Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm set out on a four-day electric vehicle road trip over the summer from Charlotte, North Carolina to Memphis, Tennessee to draw attention to the billions of dollars the Biden administration has pumped into electric vehicles.
During a stop in Grovetown, Georgia, Granholm and her entourage, traveling in a caravan that included the luxury Cadillac Lyriq, a Ford F-150 Lightning, and a Chevy Bolt, found that there weren’t enough fast chargers available.
According to NPR, with one of the four station’s chargers being broken, and others occupied, one Energy Department staffer parked a gas-powered car to reserve a spot for Granholm.
This resulted in a family, traveling with their baby on a hot summer day, being blocked from using the charger.
The family called the police, but the sheriff’s office said that they couldn’t do anything about it, and that it’s not illegal for a non-EV to park at a charging station in the state.
Scrambling to smooth things over, Energy Department staff sent other vehicles to slower chargers, to ensure space for both the family and Granholm to charge.
According to Insider, there are around three electric vehicle charging ports per every 10,000 people in the US.
"It's just par for the course," John Ryan, a driver of an electric BMW who then had to wait for the family and Granholm to finish charging so he could get a spot, told NPR. "They'll get it together at some point."
Auto-data giant JD Power revealed that worries about public chargers are the foremost reason buyers are reluctant to make the switch to electric, outranking even the high price tags for these vehicles. Those already driving EVs have reduced customer satisfaction due to a lack of reliable public charging stations.
"The availability of public charging stations is still a critical obstacle, but it isn't the only one. EV owners continue to have issues with many aspects of public charging, as the cost and speed of charging and the availability of things to do while waiting for their vehicle to charge are the least satisfying aspects," said executive director of EV practice at JD Power Brent Gruber. "At the same time, the reliability of public chargers continues to be a problem. The situation is stuck at a level where one of every five visits ends without charging, the majority of which are due to station outages."
Last month, Ford CEO Jim Farley said he got a "reality check" when he attempted to charge his EV during a road trip across the American West.
In a video posted to X, Farley said that it took his car 40 minutes to get to only a 40 percent charge. The process of going to a gas station and filling up takes a mere fraction of that time.
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