EV Charging Anxiety and the Need for More DC Fast Chargers

Electric vehicle (EV) adoption is steadily growing, with more automakers launching EV models each year. However, many potential EV buyers still have reservations due to “range anxiety” and “charging anxiety.” While range anxiety, the fear of running out of power before reaching a charger, remains a key concern, charging anxiety is also a real issue for many. Charging an EV can take significantly longer than refueling a gasoline vehicle, and public EV chargers can be few and far between. This combination of long charge times and lack of charger availability creates charging anxiety for would-be EV drivers.

However, there are solutions that can help alleviate charging anxiety and make EVs more practical for more people. One key solution is deploying more direct current (DC) fast chargers, which can charge EVs at significantly higher power levels than the more common level 2 alternating current (AC) chargers. While level 2 chargers can take hours to fully charge an EV battery, DC fast chargers can provide up to hundreds of miles of charge in just minutes. Greater access to DC fast chargers would give EV drivers more confidence that they can charge quickly and conveniently when needed.

Currently, there are not enough DC fast chargers to satisfy growing EV demand. The U.S. currently has around 43,000 public chargers total, but only around 12,000 of those are DC fast chargers. Most public chargers are still level 2 options, which provide around 20-80 miles of charge per hour of charging. In contrast, DC fast chargers can provide over 200 miles of charge in just 20-30 minutes. This means that finding and waiting at a level 2 charger can still involve hours spent not driving.

The result is that many current and potential EV drivers still worry about being able to charge their vehicle conveniently and quickly enough. They fear being stranded without a sufficiently fast charger when they need one. This charging anxiety creates doubt about whether an EV can truly meet their driving needs.

However, research shows that greater access to DC fast chargers would significantly alleviate charging anxiety for many EV drivers. A 2019 survey found that 77% of EV owners said having more DC fast chargers would increase their willingness to purchase another EV in the future. Another survey found that 87% of respondents said increasing the number of DC fast chargers nationwide would make them more likely to buy an EV.

Deploying more DC fast chargers, especially along major highways and at key destinations like malls and grocery stores, would give EV drivers the confidence that they have a convenient and quick charging option when needed. It would reduce the stress of wondering whether a level 2 charger will be available or take too long when a recharge is needed. With DC fast charging, drivers know they can quickly top up their battery and get back on the road in a matter of minutes.

Charge anxiety remains a very real issue that holds back broader EV adoption. But deploying a greater number of DC fast chargers nationwide has the potential to significantly reduce that anxiety. By giving drivers confidence that quick and convenient charging will be available when needed, DC fast chargers could make EVs a more practical option for more people. Automakers, governments,