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Monday, 18 October 2021 22:05

Finding an EV Charging Station Shouldn’t be Game of Hide-and-Seek

Written by Mark Phelan, Detroit Free Press
This brand new parking structure has six Level 2 240v EV chargers but no outside signs to help drivers find them. This brand new parking structure has six Level 2 240v EV chargers but no outside signs to help drivers find them. Mark Phelan/Detroit Free Press

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I get emails regularly from readers saying they’ll never buy an electric vehicle because there’s no place nearby to charge it.

They’re nearly always wrong, but it’s not their fault: The electric vehicle charging industry does a miserable job letting people know where to find chargers.

 

“People are largely unaware of the existing EV charging infrastructure,” said John Voelcker, a journalist and analyst specializing in electric vehicles. “There are literally tens of thousands of public charging stations now, soon to be hundreds of thousands.”

 

Gas stations are impossible to miss. Every BP or Shell station has a lighted tower visible for miles, not to mention LED signs explaining prices for every fuel grade and how to pay. Plus amenities like brightly lit parking lots, restrooms and shopping plazas where you can get anything from a Coke and candy bar to souvenirs, elk jerky and a fresh, handmade sub. I’m not saying they’re good, but you’ll never go hungry on the interstate because you couldn’t find one.

 

Compared to that, finding an EV charger is a sadistic scavenger hunt. They lurk inside parking structures, at apparently random spots in public lots, behind car dealerships, on the least trafficked side of Meijer and Whole Foods. Snag a soda or use an adjacent restroom? Dream on.

 

Stop Hiding the Chargers

 

In one case near my house, a high-speed DC charger---the fastest, most desirable public charger---sits anonymously in what appears to be a Dunkin’ employee parking lot. A rank of six chargers in a nearby parking structure is denoted by a sign not visible from the street: You can charge here, but don’t tell anybody. It’s a secret.

 

It’s enough to make you think the charging companies work for Big Oil. They don’t, but...


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