Electric Vehicle Growth Offers Opportunities – and Risks

Nov. 16, 2011

Though significant risks remain, the growth of the electric vehicle charging industry presents considerable opportunities for businesses, according to Ernst & Young’s global report, Beyond the Plug: Finding Value in the Emerging Electric Vehicle Charging Ecosystem.

The study is targeted at manufacturers, utilities, and other potential stakeholders in the electric vehicle value chain, but nevertheless, it offers valuable takeaway lessons to building owners and managers.

The most common charging configuration will be chargers at work and home. However, other potential customers include hotels, restaurants, car rental/sharing businesses, fleet managers, and gas stations. The value proposition for potential charging station hosts, such as parking lot owners, is unclear, which will present an obstacle as the charging infrastructure develops.

Other major hurdles facing the U.S. electric vehicle industry include the lack of a standard plug size for vehicles, charging standards that are not yet globally approved, and an ongoing debate over whether vehicle charging should connect to a smart grid.

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