By 2015, the city of Shanghai, China, expects to have some 10,000 “green cars” on the road, by which I’m guessing they’re referring to “electric vehicles,” judging by a recent announcement.
This is a question that has been bandied about by electric vehicle proponents and opponents, the need for public-access electric-vehicle charging stations. So, which comes first? Does it matter whether there are charging stations accessible outside the home before people will buy electric vehicles? Tesla Motors, which has rolled out one of the most ambitious charging networks to date, the Tesla Supercharger network, has done so completely free of charge for all Tesla Model S 60 kWh and 85 kWh on the streets.
At a cost of around $250,000 for each Tesla Supercharger, plus electricity, that’s a lot of money being “given away,” but has, at least some say, been a profitable move for the electric vehicle startup company. Nissan is currently ending a program that gives new Nissan Leaf owners in Texas free access to the eVgo Freedom Station charging network for a year, and regional sales of the Nissan Leaf have tripled since October 1, when the program started.
Does free access to charging stations encourage the adoption of electric vehicles? I’d gather, from the two examples above, that is definitely the case. Does even paid access to a charging station network encourage adoption of electric vehicles? Judging from examples around the world, I’d still have to say yes. The Chinese city of Shanghai seems to agree with that assessment.
Currently, Shanghai has about 2,000 public access charging stations, most of which are near dealerships, offices, and residential areas. By the end of 2015, Shanghai estimates that there will be 10,000 electric vehicles on the streets. In an effort to encourage such adoption, the city is going to triple the number of charging stations to about 6,000, expanding coverage to parking lots and park-and-ride lots.
Image © Shanghai Daily