As the automotive and electric vehicle worlds await the coming launch of Tesla’s first mass-market vehicle, the Model 3, and attention to climate change concerns have increased public demand for reducing carbon emissions, the market for electric vehicles has entered a crucial phase in its development. Standing on the verge of wider public adoption, the industry and governments across the world prepare to face a new round of challenges to the strategies put in place to support such future expansion. Alongside the continued development of battery technology, aiming to increase storage capacity, one of the central concerns in establishing electric vehicles as a viable option for widespread use has been establishing a functional charging network.

Many governments have set forth goals for building up this charging infrastructure with the aim of easing prospective electric vehicle owners’ concerns over range anxiety, ensuring that charging posts are available at sufficiently frequent intervals to erase the concern of a battery dying on the side of the road, mid-journey. The US government set forth a program, in 2016, to establish 48, so-called, “charging corridors” which would span some 40,000 km across 35 of the country’s 50 states, effectively providing a charging station every 80 km along these corridors. This concept is designed to account for the average battery range of 100-160 km.

Alongside government efforts such as the Charging Corridor strategy, other countries are seeing active movement from private companies seeking to fill this gap, the European fast-charging network operator Fastned which is making an active push across Germany and England. The charging network operator has acquired 14 locations in Germany and formed a partnership with a local hotel chain to establish charging networks along the country’s highways, while, in England, it has established a partnership with Transport for London to support the agencies goal of establishing 300 rapid charging points across London by 2020.

Many of those automakers with EV models of their own are also joining the effort to expand the charging infrastructure in various areas around the world. Among these, the most significant is the five automaker group, consisting of Ford Motor, Volkswagen Group, BMW Group, and Daimler, are set to undertake a project, announced in November of 2016, to establish an ultra-fast charging network in Europe, consisting of some 400 sites across the continent. Additionally, Tesla recently committed to expanding its proprietary network of Supercharger stations from 5,400 to 10,000 by the end of 2017, a strong sign of the company’s faith in the projected sales numbers.

The dilemma of EV charging has also spurred the community of EV owners to fill in some of these gaps, forming a solution well suited to today’s sharing culture. Following in the footsteps of Airbnb, Chargie is a new service being launched in England which allows private charging station owners to rent out their stations to other drivers. However, while the number of charging stations continues to rise, the field grows increasingly complicated and confusing to EV owners, with the number of private operators spawning new networks making it difficult to create a single, overall repository of this information.

Read details on the US charging corridor strategy 

Read about Tesla’s Model 3 

Read about Fastned’s efforts in England and Germany 

Read about the European fast charging network proejct 

Read about the expansion of Tesla’s Supercharging network

Read about Chargie 

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Reframing City Districts (ReCiDi)

A research project conducted by the Universities of Turku and Tampere which aims to form a new conceptual framework which will help shape the collective identity and common vision necessary to realize the future low-carbon and sustainability targets.

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