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CHARGED UP I love my EV – but I’m getting rid of it… here’s why I can’t stand the inconvenience anymore

Jon Rogers

Aug 19, 2023

A WOMAN says she loves her electric car but is thinking of getting rid of it because she can’t stand the inconvenience.

Mariel Garza loves many aspects of her EV including never having to buy petrol, that it has the power to fly past muscle cars and routine maintenance costs are low.

However, having driven one for three years she is now thinking of trading her Kia Niro EV in for a petrol-powered hybrid plug-in version.

Garza said that while she loves her car, she hates that she can’t drive around where she lives with the confidence that she will be able to find a charge point when she needs to.

In many ways Garza’s home state of California has led the way with electric cars but she says there are still problems.

While there are now many more public charging points than when she first started driving her electric Kia in January 2020 it has kept pace with the number of electric cars all vying to use them.

As well, even though the number of points has increased, there are still huge areas without a single fast charger.

To compound the situation, Garza claimed that while chargers are more reliable now they are still not quite good enough.

She said that in 2020 it felt like around half the public chargers she tried to use were out of action, now she thought only about a quarter of them were not working.

Garza also said that even with the increase in chargers they weren’t always so easy to find.

She said that she used an app to find them but that only gave a general location.

Garza, who writes for the LA Times, said that public charging stations were often tucked away in remote areas of car parks, or behind buildings with no helpful signposts.

These might only be accessible during working hours, or if they were in a hotel, only available for paying guests to use.

Garza also detailed the problems she had encountered with the chargers themselves.

It wasn’t uncommon, she said, once a charging station had been found, to discover all the chargers were being used or blocked by cars not charging.

Another frustration was that the chargers may be offline or not working which you only find out once you have parked up and plugged in.

If you do find a charging point that is free and working, another problem was that it may just shut-off mid-charge with no warning or reason.

When Garza bought her electric vehicle she realised it would mean having to add on an extra 30 minutes in travelling time to stop at a charge point while on a road trip.

But what she didn’t realise was the time wasted by possibly having to backtrack to another station because the one on her route wasn’t working.

Mariel said: "It's not uncommon to locate a charging station and discover that all the chargers are in use or blocked by cars not charging.

"Or, most frustratingly, the chargers may be offline or nonfunctional - which you may not discover until you park, plug in and try to start the charger.

"And even if the stars align and you find an available charger that works, it may shut off mid-charge with no warning or reason."

She also said that extra travel time she had factored in by in fact have to be doubled to an hour if the fast charger wasn’t actually charging very quickly.

Garza also said she didn’t realise that she may have to wait exposed to the hot California sun because the charge point was at the side of the road with no shade.

She also didn’t like having to download several different apps because each charging company had their own.

While Garza said things were improving but she warned the pace of change was an indication of things to come.

She said the policies pursued by President Joe Biden were “in trouble” and it wasn’t enough to just set sales targets and an incentive of tax credits – the infrastructure making it easier to charge vehicles while away from home also had to be there.

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