If you drive an electric vehicle and pull in to a public charging station, you want it to work. However, reports suggest that the failure rate is quite high, some networks worse than others.
How many times, before EVs, did you ever pull up to a gas pump and it wasn't turned on, had an issue with billing, or just didn't work at all? While it does happen, it's not likely something that you can easily recall and would be far from what you would call a typical experience. The up-time on gas pumps is not something that is often thought about, much less discussed. We've grown accustomed to the "it just works" experience for so long. So, when it comes to electric vehicles and charging at public fast-charging networks, we have the very same expectation. It just needs to work.
Unfortunately, all too often, it doesn't.
In mid-2022, J.D. Power released an EV charging report outlining many of the problems with public fast-charging sites, finding many "owners in high EV volume markets like California, Texas and Washington, for instance, are finding the charging infrastructure inadequate and plagued with non-functioning stations."
One of the key takeaways from that study indicated that "one out of every five respondents ended up not charging their vehicle during their visit. Of those who didn’t charge, 72% indicated that it was due to the station malfunctioning or being out of service."
Within the last month, the team at Out of Spec Studios, lead by Kyle Connor, started a weekly report on the state of public charging called: Rate Your Charge.
Every Saturday they send out a newsletter summarizing data from numerous fast charger check-ins from regular EV owners. Hundreds of reports, good, bad, or failed have poured in from around the country showing that the reliability problem with public fast-charging networks is not going away. In their most recent report, they highlighted 'app inaccuracy' saying:
"This week, we recorded 55 instances of app inaccuracy. There were 34 instances with Electrify America, 6 instances with ChargePoint, 5 instances with Tesla, 3 instances with EVgo, as well as 7 instances from other operators. We even had a check-in where the Electrify America app showed the CHAdeMO charger online, but it was actually not functional. App inaccuracies from Electrify America are especially concerning this week. We recorded many instances of chargers displaying as available in the app, but were actually offline or unavailable. We also recorded instances of chargers claiming to be plugged in when there is no vehicle, meaning that station is effectively unavailable. We recorded instances of communication and initialization errors, as well as charges that abruptly stopped just a few minutes into a charging session."
Despite the many advantages of owning an EV, using public fast charging stations can be a source of disappointment for many EV owners. Inadequate charging network coverage and unreliable charging equipment, and app inaccuracy are just a couple of the issues that public fast charging stations often fail to deliver on, leaving EV owners feeling frustrated.
With continued investment and improvements to the infrastructure, it is hoped that these issues will be addressed and EV owners will be able to experience a smooth and convenient charging process.
How has your experience been with public fast-charging? Send us a message to email@example.com or leave a comment below!