Electric cars sit charging in a parking garage at the University of California, Irvine January 26, 2015. "The Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration," a $79 million project funded half by federal stimulus money and half by Edison and partners like UC Irvine, was launched in 2010. The $12 billion utility's research team Southern California Edison is testing everything from charging electronic vehicles via cell phone to devices that smooth out the power created by rooftop solar panels. Those are some of the roughly 60 projects in the works at Edison's Advanced Technology division. It has a small $19 million annual budget, but its influence far exceeds that. Picture taken January 26, 2015.        To match feature EDISON-LABS/       REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS TRANSPORT) - RTR4N6JK

Tesla wants to make electric cars mainstream. But where are all the charging stations?

44,000

There are around 44,000 public charging stations available for electric vehicles in the US.

Published   |  Photo by Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Electric cars sit charging in a parking garage at the University of California, Irvine January 26, 2015. "The Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration," a $79 million project funded half by federal stimulus money and half by Edison and partners like UC Irvine, was launched in 2010. The $12 billion utility's research team Southern California Edison is testing everything from charging electronic vehicles via cell phone to devices that smooth out the power created by rooftop solar panels. Those are some of the roughly 60 projects in the works at Edison's Advanced Technology division. It has a small $19 million annual budget, but its influence far exceeds that. Picture taken January 26, 2015.        To match feature EDISON-LABS/       REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS TRANSPORT) - RTR4N6JK
44,000

So if Elon Musk’s Tesla and other carmakers manage to popularize electric vehicles as they plan, that number of charging stations will have to increase.

Electric cars sit charging in a parking garage at the University of California, Irvine January 26, 2015. "The Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration," a $79 million project funded half by federal stimulus money and half by Edison and partners like UC Irvine, was launched in 2010. The $12 billion utility's research team Southern California Edison is testing everything from charging electronic vehicles via cell phone to devices that smooth out the power created by rooftop solar panels. Those are some of the roughly 60 projects in the works at Edison's Advanced Technology division. It has a small $19 million annual budget, but its influence far exceeds that. Picture taken January 26, 2015.        To match feature EDISON-LABS/       REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS TRANSPORT) - RTR4N6JK
44,000

Sales of electric vehicles in the US

Electric cars sit charging in a parking garage at the University of California, Irvine January 26, 2015. "The Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration," a $79 million project funded half by federal stimulus money and half by Edison and partners like UC Irvine, was launched in 2010. The $12 billion utility's research team Southern California Edison is testing everything from charging electronic vehicles via cell phone to devices that smooth out the power created by rooftop solar panels. Those are some of the roughly 60 projects in the works at Edison's Advanced Technology division. It has a small $19 million annual budget, but its influence far exceeds that. Picture taken January 26, 2015.        To match feature EDISON-LABS/       REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS TRANSPORT) - RTR4N6JK
44,000

The number of plugs would have to get closer at least to the number of gas stations in the country. There are about 150,000.

Electric cars sit charging in a parking garage at the University of California, Irvine January 26, 2015. "The Irvine Smart Grid Demonstration," a $79 million project funded half by federal stimulus money and half by Edison and partners like UC Irvine, was launched in 2010. The $12 billion utility's research team Southern California Edison is testing everything from charging electronic vehicles via cell phone to devices that smooth out the power created by rooftop solar panels. Those are some of the roughly 60 projects in the works at Edison's Advanced Technology division. It has a small $19 million annual budget, but its influence far exceeds that. Picture taken January 26, 2015.        To match feature EDISON-LABS/       REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENERGY BUSINESS TRANSPORT) - RTR4N6JK
44,000

Charging stations would also have to become more well distributed. Because they’ve been following early adopters, they’re often bunched up in wealthier areas.

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