We’re all supposed to be moving towards EVs in the coming decades, but there is a persistent problem that threatens this green revolution; charging cars sucks, like really sucks, especially if you rely on public chargers to get your juice.
The survey finds that 20 percent of survey takers have, at least once, arrived and departed a charging station without gaining any range on their EV. This is attributable not only to broken charging equipment, but also due to long queues of people waiting to charge.
Using a 1,000-point scale, overall satisfaction with DC fast charging experiences has dropped from 674 down to 654. And for Level 2 charging stations, satisfaction has also decreased this year, from 633 down to 617. These are the lowest scores recorded since JD Power started the survey in 2021.
“The declining customer satisfaction scores for public charging should be concerning to automakers,” JD Power’s executive director of EV practice Brent Gruber states in a press release.
The Inflation Reduction Act is meant to seriously expand America’s network of chargers, but no one seems ready to start churning out the number needed to bring us into the EV era. Seven major automakers are partnering to improve the situation, but we can’t expect more chargers from this meeting of minds for at least another year yet. Instead, some of those same automakers have opened up Tesla’s 12,000 nationwide Superchargers to their customers, but that’s not the greatest idea either.
And really, the problem right now (at least in cities) isn’t finding chargers; it’s finding chargers that are operational, without cut cables or dysfunctional touch screens. The ones that do operate are often occupied. Then, once you get your car charging, there’s nothing to do but sit around and wait. Chargers are often placed in spots like grocery stores and library parking lots, where charging at night can be not just boring, but dangerous, especially for women. That’s not to mention that every charger has its own proprietary app you have to download, making road trips or even just driving to unfamiliar locations a real pain in the ass. CEO of the Ford Motor Company, which sells the all-electric Mustang Mach-E and Ford F-150 Lightning, even recently admitted that charging is a huge headache. Meanwhile, installing a costly charger in a garage makes little sense with homeownership increasingly out of reach for many Americans.
This is not a new problem, charging has sucked since charging became a thing. In the early days of internal combustion engines, buying gas was a pain, too. You’d often have to hit a grocery store or have it delivered to your house with your heating oil and take gas cans with you on long trips. But we’re used to gas stations now, and the ability to fill up a car quickly and easily to be on our way. Charging networks have been a stumbling block for EV adoption since the first Mitsubishi i-MiEV made it to America’s shores. Hopefully, it gets worked out before the buying public moves on to less headache-inducing and carbon-producing vehicles.