Plug-in car sales on track, but charging infrastructure continues to lag behind
The global plug-in car market will exceed 10 million units in 2022, and charging infrastructure for electric vehicles is being developed in various regions accordingly, expanding to around 2.4 million (number of chargers at public charging facilities) worldwide in 2022. Although the expansion of charging infrastructure is accelerating in all countries and regions, it is not keeping pace with the spread of BEVs. Another challenge is that not only are there not enough of them, but the majority are low-power low-speed/regular chargers, with only a few super-quick chargers (generally with an output of 150 kW or more), which are considered necessary for BEVs to achieve the same level of convenience as ICEs.
Even in California, one of the world’s leading BEV penetration areas, there does not appear to be a satisfactory charging infrastructure in place. According to one study, over 20% of charging points in the Greater Bay Area (a metropolitan area that includes San Jose, San Francisco and Oakland) are not operational due to faulty operating screens or payment functions, while another 5% are unused because the cable connecting the charger to the car is too short. The cable connecting the charger to the car is too short to reach the connector, leaving it unused. Various companies have entered the market in search of business opportunities, and although the number of chargers has increased, it can be seen that many of them have problems in terms of quality and usability. In the UK, the number of plug-in vehicles (new cars) per public charger is 53, the worst level since 2020, and EV users can be seen standing in long queues for a charger.
The debate over which should spread first, charging infrastructure or plug-in cars, is like the so-called ‘chicken and egg’ story, with both being required to spread at the same pace, rather than which first. We are currently in a transitional period, and if the number of plug-in cars increases and the image of plug-in cars as a hassle to recharge becomes entrenched, it could kill the momentum for the spread of plug-in cars. Many countries are quickly investing a lot of money to overcome the situation, but in view of the aforementioned situation, maintenance, preservation and user-friendliness are also points that should not be overlooked.
This section summarises the electric vehicle industry in North America, Europe, China, India and other major Asian countries and Japan. It will include information on electric vehicle sales in major regions and countries, product plans by market, investment plans of automobile companies and capacity plans related to electric vehicles. The special feature will also explain the Software Defined Vehicles strategy, which is essential for the future electric vehicle race.