The popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) has been on the rise in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. They’re environmentally friendly and can save drivers a lot of money in the long run. However, despite the number of electric vehicle charging stations growing, EV drivers are increasingly dissatisfied with public charging and why public charging is failing electric car drivers.
A recent report from J.D. Power found that EV drivers’ satisfaction with public Level 2 charging is down 16 points to 617 on a 1,000-point scale, the lowest level since the study began in 2021. Satisfaction with fast chargers has declined even further and is down 20 points to 654. Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power, has warned that repeatedly low charging satisfaction scores could hinder EV acceptance rates. He said, “It’s really a cautionary statement – this is not good. And if we keep doing what we’re doing, it’s going to get much worse.”
The study surveyed over 15,000 battery electric vehicle and plug-in hybrid owners during the first half of the year. It evaluated electric vehicle owner satisfaction for Level 2 charging stations, which take four to ten hours to take an EV from empty to 80% charged, and DC fast charger stations, which take as little as 20 minutes to provide the same amount of charge.
The study gauged the ease and speed of charging, the station’s physical condition, availability and convenience of its location, things drivers can do while charging, how safe they feel at the location, ease of finding the location as well as the cost of charging and ease of payment.
Originally reported by USA Today,
The U.S. has been expanding its EV infrastructure as part of President Joe Biden’s push for more green energy. Last year, the country installed about 6,300 fast chargers, about three-fourths of which were Tesla Superchargers, according to the International Energy Agency.
Several factors contribute to EV drivers’ increasing dissatisfaction with public charging. One of the primary reasons is that public charging stations are often out of service, occupied or unable to be located. Additionally, charging speeds are often slower than expected, and drivers may be forced to stay at the charging station for extended periods.
Another issue many EV drivers face is the high cost of charging at public stations. Some charging operators impose steep rates for public charging, making it more expensive than charging at home.
What Is The Path Forward?
ChargePoint, EVGo, Electrify America and the rest of The First Wave walked so we could run. Trying to build out an industry meant a whole lot of square pegs in round holes. Customer service suffered…or was completely ignored. The technology was new and unreliable. Servicing the EV charging stations was difficult, or at times completely ignored. As a result a huge percentage of stations were inoperable.But uptime was not the goal. Site host acquisition was.
Site host acquisition still remains the primary goal, and challenge, but the industry has grown. The Second Wave of companies in the EV charging industry have taken on segment specific solutions that have increased reliability and customer satisfaction. Many of those companies want to own and operate the charging stations, which means the stations need to work. Uptime is of primary importance because the company isn’t just selling the station and walking away. Hotels need different solutions than multifamily developments. This is something The First Wave just doesn’t care to understand.
The industry now has partners that analyze data to target the best locations for charging stations, that build nationwide networks of trained professionals to install and fix the charging stations and the actual stations are more reliable.
The industry is slowly, but surely moving forward.
While the number of electric vehicle charging stations has grown, satisfaction amongst EV drivers has only decreased. Multiple issues abound with public charging from out-of-service stations, to slow charging speeds to high charging costs, and this lack of satisfaction could impact future EV acceptance rates. To solve this problem, better infrastructure investment is needed to ensure more charging stations are available to EV drivers. Also, improved technology and a streamlined payment process could make public charging more reliable and straightforward for EV drivers. By addressing these concerns, we can improve the experience for EV drivers and ultimately, the adoption of electric vehicles.