You don’t have to be a car manufacturer to take advantage of the growing demand for electric vehicles (EVs). There is a need for EV components, such as batteries and motors, essential metals like lithium, and charging infrastructure.
Charging infrastructure companies can not only make money from the charging stations themselves, but many companies are eligible for certain government subsidies that can make them even more profitable.
Yet charging stations remain scarce in many parts of the country. A few companies, FreeWire and SparkCharge, aim to lift the ceiling that such uneven development has imposed on the growth of the overall EV market.
Why electric vehicle sales continue to rise
A few decades ago, car manufacturers were very reluctant to introduce electric vehicles. Few companies seriously considered this possibility, thinking they would lose millions of dollars given weak consumer demand and billions needed to develop nationwide charging infrastructure.
Even when some companies like General Motors, Ford, and Honda built concept electric vehicles, the auto industry as a whole remained deeply skeptical of the likelihood of electric vehicles succeeding.
However, as climate change shifted both consumer demands and regulatory standards, more automakers began investing in electric vehicles for the long term. Additionally, the success of hybrid vehicles, such as the Toyota Prius, has demonstrated to the industry that green vehicles can be cost-effective. Tesla’s huge success proved that pure electric vehicles could be marketable and very lucrative.
The increase in electric vehicle sales is fueled by increased federal and state government subsidies for manufacturers and consumers. Automakers and consumers have failed to make and buy electric vehicles, respectively, for essentially the same reason: fear of the growing pains that inevitably come with being the first to do something.
But consumers can get a $7,500 electric vehicle tax credit through the Energy, Improvement and Extension Act of 2008. And there have been numerous manufacturing subsidies, including subsidies offered under presidential authority and by congressional legislation.
How Freewire and SparkCharge Could Further Boost EV Sales
Yet many consumers remain apprehensive about buying electric vehicles, given that charging stations are still not as common as gas stations. However, a few different companies are working to build more charging stations across the country. According to Forbes, some companies, such as FreeWire and SparkCharge, are piloting mobile charging to ensure EV drivers don’t have to worry about a dead battery and being stranded.
According to Green Car Reports, SparkCharge creates charging units mounted in towing vehicles. An EV driver, faced with a dead or dying battery, could connect to a SparkCharge vehicle through a smartphone app or by ordering roadside assistance. The SparkCharge vehicle could meet them where they are and give them a charge, saving the driver the hassle of having their vehicle towed to a charging station.
FreeWire Technologies has also developed fast charging stations that drivers can use. These stations can be placed in specific locations and moved as needed to accommodate more drivers. The use of these stations allows service stations to avoid investing large sums in the charging infrastructure that fixed stations require. It’s also conceivable that it will allow more businesses, such as auto repair shops and automotive retail supply stores, to offer the refill.
Why Electric Vehicles Still Underperform Gas-Powered Vehicles in Many Areas
These options are still relatively new. But they can help ease lingering consumer fears about electric vehicles in some parts of the country. Rural consumers are particularly reluctant to purchase electric vehicles, and western rural consumers face unique charging challenges.
When you look at states like North Dakota or Wyoming, building viable infrastructure is more difficult given the high elevation and extreme temperatures in those states. Both of these factors can reduce the range of an EV battery. However, automakers are still trying to understand and account for these variables. Additionally, given the expanse of the rural west, cloud-based electric vehicle charging applications suffer in areas with poor internet connectivity.
However, companies that harness renewable energy can help address some of these challenges. Renewable energy sources are more abundant in the West and can improve the viability of charging stations. Additionally, the bipartisan Infrastructure Act of 2021 contains substantial funding for broadband access and electric vehicles. And with companies like FreeWire and SparkCharge also helping to bridge the gap, the future of the EV market in the West looks really bright.
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