Charging Electric Cars Is Far From Easy

Estimated read time 3 min read

This might make you think twice about taking the plunge.

Right now, the pressure inside the auto industry to cheerlead electric vehicles is tremendous. Automakers see this as a chance to make tons of money while weeding out smaller competitors since only the mega automakers can achieve the economies of scale apparently needed to profitably manufacturer EVs. The “green energy” industry also stands to gain tremendously from the push as people are told they need to go with solar or wind energy to further shrink their carbon footprint. But all of this comes at a tremendous cost, one of which you might not realize until it’s too late.

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A new report from The Verge highlights a survey done by JD Power of EV and plug-in hybrid car owners. They contacted 11,554 people from January through June of this year, learning that overall people absolutely hate using public charging stations.

This cuts against the utopian dreams of public charging stations with gourmet eateries, gyms, pools, and other amenities, making them a new version of the community watering hole. Back in the day, gas stations were more than just a place to fill up the tank and grab some snacks, a past the techno-elite wish to bring back, only in their “green” image.

Instead, JD Power found consumer satisfaction was only 633 on a 1,000-point scale. Sure, that’s not completely dismal, but keep in mind most of these people are early adopters who are notoriously more forgiving of problems with technologies and process. As automakers try shepherding the general public into EV adoption, they’ll find overall satisfaction with the system will drop like a rock.

Problems cited by those surveyed were for the most part predictable. Many complained there aren’t enough chargers which work correctly. While cities are installing charging stations like gangbusters, it’s too common to find chargers which don’t work at all.

Tesla owners were the most satisfied with their public charging experience. They rated the company’s Superchargers higher than any other option, scoring 739 points. Considering only Tesla vehicles are compatible with the chargers, some say the comparison isn’t fair. Tesla is supposed to add adapters that work with other brands’ vehicles starting next year, though we’ll see how that goes.

The issue of public charging options and other drawbacks of electric cars might be why a study found a shocking number have switched back internal combustion vehicles. After all, filling up your tank in 5 minutes or less at stations scattered just about everywhere is incredibly convenient.

See the article from The Verge here.

Images via Ford, Tesla

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