A Team Of Researchers Drove Around To Electric Car Charging Stations To See How Many Worked: Not Enough

Morning Dump Chargepoint Charging Stations

Charging station service still sucks, Broncos are going boom, Bentley deploys the letter S. All this and more on today’s issue of The Morning Dump.

Charging Station Reliability Sucks More Ass Than Expected

Electrify America Charging Stations
Photo credit: Electrify America

It seems as if every week some EV-driving friend talks about inoperable public charging stations on social media, prompting questions about how bad public charging networks could actually be. Well, a team of researchers largely affiliated with the University of California Berkeley’s Department of Bioengineering have finally decided to quantify these woes. The study’s small, but still interesting, as it evaluated every public piece of Level 3 CCS EV service equipment (EVSE) in the Bay Area – all 657 systems across 181 charging stations at the time of the study.

Now, the researchers’ criteria for a charger being functional was pretty simple, either a charger could charge a car for two minutes or be charging someone else’s plugged-in vehicle to be deemed functional. Pretty logical, not a crazy high bar, yet charging stations still came up short.

According to the study, 22.7 percent of EVSEs were inoperable due to some sort of malfunction. Leading malfunctions include 47 instances of payment system failure, 42 instances of charge initiation failure, 24 instances of an error message on-screen, and 23 instances of a blank or non-responsive screen. Add in seven connection errors and six broken connectors, and a pretty poor portrait is painted. Of equal annoyance are a reported 32 EVSEs where the cable wouldn’t reach the port on the car. What sort of car was too big for these charging stations? The Chevrolet Bolt, a small car with a tiny front overhang and a charge port on the left front fender. There’s literally no good reason why any CCS cable should be too short to charge a Bolt.

For anyone with no EV experience, imagine that you drive a car that requires premium gasoline and nearly a quarter of all pumps don’t offer 91 octane or higher. Public charging station companies really need to step their game up to provide reliable, easy-to-use charging services. I know this might sound all “you had one job,” but charging station companies do have one job and they’re not doing so well at it.

Solid State Batteries Might Be Getting Closer

Solid Power Battery Plant
Photo credit: Solid Power

Mind you, new technologies like 800-volt architectures and advanced batteries should make charging a bit less of a pain. Solid Energy is a proponent of solid-state batteries and has just unveiled a functional production line for solid-state batteries. Well color me impressed.

According to Automotive News, the Boulder-based battery company will use the production line to produce test batteries, some of which will stay internal and some of which may go to the likes of Ford and BMW by the end of this year. While this seems like a seriously rapid timeline, mass production isn’t expected to start for another four years or so. Plenty of time to tweak sulphide-based chemistry, perfect QC, and develop vehicles that can best use solid-state tech. While I’m feeling a bit cautious about this timeline as solid state batteries always seem to be five years away, I’d be pleased to see someone crack the formula. Traditional lithium-ion batteries are egregiously heavy, and light long-range EVs do sound quite wonderful.

NHTSA Probes Broncos Going Boom

2022 Bronco Wildtrak Optional Hoss 01
Photo credit: Ford

When functioning properly, Ford’s 2.7-liter turbocharged V6 is a wonderful engine. Torque-rich, capable, efficient, generally effortless. Key operator being “when functioning properly.” A bunch of Bronco SUV owners are having a really bad time with Ford’s 2.7-liter V6, and it’s enough to raise the eyebrows of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

It turns out that some of these Broncos are suffering catastrophic engine failure at rather low mileage. Bronco6G forum user Lucchese has a neat post breaking down the 50 reported V6 engine failures forum members have experienced so far. Keep in mind that this is a fairly small data sample (forum user + delivered + engine failure + posted about it), but it’s definitely still worth mentioning. The NHTSA thinks it has found a likely culprit – possible valvetrain failure is cited in the ODI resume. If engine failures are prominent enough to prompt a recall, 25,538 Broncos could be affected. We’ll have more on this story later along with some epic carnage photos, but until then, sit tight.

Bentley Fights Wellness With The Letter S

Continental Gt And Gtc S 1
Photo credit: Bentley Motors

In the world of performance cars, S is generally a fairly good letter. Not as hard-edged as R or SV or a number, S typically denotes a trim that focuses on driving enjoyment instead of just pure numbers. A little bit more speed than base, a little bit more manageable than loaded. It looks like Bentley’s now hopping aboard the S train with the new Continental GT and GTC S models.

Both of these S cars start with a basic four-liter turbocharged V8, then add a touch of noise, some handling improvements, and a dash of visual flair. Let’s start with the noise. While the turbocharged V8 makes the same 542 horsepower (404 kW) and 568 lb.-ft. (770 Nm) as in the base car, it now breathes through a standard sports exhaust system. Is this the Hamptons equivalent of putting a giant N1 can muffler on your D16Y8-powered 1.6-liter Honda Civic? Perhaps.

Moving on to the handling, electrically-actuated active anti-roll bars come as standard equipment, a nice bit of kit to have when you’re trying to wrestle this much mass. Add in black exterior trim, unique wheels, suede-style interior bits like the seat inserts and steering wheel, and a few S emblems, and you have what Bentley considers the counterpart to its “wellness” of its Azure line of cars. It’s a bit visually-loud, but when has Bentley ever been subtle?

The Flush

Whelp, time to drop the lid on today’s edition of The Morning Dump. Welcome back to Monday, where every knuckled skinned in the garage is a potential conversation-opener for making your coworkers’ eyes glaze over. While I helped a friend prevent his project car and parts car from being crushed by suburban bylaw enforcement, I’m eager to hear what you got up to over the weekend.

Lead photo credit: Chargepoint

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73 Responses

  1. I had a Volt for 5 years, and this was roughly my experience (about 20% just didn’t work). Add in the ones that were full, occupied by a non-charging car, or stupid things like a neighboring car having parked on top of the cable so it wouldn’t reach the charge port, and it made for a frustrating experience when I would want to charge. At least I always had the option to put gas in the tank to get home. I’ll still get an EV again, but it will be for commuting and not long road trips. I can depend on my home charging.

  2. My wife has a Polestar 2. It would be a great car to drive the 510 miles to visit her family but I just don’t trust the charging infrastructure yet. She’s had the car since December of 2020 and has less than 5,000 miles on it. It’s PERFECT for her daily use. Road trips? We swap with my folks and take their MKZ.

    1. I did recently Detroit to Chicago and back. Stick to Electrify America because that’s included with the car (Polestar 2 PPP), no single issues, two 20 min stops each way, enough time to use the bathrooms and get a coffee. I really enjoyed the trip this way, in the past I did the same drive with no stops and I was more tired and crabby at the end of the trip

      1. This may be a stupid question, but your car is locked while it’s charging and you walk away.. correct? Can the plug be removed while your car is locked? If it is removed and say hooked to something else (just go with me), will it continue to charge that something-else on your dime?

        1. plugs cannot be removed while the car is locked, even if it’s not locked (you need to explicitly unlock). When a charging is interrupted by pulling out the plug, the session is completed, so it’s not possible to charge on your dime.

    2. I’ve got the corporate cousin Volvo XC40 P8 BEB. They are fun vehicles.

      Your experience mirrors mine. We drove to Orlando a few weeks ago which would only require one stop for charging. However, because I don’t trust the chargers we took my wife’s ICE vehicle.

  3. In Feb. of 2021 I was at my local Target, a mile away from the Fremont Tesla factory, and found that 7 of the 8 Chargepoint level 2 chargers were broken. 2 had no cable and the others either had a system fault or payment fault message. I went back 2 months later and all 7 were still out of service. Makes me wonder if there is any money in charging.

    1. There’s no money in charging. By the time you buy the EVSE, installation, and pay monthly maintenance and credit card fees, you either have to charge an exorbitant rate per kw that no-one wants to pay, or you have to lose money. It’s either paid for using energy company rebates, fines from VW’s “Dieselgate” (paid for “Electrify America), or by companies that want to look green or hope people will stop and buy something while charging.

        1. Huh? Selling by the kw makes no sense. It’s like selling gasoline by the car’s top speed. I’ve never used a car charger, but in general most electricity is sold by the kwh (with rates possibly varying by time of day). I guess for car chargers, adding a “time at the charger” fee would make sense, to get people to move out of the way once they’re charged.

  4. Quite honestly, the charging situation doesn’t seem as bad as I initially expected given the headline–a quarter of pumps not working is about the going rate here in Seattle at any given station, and is pretty close to what I find traveling to Portland on the I5 corridor regularly. As more stations become available, those issues will become less and less of a big deal and more a minor annoyance.

    I think a bigger issue than throwing errors is the poor charging cable design, as that’s permanent (I wonder if it’s an old design with those numbers?), plus the fact that a random resample of 10% revealed no change in operational state. The number of payment failures isn’t great either, as the payment systems for EVs is pretty irritating already.

    As well, looking at the paper, it looks like manufacturer/operater plays a role, with Electrify America having slightly better overall reliability. I wonder if location has anything to do with this as well? For example, San Francisco has a higher than average number of chargers per person than most places (maybe fewer per EV)–would maintenance be deferred more since there are more alternatives compared to smaller or more rural cities?

    On another note, I’d love for y’all to do a technical deep dive on battery chemistry and long-term degredation–I’m familiar with the general breakdown mechanisms of Li batteries, but I’d be curious how it differs from manufacturer to manufacturer and chemistry to chemistry.

    1. But surely (Shirley?) you don’t consider nearly a quarter of charging stations being inoperable to be ok.. right? How much longer until you think it will get better? The inevitable comparison is gas station pumps… where I’d guess I run across maybe 5-10% inoperable pumps (with available operable pumps immediately nearby).

  5. Another example of how current BEVs are just completely unscalable. Sure it’s not a big deal when less than 1% of cars are EVs, but I just don’t see how charging infrastructure can possibly scale to being most cars on the road. You would need hundreds of chargers at every rest stop on the highway.
    Then there’s all the people who don’t park in their own garage. Even if you found the money to install chargers for all street parking, those chargers would be in an even worse state of repair than theses ones. Can you imagine street charging in somewhere like NYC? Those things would all be broken or vandalized in a month

    1. It doesn’t need to scale- MOST (Def not all) of the charging infrastructure already exists. People seriously underestimate how having a built in gas station at your home and a full tank every night negates the need visit one. I get it were conditioned to have to fill our cars up and visit tase stations, but what if the gas station visit became the exception not the rule- you’d need a heck of a lot less gas stations. The same applies to chargers; people with ICE think like fuel consumers, they have to go to a station to refill- but thats not true for Electrics- you can literally drive every day for years and NEVER need to use a public charger- I did it.

      I owned a Volt for 4 years as my commuter- Filled it up twice a year with unleaded. Plugged in when I got home (36 mile each way commute) and when I got to the office (free charger!). Never once used a public charger- Full charge every night on my 120v plug that came with the car. 5 days a week driving- less than 20 bucks in power a week in energy costs… 13k miles per year in driving- not one mile from a public charger (ok- I did use 8-15 gallons of gas during that time though).

      Friend has a model 3, no fast charger at her home- Drives everywhere in the bay area- plugs in every night. Recoups a hundred miles or so every night, and it fills it up all the way every night when she only drives to work. After owning it for two years she finally drove it from SJ to LA to meet us at the beach, stopped once at a supercharger after 2.5 hours of driving for lunch got 250 miles in 30 min while eating. Made it to the beach in OC with charge to spare did the same on the way back (total charging cost both ways 56 dollars vs $6 a gallon for unleaded!). She can charge anywhere overnight that has a regular 120v plug- She literally has not been to a gas station for 2 years, and only to a supercharger twice… And its amazing how much money you save- you can afford plane tickets to fly places far away…

      Thats 2 people, with two cars- who have used a public charger (Gas Station) twice in a 2 year period.

    2. Yeah but if you’re street parking in NYC your car is going to be up on blocks and stripped the first week.
      I just worry about the parking enforcement thing when you can’t even tow the EV because you know they will brick.

    3. That some painting with a broad brush. I have drive exclusively BEV for almost two years. The majority of charging happens in your home (I live in an apartment with charging available). Scaling will be just fine because many people will charge at home most of the time.

      The thing to keep in mind is this: Under most but the most extreme weather conditions, you get roughly 3.5 miles per kW-hr on an EV (ymmv). A 12A 120V charger is a 1.44 kW charger. This means you can put about 5 miles an hour on your EV using a simple 120V outlet.

      Since the average driver drives 40 miles a day, they can easily replenish the battery while sleeping.

      Of course, some people have longer daily mileage. Some people don’t have access to a 120V outlet. All these things are true…. but infrastructure that exists TODAY can cover a large percentage of potential EV users needs TODAY.

    4. Were functioning pay phones impossible to find in NYC in the 70’s through 2000’s? Sure any particular pay phone might not be working, but you could probably find something within a block or two. Why can’t public chargers be as ubiquitous as public pay phones used to be?

        1. Your math is incorrect, sir.
          It’s 70kW per HVDC charging point or quite literally more than 2 houses running an 1100W hair dryer at full blast on every single outlet for 2+ hours.
          And if a single home on your block does that, it’ll cause a brownout if not a grid overload for the whole block.

        2. And gas stations only require a shovel so you can dig a hole in the ground for the dino juice. My point is that we used to have infrastructure, why are we acting like it is impossible now.

          Car-b-ques are just as likely (if not more so) with thousands of gallons of fuel sitting around, leaking into our groundwater, but nobody is talking about how dangerous and un-scalable they are. Why is it only impossible when it is new? Why does the money only matter when it is new?

          1. Gas stations are centralized locations with attendants and security cameras. They also serve hundreds of customers and hour with a few pumps.
            Pay phones were what, maybe 1 per block? You would need a car charger at EVERY parking space.

          2. It’s only “impossible” now because people don’t want to pay for it. Too many don’t see it as an investment that will accelerate future economic growth, but even for the ones that do, many want to do it either. Why? Because they’ll be dead in the future. They want to spend the money on themselves right fucking now.

  6. You say to the EV charging companies “you had one job”, which is funny, but they actually have two jobs: (1) build the charging stations, and (2) maintain the charging stations.

    Most charging companies have allocated more money and effort on (1), but not so much for (2). Seems similar to how our highway funds are used – there always seems to be money for new roads, but less for making sure our existing roads are well maintained.

    1. Once the thing is installed, it’s up to the owner to deal with it if it’s broken. Even if it’s under warranty, they still need to call their installer and tell them they have a busted charger that needs fixing. Otherwise, how is the installer even supposed to know anything is wrong?

      I’ve done service calls on solar arrays that have been down for *months* before anyone called us. You’d think people would occasionally glance at the nice, user-friendly app on their phone or at *least* notice that their electrical bill had gone way up, but they don’t always. If no-one is going out and periodically just, you know, *looking* at the chargers, there’s only so much the installer can do about it.

      The alternative is to pay the installer (or anyone really, you aren’t necessarily locked into your original installer when it comes to maintenance) to come out and periodically check on them. That’s an option too, but the installer isn’t going to do it out of the goodness of their heart.

      1. Yeah $50,000 for a system it seems it would have the ability to send a call to the company that sold the crap and let the owner know by maybe a red light or warning email. ICE cars can warn you before anything goes wrong but EV and Solar the so called better system you have to check. Yeah here’s my check. S/.

        1. Not only can the EV charging system send that signal, it actually does. Responding to that signal is the responsibility of the company, but why would they. Your tax dollars padded the installation of the charging system; nobody said anything about maintaining it.

    1. The gasoline pumps can be operated off a little Honda generator, but it’s usually not worth it unless required by law. It’s required by law in Florida to have an ATS (automated transfer switch) to run a gas station off a generator. It only really takes enough power to run the lift pump. The rest is all flashy lights in front of very mechanical systems.
      And if you don’t have a generator, you can siphon from the in-ground. But then you have to worry about the POS system, accounting, potential contamination, etcetera. And not all gas pump systems even require electricity to work even. Yep, there are still stations that are pure mechanical.

      You got a 70kW portable generator you can fit in your trunk? Nope.
      You got a 70kW genset that’ll fit in a parking spot? Nope.
      Generac makes a 70kW, 88kVA, 60Hz EPA certified stationary unit. It requires 21 quarts of oil, would eat 26.3m^3/hr of natural gas or 10.1 gallons of propane per hour, is 93″ x 40″ x 46″, weighs over 2,800lbs, can be heard two blocks away, and you can expect the initial cost to be over $30,000.

  7. The charger situation is proof positive GM should have stuck with the Volt drivetrain a bit longer. I have one. Pull up to a charger and it does work? No biggie, I’ll run on hybrid mode until the next chance I get to charge.

    Here in Quebec, the issue appears to be more about quantity vs quality of charging stations. EV’s and plug in hybrids are very popular here. There’s 15 houses on my street and 5 EV’s.

    As for the flush: I can’t, finally pulled the travel trailer out of hibernation and found out my water pump has pumped its last. BTW, it’s not only car engineers who find ways to make parts hard to reach and replace.

  8. EV charger reliability being ass surprises me none at all. It’s been a race to the bottom on the component level, and most of them rely on off-the-shelf industrial PCs which are often quite literally built in China by salvaging components off old motherboards. I’m not joking.
    Of course when you’re racing to the bottom on quality and cost on something that needs to deliver truly horrifically dangerous levels of electricity, it’s a shitshow before you factor in the horrific condition of what passes for a grid in the United States.

    “Fast” charging means HVDC – which is extremely touchy and requires insanely high and stable power. HVDC is extremely prone to arc flash hazards, which are lethal, and cause fires. I work routinely with HVDC – it is far more dangerous than similar voltage AC current. We do not take any chances with 300VDC, because DC is used to deliver significantly higher amperages.
    Your typical HVDC station is 500VDC at 125 AMPS.
    That is not ‘dangerous.’ That is ‘instantaneously lethal with a closed casket funeral.’ Your entire house has 220VAC 100A or 200A service, a total of 35kW usable after derating. That fast charging station is around or over 70kW after rectifier losses. Seventy, fucking, kilowatts. Two large houses worth of power. (But tell me again how ‘efficient’ they are.) In order to supply this for 2 fast charging stations, you need 480V 3ph service rated to 300A. How much power is that?
    That’s about how much power you typically would find in a medium sized datacenter. For the whole thing. Including the mechanicals. Over 140 kilowatts. It is an obscene amount of power. Except in the datacenter, we absolutely do not do ‘race to the bottom’ because this has severe safety implications. In the charging stations, they can just go into a gross failure mode and cut the AC input. So why spend money?
    And of course, any AC input fault knocks them into failure mode. Want to know how many times the 480V services goes out of phase or below voltage on a daily basis? Hint: data centers have instant-cutover battery backups to cover for generator gap for a reason. Last time I was in a position to monitor it, we averaged over 40 voltage drops (below 465V) and 3 phase desyncs, per day. Any time another big consumer on the 480V service cranked up their motor loads, voltage dropped like a rocket. If they had an equipment fault, it could trip phase down the line. And they’re using the absolute cheapest crap they can buy with a safety plan of ‘shut down everything at any problem.’
    Of course they’re always broken!

    Contrast this with a gasoline pump. Sure, the fancy glass gravity pumps are long gone, but it’s still basically a very mechanical system. Mechanical systems don’t introduce sparks. They have a pump that basically draws the gas into a nearly purely mechanical system. There’s a check valve to hold gas in the pipes and reduce pump loads. A mechanical flow meter. For all those blinky lights and obnoxious advertising screens, fuel dispensers are still extremely mechanical. There’s just not much to break, and anything that does, is relatively simple (or an absolute nightmare because of digging up buried lines) to fix.

    1. Right? I don’t exactly track battery prices, but I thought I had a general sense of their cost. Nope: kinda squawked a couple months back when mine died.

      Perversely, once I thought about it, I threw another Benjamin in and went agm. For added lightness and vibration resistance, you know.

  9. The study did not count “closed” rapid charger systems (Tesla). Based on my experience with Tesla chargers I’ve got to imagine they have somewhere in the high 90’s percent up time. I have never in the 3+ years I’ve driven a Tesla been unable to charge at a Supercharger. Tesla’s Supercharger system is really the best reason for buying a Tesla. They have created an entire ecosystem that works and is able to get you nearly anyplace in the US with no hassles.

  10. hm. Well I had a drive with my bestie in Germany about 3-4 years ago, with an Bmw i3 with the small battery (as soon as we got on the highway, the range fell to 110Km). We needed to charge 45 minutes each 45 minutes of driving :). So a 300Km drive took us about 5-6 hours. Basically 1 out of 3 chargers (I’m talking about a whole bank of them not just 1 point) were out, it was stressful.
    Fast forward to today, where I have an Tesla M3 (hum hum the real M3 these days, at least on the highway, if you know what I mean), and it is more like 1 out of 6 has some kind of issue (mostly software). So it got better but not great, you always need to have a plan B.
    Tesla has no issues there. If it’s critical I’m not playing around and always charging at a Supercharger. I’m only avoiding Superchargers because I want to save some. That doesn’t mean that Tesla is always working. I was once in a Tesla Supercharger station where one of the chargers was out. But it didn’t matter since there were enough available chargers besides that one.

  11. I wonder why hybrid drivetrains became evil? While they burn petroleum, they also solve the range anxiety issue. American drivers want blink of an eye charging. Who wouldn’t want that? But the Feds and politicians really haven’t done the math of what’s required to provide fast and reliable charging. In the meantime, a hybrid drivetrain (like the Chevy Volt) gets you where you need to go as an interim solution. Frankly, those who urge their politicians to hurry up and go full electric right away haven’t done the math either. Get a good infrastructure in place with an exceptional battery formulation built into more and LESS expensive cars and then you might wind down passenger car hybrids. Yes, we own an off-lease Volt, charge at home, and buy a tank of regular unleaded a year. That’s a good interim step in the right direction, I believe.

    1. For the EPA there are Emissions and Fuel Economy requirements.

      Plug-In hybrids are great for Fuel Economy but AWFUL for emissions.

      Depending on when the engine kicks on (like the freeway at 70mph) the cold start emissions will be atrocious.

      And the OEM has to build a vehicle with an expensive electric powertrain, and battery, and internal combustion engine (with an expensive CAT). No good.

      1. The cold start issue doesn’t seem that hard to minimize. I mean, you’d still get corner cases like trips that are a mile past the battery range, but I would assume that for the most part it’d allow flexibility on longer trips. Especially with navigation integration. You could even use the traction battery to pre-heat the cats.

        If anything, I think they’d reduce the total cold starts anyways. Short trips around town are battery-only, and longer trips are warmed up most of the time.

  12. Installed / replaced some perfectly good interior bits on the MINI strictly for aesthetic reasons. All went well except for trying to begin the escapade at 2pm on a hot Houston afternoon; nearly threw up after a couple hours due to heat exhaustion. Paused and resumed progress the next day at around 5:30pm. With a big box fan shoving fresh air in my face also. Successssss…..

  13. “47 instances of payment system failure”

    So the number one problem with the move to EVs is not battery chemistry, or getting enough power to charge stations, or convincing people that EVs aren’t scary newfangled technology, it’s the entirely solved problem of taking money in exchange for goods and services?!

    If there were a reasonable alternative I’d say these companies deserve to fail. As it is, we’re probably stuck with them.

    1. Yeah given California and Berkeley and just checking stations locally nor only would I not trust it the scientific community wouldn’t either. But don’t tell the students it might hurt their self esteem.
      Anyone wonder if the CC or DC companies might of flagged the card as suspicious charge because only 2 minutes and over and over again?
      Berkeley is no longer a quality learning institution.

      1. You don’t trust Berkeley students to differentiate between a point of sale failure and account-side failure because you decided that they wouldn’t?
        Given that most chargers do not even allow direct credit card charging at point of sale (they require you to create an account that acts as a go-between, usually charging the card for larger chunks at once to refill the account) and credit card companies can override any issues if you let them know that it is intentional, the odds of them triggering a credit card as suspicious and not realizing it seem incredibly low.
        Beyond that, I know that the most common failure on our ChargePoint stations where I work is the communication with the payment system. It’s a problem of communication via NFC or bluetooth with a phone or car, then via wifi and/or cellular communication with a server that is certainly not as robust as the payment services used by Visa, Mastercard, and the like. They built in extra failure points, and it is causing extra failures.

      2. Nah. Repeated small charges of a buck or two, suspicious? Where I live, that could easily be parking meters on a day spent running errands. A thief would do one such charge to verify the card was still good, then follow that with large charges at places that sell merchandise that’s easy to convert into cash (Target, WalMart, Best Buy, Home Depot, stores like that).

  14. I was seriously thinking about a non-Tesla EV purchase this Summer. When I looked into charging along the routes and areas I go to, the idea became ‘strained’. Unless I charged at every opportunity when I reach 60% (vehicle range estimates used), I opened myself up to getting stranded a 100 miles from from the next charger, should the charger be down. To make matters worse, some charging stations were limited to two connections and at dealerships of various car brands. I called some and they said that the chargers were located inside the dealership and only available during regular business hours. Plus, if the dealership needed to use them, I’d have to disconnect and wait since the charger was really only for their use and the brand they sell. Still, I guess since they are the only charger in over a 100 miles, they take pity on people. I’m now looking at hybrid models.

    1. Feel good if I bought a Tesla I would only be able to drive to the nearest charger and back home. Unless I installed a home charger somewhat increasing the cost of the supposed $35,000 cheap model 3 that never was available to $100,000 for the actual price and a charger system. Lord knows how screwed up it would be for a repair.

  15. I nearly bought a Dodge pickup this weekend, but I don’t know a damn thing about their engines. Seems like every Dodge fan wants me to believe the engines will last forever, but they also seem to get rebuilt a lot. So 186,000 miles might be nothing or might be due for a rebuild tomorrow for all I know.
    And, of course, every seller of any vehicle describes the engine they are selling as “bulletproof.”

      1. Bulletproof with proper maintenance still isn’t accurate on a lot of these, especially since you never really even know if it has been properly maintained before. Asked a guy if he had replaced the shitty plastic guides around the timing chain on a “bulletproof” Ford Explorer engine. The most common failure on the engine. Seems he’d never looked at the timing chain.
        If I bought that one, I might have found plastic pieces in the oil pan already. But I know what to question on a Ford, luckily. I don’t on a Powertech.
        And the amount of maintenance required varies significantly. If I need to do a full rebuild in about 10k miles, it sure doesn’t feel as bulletproof as something that’s gonna just need oil changes for another 60k.

    1. Depends on the engine. Hemi engines are good, but they don’t like to idle for extended periods of time without wearing out the camshafts due to oiling issues. The previous generation of engines, especially the 318ci were fairly solid all the way around, but lacking in HP compared to the Hemi that replaced it. If you looked at the Cummins I6 diesels, some of the early ones had a few weaknesses that are fixed with upgrades and the newer ones are solid half million mile engines. The 3.0L diesel, not sure, but a lot of the feedback has not been promising.

      1. I was looking at a Powertech 4.7 V8. Seems like a decent engine, and it came from a sheriff’s office and had service records. But the body had a gouge with some rust (on the panel below the doors), and I sort of wondered if letting that become a rusty hole told me something about how they treated it overall.
        He’d give me a pretty fair price, but I was already nervous of the seller. I went there for a government-owned Expedition, and it turned out he had thrown the third-row seat from another one in there and it could not be folded down.
        When I talked him down from $10,700 to $8750 on the Ram, I nearly bit anyway.

        1. I’d avoid the 4.7. It was an AMC orphan that Chrysler inherited and only made for a few years. When it runs, it runs well but it’s hard to get parts for it today. Better to get the Magnum 5.2/5.9 or the Hemi 5.7.

      1. On a side note: where is DT now? Did he get the damn job done and get the Jeep returned without incident? Or is he currently wrenching in the parking lot of a Auto Zone as I type this? Something smells here.

  16. Sounds like more charge station owners need to sign up for an O&M contract that includes monitoring and regular checkups. Outside of design or workmanship issues, it’s really not the fault of the manufacturer or installer if a charger breaks and the owner never bothers to go look at their stations and see that they’re not working.

    It’s like that with solar arrays—my company will certainly remotely monitor your array, and even come out on a regularly scheduled basis to give it a checkup and make sure everything is as it should be, making repairs if necessary. However, the customer needs to sign a contract that includes that service. We don’t do it for free.

    1. For several years, there were about a half dozen Blink network chargers near me. They weren’t used often, and received very little maintenance, which reduced their uptime, which led to less usage, which apparently was taken as a sign that less maintenance was needed, further reducing uptime…and repeat.

      The company hosting the chargers replaced Blink with Chargepoint. The “new” chargers started seeing much higher usage, either by coincidence or because they actually worked, which meant they received more care and attention if anything did go wrong, which kept them available for more people to use them…and repeat again.

      I drive a Tesla, and will be leaving on a 3K+ mile road trip tomorrow. I very rarely (less than a handful of times in 7 years across two different Teslas) have to use non-Tesla chargers. When I’ve run into problems, it’s because a storm has knocked out power to an entire area (including the gas station pumps nearby), or because I’m at a high demand location with a limited number of chargers available (and even then, I’m almost always charging in 15 minutes). I have friends with other EVs who have had much more experience with poorly maintained chargers. There are some new vendors coming online who appear to be doing things better these days. They have higher speed chargers, better locations, and more reliable networks. Maintenance and monitoring isn’t optional, however.

      1. 2 Tesla’s in just 7 years? What you didn’t like the color? Or maybe it became unrepairable or burst into flames? My 2001 ICE Isuzu Vehicross I bought new has never had a problem ever that wasn’t flat tires. Oh I only have owned one, driven cross country east/west and North/south several times. And I would do it tomorrow with no concerns. The difference I bought it new and maintained it as if I hated car payments.

    2. Sounds like your solar array system sucks. Because these warranty programs need to cover cost and profits. No one buying means way to expensive.
      Remember 70s ICE cats from GM and Ford? Throw the crap together and let the dealer and customers figure it out? Sung to the tune of look for the union label.

    3. Funny how ICE vehicle manufacturers go to annoying lengths to monitor and maintain and beg you to come in. But computer cars are treated like computers and like every computer manufacturer oh it is out dated buy a new one.
      But I just bought it last week.
      Yeah we’ve had 3 new generations since then we no longer support the old technology.

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