A rush to install electric vehicle (EV) charging points across Europe risks putting ‘quantity over quality’, experts warn. As a result, there are increasing numbers of chargers that are inoperative or outdated.
In some cases, chargers are only operational for 50% of the time and others have been unrepaired for as much as a year, warns charging specialist Chago.
It warns that as more companies and consumers purchase EVs, the inconsistent quality of charging could undermine their first experience of emission-free motoring, or put them off the technology altogether.
Fleets are particularly at risk, as they may invest heavily in EV charging infrastructure for their business only to find it is unreliable and expensive to update for future generations of EVs.
James O’Neill, Chago UK director, said: ‘People need to think about how the charging experience affects total cost of ownership.
‘The danger is that in many markets, it is a case of quantity over quality, because people are not being educated about what to look for.’
Key factors to consider include whether there are any up-time guarantees for chargers and whether connectors can be changed to adapt to different vehicle types.
O’Neill warned: ‘In one case a company had chargers installed and one has never worked and the other one breaks down every day.
‘The experience for current EV users is often frustrating and will need to change if fleets are going to fully introduce electric vehicles onto their choice lists.’
Chago focuses on charging stations that are upgradeable and linked to the internet, so that the company is updated on any issues immediately.
Its call for action comes as governments and organisations across Europe invest hundreds of millions of euros in expanding the EV recharging network in anticipation of a boom in demand.
Concerns about ‘range anxiety’ have been overcome as carmakers develop EVs which can cover hundreds of kilometres on a single charge.
However, there is now a new phenomenon of ‘queue anxiety’ as massively increased demand in some countries leads to greater competition for charging points.
O’Neil said that as more chargers are added, the wrong choice could lead to a system being out of date within just a few years.
‘As charging technology evolves, it is important to invest in modular, upgradeable systems,’ he said.
OEMs may need to carefully monitor the market to identify any issues that may face their customers and cause problems with EV ownership.
This includes careful reviews of any charging point suppliers the OEM appoints to offer services to consumers and businesses.
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