Skip to content

Electric Vehicles Charging: What Is Their Future?

With many nations embracing better environmental policies, electric vehicles (EVs) are gaining widespread popularity as a sustainable alternative to traditional fossil-fuel cars. In fact, EVs will make up 35 percent of all global new vehicle sales by 2030. Following this, it is necessary to consider the expansion and improvement of charging infrastructure.

Buzz and hum. Electric vehicles and their charging stations.
An electric vehicle at a charging station in the city.
Source: CEFC

What Are Electric Vehicles And How Do We Charge Them?

Electric vehicles are vehicles that electricity, stored in onboard, batteries powers, either partially or entirely. Unlike traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles, which rely on fossil fuels such as gasoline or diesel, electric vehicles use electric motors to propel the vehicle. EVs accelerate faster than ICE vehicles. This improves the driving experience for their owners.

Types of Electric Vehicles

Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs): These vehicles are powered solely by electricity stored in rechargeable batteries. BEVs do not have an internal combustion engine and produce zero tailpipe emissions. They must be plugged into an external power source, such as a charging station, to recharge their batteries.

Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles (PHEVs): PHEVs can operate using electricity from their battery, gasoline, or a combination of both. They can be plugged in to charge their batteries, but they also have the option to use gasoline for longer trips when the battery is depleted.

Charging infrastructure available with minimal charging times is critical for adopting EVs. Source: EV.

Electric Vehicle Charging

Electric vehicles function by plugging them into a charge point. Indeed, EV charging comprises the physical structure and associated systems required to recharge EV batteries. The vehicle stores the electricity in rechargeable batteries that power the electric motor, turning the wheels as a normal fuel engine. The various EV charging levels available include:

Level 1 Charging: It is the slowest charging option but is widely available. L1 charging uses a standard 120-volt household outlet providing power for AC (alternating current). These chargers are often used for overnight charging at home. It’s convenient but slow, often adding about 2-5 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the vehicle.

Level 2 Charging: Requires a 240-volt power source, providing faster charging than Level 1. EVs use these in residential and public charging stations. L2 chargers deliver AC power and can add about 10-60 miles of range per hour of charging, depending on the charging station’s power output and the EV’s battery capacity.

DC Fast Charging: These EV chargers offer rapid charging, providing a substantial amount of range in a short time. They run on between 400-volt and 1000-volt of electricity. Indeed, these chargers can charge most electric vehicles up to 80% battery capacity in about 20-40 minutes. Companies like Electrify America and Tesla’s private Supercharger are all DC fast charging providers.

EV drivers must understand the different charging types available to maximise the benefits of owning an EV.
Source: Windsor.

moving forward

Electric vehicles are here to stay. Beyond charging electric vehicles at home, it’s necessary to integrate or boost the number of EV charging points in buildings such as apartment complexes, offices, parking lots, and commercial centers. Furthermore, we can create a robust charging infrastructure by incorporating smart and connected solutions, implementing rapid charging and battery-swapping technologies, and combining solar and wind power. Additionally, innovative charging technologies, such as vehicle-to-grid (V2G) and smart grid integration are revolutionising the EV charging experience and significantly reducing charging times. Flexible charging infrastructure designs, such as modular charging stations and scalable network architectures, can accommodate future growth in EV adoption.

Further, as the use of EVs expands, investments in transmission and distribution grids may be necessary due to heightened demand. Implementing time-of-use electricity tariffs or real-time electricity pricing could incentivise users to leverage the electricity demand flexibility of EVs.

Why is it essential that we focus on How To Charge Electric Vehicles?

One major concern for current and potential EV buyers is ‘range anxiety’. In fact, like any chargeable device or electronic gadget; plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles require regular charging to maintain a full battery. The accessibility and convenience of EV charging plays a crucial role in influencing EV adoption rates. Governments, industry stakeholders, and service providers must invest and collaborate in fast-charging technologies to tackle range anxiety and accommodate the increasing number of EVs. Furthermore, a well-designed public charging station and access to private charging spaces will create a lasting impression on EV users, making them more likely to embrace electric mobility.

Smartphone monitoring of charging.
Source: Motability.

achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and how they link to The Charging Of Electric Vehicles

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a collection of 17 objectives and 169 targets agreed upon by the United Nations General Assembly. Efforts to improve EV charging technology align with broader goals of reducing greenhouse gas emissions – SDG 13, enhancing energy security – SDG 7, and fostering innovation in the transportation sector – SDG 9.

Similarly, EVs and their charging infrastructure play a significant role in achieving SDG 11 and SDG 12. Integrating charging infrastructure into urban planning contributes to building more sustainable cities and an electrified transportation ecosystem. In fact, several nations have made switching to electric vehicles a priority in their plans to reach their climate goals. 17 countries have announced 100 percent zero-emission vehicle targets or to phase out internal combustion engine vehicles by 2050.

A Thrivable Framework

At THRIVE, we advocate combining sustainable approaches to create infrastructures which economically viable and resilient to future challenges. These infrastructures would utilise innovations that address the needs of contemporary societies and secure a prosperous future for future generations. The future of EV charging extends beyond mere convenience; it possesses the potential to pave the way for a sustainable transportation future.

The THRIVE Framework highlights the need to shift. Shifting to a transdisciplinary approach and embracing value-based innovation is a step towards a thriving future. The THRIVE Platform helps visualise performance, thresholds, and allocations through ciambella charts.

To learn more about how the THRIVE Project is researching, educating, and advocating for sustainable infrastructure and creating a future beyond sustainability, visit our website. You can follow our informative, diverse blog and podcast series and learn more about our regular webinar. Sign up for our newsletter to receive regular updates.


  • Chioma Ejelonu

    Chioma is a research scientist with background in materials physics. She is keen about the sustainability of life on our planet and looks forward to making a positive impact on people's lives through research and communicating insights.

  • THRIVE Publishing

    THRIVE Project is an international, not-for-profit, for-impact organization that has inspired a community and movement towards going beyond sustainability with the vision to place humanity onto the trajectory towards thrivable transformation.