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Over the course of the rest of the decade, all-electric vehicles are going to start to become more prevalent in the auto industry and the market. Just about every major automaker and automotive group has plans for going electric by the 2030. Dare Forward 2030 by Stellantis, plans by the Hyundai Motor Group (HMG) and the Kia Corporation, and of course the Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance is cooking up something. To really make battery-electric vehicles (BEVs) more practical, though, the infrastructure of cities and highways need to change. Thankfully, automakers are joining in to make back some money on their large investments, and it’s not just up to us taxpayers to see the change.
Back in November 2021, the House passed the biggest U.S. infrastructure package in decades. An investment of $7.5 billion would be used to help build a network of electric vehicle charging stations across the country. This new network estimated a total of 500,000 EV chargers planned to be built, many of which will be along highways to help with long-distance travel, plus more charging stations closer to communities and not hiding away somewhere. This network is in addition to the already growing number of public charging stations found via PlugnShare, and the numerous contributions by some of the big names in the industry.
In April 2021, Jeep and Electrify America were working together to build the Jeep 4xe Charging Network soon after the Jeep Wrangler 4xe landed in America. In 2021, the plans were to just install a charging station at three popular trails for Jeepers to roam - Moab, Utah; the Rubicon Trail in Pollock Pines, California; and Big Bear, California. It’s not much, but it’s a start. As a little extra incentive for new consumers to go green, the Kia Corporation partnered with Electrify America to offer 1,000 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of complimentary EV charging/energy for new owners of a Kia EV6. Kia did it again in 2022 for the Niro EV, and doubled down on free EV charging incentives with the Currently App.
During the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show, we saw some pretty futuristic stuff, such as the Chrysler Synthesis Cockpit and the preview of STLA platforms. Mitsubishi Motors was talking about changing the infrastructure of cities to make mobility and carbon-emission free vehicles more of a reality than a possibility. It was very reminiscent of the Smart City Concept by the HMG, shared in August 2022. The vision was the reshaping of cities to create an ecosystem of mobility, reach carbon neutrality, and produce purpose-built vehicles (PBVs) to offer more mobile solutions that aren’t just about going from point A to point B.
The newest giant to get a move on with changing the infrastructure for the new wave of BEVs is Shell. In January 2022, Volta Inc. announced that a Shell Plc subsidiary would be taking over the electric vehicle charging network operation in an all-cash deal valued at about $169 million. Shell USA Inc and companies like France's EDF and Norway's Statkraft have been making large investments into building an EV charging infrastructure to meet the growing demand as BEVs rise in popularity, as well as help the many automakers already pulling their resources together. Volkswagen and General Motors announced a joint venture to build more EV charging stations in 2019, and Mercedes-Benz announced it investment of billions of dollars to build 10,000 fast-charging stations across North America, Europe, and China by the end of the decade (2030).
2030 seems to be the golden year for a lot of automakers, with goals to produce upwards of 70 new BEVs for some automotive groups. It’s time to make EV charging stations more available, in cities and on highways. We need them to be just as practical and accessible as gas stations. The main worry every new consumer thinking about a plug-in hybrid or BEV is “how will I charge up when I’m on the highway or away from the city?” Well, hopefully all of these plans to change up city infrastructure and build charging stations at resting plazas, pit stops, and major exits along the highway will change that.
Looking to go green? There are already plenty of options from a number of automakers. Cut costs and charge up for almost nothing when you buy a new electric car on NowCar.