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It's Electric! EV Charging Still Sucks

Updated: May 23, 2022

"Public EV Charging Still Sucks, but Ford Is working to fix It. For years, legacy automakers haven’t done much to improve the public charging experience for their customers the way Tesla has" John Voelcker. Wait, Ford?

John continues with "ten years after its first Supercharger site opened, Tesla is undeniably the gold standard for EV fast charging. Drive up, plug in, then stay only as long as your car suggests to gain another 200-plus miles of range. It’s easy, seamless, and now all but ubiquitous in the United States.

Drivers of any other EV brand face a very different landscape because no other automaker has invested in building a dedicated charging infrastructure network for its customers as Tesla has. They’ve done nothing to install significant public charging infrastructure; instead, they outsourced that responsibility to a mishmash of public charging networks and sites. Most offer slower Level 2 charging, providing eight to 25 miles per charging hour, which won’t get you far on a road trip. Only Electrify America and EVgo offer substantial numbers of DC fast-charging stations—and the reliability of those sites themselves is disturbingly variable.

But, as automakers ramp up to build and sell vastly more electric cars, one has finally started to focus on public charging unreliability—because it understands shoddy networks threaten its plan to build and sell EVs at a profit. The public charging grievances number far and wide—a few of which will be examined here—but things aren’t completely hopeless.

Over the last year, Ford has publicly recognized that bad on-road charging experiences (and the resulting social media) are a significant headwind to EV acceptance among the public at large. It’s made several aggressive moves to address the frustration of its EV buyers, including the painstaking task of locating problems in a charging network’s chargers one by one and leaning hard on the network to fix them. Whether its efforts will permanently improve things remains to be seen, but it’s good to see a legacy automaker finally step up and focus on the real problem."

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