Electric vehicles have been available in the U.S. for more a decade, but sales are hitting record highs right now.
Registrations for these electric cars shot up by 60% in the first three months of 2022, even when the market was down 18%, according to Automotive News.
The federal government is offering plenty of tax credits in hopes of encouraging people to convert to power-fueled cars, while automakers do their best to keep up with the demand and the lengthy wait lists.
Although the demand for these cars is trending upwards, a big barrier still prevents this technology from being fully adopted as mainstream.
A survey, conducted by J.D. Power research in partnership with PlugShare, found that the availability of charging stations is a reason for concern. Nearly 12,000 EV drivers were quizzed about their attitudes, behaviors and satisfaction levels between January and June.
Over 72% of people indicted that a charging station malfunctioned or was out of service during their visit.
“Public charging continues to provide challenges to overall EV adoption and current EV owners alike,” said Brent Gruber, executive director of global automotive at J.D. Power. “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.”
In June, the Biden administration announced a goal to build out a network of 500,000 chargers, in addition to the existing 100,000 chargers across the country, but experts say that there needs to be more work done on the maintenance front, according to The New York Times.
California has the highest number of EV owners and chargers, yet states like Iowa, Kansas and Minnesota have a higher satisfaction rate among customers, the survey showed.
It also found that Tesla’s Level 2 charging stations ranked the highest, as well as their D.C. fast chargers.
It’s clear that EV chargers will need to become more reliable and available, despite the advancement in technology. But simply adding more chargers won’t solve the problem, said Gruber.
“Stations need to be added to areas where there are currently gaps in heavily traveled routes and in high-density areas for people who don’t have access to residential charging,” he said. “But most importantly, designed with things for users to do while charging — regardless of the use case.”
For now, the network of charging stations has plenty of room for improvement before earning the trust of customers.