1 2 3 ... 7
preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/9/22 5:12 p.m.

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/electric-charging-stations-bay-area-california

Just over 72% of the plugs in the Bay Area were functional.

Not trying to start an argument, but this is a serious downfall to my purchase of an EV. This is in addition to the EV I really want not being for sale yet.

On my recent trip to PA, I met a guy driving a Rivan across multiple states. He berkeleying LOVES the thing, but said it is not as good as his Tesla comfort-wise while admitting it is a truck ffs.

I don't know enough of the issues to contemplate a fix. I love what Elon Musk is doing making his own infrastructure, but there needs to be much much more to require X amount of EVs by 20XX.

I am sure Mr. Tanner will enlighten me(/us) and I look forward to it.

I am all about driving an EV most of the time, but I will go all Red Barchetta on the world's butt if they ban my ICE vehicles before I die.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/9/22 5:54 p.m.

It's a real problem. It's relatively easy to roll out a bunch of chargers, but each one of those is a commitment to maintenance and we all know how much harder that is. 

I've heard all sorts of stories about non-Tesla chargers in particular being a royal PITA to get working. That's why Porsche sent along some engineers to make stuff happen when GRM took a Taycan on a road trip a couple of years back, they ran into some glitches and apparently an EA engineer even got called out.

From the actual study, they were specifically looking at CCS fast chargers and did not look at the slower and much more common Level 2 chargers. That's good because those CCS tend to be the newest ones and it'll be the high speed standard to use, but it's probably worth remembering. Level 2s are good for sipping if you're running around town or staying in one place for a long period of time but they're not for road trips.

This study evaluated the functionality of the charging system for 657 EVSE (electric vehicle service equipment) CCS connectors (combined charging system) on all 181 open, public DCFC (direct current fast chargers) charging stations in the Greater Bay Area. An EVSE was evaluated as functional if it charged an EV for 2 minutes or was charging an EV at the time the station was evaluated...Causes of 22.7% of EVSEs that were non-functioning were unresponsive or unavailable screens, payment system failures, charge initiation failures, network failures, or broken connectors.

The study later says that broken connectors were only found in 0.9% of the chargers surveyed, and they couldn't manage to get a Chevy Bolt (specifically) close enough to plug in 5% of the time. A Bolt can only charge at 55 kW so it's unlikely to be a road trip car - you can decide if this 5% should be counted against the non-functional number. If you own a Bolt, it certainly would. And 55 kW is a handy number if you're opportunity charging while doing something else.

Payment was more than half of the failures - so the charger might have been working, but the network couldn't authorize a card. That tracks with what I've heard from other non-Tesla EV owners trying to road trip, trying to convince the charger to play is the big hassle. Looks like ChargePoint has a bigger problem than EA or EVgo when you read the results, with over a third of their chargers refusing to authorize.

One last note about the study:

...the test methodology used did not include having the EV driver call a service number if they were unable to charge the EV. The need to call a service number for assistance might be considered by some a normally functioning system. 

I agree with them that this shouldn't be necessary, but it would have been interesting to make that call and see how many of the stations could be made to work, and what this meant time-wise.

Tesla did a very smart thing in building out their own charging network and making the experience so simple. It really drove the adoption of EVs as normal cars. It shows what's possible and I think the Tesla network is still a major plus for anyone looking for a road-trip capable EV. One of the big things about the Teslas is that the car arranges for payment and authorization by talking directly to the charger, and while the standard has been developed to offer that for CCS I don't know if it's been fully implemented in a vehicle in the US yet. I think the Lightning is supposed to have it. Would that solve the majority of problems found in this study? Hard to say.

I hope those Alphas make it to production too :)

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/9/22 7:30 p.m.

But when you do 90+ precent of all your charging at home... what does it really matter?

 

We did a 3800ish mile roadtrip in a Tesla a week or two after we bought it.  No issues, despite going deep into Kentucky where the nearest charger to my family's location was about an hour away.

 

Further not, Out of Spec recently did a test and found it was quicker to travel from their spot in CO to Las Vegas on the Electricify America CCS network (Porsche Taycan and Hyundai Ionic) than using Tesla Super Chargers with a Model X and Model 3 Performance)

It is getting better for electric vehicles and rapidly at that.

m4ff3w
m4ff3w GRM+ Memberand UberDork
5/9/22 7:36 p.m.
Keith Tanner said:

 

Tesla did a very smart thing in building out their own charging network and making the experience so simple. It really drove the adoption of EVs as normal cars. It shows what's possible and I think the Tesla network is still a major plus for anyone looking for a road-trip capable EV. One of the big things about the Teslas is that the car arranges for payment and authorization by talking directly to the charger, and while the standard has been developed to offer that for CCS I don't know if it's been fully implemented in a vehicle in the US yet. I think the Lightning is supposed to have it. Would that solve the majority of problems found in this study? Hard to say.

 

I think the EA chargers have it ISO 15118 Plug n Charge - it is slower than Super Charger for the whole negotiation process.

Porsche Taycan, Lucid Air, Mach-E ,and the Rivian I think are the only ones that currently support it.  I think it'll be quickly adopted.

Tom Suddard
Tom Suddard GRM+ Memberand Director of Marketing & Digital Assets
5/9/22 7:42 p.m.

This is more of a theoretical problem in my opinion.

The infrastructure for my gas car is really, really bad. Most of my driving is from home to work, to visit family, or to the grocery store.

Every single one of those places has a car charger.

Zero of those places have gas.

It's way easier to keep your car charged than it is to keep gas in your tank. Every morning, you walk outside to a full tank.

Granted, this solution isn't workable for apartment dwellers, but that's where fast charging and destination charging comes in.

After dailying an EV for nearly four years, I visited public chargers maybe once every few months. Now that I'm back in a gas car, I realize that I seriously undervalued how much time/hassle I was saving by skipping gas stations.

And FWIW, my daily gets about 10k miles/year. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/9/22 7:55 p.m.

Most charging is done at home, but if you're on a road trip it would be problematic to discover your planned charging stop was inoperative. I've come across that on a trip, we stopped at a Supercharger station where there were 2 free spots out of 6 and discovered that those two chargers were unusable. If that happened today, I'd run down the street to the other set of Superchargers in town or go a few more miles down the road to the next set, but at the time it was a wait. 

spedracer
spedracer New Reader
5/10/22 3:04 a.m.

In reply to Tom Suddard :

How does charging at work or a store work if/once most cars are EVs? I've seen plenty of hotels, office parking lots, etc with a few chargers, but it seems like it'd take an awful lot of money to put in 10x more of them. I assume major infrastructure improvements would be needed too. A parking lot of chargers has to take quite a bit of juice.

STM317
STM317 PowerDork
5/10/22 4:49 a.m.

In reply to spedracer :

The vast majority of charging is done at home. Charging while at work can be as simple as a Level II connection from a 240V outlet (adding 20-30 miles of range per hr) or even a Level I connection on 120v (adding 3-5 miles of range per hr), but it's probably not actually needed by anybody with a garage because that person probably leaves home with a full charge every day and on average we don't drive hundreds of miles per day. So having charging at work is more of a perk than something that absolutely has to be built out, and it's not likely to have everybody plugging in everytime they park in public. It would really benefit PHEV commuters (and the planet) more than BEV owners, but PHEVs don't seem to have as much groundswell behind them as full EVs. Same is true for charging at a shopping mall or grocery store. In most cases, it's just used by people topping off out of convenience (or for the easy parking space) rather than somebody that actually has to charge in order to make it to their next destination.

Fast charging is for road trips, so they need to be spaced along highways and interstates. Having them at rest stops and hotels makes a lot of sense, and can be an attraction to EV owners, while not having them would obviously deter potential customers.

We've been building out the ICE fueling infrastructure for a century. It's taken mountains of money and effort to get it to it's current state of convenience. I imagine taking a cross country trip in a Ford Model T in 1922 probably had even less certainty than a similar trip in 2022 in an EV. The fact that EV owners from all makes are doing cross country road trips this early into the EV adoption curve (10 years after the first short range EVs like the Leaf and Focus Electric, and 5 years after the first Chevy Bolt) seems pretty impressive to me. It will only get better.

 

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/10/22 6:46 a.m.
preach (dudeist priest) said:

Just over 72% of the plugs in the Bay Area were functional.

Oddly enough if I think about my local area, I realize that there is almost always one gas pump per station out of order either mechanical or the card reader... 72% for something new doesn't seem so bad!

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
5/10/22 7:15 a.m.
STM317 said:

We've been building out the ICE fueling infrastructure for a century. It's taken mountains of money and effort to get it to it's current state of convenience. I imagine taking a cross country trip in a Ford Model T in 1922 probably had even less certainty than a similar trip in 2022 in an EV. The fact that EV owners from all makes are doing cross country road trips this early into the EV adoption curve (10 years after the first short range EVs like the Leaf and Focus Electric, and 5 years after the first Chevy Bolt) seems pretty impressive to me. It will only get better.

This.

People tend to think of the infrastructure the way it is today, not the way it will be in the near future. 

84FSP
84FSP UberDork
5/10/22 7:39 a.m.

Coming up on 19k miles in 11 months in my Tesla work car.   It was weird for the first month and now I'm spoiled at the convenience level.  There are the odd occasions, where a charger is down or more likely blocked by someone.  Aside from that is has been pretty seamless.

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
5/10/22 7:46 a.m.

Well, I wouldn't buy a car based on "what may be available in the future". 

I look at electric cars like I look at certain types of motorcycles. While they can be used for any kind of travel, they are best at only one or two types. With plug-in cars I think they are perfect for daily, mostly local travel. Which, if we're being honest, is how most people use their cars. For example,  my wife rarely strays more than 30 minutes from home with her Jetta. An electric car would be perfect for her. 

When I had a company car for work I drove about 150 miles per day. I could probably still make do with an electric car, but my schedule wouldn't allow for recharging down time during the work day.

If I owned a plug-in and wanted to take a trip several states away it may make more sense to rent a gas car than hassle with the charging station issue.

It also depends on where you live. Here in the northeast I'm rarely too far from an urban environment where charging stations probably exist. Not true if you live in, say , rural Colorado.

Electric cars have their place but I don't think we are anywhere near universal replacement of the gas vehicle.

grover
grover GRM+ Memberand Dork
5/10/22 8:38 a.m.

I have to take the kids to school here in a minute and I know that I'm going to have to stop on the way back for gas, it would be so much nicer to get in the car this morning and have it be full. 

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/10/22 9:11 a.m.

For my wife and I commute we would do really well with a electric car. Especially her. I rarely drive my truck but that's about to change soon. Now I wish I could find a beater hybrid or Volt to dd.

aircooled
aircooled MegaDork
5/10/22 9:23 a.m.

The Bay Area also likely has some of the first charger infrastructure.  First adoption usually means it runs behind the current average (e.g. US internet infrastructure) standard.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/10/22 9:39 a.m.

I'm not concerned in the least.

When motorized carriages started replacing horses, everyone was worried about gas stations and tires.  We figured it out.
When WW2 happened and car manufacturing stopped, we figured it out.
When the EPA started saying we have to drastically reduce emissions we all assumed that motorsport and the auto hobby was dead.  We figured it out
When trade agreements started allowing more Japanese cars to be imported we assumed US manufacturers would go belly up.  We figured it out.
When the EPA took away leaded fuel we were all afraid that we would have to scrap our old cars because the fuel would eat our valve seats.  We figured it out.
When the oil embargo had us rationing fuel in the 70s we were afraid that the US itself would collapse its economy.  We figured it out.
When everyone started adopting EFI we collectively balked at the complexity and inability to tune it.  We figured it out.
When the EPA put a stranglehold on diesel emissions in 2008, we figured it out.
There is a huge "the sky is falling" discussion on another forum about how EVs are the death of ICE, and the gubmint is going to start forcing us to buy EVs and scrap our ICEs.  The guy who started the conversation drives a 29 Ford which has survived all of the above changes but fails to see how it became a non-issue.

We'll figure it out.  I think about the people who bought a new Model T back in the day when there was no such thing as a gas station, tires liked to explode every 20 miles, and parts weren't available if they broke something.  The EV infrastructure challenge is so tiny compared to that.  Not worried.

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
5/10/22 9:45 a.m.
ddavidv said:

Well, I wouldn't buy a car based on "what may be available in the future". 

I look at electric cars like I look at certain types of motorcycles. While they can be used for any kind of travel, they are best at only one or two types. With plug-in cars I think they are perfect for daily, mostly local travel. Which, if we're being honest, is how most people use their cars. For example,  my wife rarely strays more than 30 minutes from home with her Jetta. An electric car would be perfect for her. 

When I had a company car for work I drove about 150 miles per day. I could probably still make do with an electric car, but my schedule wouldn't allow for recharging down time during the work day.

If I owned a plug-in and wanted to take a trip several states away it may make more sense to rent a gas car than hassle with the charging station issue.

It also depends on where you live. Here in the northeast I'm rarely too far from an urban environment where charging stations probably exist. Not true if you live in, say , rural Colorado.

Electric cars have their place but I don't think we are anywhere near universal replacement of the gas vehicle.

You described a less than 2% of usage issue. And at that there are already solutions. Combine a lunch/ bathroom stop with a 15 minute fast charge and  your time is fully accounted for.  
    In my traveling salesman days when I was putting 75-80,000 miles a year on. I was usually around 300 miles a day.  One stop for lunch, one for calling into the office or making future appointments  would have kept my battery in good shape.  
    If you put on over 200 miles in a day it's a 15+ hour day. 
     The thing with my ICE is oil changes and other required service work. Hours no longer required with EV's.  Things are already changing on a lot of ICE cars.  I no longer need to get down on my knees to check tire pressure.  There is a spot on the menu that gives that information

Plus the time spent at gas stations refilling, no it's not a NASCAR stop.  You've got to sit there near the handle by law.  Even if you can fill in 2 minutes. Getting your card accepted, turning down the car wash,  accepting the paper receipt, and responding to the loyalty program is going to add a couple more minutes. 
  Then the bathroom trip, grab a cool beverage, or cup of coffee  will add more time.  Realistically we are talking around 10 minutes.


But!!!  Don't forget you filled the car the night before or that morning to start out. On your own time.  In other words you still had to get up early or stay late in order to arrive on time.  
    With an EV once you have everything set up efficiently. It's 30 seconds and full in the morning. 
      Again this is only if you travel hundreds of miles a day.  
You aren't mentally ready to change even if you dont have to sit there inhailing  fuel fumes. You've been doing things that way all your life.  So has everyone you know.  There is so much bad news out there, you don't trust when something good comes your way.  
    
l

Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter)
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) SuperDork
5/10/22 9:52 a.m.
frenchyd said:  If you put on over 200 miles in a day it's a 15+ hour day. 

You must drive really slow laugh

frenchyd
frenchyd MegaDork
5/10/22 10:04 a.m.
Paul_VR6 (Forum Supporter) said:
frenchyd said:  If you put on over 200 miles in a day it's a 15+ hour day. 

You must drive really slow laugh

Driving wasn't my job. Selling was.  There is no drive through sales desks.  

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/10/22 10:14 a.m.
STM317 said:

In reply to spedracer :

The vast majority of charging is done at home. Charging while at work can be as simple as a Level II connection from a 240V outlet (adding 20-30 miles of range per hr) or even a Level I connection on 120v (adding 3-5 miles of range per hr), but it's probably not actually needed by anybody with a garage because that person probably leaves home with a full charge every day and on average we don't drive hundreds of miles per day. So having charging at work is more of a perk than something that absolutely has to be built out, and it's not likely to have everybody plugging in everytime they park in public. It would really benefit PHEV commuters (and the planet) more than BEV owners, but PHEVs don't seem to have as much groundswell behind them as full EVs. Same is true for charging at a shopping mall or grocery store. In most cases, it's just used by people topping off out of convenience (or for the easy parking space) rather than somebody that actually has to charge in order to make it to their next destination.

Fast charging is for road trips, so they need to be spaced along highways and interstates. Having them at rest stops and hotels makes a lot of sense, and can be an attraction to EV owners, while not having them would obviously deter potential customers.

We've been building out the ICE fueling infrastructure for a century. It's taken mountains of money and effort to get it to it's current state of convenience. I imagine taking a cross country trip in a Ford Model T in 1922 probably had even less certainty than a similar trip in 2022 in an EV. The fact that EV owners from all makes are doing cross country road trips this early into the EV adoption curve (10 years after the first short range EVs like the Leaf and Focus Electric, and 5 years after the first Chevy Bolt) seems pretty impressive to me. It will only get better.

A lot of people seem to overlook the fact that chargers are just end points on existing electrical infrastructure. It's a lot easier to build a set of chargers than a gas station, and maintainance should be easier as well because the hardware has no moving parts.

There is a middle case between the "charge at home" and "charge on a road trip", and that's someone who can't charge at home or doesn't have enough range to make it through the day. I know we have at least one EV owner on the forum who can't charge at home, or at least not quickly. I believe that's who EVgo is targeting, people who charge at shopping malls or movie theaters - basically, while doing other things. It's less time-sensitive than the road trip scenario and I suspect the charging stop is less critical. 

tuna55
tuna55 MegaDork
5/10/22 10:21 a.m.

I just passed 54K on my Bolt. I have owned it for over two years. I have charged away from home three or four times, and every time it was unnecessary but pleasant. Every time it resulted in a way-better parking spot. The only nonfunctional charger I encountered was in the DMV parking lot when I first got the thing.

 

It's a neat thing to have, but largely unimportant for way over 99.5% of my driving. I take the van instead when I travel further than 150 miles away. That's happened twice where I would have liked to take the Bolt instead, both to Atlanta to see a doctor. I believe that I could have, if the charging network were better, taken the Bolt there. So that's 2 trips I would have liked, out of 921 days (just checked) of ownership. That's 0.2%. 

 

Last weekend I went to get gas for my mower (in the Bolt, hilariously), and the whole station was out of order, so I had to drive a few more miles to the next one. Sometimes the van kicks off in mid-fuel and I have to go start it again. Sometimes it stops too late and splashes gas on the van. Often times random pumps at the station are out of order. A few times in that timeframe the card reader said "go see the clerk" and I drove to another station instead. I always ask my wife to stop at Top Tier stations, which limits where we can go, and gas is really expensive right now.

 

People see these teething issues with EVs and are inherently comparing them with sunshine and rainbows. Everything has issues. Every comparison with "now" makes "now" seem better than it is. I never have to sit outside at gas pumps in freezing weather or rain, never have to budget time for fuel stops (which would be 2-3x per week with my commute), never have to find the right stations, the right gas prices, the easy-to-get-to parking lots. I don't have to smell gas fuel (and cigarette fumes, which for some reason are also prevalent at gas stations. I will never ever ever understand why.) My car is always full. I haven't looked at my range in months. It's so dramatically better that my wife is going to jump at the first EV van available no matter what.

 

Assuming an average gas price of $3.25 over the past three years, I saved $5K over a 35 mpg ICE car. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/10/22 10:29 a.m.

Infrastructure is definitely something to be considered.

One of the clients I do work for is adding EV chargers to an existing parking garage. They are doing a substantial electrical service upgrade to power them.   While actual use diversity will vary a lot, the service will still need to be sized for all of the chargers operating at the same time.  Typically, that is not how we size electrical systems - usually undersized to some extent with a certain amount of connected load diversity assumed.  However, with EV chargers, the historical data to make those calculations is still being collected, so the designs are on the cautious side.

Otherwise, tuna and Tom's experiences are exactly why I wanted an EV for a regular DD when I was commuting.  Charger availability away from home is not really a concern.  Now that I don't commute, an EV is less of a want. But since no manufacturer is offering the EV van I want in the US, I'm in no rush. 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/10/22 10:31 a.m.
tuna55 said:

My car is always full. I haven't looked at my range in months.

This is the truth in day-to-day living. It's the exact opposite of range anxiety, you just never look.

When I was driving an ICE every day, I'd check the gas prices and my fuel gauge every time I went by my usual stations, and I'd pull in to refuel if the gauge was getting below 1/2 tank. It was a reflex. That's gone now. At some point, I'm going to run one of my ICE cars out of fuel because I've stopped paying attention :)

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/10/22 10:49 a.m.
Tom Suddard said:

This is more of a theoretical problem in my opinion.

The infrastructure for my gas car is really, really bad. Most of my driving is from home to work, to visit family, or to the grocery store.

Every single one of those places has a car charger.

Zero of those places have gas.

It's way easier to keep your car charged than it is to keep gas in your tank. Every morning, you walk outside to a full tank.

Granted, this solution isn't workable for apartment dwellers, but that's where fast charging and destination charging comes in.

After dailying an EV for nearly four years, I visited public chargers maybe once every few months. Now that I'm back in a gas car, I realize that I seriously undervalued how much time/hassle I was saving by skipping gas stations.

And FWIW, my daily gets about 10k miles/year. 

I think you take this, plus the fact that a Tesla just placed very well in a weeklong roadtrip-race around the country and you'd be forced to conclude that infastructure isn't currently holding EVs back. 

It's gonna need to scale with the number of EVs on the roads, but it seems to me there are few real problems and lots of imaginary ones. 

BAMF
BAMF HalfDork
5/10/22 11:00 a.m.
preach (dudeist priest) said:

https://www.foxbusiness.com/lifestyle/electric-charging-stations-bay-area-california

Just over 72% of the plugs in the Bay Area were functional.

Not trying to start an argument, but this is a serious downfall to my purchase of an EV. This is in addition to the EV I really want not being for sale yet.

Public charging is probably roughly at the same spot on the development curve as gasoline distribution was around the time Ford launched the Model T.

Anything that requires maintenance (ie. everything made by humans) will suffer from out of sight, out of mind neglect if it is out of sight. Most gas stations have people working there, most public charging stations I've used (L2 only with my Volt) do not. The less frequent use an item gets, the more or of sight it becomes. It's a vicious cycle, and I expect chargers and EVSEs will gain capability to self diagnose better in the future, or gas stations will start becoming EV recharging centers.

1 2 3 ... 7
Our Preferred Partners
Lplc7wnjJGPg9ADyAVeAVdViXJeHnnZl5ArSiFp8D4D75KZRUQToTOdrhT6g8QMv