EV Charging Networks 'Improve Dramatically'

J.D. Power reports largest quarter-over-quarter increase in public charging satisfaction.

Nancy Dunham, Principal Analyst/Retail

June 6, 2024

2 Min Read
Convenient public charging is vital to consumers.
Convenient public charging is vital to consumers.Getty Images

Dealers have a new tool to help them sell electric vehicles: data that shows significantly higher satisfaction with public charging stations.

For the past four years, the top reason consumers said they did not consider EVs was the lack of charging station availability and poor experiences at existing ones. That trend may be shifting. The recent J.D. Power E-Vision Intelligence Report shows satisfaction with public DC Fast Charging and Public Level 2 charging networks improved dramatically in the first quarter of 2024.

"Charging — specifically, convenient access to reliable public fast charging — remains vitally important not just in terms of fortifying the EV owner experience but overcoming shopper rejection of EVs,” Stewart Stropp, executive director, electric vehicle intelligence at J.D. Power, tells WardsAuto. “The Supercharger Network has proven to be a compelling strategic advantage for Tesla, but now that network access is starting to open to other brands, effectively extending that advantage to competitors, it may well serve to level the playing field in terms of increasing shopper consideration of non-Tesla EV offerings.”

J.D. Power reports customer satisfaction with DCFC charging at 663 (on a 1,000-point scale), up 16 points from Q4 2023. Customer satisfaction with Level 2 charging is at 610, up 9 points from Q4 2023. These mark the largest quarter-over-quarter increases in satisfaction with public charging since J.D. Power began collecting this data in 2021.

Research by J.D. Power shows consumers report significant improvements in the speed and ease of charging and the overall availability of the DCFC and Level 2 chargers. Plus, the number of charging failures experienced due to station outages and equipment malfunctions declined from 71% in Q4 2023 to 59% in Q1 2024.

Tesla buyers have often cited its extensive Supercharger network as a positive factor in purchasing. Recent upheavals in the automaker’s Supercharger team, including layoffs of almost all employees in that division, gave competitors a chance to improve their offerings.

“I think a lot of people might be surprised by the fact that, while Tesla continues to lead the fast-charging space via the Supercharger Network, Q1 2024’s significant gains in customer satisfaction with public charging networks actually came from non-Tesla networks,” says Stropp. “So, efforts by other CPOs (charge point operators) to close that gap seem to be yielding results.”

But Stropp cautions that franchise dealers, automakers and other relevant players in the electric vehicle market must accelerate charger growth and satisfaction while educating consumers about those efforts.

“I think the critical story here revolves more around how shopper perceptions have not changed — at least not yet. For eight straight months, lack of charging station availability has persisted as the No. 1 reason shoppers reject EVs,” says Stropp. “The industry must continue to instill more confidence in EVs (and charging networks) across the consumer market.”

 

About the Author(s)

Nancy Dunham

Principal Analyst/Retail, WardsAuto

Nancy Dunham became an auto journalist more than twenty years ago. She has worked as an editor and writer for the National Automobile Dealers Association, US News & World Report, CarFax, and various newspapers in Washington, D.C. and Baltimore. Her work also appears in Costco Connections, AARP, the New York Times, Rolling Stone and other publications.

Before specializing in automotive retail journalism, she was a newspaper reporter, magazine editor and publisher.

She lives in Tucson, Arizona, with her three beloved cats.

Contact her at [email protected] or https://www.linkedin.com/in/nancydwrites/.

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