Wednesday, December 7, 2022
News Electric Vehicle Chargers are Not as Reliable as they Appear, Study Says

Electric Vehicle Chargers are Not as Reliable as they Appear, Study Says

DC Fast charging stations are not as reliable as their providers like to claim, according to a study in California.

  • 23% of the studied fast chargers were inoperable

  • Charging station providers claim their charging stations are all operative 95% to 98% of the time

  • This could cause many drivers to avoid going electric for their next vehicles

According to a study from the University of California, the fast-charging stations offered to EV drivers are not as reliable as their providers claim they are.

Indeed, most companies who operate a network of DC fast chargers like to advertise 95% to 98% uptime for their equipment, meaning that on average, every charger is functional almost all of the time.

Despite these claims, many electric vehicle drivers complain about stations that have one or more stations that refuse to provide power to their car.

The study found that these complaints are deserved since around 23% of the 657 individual chargers tested earlier this year in the San Francisco area turned out to be inoperative.

The most common issues encountered by the researchers were related to the payment system or to the communication between the car and the station. Non-working screens on the equipment were also a frequent failure point.

In addition, a further 5% were found to be working normally, but they are designed in such a way that the cord doesn’t reach the charging port of all EVs, for which there is no standard dictating the location.

According to the researchers, this could discourage many drivers from making the leap over to EVs for their next car since they usually don’t have the time to find another charging station along their route or wait until someone else drives away and makes another charger available.

Interestingly, the Supercharger network, exclusive to Tesla (for now at least), seems to be more reliable despite not having been part of the study. This is inferred from the findings of another study that shows only 3% of Tesla drivers say inoperative supercharger stalls are a major concern, meaning that these events are probably rare.

Since Tesla is about to open its network to other brands in the US, this might be alleviated, but the American government would do good to choose more reliable machines to add to its public charging infrastructure, which will receive an investment of $5 billion in the next five years.

In order to ensure the reliability of the system, the government is expected to set standards that have to be met by EV chargers, but these standards have not yet been revealed.

Source: University of California

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