Electric Cars: A $2.7 Trillion Price Tag for Charging Infrastructure?

(DGIwire) – As various nations turn away from gas-powered cars and trucks toward a future of electric vehicles, some are asking about the cost. According to Bloomberg, financial services firm Morgan Stanley has estimated that the world will need to spend a dizzying $2.7 trillion on charging infrastructure if it is to support 500 million electric vehicles. (That might sound like a lot of cars and trucks, but as MIT Technology Review reports, there are already more than a billion vehicles on the world’s roads right now.)

The rollout of charging points is often cited as a key incentive to convince the public to adopt electric vehicles, says MIT Technology Review. So far, the journal adds, building out a suitable network has seemed to require both private and public investment. This has already been the case, with Tesla building its own charging stations and the U.S. government committing to build a series of national electric-vehicle charging corridors around the country. But with such a huge amount of money potentially there for the taking, MIT Technology Review adds, some more original thinking about the best way to build and run charging points is to be expected.

“The dilemma for those devoted to an electric vehicle future involves not only how many charging stations should be built, and where they should be located, but also the amount of time it takes for a driver to fully charge their vehicle,” says Stephen Voller, CEO of ZapGo Ltd., the developer of Carbon-Ion™ (C-Ion®) cells, a fast-charging and safe alternative to lithium-ion batteries. “Drivers used to filling up quickly at traditional gas stations are unlikely to embrace a technology involving much longer recharge times.”

Consider Britain, for example; as part of its ambitious “decarbonization” target, all cars sold in that country may have to be electric vehicles by 2050, but charging them all will pose a huge logistical challenge. Even with a 50-kilowatt charger, it would take 80 minutes to charge a vehicle with a 90 kilowatt-hour battery from 25 percent to 100 percent, notes a report prepared by SO Energy Insights.

Around the world, utility grids will have to be optimized to support a level of charging that motorists find convenient or else they just won’t use them. Ultra-fast charging, a technology made possible with Carbon-Ion, could be the solution. For example, a 350-kilowatt charger would take less than five minutes to charge an average EV of today from 25 to 100 percent. The smart energy storage in Carbon-Ion cells can provide a much more energy-efficient charging solution for drivers while potentially saving local utilities billions of dollars in infrastructure costs. A bank of ZapGo Carbon-Ion cells could be integrated into electric charging stations across Britain—and around the world—to ensure sufficient power to recharge electric vehicles in a quick and convenient manner.

“The faster the charging time, the more easily electric vehicles will be embraced by the general public,” Voller adds.

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