Tesla is dominating the charging experience satisfaction among EV owners, and it’s going to be a problem for charging network operators now that Supercharger is going public.

This is a problem that needs to be put in perspective since most electric car charging happens at home.

Therefore, public charging issues mainly affect only a small part of the EV-owning experience, but it is still a problem that needs to be addressed.

When going on a road trip or traveling longer distances, public fast-charging stations are essential, and unfortunately, there is a wide range of levels of satisfaction based on the charging station.

We recently reported on a study that found that more than a quarter of surveyed charging stations were nonfunctional. This is a real problem.

Now J.D. Power has released its new charging experience survey to compare the satisfaction level based on different brands of charging stations, and it had some interesting findings.

First off, satisfaction went down overall despite the availability of public charging stations increasing significantly over the last year, which is one of the biggest problems with charging networks to start with: availability.

It wrote in the report:

Despite that more public charging stations are in operation than ever before, customer satisfaction with public Level 2 charging declined from last year, dropping to 633 (on a 1,000-point scale) from 643 in 2021, while satisfaction with the speedier DC (direct current) fast charger segment remains flat at 674. This lack of progress points to the need for improvement as EVs gain wider consumer acceptance because the shortage of public charging availability is the number one reason vehicle shoppers reject EVs.

The report highlights that one of the biggest issues for satisfaction is that the charging points actually function:

Public charger operability and maintenance a key issue: Growth of the public charging infrastructure is making it easier for EV owners to find public charging stations. The index for ease of finding a location is 724 among users of DC fast chargers and 683 among users of Level 2 chargers. But the industry needs to do a better job of maintaining existing charging stations. The study finds that one out of every five respondents ended up not charging their vehicle during their visit. Of those who didn’t charge, 72% indicated that it was due to the station malfunctioning or being out of service.

When breaking down the scores by brand, Tesla and its Supercharger network dominate the survey, and the last point about maintenance and keeping the charging station going has to do with it since Tesla is known for having a very good operation time compared to its peers in the charging world:

Tesla Destination ranks highest among Level 2 charge point operators with a score of 680 and Tesla Supercharger ranks highest among DC fast chargers with a score of 739.

From the survey, it’s clear that Tesla is actually bringing the average up with being the only charging operator over the average score:

Right, this is not too much of a problem with those charging operators since they are not really competing with Tesla Supercharger as the network is only for Tesla owners in North America.

However, that’s about to change with Tesla opening the Supercharger network to non-Tesla EV owners by the end of the year.

Now it will be in direct competition with Electrify America, Chargepoint, EVgo, and others.

Hopefully, the competition will encourage their networks to increase customer satisfaction – especially by improving their uptime on their stations.

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Fred Lambert

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