According to a new study conducted by Pike Research, the number of electric vehicle (EV) charge points across the globe will reach 4.7 million by 2015. That's so many that the study suggests that the charging market will become overly crowded by next year.

As the EV charging market emerges, lesser known companies such as AeroVironment, Coulomb Technologies, Better Place and ECOtality have been taking the lead in developing charging stations. Now, as the market ages, bigger names such as General Electric, Panasonic, Siemens and Samsung have joined the action which will lead to the rapid expansion predicted by Pike Research.

The only hurdle remaining is an economic one. According to Pike's senior analyst, John Gartner, the groundwork for a profitable business model for charging stations is not well-developed. Gartner:
The economics of selling a few kilowatt hours per charge are very challenging, and as such we anticipate that public charging station deployments will be driven mainly by government initiatives over the next several years.
If the 4.7 million mark is reached, it will be a remarkable achievement. Here's some gas station numbers from countries across the globe for comparison purposes:
  • U.S.: 121,446
  • China: 30,000
  • Canada: 14,000
  • UK: 9,271
Several estimates peg the number of gas stations worldwide at about 1.5 million. Granted, gasoline-powered vehicles need to visit the gas station less often than EV drivers need to plug in and a single gas station may have up to a dozen pumps, but this clearly shows that 4.7 million charging stations is a heck of a lot.

[Source: Pike Research]