A recent study conducted by researchers at the University of California Berkely indicates many public EV fast-charging stations are experiencing problems with reliability.
For this study, UC Berkely researchers evaluated the functionality of 657 individual connectors on all 181 open, public DC fast chargers in the Greater Bay Area. These stations were evaluated as functional if they charged an EV for 2 minutes or were charging an EV at the time the station was evaluated. Of the stations evaluated, only 72.5 percent were functional, while the CCS charging cord was too short to reach the demonstration vehicle 4.99 percent of the time.
Of the chargers that were broken, 22.7 percent had an unresponsive or unavailable screen, exhibited payment system failures, charge initiation failures, network failures, or broken connectors. Making matters a bit worse was that a random evaluation of 10 percent of the charging stalls approximately 8 days after the first evaluation showed no noticeable change in the functionality of the chargers. Researchers say these findings sit in opposition to the 95 to 98 percent uptime reported by most EV charging service providers.
“The findings suggest a need for shared, precise definitions of and calculations for reliability, uptime, downtime, and excluded time, as applied to open public DCFCs, with verification by third-party evaluation,” the researchers conclude.
The Biden Administration has set aside $5 billion to set up roughly 500,000 electric vehicle charging stations across the country. Many of these charging stations will be situated along interstate highways, while others will be located within one mile of a highway entrance for easy access.
David Rempel, a Berkeley professor and one of the authors of this study, told Automotive News that chargers need to be fully functional one hundred percent of the time, as motorists simply won’t put up with broke or defective technology.