By Zack Hurst, 2016 Chevy Spark EV
The state of the charging infrastructure isn't getting better... it's getting worse.
Then today happened.
With 8 miles of range left, I headed for a reliable DCFC closest to me that I last used a couple of days ago. Plugged in, and... nothing. It didn’t even recognize that I was plugged in. Crap. Ok, fine. Time to go to the only other conveniently located DCFC and use that one. However, it was 16mi away and I wouldn't be able to get there without using a LVL2 Charger in between. I get there, and there are plug-in hybrids in every stall, plugged in. Ok... off to the next LVL2. Now I have 2mi left.
Charged at 3.3kW (the max for the Chevy Spark EV) until I had enough range to get to the other working DCFC I use regularly.
I pulled up to see an electrician parked in the spot. I kindly asked if I could use the parking space to charge. “You’re not going to be able to do that, the charger is being serviced right now.” I had very little range left, but was able to plug into a wall outlet and use 110v (slowest way to charge) to get enough to go to the next closest DCFC.
Which... worked! So I'm plugged in and charging while writing this. And while relieved, I find that I'm VERY frustrated with this experience. Granted, most people wouldn't have this kind of problem... why? Well, most people don't drive more than 120mi in a day (on average) with a car that has a 82mi EPA rated range. Most people don't drive more than 40mi a day.
So I definitely have the WRONG CAR for my driving habits, but I still feel like there should be something done about the failing infrastructure in the area.
Many of the broken DCFC have been down for months, or even more than a year. When this happens, where else can we go to get these precious electrons in a timely manner? While EV Resource is planning on building out the LVL2 charging network (because that too is severely lacking), I'm starting to think we should look at DCFC too.