As the popularity of electric vehicles and plugins gain popularity, nearing 4% of sales for the industry as a whole. manufacturers, third parties and industry organizations are connecting to plan for the future and enable drivers.
This boost in popularity and interest in alternative and renewable energy is pushing discussion of energy sources. At The NAIAS 2014 show, Ford invited several media members to discuss the future of the energy infrastructure with the first Chief EV Officer of Oregon Ashley Horvat, Brian Kariger CEO of Recargo and Mike Tinskey director of global vehicle electrification and infrastructure at Ford.
Tinskey provided a quick background into pricing, infrastructure and energy use. In the 1930’s the average home use of electricity for the year was 500 kWh, which climbed to 11,500 kWh for a home this year. In the 1930’s gasoline was just 10 cents a gallon, while electricity was 8 cents per kWh. Today electricity is roughly 12 cents per kWh and gasoline is $3-$4 per gallon, a much greater disparity.
This financial motivation is what can help drive adoption of electric vehicles, by offering a cheaper means of transportation that depending on the source of electricity is much cleaner.
There is still a lot of work to do as the infrastructure for generating power is still coal heavy and even as natural gas is increasing the current prediction is still high for 2025.
Recargo offers a PlugShare service that the CEO, tk, describes as a Yelp for charging station. This is important for users who will need to charge up for 15 to 20 minutes, compared to a minute for gas. The PlugShare service rates these locations and can even help users find free charging stations.
Plug in hybrid users actually plug in more in public than plug in only vehicles, as they want to avoid using gas. The PlugShare app is available on iPhone, iPad and Android with 28,000 charging stations logged and 50,000 users.
Ashley Horvat, Chief EV Officer of Oregon shared the strategy in place in her state to increase the adoption of electric vehicles and the ease of traveling with them. Oregon created one route which a Chevron station was among the first to sign up in order to provide energy with another at a brewery and one coming soon to a winery in Oregon.
There are also charging stations at Mount Hood and others through scenic and tourist areas along the “Oregon Electric Byways”, which are coming together in Oregon.
While there is a lot of work to do in this area, the charging infrastructure is getting there and alleviating some of the pain points associated with charging, and in the short-term businesses are partnering to offer charging stations in order to draw in consumers.