest number of EV charging stations at 15,706, followed by New York at 3,594, then Florida at 3,033. Alaska had the lowest number overall at 58.
Of the 10 cities with the largest number of EV charging stations, five were in California, with Los Angeles being the highest at around 1,600 total stations.
While California has the largest number of charging ports overall, several midwestern states had higher rates of charging ports available to registered electric vehicles. This is largely due to the limited number of EVs registered in some states.
North Dakota has the highest proportion of charging ports per 100 registered EVs at 45, followed by Wyoming at 41, and West Virginia at 37. The average number of charging ports per 100 electric vehicles nationwide is 10.
Between 2020 and 2021, 46 states saw the growth rate of EV stations increase. Within the same period, 36 states saw the rate of EV station installations double.
But looking at stations per state doesn’t tell the full story. Where stations are located along the highway system, how fast they charge, and how accessible the stations are make a difference as well.
The Federal Highway Administration outlines stretches of highway called alternative fuel corridors where EV drivers can travel without worrying about a lack of available charging stations before they reach their destination.
In order to qualify as an alternative fuel corridor, the section of highway must have DC fast charging ports every 50 miles or less. And those stations must also be a mile or less from the highway.
These corridors are not equally distributed throughout the US. EV drivers can go hundreds of miles along an alternative fuel corridor in some parts of the country but in other places, there wouldn’t be one nearby.
An EV driver could take a direct route from San Diego, Calif., to Portland, Ore., mostly using alternative fuel corridors. But an EV driver taking a similar trip from Chicago, Ill., to New Orleans, La., wouldn’t be on any alternative fuel corridors during their trip.
Electric vehicle stations are predominantly owned and operated by private charging network companies. These companies commonly require a membership for users to recharge at their various stations and connect their sites through the internet to collect data.
There are approximately 30 different EV charging network companies across the US, controlling roughly 47,000 stations. Most of these networks operate less than 1,000 stations, with many either located in a defined geographic region or offering services to install and maintain EV stations for customers.
Currently, the ChargePoint company hosts the largest network of EV charging stations in the US with approximately 30,000 or 53% of all sites across the nation. Other large companies include Tesla with nearly 6,000 stations, or the SemaConnect Network with more than 2,300 sites.
Approximately 9,300 stations were classified as non-networked, meaning they serve as standalone units not associated with a larger network and do not often appear on EV charging maps.
While the US has just over 27,000 DC fast charging ports, 57.7% are operated by Tesla and are therefore only readily accessible to Tesla drivers.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, President Biden has set a commitment to build out a national network of 500,000 charging ports by 2030. There has already been at least $15 billion made available to states to develop the infrastructure for EV charging stations.
The US will have to install approximately 50,000 publicly available charging ports per year for eight years to achieve this goal, requiring a significant increase from the annual average of 18,700 publicly available charging ports installed since 2020.
And the goal doesn’t capture what it would take to support a future where all vehicles are electric powered. There are currently 100 charging stations per 1,000 electric vehicles. If all registered vehicles were EV, that would shift to 0.5 charging stations per 1,000 vehicles.
In addition, the US will need far more electric vehicle charger stations than gas stations due to the time it takes to charge an electric car.
The National Renewable Energy Laboratory released a report in September estimating the US would require 27,500 DC fast and 601,000 Level 2 public and workplace charging ports to support 15 million electric vehicles on the road by 2030. Based on this analysis, 99% and 20% of the necessary DC fast and Level 2 charging ports, respectively, have already been installed. And that doesn’t capture the need for stations to be distributed evenly across the highway system.
Residential EV charging locations and "wall outlets" not designated for vehicle charging are not included in the Station Locator, but workplace charging locations are.
The dataset also lists 78 stations as “planned,” meaning they will soon be accessible to either public or private groups.
Other factors such as how depleted the battery is, how much energy it holds, the type of battery, and the type of charging equipment may also impact charging speeds.
The remaining 93 ports were unclassified.
This ratio only includes registered electric vehicles and not registered hybrid plug-in electric vehicles.
Alternative fuel corridors can only contain DC fast electric vehicle charging stations that have at least four charging ports with CCS connectors and each support a power output of at least 150 kW.
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