As I was charging up on my recent, ill-advised long-distance Nissan Leaf road trip (more on that soon!), I checked in on the news and learned via Electrek that Electrify America had unveiled an impressive looking map of nationwide charging stations.
Sadly, the exact locations of many stations are still very much to be determined, but this gives us all a better sense of what the network of 2,000+ stations, at 484 sites, across 39 states, will look like. And as someone who has recently had to make less-than-ideal choices about where to charge and how often, I can say that this map should make inter-city and even longer-range travel considerably easier, particularly as cars like the Tesla Model 3, Chevy Bolt and even Nissan Leaf 2.0 come online.
You see, the challenge with electric vehicle charging at the moment isn't just that there aren't enough stations—but that the distributions of those stations is less than ideal. That means longer distance travel, in older model, shorter-range cars inevitably means topping up more than you need to, and adding extra range "just in case" a station is unavailable or the route takes more out of your batteries than you expected.
By placing stations at what looks like relatively even intervals along major routes—as well as big box stores like Target and Walmart—and by prioritizing multiple charge points at each location, and faster rates of charge (assuming your car can take it), this network will genuinely make a huge difference in the level of confidence a driver might have as to whether they can find a charge.
And this is no hypothetical plan. The stated goal of the project is to have all these stations either operational or under construction by the end of next year.
Maybe I should have waited before taking my road trip...