J.D. Power has released today its inaugural J.D. Power U.S. Electric Vehicle Experience (EVX) Public Charging Study (in a collaboration with PlugShare), which measures BEV/PHEV owners’ satisfaction with public charging infrastructure.

A total of 6,647 owners of battery-electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles answered questions (between January and June 2021) about their charging experience at two types of public charging points: AC Level 2 (up to 19.2 kW) and DC fast chargers (usually from 40 to 350 kW).

The results are quite interesting, since they provide a ranking between operators, as well as feedback about 10 factors that make up to the overall satisfaction score (from 0 to 1000).

  • ease of charging
  • speed of charging
  • cost of charging
  • ease of payment
  • ease of finding this location
  • convenience of this location
  • things to do while charging
  • how safe you feel at this location
  • availability of chargers
  • cleanliness of this location

Let's start with the ranking and then move to the findings.

Public AC Level 2 charging infrastructure

According to the study, the Tesla Destination network noted the highest overall customer satisfaction score of 689, followed closely by the Volta advertiser-sponsored AC Level charging station network with 674 points, and ChargePoint, one of the largest AC networks, with 660 points. Overall, the industry average is 651.


Public DC fast charging infrastructure

In terms of DC fast chargers, the Tesla Superchargers are on the top with 733 points. This result is so high that it boosted the industry average to 680 points, above the other networks: ChargePoint (659), Electrify America (644) and EVgo (592).


J.D. Power findings

J.D. Power highlights the fact that most electric vehicle owners primarily charge their vehicles at home, although public charging is a significant part of the EV ownership experience.

Four key findings of this inaugural study are:

  • Most owners satisfied with ease of public charging:
    The result in this category is 737 (DC charging points) and 716 (AC charging points)
  • Charging costs are a large issue for many EV owners:
    "Though their satisfaction with the cost of charging trails their overall satisfaction by a large margin, satisfaction is much higher among BEV owners with access to free public charging. Greater satisfaction with charging costs filters through many other aspects of the experience. Public charging satisfaction among owners utilizing free DC fast charging is 706, yet when owners must pay for their fast-charging session, satisfaction declines to 673. The impact of cost on Level 2 charging is more pronounced, as satisfaction with free charging is 668 but declines to 586 when payment is required. Free charging, either offered through manufacturer incentives or as a result of a charge point operator’s business model, presents a significant advantage in the public charging experience."
  • Owner satisfaction with availability of public charging stations mixed:
    The average score is 668. Interestingly, the result is much higher in the case of DC charging points (720) than AC (645).
    On top of that, the results vary by geographic region: "The West North Central and East North Central regions are above average in charger availability, while the West South Central and Mid Atlantic regions are below average. The Mountain and Pacific regions are the lowest performing regions for charger availability."
  • Looking for a charge but left empty:
    According to J.D. Power, the two most-often-cited problems that prevented charging were: charging point out of service (58%) and no charging point available/too long to wait (14%).

Brent Gruber, senior director of global automotive at J.D. Power said:

“Public charging infrastructure is a key component in the overall adoption of electric vehicles by the broad population. Unfortunately, the availability of public charging is the least satisfying aspect of owning an EV. Owners are reasonably happy in situations where public charging is free, doesn’t require a wait and the location offers other things to do—but that represents a best-case scenario. The industry needs to make significant investment in public charging to assure a level of convenience and satisfaction that will lure potentially skeptical consumers to EVs.”

“Building a better infrastructure starts with more collaboration among automakers, charge point operators, site locations, utilities and government at all levels. Each type of charger has its place in the EV public charging eco-system— whether its Level 2 for local drives or fast charging while on road trips. One thing is clear: the more chargers that can be deployed, the better.”

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