A recent paper in PNAS Nexus uses scaling theory to forecast future needs for electric-vehicle charging infrastructure throughout the United States. (image: Andrew Roberts/Unsplash)

Consumer interest in electric vehicles (EVs) is rising, but the lack of charging stations is a continuing concern to potential customers. No U.S. counties currently have a charging infrastructure that can deliver power equal to gasoline stations; many counties have no public EV charging infrastructure at all. To equal the power of the existing gasoline network, the U.S. would need 1.8 million charging stations. But where should they be built? A recent paper in PNAS Nexus provides a possible road map.

SFI’s Christopher Kempes and co-authors used scaling theory to forecast future charging station needs. Their work relies on the infrastructure efficiency achieved for areas with higher population density and fewer stations per capita, and shows that areas with a lower population currently have a bigger charging-station gap. So, using simple population data to plan future charging stations could result in excess urban infrastructure and underserved rural communities. Prioritizing charging development using scaling analysis could help guide the distribution of charging stations needed for the widespread adoption of electric vehicles.

Read the study “Scaling behavior for electric vehicle chargers and road map to addressing the infrastructure gap” in PNAS Nexus (November 2023) at doi.org/10.1093/pnasnexus/pgad341