A new report by the US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is intended to serve as a strategic framework for the development of nationwide electric vehicle charging infrastructure designed to meet the needs of an anticipated 30–42 million light-duty EVs by 2030.
The framework outlined in the report aligns with goals set by the Biden-Harris administration, the automotive industry, and the United Auto Workers for zero-emission vehicles to comprise the majority of new car sales by 2030. It also coalesces with the Joint Office of Energy and Transportation’s (Joint Office’s) vision of a reliable, and equitable charging network for all Americans.
The report, titled The 2030 National Charging Network: Estimating U.S. Light-Duty Demand for Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure, details NREL’s quantitative analysis estimating the number, type and location of chargers needed to power a growing number of light-duty EVs nationwide. It also includes a new level of detail in a nationwide EV charging infrastructure analysis.
The study accounts for region-specific variables, such as weather, travel behavior, housing type, and demographics, as well as types of travel, such as commuting, running errands, ride-hailing, and long-distance road trips—all of which can affect charging demand. The study utilizes the most sophisticated and comprehensive suite of analytical tools available, built on years of studying EV charging and powered by NREL’s analytical capabilities.
Key report findings
Convenient and affordable charging at and near home must be complemented by reliable public fast charging to enable long-distance travel, mobility and ride-hailing services, and charging for those without residential access, the report states.
A successful charging ecosystem provides the right balance of charging types and locations: NREL’s analysis finds that a national network in 2030 could require approximately 1.2 million publicly accessible charging ports and an additional 26.8 million privately accessible charging ports.
Those 1.2 million public charging ports would be comprised of 182,000 publicly accessible fast charging ports, and 1 million Level 2 charging ports at publicly accessible locations such as high-density neighborhoods, office buildings, and retail outlets.
EV sales have tripled since 2021, and the number of publicly available charging ports has grown by more than 40%. U.S. sales of plug-in EVs have reached about 3.4 million since 2010, and more than 135,000 public chargers currently exist across the country.
The Joint Office and the US Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies Office supported NREL’s multi-faceted analysis.