According to ADAC, many e-car drivers complain about the charging infrastructure

Status: 11/24/2021 10:25 a.m.

Defective, non-operational or untraceable charging stations, problems with activation, unclear costs – many electric car drivers have problems over long distances. This is shown by a survey by the ADAC.

Long-distance travel with the electric car is still fraught with obstacles for many drivers. This is particularly due to the inadequate charging station infrastructure, as a survey by the ADAC has shown. According to this, almost 40 percent of the 400 drivers surveyed are dissatisfied with the charging situation on long journeys. The respondents would like a further expansion of the charging infrastructure, simpler processes, more reliable charging stations as well as cheaper prices and faster charging.

However, only a few electric car drivers (23 percent) are concerned that they will not reach the next fast charging station in time. Fear of range apparently drives those who do not yet own an e-car, according to the ADAC’s conclusion. Almost a third of those surveyed stated that charging attempts sometimes or even more often fail. They cited defective, non-operational or undetectable charging stations as the main reason. This was followed by problems with activation and unaccepted charging cards or apps.

Confusing pricing

Many drivers also disagree with the pricing. 27 percent of those surveyed stated that they did not find the prices per charging process appropriate, two thirds fear that charging will become even more expensive in the future. There is also obviously room for improvement in the handling of payment processes: According to the survey, ad-hoc payments with common giro, debit or credit cards via card reader would make the payment process easier for 67 percent. According to the new charging column ordinance, new public charging stations must now be equipped with readers for debit and credit cards from mid-2023.

In addition, only 38 percent of those surveyed consider the information about the costs to be sufficient. “Electric car drivers often cannot see which prices are actually being charged at charging stations, and in some cases the prices for ad-hoc charging are twice as high as those for contract customers,” criticized ADAC technology president Karsten Schulze. In view of the price differences and the complexity of the tariffs, the costs for a charging process can hardly be calculated.

Tesla drivers are happier

A particular annoyance for many respondents are also drivers who do not clear the column quickly after charging: Almost three quarters said they would be in favor of a blocking fee if an e-car occupies the charging space on long journeys beyond the charging point.

As part of the ADAC survey, 400 drivers of purely electric cars were surveyed online who had covered a distance of 100 kilometers (one way) with their vehicle at least once in the past twelve months and used a public fast charging station. Urban charging was not part of the survey. As a comparison group, the ADAC also asked 100 Tesla drivers about their experiences with charging on the US manufacturer’s “superchargers”. These were rated better in almost all categories such as satisfaction or activation of the charging options.

Blackrock invests 700 million

But the situation should improve soon for non-Tesla drivers too. The charging network operator of the car companies, Ionity, has won a new investor who wants to invest heavily in the expansion of the charging infrastructure. It’s Blackrock, the world’s largest wealth manager. Together with the previous participants – the car manufacturers Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Hyundai and Porsche – Blackrock wants to invest 700 million euros. How the total is broken down was not known. Apparently the US investor is contributing the largest part of the sum. The number of fast charging stations is expected to increase from 400 in two dozen European countries to more than 1,000 with around 7,000 charging points by 2025.

Ionity offers fast charging stations with a charging capacity of up to 350 kilowatt hours – with the electricity coming exclusively from renewable energy sources. So far, the joint venture founded four years ago has been limited to locations on major motorways and expressways in Europe. In the future, the cross-brand provider also wants to build its pillars on busy connecting roads to major cities. Ionity also wants to acquire areas for its own locations with charging parks under the Red Kite trademark.

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