In 2020 the adoption of Electric Vehicles (EVs) accelerated across the world, particularly in Europe and the US. This growth was driven by heavy incentivization to promote EV sales and boost the overall automotive market. Global EV penetration in 2020 was 4.8%. In Europe it was 9.7%, and in the US, it was 2.3%. This rapid growth has sustained into 2021, defying even the most bullish estimates by market analysts across the world and has alerted governments as well as key participants in the nascent EV industry to the pressing need for charging infrastructure development and expansion, new regulations, and technology breakthroughs.
Tesla currently has a significant advantage over its competitors in terms of streamlined 'Plug & Charge' solutions, as it built out a well-maintained and technically prudent charging infrastructure across North America, majority of Europe (basically its top markets), and China, and is now expanding into other territories and growing markets, such as South Korea and Italy. While competitors might have numerical superiority in terms of charging points, they are severely lacking in overall quality. Besides, charging points are not well maintained, payment solutions are not streamlined, charging infrastructure tends to be concentrated in a few locations instead of proper geographic distribution, and finally there are format wars.
Alternating Current (AC) charging (3.6–22 kW, sometimes up to 46 kW (3-phase)) is the most common format due to its ease of implementation, as there are usually no requirements for new regulations or safety concerns. Type 1 and Type 2 connectors at 7 kW (depending on the voltage/phase standards in a country) are the widely accepted formats. DC charging (50 kW–350 kW) is only now being prioritized, as the EVs launching from 2021 onward will all be equipped with high-power charging systems. CCS1, CCS2, and CHAdeMO are the currently deployed formats for DC charging, which is in need of global standardization.
This outlook sheds light on the current infrastructure in the US, Europe, Japan, and South Korea, its development in the last decade, its distribution in terms of connectors, use cases, powerbands, and key participants in the charging industry and an infrastructure forecast till 2030. The outlook also contains general insight on global standards, formats, technology evolution, business models, and growth opportunities.