EV Charger Thoughts
| Amelia Meyer | Hagerstown, MD | travel-weary
So I bought a Kia EV6 a while ago, and I now have Thoughts on the common EV DC fast charger networks.
Generally my preferred network. Usually one or more 350kW chargers, in good places like near a Meijer or Wal-Mart. Decent prices, and I got like 1000kWh free with the vehicle purchase. Usually easy to tell what power level is available before pulling into a stall.
Most often one or more of the chargers at the station are broken, and months go by without attention. Usually only one of the connectors on a charger will work at a time; no simultaneous or split charging.
Often one or more 350kW chargers. Decent prices, and supposedly 100% green power (though prooooooobably through carbon credits, which, ew). Program card means I can leave my phone in the car. Multiple connectors on the charger are almost always simultaneous and not split.
Basically impossible to tell power level without reading the charger manufacturer faceplate or looking in the app; the chargers are rarely marked otherwise. Locations are much more varied and often not as convenient, and the position of the station is often wrong by hundreds of feet. In stations with only one charger, it is often an older 60kW unit.
Uhhh. They are everywhere? And they do do split charging, but...
Multiple connectors on a charger will split the available power immediately when a second vehicle plugs in. The station owner sets pricing, and often this means that you pay a) a session fee just to connect b) a per-minute rate (rather that the per-kWh rates that most other networks use) regardless of actual charging speed c) far higher rates in general and d) sometimes even per-minute parking fees alongside the power fees. It is not uncommon to find chargers that are the equivalent to $5-7/gal. The overwhelming majority of chargers are either newer 125kW (which splits to 62.5kW if two are plugged in) or <=60kW. I have even seen ones rated out as little as 20kW which is barely an improvement over the 48A 11.1kW AC rate the onboard vehicle charger can handle. Easily my last resort network.
Weird network aimed at commercial proprietary owners. Apparently easy to fuck up the initial setup, making them hard to actually pay for. Usually only AC chargers.
GreenLots / Shell Recharge
A small network, kinda pricy, also pays money to an oil company, but decent enough.
Literally never had one work. All three I have ever tried just failed to talk to the car, much less any of the billing infrastructure.