In the U.S., most electric vehicle owners say that public chargers are easy to use. That is, when they actually work.
A new J.D. Power survey finds that, while public charging stations are a tad easier to come by these days, faulty chargers are souring the experience and hampering EV adoption. That’s no good, because the planet is only getting hotter and EVs are expected to play a key role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transportation sector.
Out of 11,554 owners of battery electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles who were surveyed by J.D. Power, one in five said they “ended up not charging their vehicle during their visit,” the report said. And of the drivers who did not charge, “72% indicated that it was due to the station malfunctioning or being out of service.” The findings echo a smaller UC Berkeley study that made headlines earlier this year.
Beyond defective chargers, the survey looked into several other factors, such as price and “ease of payment.”
Overall, J.D. Power found that EV owners in the U.S. are less satisfied with public level 2 chargers in 2022 than they were last year. Using a 1,000-point scale, EV drivers gave level 2 stations an average score of 633, down from 643 in 2021. Level 2 chargers can fill up a battery-electric vehicle in as little as four hours, far outpacing a standard residential outlet (40-plus hours).
In contrast, the J.D. Power study found that satisfaction with Level 3 chargers — also known as DC fast chargers — had remained flat year over year, at an average score of 674. Level 3 chargers can fill an EV’s battery level to 80% in as little as 20 minutes, but they’re a lot rarer.
As for price, the survey found that charging costs had weighed down driver satisfaction scores across the board. Belying that point, a separate survey of 2,040 U.S. adults (paid for by EV financing company Tenet) found that a staggering “81% believe buying electric is too expensive.”
Among EV charging companies, Tesla led the pack in J.D. Power’s survey as the most-liked station operator, while EVgo and Blink brought up the rear.