Unreliable: 20% of EV Drivers Unable to Recharge at Public Charging Stations

Electric vehicles are the unquestioned wave of the future, and for many they are the preferred mode of transportation for the present. However, the convenience and especially reliability of public charging stations stands as a speed bump on the road away from internal combustion engines.

President Joe Biden just signed into law a measure that pumps billions of taxpayer dollars into the EV industry. Thousands of owners, however, told a new poll that they have had difficulties with public charging stations.

Charging is the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Range and battery life are issues that will undoubtedly be corrected, but issues revolving around charging are not going away soon.

JD Power, the renowned consumer research firm, released a new study last week that interviewed over 11,500 EV and hybrid owners. What it found was shocking.

Of that total, 20% were unable to charge their vehicles at public charging stations. One in five visitors to these services left without charging while there, and a vast majority of the issues were due to malfunctions with the station or simply being out of service.

And that’s far from all. A more specific study conducted by the University of California Berkeley found the level of reliability to be even more suspect. Researchers studied the functionality at 181 public DC fast chargers in the San Francisco area.

Those stations had a total of 657 individual connectors, and they were graded on a very minimal standard. All that was needed for them to be listed as functional was to charge an EV for two minutes or be currently charging one when the evaluation was conducted.

Only 72.5% of the connectors were functional, and another 4.99% had cords that were too short to reach the vehicle.

The list of issues was as long as it was disturbing. Everything from unresponsive or unavailable screens to network failures, broken connectors, payment system failures and charge initiation troubles were found to block a successful charging experience.

Imagine if that were the rate at gas stations.

The push towards electric vehicles is not going to reverse itself, and what is the dominant technology of today will one day be an antique curiosity. But for all the government pressure to make the change rapidly, a secure and reliable charging system is not optional.