Sober Heads Argue Against a Rush to Fast EV Charging, but It’s Coming Anyway

Automakers and governments see a strategic and geopolitical necessity

Steve LeVine
The Mobilist
Published in
6 min readMar 23, 2021

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Super-chargers in Topeka, Kansas. Photo: Mark Reinstein/Corbis/Getty

According to one prevailing view of the future, the combustion-rooted landscape to which we have become accustomed over the last century — gasoline stations always at hand if we need them, grouped in threes and fours on some urban corners — will go the way of the buggy whip. Instead, when people are in electric vehicles and running low on juice, this outlook predicts, they won’t scan the horizon for a service station, but will already have charged up at home or work. Of course, if they absolutely must plug in, sockets delivering 20 or so miles of charge in an hour will be virtually everywhere.

That’s not what many automakers and utilities see coming. Citing surveys and their own instincts, they say most people won’t make the shift to EVs at all unless they first see visible, conveniently located fast-charging stations that will pump out a hundred or more miles in a half-hour or less. In other words, the future is more or less a gas station experience.

This conviction-filled debate has so far been fairly affable, even though one side or the other seems to be by definition at risk of overspending billions of dollars in capital investment. Either way…

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Steve LeVine
The Mobilist

Editor at Large, Medium, covering the turbulence all around us, electric vehicles, batteries, social trends. Writing The Mobilist. Ex-Axios, Quartz, WSJ, NYT.