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Electric-Car Charger Congestion…At Least In California

Electric cars at charging stations at Disney Family Museum, San Francisco [photo: Wendy Bartlett]
Electric cars aren’t evenly distributed across the U.S. By far the largest single market for them is California.

And in a sign of increasing adoption rates–there are now roughly 75,000 plug-in cars on the nation’s roads–some electric-car drivers are facing a new problem.

Charging stations in public parking lots are now sometimes fully occupied, meaning they can’t recharge their cars’ batteries.

Photos on Facebook show rows of occupied charging stations, including at a Gilroy, Cailfornia, site where Tesla Model S owners can use the company’s SuperCharger network of quick-charging stations adjoining a set of conventional 240-Volt Level 2 charging stations.

Last month analyst and Chevrolet Volt owner Anton Wahlman published an article on The Street warning that “charger congestion” could replace range anxiety as the latest concern for drivers.

“Sounds great to me,” responded electric-car advocate Brad Berman in an article facetiously titled “There Are Too Many Electric Cars” on Plug-In Cars. “Bring it on.”

Calling this so-called calamity “the best news I’ve heard in a long time,” Berman writes:

This is exactly the “problem” we want to have. If the marketplace sees that there are not enough chargers for all the [electric cars], I’m confident that charging infrastructure companies, municipalities, and [electric car] organizations will jump in with more chargers.

Right now, there are approximately 10,000 public charging stations in the U.S. By the end of this year, that number could be as high as 50,000.


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