Would superchargers make you an electric car owner?

Electric vehicle fast chargers fill the battery in under 30 minutes, removing a major psychological roadblock from EV ownership.

“I’m all for electric vehicles, but how long do they take to charge?” is a common criticism and an important issue for most would-be EV owners.

Although EV chargers can take up to eight hours to fill the battery, a study by the University of Delaware of 3,000 people concluded that individuals would be willing to pay $3,250 per hour of time saved in charging the car if the car could charge in just 10 minutes.

Several companies are already producing and selling fast charging stations that let drivers fully charge an electric car’s battery in about 15-30 minutes, the time it takes to grab a bite at a roadside restaurant.

Fast chargers, like those produced by ABB, ECOtality or Tesla can deliver a full charge in under 30 minutes. In places where these are being installed, electric vehicle (EV) drivers could just pull into a rest stop for a bite to eat, plug in and have a fully charged vehicle before they’re finished eating.

Such will be the case in Estonia (…!) by the end of this year. The country is installing Europe’s largest EV charging network, using 15-30 minute fast charging stations. Each fast charging station will be spaced every 50 kilometers from the next, completely enabling EV travel anywhere within the country.

Electric car charging station sales are expected to multiply rapidly over the next five years, reaching 1.6 million units globally by 2015, according to Pike Research. With the high price of fossil fuels and the growing investment in electricity from renewable sources, a network of fast charging stations removes one of the last speed bumps that might be preventing people from making their next car electric.

“It is not a question of will this market develop, but more a question of how will it mushroom,” said Hans Streng, the head of ABB’s electrical vehicle charging infrastructure business, in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

Not every charging station on the road is a fast charging station, but you can find the fast chargers near you by using Google or a number of other maps that let US drivers locate charging stations. Globally, there are also a growing number of phone apps, such as the ones released by ChargePoint and CarStations, which use GPS positioning to search for a charging station near you.

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About the author

Gavin Hudson

Global social media manager at ABB headquarters in Zurich. My background is in blogging and print journalism, covering renewable energy and the environment. At ABB, it's fascinating being surrounded by experts in cleantech and energy efficiency technologies. Outside of work, I enjoy running, swimming, cycling, skiing, and most other outdoor sports. I did the Ironman Zurich in 2012, and have run several marathons. I also enjoy learning and sharing languages.
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