Is it the dawn of the age of the electric vehicle?

If we can find a place to “park n’ charge” it could be.

With the arrival of the Tesla Model 3, many agree that the electric car is finally poised to go mainstream. But as the grand plans of CEO Elon Musk come to fruition, cities and businesses need to move fast to install enough public chargers for all of them—and maybe even to produce enough electricity.

I am really ready for a great electric vehicle. The Tesla SUV is perfect for my needs right now except for one tremendous hurdle, if I have a meeting in rural Alabama as I often do, can I make it back on one charge? There are very few charging stations in the parts of the country that I am visiting these days.

According to the Rocky Mountain Institute, the US economy and its millions of car drivers will fail to fully capture the benefits of electric vehicles (EVs) unless the development of a robust national charging network accelerates considerably.

The risks of not having sufficient charging infrastructure to support surging electric vehicle sales is now greater than the risk of building underused charging stations, according to a new report from Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI), From Gas to Grid: Building Charging Infrastructure to Power Electric Vehicle Demand. 

The report examines policies, regulations, and transportation electrification ambitions – highlighting how opportunities and challenges around building EV charging stations can vary by geography.

“In the US, EVs are on track to beat gasoline cars on price, without incentives or subsidies by 2025, but the current pace of charging station construction is unlikely to keep up,“ Chris Nelder, a manager in RMI’s mobility and electricity practices and report author, said “Without a vigorous and sustained construction program of EV-charging infrastructure, the US is likely to see its vehicle electrification ambitions stifled.”

The report is aimed at legislators, regulators, elected officials, consumer advocates, and utilities to help them understand the options in their states – concluding that where EV growth is strongest, charger deployment is lagging EV adoption, as utilities, regulators, and charging station companies debate ownership models, siting, and tariff design.

“We need to move beyond the debate about the equitability of vehicle electrification and stop questioning whether we should be making investments in charging infrastructure—we absolutely should,” Jerry Weiland, a managing director of mobility transformation at RMI, said. “It is critical to get right the methods and infrastructure for vehicle electrification from the start, with appropriate tariffs, well-planned charging infrastructure, and the ability to manage chargers, and the time to start working on that is now.”

I may have to push my choice of SUVs back to the traditional models for now but it is on my radar.