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Electric-vehicle-charging stations growing across Va.

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Virginia is slightly trailing the national average when it comes to electric-vehicle-charging stations, but take California out of the mix, and the Old Dominion moves closer to the top.

The analysis by CoPilot found that Virginia has a total of 3,301 electric-vehicle chargers, or 38.4 for every 100,000 residents, compared to 39 nationally. Out of all states, Virginia has the 15th most EV chargers per capita.

California currently far outpaces the rest of the country in the availability of chargers. California is home to 41,225 electric-vehicle chargers, which amounts to approximately one-third of the nation’s total.

Other states lag far behind: second-place New York has less than one-fifth the number of EV chargers as California.

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When adjusting for size, however, California falls to second on the list of states with the most chargers. Vermont – a smaller state with a strong environmentalist streak – stands out as the location with the most electric-vehicle-charging ports per capita.

(Data used in the analysis come from the U.S. Department of Energy. For the full study, see the Website HERE.)

Over the last decade, the number of EV chargers in the U.S. has increased from less than 500 to more than 115,000. These numbers are poised to rise even faster in the near future. The infrastructure law enacted by Congress in 2021 is slated to invest $7.5 billion in a national network of electric-vehicle-charging stations, with a goal of building 500,000 chargers by 2030.

While EV owners frequently charge their vehicles at home, widespread availability of charging stations would allow people with EVs to travel greater distances more easily.

But more electric-vehicle chargers alone will not be sufficient by themselves to increase adoption of electric vehicles. The U.S. must also add the right kinds of chargers to the mix, since different kinds of chargers replenish vehicles’ batteries at vastly different rates.

Nearly four in five chargers in the U.S. currently are Level 2 chargers, which add approximately 25 miles of range per hour of charging. This rate is acceptable for charging near home or at the office, but it is too slow for anyone taking a longer trip.

In contrast, the fastest chargers – DC Fast – add 100 to 200 miles of range per 30 minutes of charging, but this category only represents 21.1 percent of all chargers nationally.

The study found that, in Virginia, there were just over 3,300 total electric-vehicle-charging-station portals, with the majority (just under 2,300) being Level 2 chargers. About 750 were D.C. Fast chargers; the remainder were Level 1 chargers, offering slower charging times.

In 2008, the nascent car manufacturer Tesla released its first Roadster models, targeting sales of 100 units per month. Over the ensuing years, Tesla grew into one of the largest companies in the world by market capitalization and today leads the global market for EVs, selling nearly 1 million units per year.

While Tesla remains the top choice for buyers in the EV market, the company’s success has paved the way for other electric-vehicle startups, like Rivian.

More established automakers have also ventured into the EV market in recent years. The launch of the Nissan Leaf in 2010 was an initial foray for established manufacturers into electric vehicles, and other large automakers have added EVs and hybrids to their lineups over time.

Some are going even further: General Motors, Toyota and Volkswagen are among the large manufacturers who have announced plans to go all-electric and eventually stop selling gas-powered vehicles altogether, although how realistic that will be in real-world conditions remains to be seen.

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