Electrify America Chargers are rarely used, what's up with non-Tesla charging?

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A press release from Electrify America, the largest non-Tesla charging network, revealed that their average stall is used slightly more than once a day.

I explore what that might be and what it means, with questions about how much people road trip in non-Teslas and the issues with poor reliability of these stations. And I point out ways to improve that reliability, including failing operational at the risk of giving out some free electricity.

Read more on Forbes.com at Electrify America Chargers are rarely used, what's up with non-Tesla charging?

Comments

I find many of these chargers have broken cables and thus non-functional. It seems they are purposely broken so non ev vehicles can park there.

I got a Hyundai ionic 5 last winter and drove it with my family on 4 road-trips this summer between 6 and 12 hours, going from New Jersey to the Midwest and New England . We used EA exclusively and only had one negative experience that involved waiting for a charger for an hour. In every other case, we drove in, got 150 miles or more of charge and left 15 minutes later. It was incredibly efficient, and free (because we have temporary free service with the car purchase). If we were paying at these commercial chargers, it would have been about 40% the price of gas in our other car. Charging at home or at work is even cheaper. Can’t imagine buying a gas car again.

While your piece focuses on the two major playa's and their pedestrian relationship to the EV charging business there's a another business model in town. Stores that install free chargers as a come on and another important benefit for the business. The charger kiosk affords the opportunity to bombard the shopper with ads seconds before they enter the store. For the most part they are the slower and recommended for longer battery lifespan L2 'slow chargers' as routinely fast charging is not recommended. However one business does have a DCFC a charger that's free for 30 minutes, 30% for my Niro, adding 80 to 100+ miles range.
At this point in the evolution of EV's they're overwhelming advantage is as a relatively short range commuter around town car and not as a turnkey alternative to ICE cars for the majority of people who've been ingrained to expect 'set it and forget it' convenience. Currently it takes careful planning even for Teslas and especially in cold weather.

It's .22 kwh at home and .43kwh.. not much of a mystery

Yes, for people who have charging at home, that's always the place to do it. But fast chargers are used on road trips.

Tesla chargers get much more use (most Tesla owners can charge at home.)

Doesn't every town have a public electric utility? Shouldn't our tax dollars provide charging stations via these utilities?

The biggest portion of the EV charging demand will likely be met by the commercial and public sector fleet users on an in-house, 'Off-Peak' basis. It is feasible due to the scale and the savings plus must fleets have a limited range of daily operations lending itself to in-house, off-peak load charging with the substantial long-term savings. Like school buses charging in the district at night and UPS and FedEx doing the same. Individual consumers, like myself would likely install a fast charging system in their homes and possibly utilize solar and battery systems for long-term savings and environmental benefits. Surprisingly, many people will spend for convenience, savings and environmental protection with priorities varying. Eventually, longer ranged and a more universal EV fleet of general users will bring about standardized solutions that are acceptable due to everyday practice. I recall when I was very reticent about "Pay at the Pump" because I was concerned about whether my payment would be secured and recorded so that it didn't appear as though I had just refueled and left without paying. In a few years these teething problems will be history as will ICE driven vehicles.

Where we have our primary residence we are very fortunate to have LG&E/KU which is part of PPL. The cost for EV Charging (without a commercial "Demand Meter") has been just 11.9 cents per kilowatt with all taxes and that's about a third more than pre-pandemic. It takes about 6-9 hours using the 220 special installation which was about $1200 installed by a licensed electrician. For cars that's the least you need with a Faster Option available for about $5k. I have been charging my wheelchairs for 19 years and most can't take the 220 or Faster Option, but my current electric wheelchairs take from 6-9 kilowatts to charge and I go as many miles as some people drive. So planned charging and potentially getting stranded has been a long-term issue that I well understand, not the least of which is due to their 450 lb. weight not fitting into a car. So being stranded is a new issue for new EV users which is why Plug-In Hybrids still have a market. For ideal charging, if possible, a solar panel and battery can make this type of charging absolutely free after paying for the installation. This greatly reduces car charging costs and reduces smokestack emissions. It also helps to speak with local building code enforcement officers to be certain that all necessary permits are acquired in advance, especially if you are doing more than just installing a 220 outlet, and find qualified licensed contractors, (electrician and general contractor/civil engineer) depending on the size of your proposed charging system and overall project.

Where we have our primary residence we are very fortunate to have LG&E/KU which is part of PPL. The cost for EV Charging (without a commercial "Demand Meter") has been just 11.9 cents per kilowatt with all taxes and that's about a third more than pre-pandemic. It takes about 6-9 hours using the 220 special installation which was about $1200 installed by a licensed electrician. For cars that's the least you need with a Faster Option available for about $5k. I have been charging my wheelchairs for 19 years and most can't take the 220 or Faster Option, but my current electric wheelchairs take from 6-9 kilowatts to charge and I go as many miles as some people drive. So planned charging and potentially getting stranded has been a long-term issue that I well understand, not the least of which is due to their 450 lb. weight not fitting into a car. So being stranded is a new issue for new EV users which is why Plug-In Hybrids still have a market. For ideal charging, if possible, a solar panel and battery can make this type of charging absolutely free after paying for the installation. This greatly reduces car charging costs and reduces smokestack emissions. It also helps to speak with local building code enforcement officers to be certain that all necessary permits are acquired in advance, especially if you are doing more than just installing a 220 outlet, and find qualified licensed contractors, (electrician and general contractor/civil engineer) depending on the size of your proposed charging system and overall project.

I think we are in the growing pains phase. Companies are having a hard time getting a handle on EV owners' behaviors and are basing it too much of the ICE habits with gas stations. Unless I absolutely needed to, why would I spend almost as much as a tank of gas to charge? Even the Level 2 chargers are often triple what electricity costs at home. I might use fast charge in a pinch to give me enough to get home if I was almost out of charge or maybe on a trip but that's it. I have used paid chargers twice and that's even with a 40kwh battery. I got an EV because of its economical nature. Fast charging isn't practical and paying for charging outside my home is also a limited thing.

Of course, if you have charging at home that is all you use around your town, though with a 40kWh you may not quite be able to do that some days. Fast charging is strictly for road trips. It costs more, and people pay it, even paying a price near the gasoline price.

Duke powwer put in 4 charge stations (I was impressed until I tried to use one). The charge app was awful, took 20 min to set up... then the Kwh supplied made me laugh. Worse than home and 3x the $$$.
Really a fast charger is the only way to go...and I will gladly pay more for that .

Unfortunately, EA chargers although plentiful, are poorly designed and maintained. Just yesterday I went to Walmart and tried to use one out of 4. Not one worked. I called EA and the lines were busy, then I finally got on hold and held for 30 minutes. Finally I had to leave. While I was there, 2 other EV'ers tried to charge and no luck. This infrastructure is not going to handle the onslaught of soon to be EV owners. It is not working now. I traveled up the central valley of California and there was a lot of frustration to find working chargers. However, the Tesla network is fine, lots of working chargers.Unfortunately, I could not avail myself as I own a new Rivian Truck.

No charging network was built as a business except maybe EVgo. So no motives to maintain it. Tesla network built to sell cars, so some motive there. Subsidies hurt this, not help.

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