Electric Vehicle Chargers May Pop Up Everywhere

Almost 6,000 EVs were registered in the tri-county area as 2022 began

HARRISBURG PA – As 2022 opened, residents of Montgomery, Chester, and Berks counties claimed collective ownership of more than 5,900 electric vehicles (better known by their acronym, EVs) according to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Motor Vehicles.

That’s a relatively small number when compared to the total of more than 1.45 million vehicles of all types that the bureau said were registered at the time across the tri-county area. There’s no denying, though, that EVs have become increasingly popular among PA’s energy-conscious population. More than 31,000 are now registered throughout the state, PennDOT reports.

Of those:

  • Montgomery County owners had registered only 1,140 EVs by the start of 2018, statistics show. Four years later, MontCo residents’ registered inventory amounted to 3,186 EVs, about 2.7 times higher;
  • The 735 registered in Chester County by 2018 had surged by 2022 to 2,341 EVs, roughly 3.2 times higher;
  • In Berks County, start-of-2018 EV registrations reached just 143, but climbed about 3.1 times higher by 2022, to 445; and
  • The combined three-county total as the year began represented 19.3 percent of all EVs registered in 62 counties.

There was more modest growth among the three counties in registrations of vehicles propelled by other alternative fuels, too. They included propane, hybrid, natural gas, compressed gas, and flex-fuel choices. The current fervor locally and statewide, however, focuses on EVs.

It is driven in part by colorful and imaginative marketing campaigns for cars and trucks by almost all major vehicle manufacturers. It also has been spurred by federal and state government officials who are encouraging the expansion of fueling networks for EVs, allowing them to be easily, quickly, and conveniently re-charged.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in mid-September praised the Biden administration, and the federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, as it awarded the state $25.4 million to invest in “clean transportation through (its) plan for electric vehicle infrastructure deployment.” The sum represents a first installment on a total of $171.5 million planned for distribution in the state over five years for EV network support.

The build-out has already made progress. PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian acknowledged her agency and its “partners have been hard at work preparing for a future filled with electric vehicles.”

Dozens of chargers may be within 10 miles of where you live. More are coming

In the Pottstown area this year, the “EV Stations Local” website lists locations for 12 publicly available EV charging stations mapped within a 10-mile radius from the borough’s center.

More than 100 can be found within the same 10-mile radius of Collegeville, 92 near Phoenixville, 62 near Spring City, 60 near Royersford, and fewer each near Schwenksville, East Greenville, Pennsburg, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Bechtelsville and Elverson, respectively. See the website’s statewide list here.

The network expansion will take time, ambition, and funding, and is expected to continue between 2023 and 2028. It’s guided by the state EV Mobility Plan, which lays out the existing EV infrastructure in PA and makes recommendations on moving forward. The plan currently suggests Pennsylvania should be able to complete “installation of at least 5,000 new EV charging ports at 2,000 sites” statewide within the 5-year period.

Photos provided by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation

This story is one of several The Post is publishing between Dec. 24 and Jan. 3 that take a retrospective look at events and milestones of 2022, and a prospective look at what’s ahead in 2023.

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