For some progressive industries, getting started is a little like the proverbial question of the chicken or the egg. For example, which comes first, electric vehicles (EVs) or charging stations?
Critics invoke this conundrum when they decry the lack of an elaborate charging infrastructure as a fundamental flaw in the concept of EVs. In short, they question the viability of EVs because there isn’t already a system in place for charging them up.
According to one study, the rest of the world isn’t dissuaded by this self-defeating logic. In fact, they are jumping right in.
"Market Data: Electric Vehicle Charging Equipment," published by Navigant Research in July, shows global spending on EV charging infrastructure is on the rise. Soon there will be plenty of charging stations around to help EV drivers go wherever they want.
The report analyzes the global market for plug-in EV (PEV) charging equipment sales and installations. It concludes that the electrification of transportation is only just beginning and will eventually influence every road vehicle market.
Navigant Research expects the global market for light, medium and heavy duty PEVs to grow from around 875,000 sales in 2017 to over 6 million in 2026. Asia Pacific will likely be the largest market, propelled by China’s demand for fleet PEVs, which is comprised of mostly buses and taxis. The North American and European markets are expected to be similar in size, each at about half the size of the Asia Pacific market.
According to the study, battery cost declines will be the primary driver of the expected growth in the charging market. This comes at a time when manufacturers are offering longer-range PEVs in a wider range of vehicle body types. The shift will drive greater interest in EV charging and help the industry overcome the criticism that the technology is not viable for long-range travel.
At the same time, Navigant also expects stakeholders with the ability to fund large-scale deployments, including governments, utilities, and automakers, to continue playing an “outsized role” in the growth of EV charging installations with their investment in the infrastructure over the next three to five years. After that, the market should reach a more truly “demand-driven” status.