Electric car boom stresses public charging infrastructure, J.D. Power study finds

Automakers are cranking out new EV models at lightning speed, but a recent J.D. Power study shows that the public charging infrastructure has a long way to go to catch up. The organization found that EV owners in high-volume areas struggle with finding a working charger and noted that overall satisfaction with EV purchases depends on where the buyer lives. The organization polled 11,554 owners for the 2022 study between January and June 2022.

J.D. Power points out that there are more Level 2 charging stations in operation than ever, but people are less satisfied with them. The study used a 1,000-point scale to judge satisfaction and found that sentiment around Level 2 chargers dropped 10 points to 633 in 2022.  Satisfaction with DC fast chargers has not changed since last year, remaining steady at 674 points.

Read more: What do Level 1, Level 2 and DC fast charging (Level 3) mean?

Most people are fine with the ease of charging. J.D. Power scored satisfaction with the ease of charging at 699 for Level 2 chargers and 745 for DC fast chargers. As the organization notes, this shows that most people understand how to use EV chargers and can use them without significant difficulty. On the flip side of the satisfaction coin, ratings for the cost of charging are much lower, at 446 for Level 2 and 473 for DC fast charging.

Unsurprisingly, maintenance and operability play significant roles in EV owners’ satisfaction. Being able to use a charger is just as important as there being a charger in the first place. The study found that 20% of owners did not charge during recent visits to a station, and notes that of those people, 72% indicated that it was because the charger wasn’t working correctly. In terms of charging station companies, Tesla Destination chargers led the way with a score of 680. Volta came in second and ChargePoint third. 

Read more: EV charging guide | What to know when buying an electric car

Owners also tend to have different experiences depending on where they live. States like California and others in the Pacific region offer more extensive infrastructure, so the ownership experience is better than in a state like Montana, where there are far fewer chargers. Interestingly, owner satisfaction was highest in the west-north-central area, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, and others. 

J.D. Power measures satisfaction with Level 2 and DC fast charging stations across 10 areas: 

Ease of charging
Speed of charging
Ease of payment
Ease of finding this location
Convenience of this location
Things to do while charging
How safe you feel at this location
Availability of chargers
Physical condition of charging station

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