America is steadily switching to electricity for its driving fuel. But the early days of EV ownership are filled with bugs and small frustrations. Even the aspects of the experience that promise to be easy aren’t always easy at first.
When J.D. Power analysts studied the experience of using public EV chargers, they found drivers frustrated with defective chargers and balky payment apps. More than 20% of public charging attempts last year ended in failure, analysts found.
But that’s OK because public charging is rare, right? The promise of electric cars includes an easy, cheap refuel at home every night while you sleep.
That’s not working out well yet, either. J.D. Power’s Electric Vehicle Experience Home Charging Study finds EV owners growing less satisfied with the experience of plugging in at home.
See: How much does it cost to charge an electric car? We do the math
Most participants own a home charger
J.D. Power analysts surveyed 13,860 owners of 2017-2023 model-year electric cars and plug-in hybrids (cars that use an electric powertrain for shorter trips and a gasoline engine for longer rides). The study was co-sponsored by PlugShare, a company that tracks data about EV chargers and consults with automakers and electric utilities.
Learn more: What is EV, BEV, HEV, PHEV? Here’s your guide to types of electric cars
Researchers found that 68% of EV owners had access to a Level 2 charger at home (a dedicated charger faster than a conventional wall outlet but not as fast as a DC-fed public charger).
Despite owning their own charger, owners said their overall satisfaction with home charging had declined 12 points on a 1,000-point scale since last year’s study.
Why? EV owners cited increasing electricity costs more than any other reason. Energy grew more expensive in all forms in 2022. While most drivers were complaining about high gas prices, it seems, EV owners were complaining about high electricity rates.
Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power, says many owners were unaware of programs that might bring that cost down.
Slow charging speeds were the second most common complaint. Many utilities, Gruber explains, offer “programs designed to save EV owners money with the ongoing costs of charging their vehicle, like scheduling to charge during the most affordable time of the day.”
But, he says, “there is little awareness and utilization of these benefits.”
Energy prices also differ in different parts of the country. EV owners in New England, which saw higher electricity costs last year, were least satisfied – an average of 689 on a 1,000-point scale. Those in the East South Central region were most satisfied, scoring 785 on average.
Read: These are the cars that cost the most and least to insure
Satisfaction by charger brand
Chargers built by some brands proved more satisfying than others. Tesla’s
home charger posted the highest satisfaction score. Those sold by Chevrolet dealers had the least-satisfied customers, according to the survey.
Satisfaction Score (1,000 point scale)
This story originally ran on KBB.com.