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J.D. Power Survey Suggests Public EV Charging Getting Worse – EQ Mag

J.D. Power Survey Suggests Public EV Charging Getting Worse – EQ Mag


J.D. Power Survey Suggests Public EV Charging Getting Worse – EQ Mag

Over the last couple of years, there have been a series of questionnaires hoping to determine how satisfied people are with the United States EV charging infrastructure. Most have been pretty bleak, suggesting that just about everyone driving an electric car prefers to charge at home. But these surveys have also highlighted a problem with the general unreliability of public charging stations.

Based on the latest data coming from J.D. Power, the issue appears to have worsened. The outlet’s Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study alleges that over 20 percent of all charging attempts failed in 2022.

We’re normally suspect of any automotive surveys coming out of groups with industry ties and have frequently questioned J.D. Power’s framing in the past. But the brunt of the automobile sector has already asserted its commitment to transitioning to all-electric lineups – making the results of this survey seem counterproductive. There have also been numerous surveys and loads of independent investigations supporting J.D. Power’s claims.

Downtime is becoming a serious issue for EV charging stations.

Speaking with Automotive News, the American data analytics, software, and consumer intelligence company expressed concerns about the government investing billions of dollars into the charging infrastructure under the Biden administration’s so-called Inflation Reduction Act, Discretionary Grant Program for Charging and Fueling Infrastructure, and the Neighborhood Access and Equity Grant Program. With stations apparently seeing insufficient maintenance, routine software issues, and failures in cold weather, this effectively becomes corporate welfare.
Charger outage rates reportedly varied quite broadly between operators, however, J.D. Power declined to say which companies were doing the worst job. Though it did state that the range between charging stations ranged between 3 and 39 percent.

Based on previous studies, anecdotal evidence, some personal experience, and a little speculation from Automotive News, we’re still under the impression that Tesla’s Supercharger network is the most consistent by a wide margin. This is presumably down to the automaker maintaining those stations itself, with the knowledge that its products live and die by how successful they happen to be.

Another issue has been the pace at which charging technologies have accelerated. EVs may still be a niche segment. But the charging technology has come a long way over the past decade, making loads of older charging stations less useful. These older units are also allegedly more prone to failure. The government has suggested creating minimum standards for EV charging – one that would include hard regulatory limits on what constitutes acceptable downtime and maintenance routines. But getting the government involved doesn’t guarantee improved service and could likewise prohibit further innovation.

While your author has frequently been accused of being “anti-EV,” the truth of the matter is that I just don’t think they’re being implemented in a manner that actually benefits regular people. This is a concern that can likewise be extended to modern combustion vehicles. However, they lack the regulatory pressures that have become ubiquitous with electric vehicles – perhaps advancing a technology before it has reached full maturity.

Though the biggest issue is the actual ownership experience, which can be blissful or harrowing depending on your lifestyle. Motorists that rarely stray far from home and have a garage where they can charge their all-electric vehicle typically have little to complain about – especially if they also happen to have another combustion-driven automobile for road trips. But individuals who have to park their car outdoors and lack a convenient charging solution at home have nothing to gain by purchasing an EV.

A lackluster charging infrastructure only exacerbates this issue and basically ensures electric vehicles never become the dominant mode of transportation until their efficiency comes up dramatically. I recently published an article speculating that the Hertz rental agency had shot itself in the foot by pushing EVs onto customers that just want the most hassle-free experience available. But that’s not realistic when renters have to drive out of their way to find the nearest charging station or the people working at the rental office don’t have a convenient way of plugging them in.

However, that’s not a plea for the government to reallocate funds to pay companies to build additional charging stations. Because, with a few notable exceptions, the ones we already have don’t seem to be well taken care of. There needs to be some consideration given to these plans before the government decides to send piles of money to an industry that doesn’t seem to be keeping its end of the bargain. Whatever angle J.D. Power is playing, it’s still correct in asserting that we need to fix the infrastructure we have today before looking toward tomorrow.

Source: TTAC
Anand Gupta Editor - EQ Int'l Media Network