EV owners want more charging points

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Words: Nile Bijoux
16 May 2018

A new survey has found the most desired feature of an ideal charging station is availability.

Flip the Fleet, a representation of low‐emission car owners, surveyed 108 EV (electric vehicle) owners to identify what makes the ideal charging station.

The top priority for respondents was to drive up and plug in to a charger in full working order, without having to queue. Immediate availability was almost twice as important as all the other features desired in a charging station. The survey found that EV owners are on average having to wait their turn to charge on 14 per cent of visits, for an average wait of between nine and 12 minutes. These owners want more chargers installed at the charging station to alleviate congestion.

“EV owners do nearly all their charging at home, where it is cheap, convenient and reliable. But it’s also important to have access to rapid chargers on those occasional long trips away from home” says Justin Boyd, a Flip the Fleet participant and co‐ordinator to the Waikato EV group.

After immediate charger availability, the second‐most important issue for men was locating the chargers close to a main route. Women prioritised high visibility to increase their personal security while waiting to charge and were more content to drive further off the main route to charge if necessary. Proximity to shops, food, and a public toilet were favourites for men, but less important to women. A minority want to charge close to a park for the kids or natural areas for a walk, or just to enjoy a good view while their car charges.

“As the survey shows, sometimes EV owners leave their car at the charger while they go to do some shopping and don’t return in time before it’s full,” Boyd says. “So the car is fully charged but is blocking access for others.”

What riled EV owners up the most was getting ‘ICEd’, or blocked from a charging point by a combustion-engined car.

“If parking is at a premium, and the charger is key to getting home, it’s frustrating to find an ICE owner has taken the only charging spot in the vicinity,” Mr Boyd says. “How would people feel if an EV blocked the only petrol station between them and home? We need to continue to promote the benefits of EVs to all the community and to build mutual respect to the needs of drivers of both ICE cars and EVs.”

Fortunately, the survey found that ICEing happens only around two per cent of the time on average. The exception is Dunedin, where EV owners are blocked from the charger between six per cent and 15 per cent of the time.

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