Home » A Full 9% Of Electrify America Charging Attempts Fail

A Full 9% Of Electrify America Charging Attempts Fail

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We dog on Electrify America a lot because, well, they’ve historically deserved it. The EV charging company is out there trying to show that things are going better and, yeah, it’s doing better. But “better” in this case is still not perfect.

The CDK Global ransomware attack will be studied for years to come as a major disaster. Was it an avoidable disaster? Perhaps. The company was sold in 2022 to a private equity firm and we’re likely to find out, as we have with Boeing, exactly how that’s gone.

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Speaking of businesses in trouble, Polestar has finally put out its 2023 financials and they don’t look great. Who knew that having a car designer as the head of your company couldn’t work? Doesn’t that always work? Obviously, Polestar has yet to catch up with Tesla, but at least Polestar isn’t spewing toxic gas into the skies above the Bay Area (at least as far as I know).

It’s Friday, so that means it’s the final Morning Dump for the next couple of days. Let’s do it. (Also, it’s going to be late this morning because we’re short Peter and have a bunch of random stuff going on, apologies for this mostly afternoon dump, we’ll make up for it with some fun updates today).

Electrify America Is Better Than It Used To Be, And That’s Not Nothing

Electrify America Charging Station New Jersey EV mandate

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Following Dieselgate, Volkswagen shifted hard into electric cars and managed to convince a judge that it should be allowed to take some of the massive judgment against the company and roll it into a changing network. That network became Electrify America, the biggest competitor to Tesla’s Superchargers.

That’s not what happened. Terrible uptime and constant issues resulted in car companies being so fed up with Electrify America that pretty much everyone, including VW brands, decided to switch over to Tesla’s NACS standard from the CCS standard that Electrify America was designed to serve.

In my personal experience, I’ve used countless EA stations and had issues roughly half the time, ranging from malfunctioning chargers to long waits. Lately? The wait times are still long, which is also a quirk of where I live, but charger uptime has been better, and EA’s plug-to-charge improvements have meant more seamless payments.

According to the company and analysts, via Automotive News, that isn’t anecdotal.

Just 9 percent of EV charging attempts failed on the Electrify America network in the first quarter of this year, compared with 11 percent in the first quarter of 2022 and 2023, according to a J.D. Power analysis.

Electrify America’s improvement aligns with most of the charging industry, said Brent Gruber, managing director of the electric vehicle experience at J.D. Power.

It’s a “small improvement but heading in the right direction,” he said.

By comparison, Tesla’s supercharger network works 95% of the time or better. Still, it’s an improvement.

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Part of EA’s problem was that it expanded so fast as it tried to grab as much land as possible, meaning it relied on a lot of third-party software to get going quickly. The company says improvements will include more chargers at some locations, improved software that’s built in-house (Software!), and easier payment.

It’ll be better for everyone if EA can deliver on these goals as it’s still one of the largest providers in the United States with nearly 1,000 sites.

Can We Blame Private Equity For The Ransomware Attack?

Cdk Global Dealer Hack
Photo: CDK Global

A lot of you wanted to talk about the role of private equity in the troubles that media companies and YouTube operations have had, and, sure, there’s a lot to mine there.

Is PE always the bad guy? Not always. In industries outside of media there are a lot of examples of PE helping, like when Dell Computers used PE to take his company private and rebuild it in the wake of huge changes in consumer preferences around PCs. There are more examples, but that one sticks in my mind because Michael Dell built his company out of a dorm room at UT Austin and I… accomplished slightly less in my UT dorm.

I bring all this up because the CDK Global ransomware attack is still a major issue and the fallout is likely going to be huge. An industry insider mentioned to me that the company has been much worse to work with since it was sold to a PE firm called Brookfield Business Partners. The reason? This person claimed internal gutting of smart in-house folks and replacing them with third-parties.

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It’s true that the company was sold to Brookfield Business Partners and some partners in April of 2022 for about $8.3 billion. From the PE firm’s own press release on the acquisition:

With annual revenue of $1.7 billion, CDK Global is a leading provider of technology services and software solutions that help automotive dealers and manufacturers run their businesses more efficiently. The Company’s best-in-class dealer management software plays a critical role in connecting every aspect of a dealership’s operations and providing solutions to help these customers grow their businesses.

“CDK Global is a high-quality and highly cash generative technology services and software business with a leading market position and strong fundamentals,” commented Doug Bayerd, Managing Director, Brookfield Business Partners. “We are excited to grow our technology footprint with the acquisition of CDK Global, and we look forward to leveraging our operating capabilities to build on the Company’s track record of providing best-in-class customer service and innovation.”

Is that what happened? Better reporting will flush this out, but a quick look at Glassdoor reveals some potential issues. Here’s one from a claimed software engineer:

CDK Global recently let me go. The leadership does not understand the infrastructure of our portfolio. To save their jobs, they find a scapegoat, somebody who dares to speak the truth. I would not recommend this company to any of my friends.

Here’s another one:

Morale is awful at this point. Reorg after reorg and massive layoffs for years now. People are nervous, frustrated, and unmotivated. The org has been restructured and thinned out so many times that it’s just not clear anymore what your place is as an individual contributor or as part of a team. HR is a joke. They’re constantly trying to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes or spin negative changes into sugary positives. They’ve eliminated any forum for communication on the Portal. We used to have a feature where we could post questions and HR would respond. They started just not responding, and eventually disabled the feature all together. Employees don’t have a voice other than during BK’s town halls, which are a major improvement over prior town halls.

Again, these are anonymous thoughts, and you’d expect complaints on Glassdoor, but it looks like the nature of the complaints about constant layoffs is consistent across these reviews of the company by claimed ex-employees.

Polestar Continues To Suffer In Tough EV Environment

666113 20230418 Polestar 4 Large Crop

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Sales for EVs are up and will likely continue to go up, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy for companies out here that don’t have a ton of cash or some sort of built-in advantage.

The company has finally released its revised FY 2023 numbers, months after it was supposed to, and it’s not great.

Per Reuters:

Polestar reported revenue of $2.38 billion for fiscal year 2023, down 3% from $2.45 billion from 2022, citing higher discounts and lower sales of carbon credits.

The company reported a gross loss of $414.7 million for the year, compared with a gross profit of 98.4 million a year earlier.

The EV maker said after an analysis conducted in 2023, it had to lower the value of its assets related to its Polestar 2 model by $329.7 million, resulting in an impairment charge of $240.5 million.

I like the Polestar 3 and am excited to see future products, but Polestar has yet to find that one thing that’ll give them an edge in a crowded space.

Tesla In Trouble For Passing Bad Gas

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Photo: Tesla

Against my better judgment and lacking a Lactaid I had a couple of slices of bad pizza at a friend’s house last night, so who am I to judge someone passing bad gas?

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If I lived in the Bay Area near Tesla’s Fremont facility I might feel differently.

From the local CBS affiliate:

Tesla must fix air quality problems at its electric vehicle manufacturing facility in the San Francisco Bay Area after racking up more than 100 violations for allegedly releasing toxic emissions into the atmosphere over the last five years, an air quality board said Tuesday.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District planned to issue a written abatement order later this week after Tuesday’s announcement. Each of the 112 violations can emit hundreds of pounds of illegal air pollution, the board said.

That sucks. Fix that.

What I’m Listening To This Morning

My faith in institutions and in the future of this country, well, that faith is being tested, my friends. Of course, I’m talking about the failure of rookie-ish phenom Ronel Blanco to get into the final round of MLB All Star voting. Just make it make sense. To cheer me up, my dark horse pick for song of the summer has been remixed! Enjoy this dancier take on Waxahatchee’s “Right Back To It” by SOFTT.

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The Big Question

What’s the song of summer?

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The48thRonin
The48thRonin
23 days ago

Man every time I hear about a company releasing air pollutants it really annoys me because the chemical plant I work at puts a lot of work into not doing that, and we only have ten employees so you’d think a company the size of tesla would have the resources to keep better track of it than we do.

AceRimmer
AceRimmer
23 days ago

Polestar as its own brand was an idiotic marketing move. It’s like when SRT was spun-off. They’re just Volvos, which is already a premium brand. Makes zero sense.

George Talbot
George Talbot
24 days ago

Who gives a damn about this charging station Electrify America stuff, really? The whole range anxiety thing is trumped by by oil companies who are scared of the fact that an average EV goes 200-300 miles on the energy equivalent of about two and a half gallons of gas. This coupled with the fact that energy generation via large combined-cycle turbines at power plants is now in the 65% range, so charging them, particularly at home at Level 2 is very compelling from energy consumption and cost.

I’ve had a Mustang Mach-E for three years and have charged it not-at-home *four* times. *Four*. It’s now perfectly reasonable for a two-car suburban family to have one of those cars be fully EV, the other plug-in hybrid, and all of the sudden most of your transportation cost is not subject to the whims of OPEC, ExxonMobil, etc. and the quite arbitrary price swings they induce.

Somehow this EV stuff is turning into not-fun stuff. Not somehow. When the Mustang Mach-E came out, the oil majors panicked and hired the usual PR crew. I literally remember the week that things went from “hey cool new car!” to “your car is going to bring about world socialism”.

I love it when you guys do an interesting article about EV stuff, like the Nybolt thing. However, this EV coverage has taken a turn on The Autopian since the first big “PHEVs are better than EVs” article. I’m an early member because of the *fun* of all this stuff and it’s feeling like you guys are getting tugged into this whirlpool that’s not fun when it comes to this topic.

Look at the top of this article:

A Full 9% Of Electrify America Charging Attempts Fail
i.e. “here’s how shitty it is to charge your EV”. But then we have this:

Electrify America Is Better Than It Used To Be, And That’s Not Nothing
Well, which is it? If you didn’t follow the link all you think is that EV charging is forever shitty?

I dunno, I know I’m ranting, but I really like this EV stuff and I’m finding the change in tone really depressing and frustrating. I come to The Autopian because it’s *fucking* *fun*.

When as Americans did we stop trying out the new technology and making it work? This is *not* how I grew up and it really sucks. I literally witnessed the US create microcomputers, Google, etc., and now we’re going to lose this new technology to China because the energy companies have spiked the punch.

Please don’t be part of that!

Last edited 24 days ago by George Talbot
Peter d
Peter d
24 days ago

Since we are talking about Tesla – not sure if Tesla’s sales are picking up or if they have finally throttled production, but their stash of 100s of cars near me is off-peak by maybe 100 or 200 cars.

The BMW lot is filling up – maybe BMW will begin dealing again if this continues- having talked to my salesman a couple of times recently prices/deals seem way high and he hasn’t even bothered to even quote me (he knows I am cheap and currently not too motivated).

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
24 days ago

Whoa, did Waxahatchee (or Softt, not sure who’s responsible for the remix art) use the late Oldsmobile logo for that cover?? It’s flipped upside-down, but I’d recognize that meh oval from the sad last gasps of Olds anywhere.

Last edited 24 days ago by Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
24 days ago
Reply to  Stef Schrader

As for the song of this cursed summer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sNWDfryyMk

Alternately, there’s this evergreen sentiment, which is sadly more relevant than it ever should be lately: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyc62g7YQM0

Last edited 24 days ago by Stef Schrader
Jalop Gold
Jalop Gold
24 days ago

In the year I’ve had my Tesla, I’ve had 1 time a Tesla charger didn’t work. There were 7 other open chargers at that location though (out of 12 total). I’ve had too many to count EA, blink, and charge point (and I’m sure others) not work. PlugShare is the way, but someone has to be the first to find the issues.

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