Charging an EV is Still Too Hard, Even in Places Where It Shouldn't Be

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

Though we’re a little past the early adopter phase of electric vehicles, owners still face challenges that gas vehicles don’t have. Scott Case, a Seattle, Washington-based EV owner, recently took to LinkedIn to outline his charging horror story. 

Case is the co-founder and CEO of Recurrent, a used EV buying and selling platform. His experience included trying several chargers, calling tech support, and unattended vehicles with completed charge cycles. Case’s Volkswagen ID.4 needed a few charging stops to get him and his family home to Seattle, and it appears that none of his visits went smoothly. The worst part of the story is that this all took place in the Pacific Northwest, a region that fosters and engages with new technologies well ahead of most of the country.

Though it’s challenging to make a news story out of one person’s experience, I’m familiar with Case’s woes as an occasional EV tester here in New England. Even in and near Boston, home to MIT, Harvard, and millions of brilliant people, the EV charging scene is blindingly frustrating. On a recent trip from midcoast Maine to an event south of Boston, I had to stop four times to find one working charger. Units labeled with 350kW charging speeds rarely exceeded 150kW, and there were at least a half-dozen fully-charged cars parked in precious charging spots. 

Case calls on Electrify America to do better, but the whole country has quite a long way to go before we’re ready for full electrification. Billions of dollars are on the way to improve charging infrastructure, though, and even Tesla is helping by opening part of its Supercharger network. So while things won’t get better overnight, it will be a lot easier to charge EVs in the coming years.

[Image: Volkswagen]

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Chris Teague
Chris Teague

Chris grew up in, under, and around cars, but took the long way around to becoming an automotive writer. After a career in technology consulting and a trip through business school, Chris began writing about the automotive industry as a way to reconnect with his passion and get behind the wheel of a new car every week. He focuses on taking complex industry stories and making them digestible by any reader. Just don’t expect him to stay away from high-mileage Porsches.

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9 of 89 comments
  • Deanst Deanst on Feb 22, 2023

    Most of the comments seem to validate the view that unless you want an extra $50,000 vehicle sitting in your driveway depreciating most of the time, EVs are not practical.

    • See 5 previous
    • 95_SC 95_SC on Feb 23, 2023


  • Bkojote Bkojote on Feb 22, 2023

    If all you do is supercharge the numbers are slightly ahead of breaking even, but if you charge at home hell yeah. I have a few friends with a Model 3 + Solar at home. Their 'fuel' costs when charging at home (which is 90% of their driving) is dirt dirt cheap.

    Considering the unstable fuel prices we've had (thanks refineries for safety violations) it's definitely the way to go.

  • Rando [h2]Coincidentally, the Rolls-Royce Cullinan is more than $41k as well -.-[/h2]
  • Ajla "Gee, wonder why car (as well as home) insurance rates are much higher in places like Florida..." Severe weather is on the list but even if a benevolent genie reverted the climate to circa 1724 I think FL would still have high cost. Our home insurance rates have increased 102% since 2021 and I don't think weather models account for that much of a change in that period. Florida's insurance assignment of benefit regulation meant that it had ~80% of the country's of the insurance lawsuits on ~12% of the nation's claims and litigated claims can be expensive to insurance companies. The state altered some regulations and is having some success on getting more companies back, even with the severe weather risks, through relatively bipartisan efforts. With car insurance just beyond the basic "Florida" stuff, the population increase of the past few years is overwhelming the roads. But, I think the biggest thing is we have very low mandated car insurance levels. Only $10K personal injury and $10K property damage. No injury liability needed. And 20% of the state has no insurance. So people that actually want insurance pay out the nose. Like I commented above my under/uninsured coverage alone is 2.5x my comprehensive & collision.
  • Juan Let's do an 1000 mile drive and see who gets there first.
  • Eliyahu CVT needed for MPG. Outback is indeed the legacy of, err, the Legacy.
  • Gayneu I can comment on these. My wife always thought the Minis were "cute" so I bought her a used 2005 (non-S, 5 speed) for one of her "special" birthdays. She loved it and I kinda did too. Somehow a hole developed in the transmission case and the fluid drained out, ruining the car (too expensive to fix). A local mechanic bought it for $800.We then bought a used 2015 S (6 speed) which we still have today (80k miles). Her sister just bought a used S as well (also manual). It has been a dependable car but BMW-priced maintenance and premium gas hurts for sure. I think the earlier generation (like in the article) were better looking with cleaner lines. The 2015 S rides too stiff for me (Chicago roads) but is a hoot on smooth ones. It does seem to shift weird - its hard to describe but it shifts differently from every other manual I have driven. No matter how hard I try, so won't let go of her Mini.