Electric cars are getting cheaper and they can go farther on a single charge. Still, most car shoppers have one big concern: How will I keep an electric car charged while I’m on a long road trip?
Gas stations are everywhere. A typical highway exit might have several of them, each with banks of pumps at the ready. And the process is fast: Filling the tank takes just a few minutes. There’s rarely any need to plan fueling stops ahead of time. When the tank is running low, it’s just a matter of pulling off at the next exit, filling the tank, and getting back on the highway. Snacks, drinks and restrooms are usually available there, too.
But there are far fewer electric car fast chargers along the highway. Also, despite advances in charger and battery technologies, it still takes much longer — typically about 30 minutes with today’s fast chargers — to recharge a battery than to pump liquid into a tank. (That time will go down a lot in the future, but not for all cars or at all chargers.)
To make matters worse, EV fast chargers often aren’t located near convenience stores or restaurants. So, while drivers have longer to wait, there’s not much to do but sit in the car while it recharges. While some are located along highways that have rest stops, others are often in shopping center parking lots, a long walk from the stores, or at car dealerships or hotels at which you might not be staying.