Charging a Challenge for Electric Car Owners

  • Most elecric car owners need to charge up at home overnight, and it's not as easy as it sounds. Photo: Jennifer Szweda Jordan

November 22, 2013
By Haldan Kirsch

Professors of engineering and public policy at Carnegie Mellon University have compiled data that show a lack of residential parking and charging capabilities for elecric vehicles (EV) across the country. EVs are any battery-powered automotive vehicles, whether hybrid or completely battery powered.

Refueling these battery-powered automobiles requires access to an outlet within the reach of a parking space because charging can take several hours. Though most innovation in the market has focused on public-use chargers, according to researchers, EVs will more commonly be charged at home, which poses problems for drivers who can’t charge overnight.

“Only about a quarter of vehicles have charging available at the residence. About 40 percent of households have charging that might be available but the thing is the houses that have charging available have multiple vehicles, so they might only have space for one vehicle,” says Carnegie Mellon Professor of Engineering Chris Hendrickson

While some studies project EV growth to rise from the current one percent to 80 percent by 2030, Hendrickson says the lack of residential charging could put the brakes on that growth.

Hendrickson hopes that owners of rental properties will begin to offer improved parking, and those who already have parking will take charging capabilities into account when considering renovations.  Currently there are no incentives in place to increase residential charging opportunities.