What's the best way to learn about whether or not an EV charging network is fast and reliable? Head out on a long road trip, of course, and that's precisely what Electrify America CEO-Elect Robert Barrosa did.
The charging network's vice president of technology will become president and CEO on June 1, 2023, so it was fitting that he set out on a coast-to-coast EV road trip ahead of his new position. We give Barrosa, and Electrify America, a ton of credit for following through with such an idea and making a video about it. Hopefully, it means the company is serious about making its network better going forward.
According to Electrify America, Barrosa drove a Hyundai Ioniq 5 electric crossover 2,798 miles. He visited 28 chargers in 13 states, which gave him a good indication of what many of the company's customers are likely experiencing day in and day out across the US.
Barrosa started the EV road trip on March 31 in Los Angeles, California. He was on the road for about a week, as the trip took him to his destination at Electrify America’s headquarters in Reston, Virginia. He arrived on April 6.
As you probably expected, while successful, the cross-country EV road trip certainly wasn't free of issues. Barrosa had the usual problems such as slow charging and stations that weren't working at all. He also had the Electrify America app crash and had to call customer service.
At the same time, there were charging sessions that worked precisely as they should. The Ioniq 5 initiated the charge right away, charged quickly, and the CEO-Elect was back on the road.
If you've been following EV owners' charging experiences, this inconsistency is exactly what people are reporting. When the stations work, they work well and people are happy. When they don't work, it can lead to huge hassles that may make people question their decision to buy an EV.
In the end, the CEO said the trip was "enlightening," as we can only imagine it would be. He even got the chance to talk to other EV owners and told some of them that he knows there are still issues.
To be fair, having networks like Electrify America is better than not having EV charging infrastructure at all, and new technology always has issues and takes time. At this point, it really comes down to a lack of reliability and consistency that is holding these networks back from being fantastic. Hopefully, with the enlightened Barrosa at the helm, it's only a matter of time.