Despite Increasing EV Charging Infrastructure, US Motorists Report Higher Dissatisfaction Rates

A national transition from ICE cars to battery electric cars will require significant government and private investment in public charging infrastructure. The automotive industry has had more than a century to build out a widespread network of easily accessible refueling stations compared to the relatively young EV industry.

One main concern among drivers in the United States and other markets is that there simply aren’t enough public chargers to support the current number of electric vehicles on the road. Furthermore, EV drivers regularly report low satisfaction rates with existing charging stations due to issues such as inaccessibility and unreliability.

According to a recent J.D. Power report, customer satisfaction with public Level 2 chargers has declined by 16 points to reach the lowest levels since the firm began polling customer satisfaction levels. The report also found that customer satisfaction with fast chargers is down by 20 points, indicating that EV drivers are dissatisfied with most classes of public chargers.

The firm polled more than 15,000 plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicle owners over the first half of 2022 and measured their satisfaction levels for DC fast charging and Level 2 charging stations. Researchers considered factors such as speed and ease of charging, convenience and availability of the charging station, physical condition of the chargers, ease of payment, cost of charging, location safety and what drivers can do while their vehicles are charging.

They found that even though America’s electric vehicle infrastructure is growing, customers aren’t satisfied with the services they offer. Customers were especially frustrated with the varying number of payment methods and difficulty accessing different charging networks. They also reported dissatisfaction with the time it took to charge their EVs and unreliable charging stations with issues such as broken equipment and long lines.

J.D. Power executive director of EV practice Brent Gruver says that low satisfaction rates with public charging infrastructure could affect electric vehicle acceptance rates among drivers. Speaking to USA TODAY, Gruber argued that the low satisfaction rates were a cautionary statement to the industry that things would get “much worse” if things don’t change. Developing reliable public charging infrastructure will be crucial to accelerating electric vehicle adoption in the U.S.

While installing a private home charger is always an option, it can raise the cost of EV ownership and requires a private garage or parking, something millions of Americans do not have. The scarcity of reliable public chargers has contributed to range anxiety, a phenomenon where people fear running out of power with no charging station in sight, and likely dampened the enthusiasm for electric cars for numerous drivers.

These survey findings give players in the EV industry such as Fisker Inc. (NYSE: FSR) plenty to think about as they develop strategies to reach a bigger section of motorists in different markets both in and outside the country.

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