Charging your EV at public stations throughout the United States can sometimes be challenging, to say the least, with stalls that are out of order, software hiccups, and occasional vandalism rendering chargers useless. To put things into perspective, we now have fresh data that paints a dreary picture of the reliability of American public EV charging.

According to J.D. Power’s Electric Vehicle Experience Public Charging Study, quoted by Automotive News, the number of failed charging attempts grew from 15 percent in the first quarter of 2021 to more than 21 percent by the third quarter of 2022. At worst, almost 2 in 5 visits to chargers – or 39% – were unsuccessful last year.

The study included more than 26,500 charging attempts at Level 2 and Level 3 chargers in all 50 states, with one operator having almost no charger downtime at all, with a fail rate of just 3%. However, J.D. Power did not disclose which networks had the best and worst reliability records.

Out of all the responders to the study who couldn’t charge their vehicles last year, more than three-quarters said that they couldn’t top-up their batteries because the charger was out of service, with other major reasons for failed charging attempts being software glitches, payment processing errors, and vandalism.

Back in 2022, Tesla’s Destination Charger and Supercharger earned the top spots on J.D. Power’s study, with the American EV maker scoring above the segment average in both categories. The scoreboard for this year’s study hasn't been released yet, but be sure to check back on InsideEVs regularly, as we’ll post an article as soon as the complete data becomes available from J.D. Power.

Unfortunately, the reality of charging an EV anywhere in the world, not just in the United States, is sometimes a bit of a gamble, with many owners having trouble when charging on-route. Sometimes, the drivers aren’t particularly well educated about their EVs and don’t even know what connector they need to top-up, sometimes the charger appears to be working but it doesn’t actually charge the batteries, and sometimes the stalls are simply out of order.

However, this is starting to change, with more and more educational campaigns from EV brands, some repair and upgrade programs from charging operators, and the government’s plan to offer up to $7.5 billion in subsidies for companies that can expand the nation’s charging infrastructure to 500,000 stalls by 2030.

What’s your take on this study: do you think it reflects the reality of owning an EV? Let us know in the comments below.

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