EV drivers want public chargers to feel more like gas stations, says study

One of the headaches associated with EV ownership is the mundane, menial task of charging the vehicle. 

Instead of pulling up to a gas station where you or an attendant fills up your tank in a matter of minutes under a brightly lit shelter, electric vehicles have to charge at self-serve public charging stations near big-box shopping centers, highway rest stops, parking garages or shopping malls. 

Here, drivers are exposed to the elements and left figuring out what to do for the 20-or- so minutes it takes to charge, while other EV owners wait patiently in a line.

Things could be better, and according to a recent survey, EV owners and prospective buyers have a wishlist of how the charging experience can be better. 

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A Toyota Prius is seen connected to a electric vehicle charging station in a Washington, D.C., parking garage 

Tom Williams/Getty Images

In a recent survey by research firm AutoPacific, EV owners and prospective buyers said that they want the traditional amenities of gas stations in their public charging stations. 

Of the amenities, they said they wanted charging stations to have clear, easy to read signs that mark a specific charger’s charging speed and price, Wi-Fi access, basic car care services like tire air pumps, vacuums and squeegees, as well as charging stations themselves being in a well-lit and covered location.

Of those surveyed, more than 86% of EV owners and prospective buyers said that a well-lit and covered charging location with clear signs dictating price and charging speed were important to them. 

Blink provided electric vehicle charging stations at the Crowne Plaza San Jose Silicon Valley 

MediaNews Group/Bay Area News via Getty Images/Getty Images

AutoPacific president and chief analyst Ed Kim said that the results of the survey show that there is an opportunity for EV charging companies to add these simple amenities and services on top of traditional charging. 

“It did surprise us that the numbers were as high as they were,” Kim said. “This is clearly an unmet need in the marketplace.”

The AutoPacific president also emphasized that while filling up a gas car at a gas station are a uniformly short experience, EV charging is more unpredictable, with some chargers being slower, faster or not working at all.

“Part of the problem for the consumer is that there is no uniform standard for what it would take to charge up an EV at a charging station,” he said.

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A Solution?

A vehicle charges inside Electrify America’s first indoor charging station in San Francisco

Electrify America

One EV charging station company understands the concern of EV owners and has come up with a clever solution to bring the amenities wish list of EV owners to life. 

Electrify America’s latest project is a modern day interpretation of a service station – a secure, indoor charging station featuring 20 chargers charging at up to 350kW. Additionally, drivers have the ability to comfortably recharge in one of two driver’s lounges with food and beverage vending, restrooms and free Wi-Fi.

Though this new charging station concept exists in only one location in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood, the company says that it is planning more of them in urban areas in the future. 

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