Most of the pure electric on-road vehicles becoming available in the next few years will have only 100 miles range. Most people are not prepared to buy a vehicle with such short range but huge numbers of recharging stations would ease the range anxiety somewhat.
Pike Research forecasts that there will be 6.5 million charging points in the world in five years from now, a $6.5 billion market. It envisages one million being in the USA. So far this year, the announcements of charging installations are inconsistent with this, with only a few thousand starting to be installed here and there.
Slow charging is the norm so far
Most of the vehicle batteries and charge points can only cope with slow charging, so we are only going to see the capability of charging in public maybe 100,000 vehicles worldwide in the next few years unless the installation rate becomes much higher and fast charging becomes common - something that calls for much more expensive high current facilities.
Certainly, the increasing use of lithium titanate anodes assists in creating batteries tolerant of fast charging. Rapid charging, also known as Level III, requires much higher voltages and current than that supplied by conventional household circuits. In many cases, rapid charging systems can provide a 50% charge—typically enough to travel 50 miles—in under 5 minutes, comparable to the time it takes to fill a gas tank.
The Japanese rapid-charging standard is called CHAdeMO and it provides DC power at up to 500 volts with a current of 125 amps. Typical chargers operate on standard AC power, using either 110 volt household current (Level I), which generally can recharge an electric car's batteries overnight, or special systems (similar to those needed for electric stoves or clothes dryers) that use 220 volts (Level II), which can cut the charging time in half. "Rapid charging" systems typically refer to those that can charge the batteries to at least 80 percent of capacity within 30 minutes. There is also energetic work in Europe and the USA directed towards standardised charging.The UK Society for Motor Manufacturers and Traders has issued a report that assesses the progress in the standardisation of EV charging connections for conductive charging in Europe, the United States and Japan. In the meantime, Germany has mandated the German Institute for Standardization to coordinate standardisation work in the electromobility sector.
Currently, there is a tradeoff - vehicles can have large battery packs that provide a long driving range, but are more difficult to recharge rapidly, or small packs that give a short range but cost less and can more easily be charged rapidly. At a cost, ultracapacitors can help traction batteries to tolerate fast charging and there are a few electric vehicles powered by ultracapacitors alone, though their energy storage, and therefore range, is limited. Afs Trinity Power Corporation has made significant advances with fast ultracapacitor systems in vehicles.
For more on this attend: Future of Electric Vehicles which uniquely covers the whole electric vehicle market - land, sea, air whether hybrid or pure EV - with emphasis on future breakthroughs and read Car Traction Batteries - the New Gold Rush 2010-2020.