Study says thousands of electric car charging stations in US are unreliable

A common part of everyday life with an electric car is the stress of reaching a non-functioning stand. Almost 2 out of 5 recharge attempts end in failure.

Charging electric cars at public stations is difficult, to say the least, because the technology is often out of order, software errors occur, the current is too weak, and vandals also make life unpleasant. The sad fact is supported by the results of a study from the USA, where, thanks to the boom in chargers, it is relevant to examine social nuances.

The number of sockets for cars in America is growing every day, the amount reliably exceeding 110 thousand pieces is not far behind regular gas stations. In the European Union, for example, Germany or the Netherlands are at the top, the Czech Republic is trying to catch up, although the current charging kiosks are demonstrably unreliable.

JD Power’s renowned Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study shows that failed charging attempts increased from 15% in the first quarter of 2021 to more than 21% in the third quarter of 2022. Nearly 2 in 5 charging attempts – or 39% – ended in failure last year for several reasons.

Of all research participants who failed to charge their batteries last year, more than three-quarters cited a malfunctioning charger as the cause, with software bugs, complications with paying for the service or vandalism being other common faults. The form of the breakdown is no longer as important as the fairly frequent frequency of problems of various types, the above-mentioned obstacles create other stressful situations after the car is discharged.

The JD Power study is based on more than 26,500 charging attempts on Level 2 and 3 chargers in all 50 US states, with only one operator experiencing almost no outages (only a 3% failure rate). In order to preserve anonymity, the names of (un)successful providers have not been specified.

The reality of the American problem is easily applicable to the rest of the world, it is still a matter of complex high-voltage systems that control vulnerable computers, and opponents of electromobility destroying the new infrastructure live everywhere. Some of the bad experiences also stem from user ineptitude or ignorance, as many individuals ignore instructions and unnecessary damage to property occurs. Charging has a given procedure, including the corresponding connectors, the replacement excludes cars and electric stands.

Bad stations are solved by providers, and educational campaigns by electric car manufacturers are responsible for educating users. Millions of dollars flow into marketing events, which is still a fraction against the overall massive support for the transition from internal combustion engines to alternative modes of transportation. By 2030, there could be half a million charging stations in the US, a number that sounds absurd compared to the current failure rate.