One of the biggest hurdles to getting more plug-in electric vehicles on the road has been a lack of charging infrastructure – but America may have many more charging options than previously thought.
Of all U.S. households that own at least one car, an estimated 49.6 million housing units (49 percent of all households) park within 20 feet of an electrical outlet, meaning many more American drivers could be plugging into an EV future.
This finding is the outcome of a recent analysis from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (U.S. EIA), which found the existing housing stock in America could support a “significant” number of new plug-in EVs. While some EV manufacturers recommend level two or level three chargers, most EVs can be charged with a level one charger – the same type of outlet used for most home appliances.
As would be expected, certain characteristics of housing units, especially the type of housing, have great bearing on the potential for EVs. Single-family dwellings represent the largest potential by far, with 60 percent of housing units parking within 20 feet of an outlet, compared to just 14 percent of apartments and under five percent of mobile homes.
Different regions of the country also affect the potential of existing housing to support EV charging. In the Midwest Census region, for example, more than 60 percent of single-family housing units could support EV charging. In contrast, less than 40 percent of all Northeast Census region single-family housing can support EVs.
Three other interesting factors also affect the potential to integrate EVs – the age of housing units, rural versus urban location, and household income. On average, homes built from the 1990’s to today provide greater access to suitable outlets. In addition, detached housing units with average household income of $80,000 or more provide highest access to suitable outlets. And finally, 55 percent of rural housing units have existing access to suitable outlets, compared to only 47 percent of urban areas, likely a result of more apartment dwellers in cities.