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EV adoption: Lack of chargers, broken stations may be obstacle

EV adoption: Lack of chargers, broken stations may be obstacle

Electric vehicle owners are dealing with a large number of inoperable charging stations and a slow rollout of public charging infrastructure, hurdles that could hamper adoption even as the technology looks to be gaining momentum.

EVs accounted for about 5 percent of U.S. new light-vehicle registrations during the first half of this year, up from 2.5 percent during the same period of 2021.

“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.

Driver satisfaction with Level 2 public chargers is falling, according to J.D. Power’s annual U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study, released Wednesday.

Its survey of more than 11,000 EV and plug-in hybrid owners found satisfaction declined to 633 from 643 last year on a 1,000-point scale. Satisfaction with DC fast chargers stayed the same, at 674. Level 2 chargers restore 20 to 25 miles of range per hour. DC fast chargers work at a rate of about 100 miles of range per hour and some even faster.

Charging station shortage

The J.D. Power study, conducted with EV data firm PlugShare, cited a shortage of available public charging as the top reason for the drop.

That correlates with a CDK Global Inc. survey released Tuesday of more than 1,100 consumers who have purchased or will purchase a vehicle within two years.

The CDK survey found that 60 percent of respondents reported concerns about charging network availability. Forty percent said they’ll wait until they have a garage to purchase an EV because they worry about public charging availability. CDK Global is a dealership software provider.

The J.D. Power study also revealed that 1 out of every 5 respondents was unable to charge their vehicle when visiting a station. The market research firm said that of those respondents, 72 percent said the station was malfunctioning or out of service.

An infrastructure law President Joe Biden signed last November earmarked $5 billion to create a nationwide network of EV charging ports along major travel arteries. But the money comes with stipulations, such as chargers must be functional 97 percent of the time and comply with technical standards for communicating with vehicles.

Dealerships play an important role

The CDK survey found that dealerships play an important role in educating car shoppers — even if they choose a gasoline-powered vehicle. Of the 26 percent of respondents who considered an EV but bought or planned to buy a gasoline vehicle, 88 percent said a dealership employee made them aware of the option.

According to the survey, dealerships will play a primary role in servicing EVs after the sale. About 4 out of 5 EV owners (81 percent) intend to have their vehicle serviced by a dealership. They cited battery-health checks (61 percent), tire changes (41 percent) and inspection of high-voltage cables (40 percent) as the top three reasons they would visit a dealership for service.

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