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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Today I received an email from EA inviting submissions to inform their "Cycle 3" investment strategy. My strongly-worded advice to them is to first fix their crappy Cycles 1 and 2 investment charge stations before embarking on more stations. Specifics:

"EA should primarily focus on reliability and usability of the current network of stations before investing in more. Drawbacks of current stations are numerous and include:

1) Often located near big box retail stores with few or no amenities needed by long-distance travelers, such as clean restrooms and a choice of restaurants within walking distance.

2) Ridiculously short, stiff and heavy connector cables in many cases already showing damage from ultraviolet radiation (sunlight). This fault alone renders the network virtually unusable to drivers with limited strength needed to hoist, twist, thrust and tug the connectors. The cables place worrying stress on EV charge port hardware, and often require operator to manually provide strain relief to the cable connector assembly while the system attempts to initiate a charge session.

3) On the subject of sunlight, EA chargers provide zero protection from the elements - no canopies to protect against snow, sun, rain, etc - basic features of 99% of petrol refueling stations completely lacking at EA stations.

4) Displays often unreadable owing to being washed out by sunlight...and displays often on the wrong side of the station for the geometry of a given charging session.

5) Confusing station and connector numbering...why not number the stations (as is now the case) but letter the connectors "A" and "B". That would reduce confusion while on the phone with tech support.

6) Continued frustratingly high frequency of failures to initiate charges and prematurely aborted charging sessions - forces operators to come running back to restart or spend the entire charge session at the car "babysitting" the process. This ongoing fail effectively renders the network unusable for long distance travel by all but the most patient and intrepid operator. As long as this condition persists, the network will never become financially feasible.

7) Frequent unexplained lower-than-expected charge rates.

8) Occasional billing errors, such as being billed at a higher rate tier than expected; and those take too long to resolve.

I'm passionate about the environment and the absolute necessity of electrifying all forms of transport, and I've shown commitment to those goals by buying a Chevrolet Bolt EV and putting over 110,000 miles on it in less than 2-1/2 years...along the way giving almost 5,000 Uber / Lyft rideshare trips every one of which demonstrated the clear advantages of pure battery electric vehicles.

I also made an eight day 2867 mile round trip between Florida and Massachusetts aboard the Chevy Bolt, "fueled" almost entirely by EA charge stations (see reference to only the most "patient and intrepid" travelers above)

The bottom line is that despite billions of dollars invested by EA to advance the cause of private electric vehicles, EA has effectively killed, or at least greatly delayed the uptake of non-Tesla EVs in North America by virtue of the EA network continuing to be totally unready for prime time, that is feasible for use by mainstream drivers. Despite the fact that multiple manufacturers (GM, Ford, Porsche, Audi, Jaguar, Mercedes, Hyundai and others all produce high quality advanced long range pure battery EVs, sales of those vehicles (not to mention VW's ID series) are going nowhere as long as the EA network continues to so miserably fail.

Driving my EV puts a smile on my face every day, but I simply can't use it for long distance travel as long as the fast charging network remains so weak despite years and billions invested.

I genuinely regret the necessity of providing this dismal feedback to EA, but I see no alternative other than to speak truth about the reality of attempting long distance travel aboard a pure battery EV while relying on the EA network.
 

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Bravo! Well written. I think behind the scene EA doesn't give a rat's ass about the system really working for drivers. As long as they pay their "fine" from Diesel-gate who cares about the small details. Wouldn't hold my breath.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you. You may well be right, though I hope not...everything I see / read suggests EA is trying to do a good job, but is failing. One of my favorite sayings is "Never ascribe to treachery that which is adequately explained by incompetence"...and I think that is what is in play with EA - well-intentioned (and well-funded) incompetence.
 

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I've casually observed that people who travel in the eastern US (like me) have a lot of problems with EA. I've used EA around 20 or so times and I'm at a 50% success rate. The Plugshare ratings on some of the chargers I want to visit are dismal, making it almost impossible for me to take another long trip. OTOH, people who travel in the western US don't seem to have as many problems. I think it boils down to the brand of chargers that are used. EA needs to bite the bullet and replace the "bad" brand with the "good" brand.
And yes, the site placement is sometimes terrible, with chargers being blocked by the transformers and some are facing south so that the sun washes out the screen for most of the day.
The sad part is that I don't see EA doing anything to fix these problems. Yeah, wait until the ID.4 hits the market....
 

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Yes, if "paying their fine" and running away is their goal, EA will not be the long-term solution to non-Tesla-SC DCFC. But consider my state of WV which has NO DC Level 2 EVSE in the entire state. EV drivers from OH, KY, VA, MD, and PA plan longer routes "around WV" to be able to DCFC and not stay overnight for an AC Level 2 charge. Even if an EA plug works only 50% of the time (and the EA location has multiple plugs), the last time I checked, 50% was > 0%.
 

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1) Often located near big box retail stores with few or no amenities needed by long-distance travelers, such as clean restrooms and a choice of restaurants within walking distance.
Even worse, located in prime parking for those stores. This is why I won't be taking the Bolt to visit family at the end of the year unless more stations open up along the route.

There are only two stations on the route. One is EA in Stroudsburg, PA - and according to Plugshare it gets fully ICEd even in the off season because they were stupid and put the chargers in prime parking for Walmart, instead of the opposite end of the lot, because putting chargers next to a gas station made too much sense for them. Don't even think about relying on that in the week before Christmas! Walmart doesn't give a **** and does nothing about the ICErs since, hey, don't piss off YOUR customers. Locating the units next to the gas station would have also put them closer to the restaurants in that shopping plaza...

The only other one is a single-port unit at a hotel. Single-port units can't be relied upon until we've got units every 30 miles along every highway - even if not broken, it's likely to wind up in use.
 

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Bravo! Well written. I think behind the scene EA doesn't give a rat's ass about the system really working for drivers. As long as they pay their "fine" from Diesel-gate who cares about the small details. Wouldn't hold my breath.
I think they do car. They are a company created by the VW settlement who like everyone else wants to turn a profit. I think they will build out then focus on quality.
 

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I think they do car. They are a company created by the VW settlement who like everyone else wants to turn a profit. I think they will build out then focus on quality.
Definitely. I say that generally, it's not a good idea to dismiss a person's natural instinct to do a good job. It's in our nature to earn approval and respect from others, and it takes a really disgruntled person to actively do poor work.

Everything I've seen from Electrify America tells me that they've been trying to do their best. There's a definite connection with VW, of that there's no doubt. However, I also see a lot of pride in their work. Unfortunately, it seems like they lack experience, knowledge, and understanding of what a compelling EV charging site would look like.
 

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The submissions system assumes that you have detailed knowledge of the location, rather than being a "put one in or near this town" type of submission process. For example, we need a station at or near Sikeston Missouri at the junction of I55 and I57 to facilitate north / south travel in the midwest from Chicago, through St Louis, through Memphis, and then several stations along I55 in Mississippi to complete the route down to the gulf coast. I don't live in Sikeston, or along I55 in Mississippi and I am not going to do detailed research of local businesses that are eager to partner with EA...

Simplest solution: "Look at the Supercharger map and follow their routing with stations 70 miles apart or less"

Keith
 

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Driving my EV puts a smile on my face every day, but I simply can't use it for long distance travel as long as the fast charging network remains so weak despite years and billions invested.

I genuinely regret the necessity of providing this dismal feedback to EA, but I see no alternative other than to speak truth about the reality of attempting long distance travel aboard a pure battery EV while relying on the EA network.
I completely agree. I always have a smile driving the Bolt...unless I need to use EA. We have taken numerous road trips and the frustration is always centered around EA sites not working. If there is any other charger we will use that and not EA. I had an EA account and canceled it. I remember one road trip it felt like we were following the repair guys. I remember them telling us that they fix all chargers but they spent 90% of the time fixing the EA chargers....from software to hardware and don't forget the card readers. Credit card readers are used everywhere and work...except at EA. Why is that? I go to buy gas and never have a problem with the card reader yet at EA 98% of the time the card readers doesn't work.
 

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Definitely. I say that generally, it's not a good idea to dismiss a person's natural instinct to do a good job. It's in our nature to earn approval and respect from others, and it takes a really disgruntled person to actively do poor work.

Everything I've seen from Electrify America tells me that they've been trying to do their best. There's a definite connection with VW, of that there's no doubt. However, I also see a lot of pride in their work. Unfortunately, it seems like they lack experience, knowledge, and understanding of what a compelling EV charging site would look like.
Some charger brands work better than others. Sometimes a business has to admit that, bit the bullet, and replace the "bad" chargers with the "good" ones. I don't see that happening, and that's a management problem IMO. I believe things will change when VW gets a lot of complaints from their customers that EA isn't working. But that will be a couple of years from now.
 

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Some charger brands work better than others. Sometimes a business has to admit that, bit the bullet, and replace the "bad" chargers with the "good" ones. I don't see that happening, and that's a management problem IMO. I believe things will change when VW gets a lot of complaints from their customers that EA isn't working. But that will be a couple of years from now.
My understanding is that that has already been happening, at least at the corporate level. Electrify America has been reworking their contracts, and they will no longer be ordering from several manufacturers. Now, replacing chargers that are already in place isn't likely, and I'm not sure that is a good idea anyway. It seems more reasonable to get those problem chargers up and running well rather than simply replacing them. Outside of the Efacec issue, it appears that most of the problems are installation based, so reinstalling new chargers using the same local contractors might not actually fix the issues.
 

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It's in our nature to earn approval and respect from others, and it takes a really disgruntled person to actively do poor work.
I like to think the best of people, but I've seen too many people who just don't give a cluck to rely on it. Especially those people whose work doesn't bring them into direct contact with their clients. Yeah, most people are self-motivated, but beware those who aren't.
 

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My understanding is that that has already been happening, at least at the corporate level. Electrify America has been reworking their contracts, and they will no longer be ordering from several manufacturers. Now, replacing chargers that are already in place isn't likely, and I'm not sure that is a good idea anyway. It seems more reasonable to get those problem chargers up and running well rather than simply replacing them. Outside of the Efacec issue, it appears that most of the problems are installation based, so reinstalling new chargers using the same local contractors might not actually fix the issues.
Do the ABB chargers work well? I think most EVGO stations use ABB don't they?
 

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Do the ABB chargers work well? I think most EVGO stations use ABB don't they?
The ABB chargers have been having some compatibility issues, especially with older cars. They also seem to be derating speed a lot more often, which could indicate issues with their liquid cooling systems.

EVgo does use ABB chargers, but they mostly used ABB's Terra 53 chargers. I only know of a couple of sites where EVgo used the Terra HP chargers (the same ones that Electrify America is using). At this point, most of the new chargers I see EVgo using are BTC Power.
 

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Outside of the Efacec issue, it appears that most of the problems are installation based, so reinstalling new chargers using the same local contractors might not actually fix the issues.
Yeah, my (bad) experience has been with Efacec. Do you know if these can/are being fixed? It seems they "turn in a ticket", the repair guy gets it working, but then it fails agin in a few weeks. IMO this practice won't hold up when EVs become more prevalent.
 

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Yeah, my (bad) experience has been with Efacec. Do you know if these can/are being fixed? It seems they "turn in a ticket", the repair guy gets it working, but then it fails agin in a few weeks. IMO this practice won't hold up when EVs become more prevalent.
I don't know of any Efacec chargers out West, but my understanding is that the fix would take about a year to roll out. In the meantime, they would be derated to 50 kW, but I don't know whether Efacec has actually started to apply the fixes yet.
 

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I've had nothing but bad experiences with EA and as posted by the OP... their locations (Walmart's around here) are poor for someone wanting to make a stop. When I'm out and about in Michigan I stick to ChargePoint now. Their locations are much smarter (movie theaters, grocery stores, and restaurant "zones" where there are plenty of options for food / bathroom).
 
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