“Range anxiety,” or the concern that an electric vehicle will run out of power with no charging station nearby, is a real fear for many EV drivers. When J.D. Power polled drivers about what factors they considered when purchasing an electric car, “range” was cited as the number one consideration, according to Forbes.com.
Meanwhile, a survey from EV charging station provider EVBox found that 30% of people who would buy an EV have range anxiety preventing them from making the purchase.
EV makers point out many reasons that range anxiety isn’t a valid fear. First and foremost, EV drivers often charge their cars overnight at home. Also, according to the J.D. Power study, the average vehicle travels less than 40 miles per day. Today’s EVs, with ranges in the hundreds of miles, carry adequate power for a typical commute or running errands around town. Long distance drivers, such as vacationers, can use apps to map out their route to charge as needed.
However, the U.S. could face a shortage of EV charging stations as the number of EVs on the road continues to grow.
An MIT Technology Review report found that 400,000 EVs were sold in the U.S. in 2021, yet the U.S. has only 48,000 EV charging stations across the country – mostly clustered in cities and on the coasts. The U.S. is taking steps to add half a million chargers by 2030.
In Canada, the situation is just as bad – if not worse. In 2021, Brian Kingston, president of the Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers Association, said Canada needs to build “millions of stations,” CBC.ca reported. At the time, the Canadian government had promised to invest $880 million through 2025 to install 65,000 new charging stations for EVs.
Parkland Corp., owner of Chevron and On the Run gas stations and convenience stores, is one of the companies leading the charge, if you will. In December 2022, the company announced plans to double its EV charging network in Western Canada. This will put ultra-fast EV charging stations at 50 locations across British Columbia.
Parkland received $6.825 million in funding from National Resources Canada (NRCan) and the Government of British Columbia to support the project. NRcan provided a $5 million grant through its Zero Emission Vehicle Infrastructure Program and the Government of British Columbia provided over $1.8 million for the project, according to a press release issued by Parkland.
Charging stations will be located on highways and at major destinations across Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and Alberta. Most of the On the Run convenience stores with chargers will also have a Triple O’s restaurant and updated washrooms for an improved traveler experience. Each location will have two or four charging ports capable of delivering up to 200 kilowatts of power, capable of charging most EVs within 20 to 30 minutes.
With 50 locations, Parkland will have British Columbia’s largest network (by site count) of ultra-fast EV chargers.
“Our network will help eliminate range anxiety for EV drivers and by offering high-quality convenience and food choices, we aim to deliver industry leading customer amenities and experiences,” said Darren Smart, Parkland’s Senior Vice-President of Energy Transition and Corporate Development.
Placing EV charging stations at gas stations and convenience stores is a logical step as Canada seeks to improve EV infrastructure.
Currently, many EV charging stations are located in business parking lots, hotels, and apartment complexes. Walmart stores and Sheetz convenience stores host Electrify America chargers, and Tesla drivers will find the company’s proprietary Superchargers at many Target locations.
Most gas stations already have prime locations on U.S. and Canadian highways and the additional amenities drivers need on a long trip. Fuel companies and convenience store owners like Parkland and Couche-Tard, which owns Circle K gas stations in the U.S. and Canada, can lead the charge in reducing range anxiety and encouraging EV adoption.