New J.D. Power study finds public charging users dissatisfied with charger reliability

The rapid growth of EV sales over the past year is good news, but the accompanying bad news is that the increasing number of EVs on the road is putting more pressure on the country’s already substandard public charging infrastructure. According to the second annual J.D. Power US Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study, EV drivers, especially in hotspots such as California, Texas and Washington, are finding public charging infrastructure inadequate, and plagued with non-functional stations.

The 2022 U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study is a collaboration between consumer insight specialist J.D. Power and EV app provider and research firm PlugShare. The study surveyed 11,554 owners of EVs and PHEVs between January and June 2022.

Compared to last year, more public charging stations are in operation than ever before, but customer satisfaction with public Level 2 charging declined to 633 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 643 in 2021, while satisfaction with DC fast charging remained flat at 674.

“Not only is the availability of public charging still an obstacle, but EV owners continue to be faced with charging station equipment that is inoperable,” said Brent Gruber, Executive Director of Global Automotive at J.D. Power. “The National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Formula Program promises to provide funds to states for building out their EV public charging infrastructure…but just adding stations isn’t the answer. Stations need to be added to areas where there are currently gaps in heavily traveled routes and in high-density areas for people who don’t have access to residential charging, but most importantly, designed with things for users to do while charging—regardless of the use case. Then, we need to make sure those stations are reliable.”

The study measured EV owners’ satisfaction across 10 factors: ease of charging; speed of charging; cost; ease of payment; ease of finding a charging location; convenience of a location; safety of a location; things to do while charging; availability of chargers; and physical condition of the charging equipment.

Most respondents are relatively satisfied with the ease of the charging process. Satisfaction with the ease of charging was 745 for DC fast chargers and 699 for Level 2 chargers. However, users are less happy about the cost of charging: respondents gave a score of 473 for DC fast chargers and 446 for Level 2 chargers.

As so many observers of the public charging segment have reported, the industry needs to do a much better job of maintaining existing charging stations. J.D. Power found that one out of every five respondents ended up not charging their vehicle during their visit to a charging station, and 72% of these reported that this was because a charger malfunctioned, or was out of service.

Among Level 2 network providers, Tesla Destination chargers ranked highest, with a score of 680. Volta came in a close second with 667, and ChargePoint ranked third at 639. Among DC fast charging networks, Tesla Superchargers took the gold with a score of 739. Tesla was the only DC fast charger brand to rank above the industry average.

“The landscape of gas stations is focused on convenience—readily available, fast fueling and quick convenience items,” Gruber said. “Although fast charging is seemingly getting faster by the day, to expedite the charging process, vehicles will need to accommodate the newest ultra-fast chargers. Currently, only a handful of vehicles can take advantage of the fastest charging speeds. And no matter how fast their vehicle charges, EV owners still indicate they need more options for things to do during each charging session to enhance convenience and fill the downtime.”

Source: J.D. Power

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