Rapid ramp-up predicted for electric vehicle charging stations

Rapidly falling equipment prices are seen as spurring installations at home and in public places over the next six years.

By 2017, there could be more than 1.5 million electric vehicle charging stations available in the United States. Of course, that number pales in comparison to the 7.7 million locations predicted worldwide, but it is a serious acceleration over what is available now.

The report from Pike Research attributes the anticipated installations to rapidly falling equipment prices. Indeed, it is difficult to find companies in the power distribution business that are NOT coming out with charging stations, notably those focused on the home. (See gallery, "10 electric vehicle chargers to keep you on the road.")

Said Pike Research senior analyst John Gartner:

“Basic electric vehicle supply equipment will quickly become a commodity. [Electric vehicle supply equipment] prices will fall by 37 percent through 2017 as costs are driven lower by competition from large electronics companies as well as volume production. In the face of this trend, manufacturers will integrate their equipment with external storage units, home energy management systems, and smart grid equipment to add value and increase their revenue."

Two emerging categories that are worth your particular attention: Direct current charging technologies (which will reach about 115,000 units by 2017) and wireless charging technologies (predicted at 150,000 units by the same timeframe).

Pike Research also released updated figures for cumulative sales of plug-in electric vehicles. It now anticipates that sales of all electrified vehicles will reach 13.9 million units by 2017. Key motivators will be increasing fuel costs, changing fuel economy standards and the availability of more vehicle models. These aren't just consumer vehicles. Pike Research predicts that electric vehicles could capture almost 5 percent of the total light-duty vehicle market in North America by 2017.

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