Rocky Mountain Institute’s groundbreaking report, Reducing EV Charging Infrastructure Costs, finds that the electric vehicle (EV) charging industry needs to do what the solar industry did about a decade ago: streamline and de-bottleneck installation. The report draws on numerous sources, including literature, publicly available information on utility procurements, and two dozen original interviews conducted under nondisclosure agreements with utilities, hardware providers, software providers, operators of charging networks, transit agencies, states, laboratories, contractors, and consultancies.

The authors find that while the cost of hardware components is already falling as manufacturers gradually find ways to squeeze costs out of their processes, there are significant “soft costs” that need to be reduced. The costs of permitting delays, utility interconnection requests, compliance with a balkanized framework of regulations, and the reengineering of projects because they were based on incorrect information, among others, were frequently cited as more significant cost drivers than charging station hardware in the United States. The authors strongly suspect that these soft costs are a major reason why installation costs are a much larger share of the cost of installing EV chargers in the United States than they are in Europe.