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EIA: US housing stock has significant potential for plug-in vehicles

The housing stock in the United States could support significant numbers of plug-in electric vehicles, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA). Of households that own at least one car, an estimated 49% (49.6 million housing units) park within 20 feet of an electrical outlet, based on recently released responses to a new question from the 2009 Residential Energy Consumption Survey (RECS).

Number of homes with electric outlet access for plug-ins by housing type. Source: EIA. Click to enlarge.

Certain housing characteristics limit potential for electric (either plug-in hybrid or all-electric) vehicles, especially the type of housing. Excluding households without cars and those where the respondent did not know whether an electrical outlet was accessible, 60% of respondents in single-family detached houses park within 20 feet of an outlet, as opposed to only 14% of respondents in apartments.

Housing stock in some regions is better suited to support electric vehicles. In the Northeast Census region, less than 40% of all respondents in single-family houses park their car within 20 feet of an electrical outlet. In contrast, for single-family houses in the Midwest region, more than 60% of respondents park their car within 20 feet of an electrical outlet.

Newer houses tend to provide better access to electrical outlets. Differences based on the age of the housing unit exist, but the major increase in outlet access did not occur until the 1990s.

Income and location in an urban area also influence accessibility of outlets for charging vehicles. About 65% of respondents from single-family detached housing units with incomes greater than $80,000 per year park with access to an electrical outlet. Only 47% of respondents from urban areas have access compared to 55% from rural areas, reflecting the prevalence of apartments in the urban housing stock.



Thats a lot of existing infrastructure..


This is non issue. Every house in USA/Canada can have a 110/220 VAC plug with 20 feet of the family car.


Harvey, that is not at all true. I live outside Philadelphia. Although I have easy access to an electrical outlet in my driveway, I have many friends who live in the city. These folks live in apartments, condos and single family attached homes with no driveway. On street parking is not necessarily in front of their house or anywhere near their house. It absolutely is an issue. Although many people take public transit or bike or walk to work, many others drive to work, sometimes to the suburbs. An electric car would often be adequate for this type of commute but there is no way to charge the car when one returns home.

You are the second person here (at least) on GCC who seems to think "everybody has a driveway or parking spot". Not sure where you all live, but most of the older cities in the US are set up as I have described and without some kind of smart outlets installed into sidewalks, electric cars will not take off in those locales.


I said....every house.......not street side parking nor apartment garages?


What you seem to mean is "every house with a driveway". There are plenty of houses without driveways, even single family non-attached homes without driveways, along with twins, row houses that are attached on both sides, etc.

You also said "this is a non issue". It's not a non-issue unless all the companies selling plug-in cars have no interest in selling cars to people who live in condos, co-ops, twins, row houses and non-attached homes without driveways.

My point is simply that lots of people live in places where they can't pull their car up to their home. Unless we simply decide that these people will never, ever be able to have plug-in cars, this issue needs to be addressed. Pretending it's not an issue is not helpful.


Ultra quick (5 minutes) public charge stations will be the common sense solution for those without easy access to an A/C outlet. Going to the gas station or to the quick charge station once a week or so may be similar except for much lower price and a lesser environmental foot print.


Another option would be to get your workplace to install charging stations. All modern commercial EVSEs have monitization options to allow tracking and billing of electricity used (in case the office or workplace doesn't want to give it away). Of course the offest between the price of buying an EVSE vs. the cost of electricity would take decades to recoup.


I think here is niche for wireless charging. It could be very attractive in case universaly compatible system adoption which would anable charging EV's during night parked on sidroads.

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