US EV charging infrastructure – how fast and how convenient?
Together with Charged, umlaut tested charging networks for user experience and found charging EVs en-route is becoming more accessible, with room for improvement
Detroit, MI, January 31, 2022 - A new report benchmarking US charging networks for electric vehicles ranks Electrify America highest among seven charge point operators (CPOs). umlaut and Charged Electric Vehicles Magazine have conducted the analysis for the second consecutive year.
With Tesla Supercharger and Blink, two providers were added to the 2021 analysis, which also includes more and different states. Where the 2020 benchmark looked at charging infrastructure in California, in 2021 the testers drove 2,100 miles in their testing e-vehicles, a Ford Mach-e and a Tesla Model 3, across Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
For the second time in a row, Electrify America came out first. With 702 out of a possible 1,000 points, Electrify America received umlaut’s 2021 Best-in-Test award. Tesla Supercharger, scoring 649 points, was ranked second, followed by ChargePoint (611), EVgo (578), Greenlots (548), Blink (505), and EV Connect (472 points).
umlaut and Charged evaluated the seven providers in two categories: 1) Digital Platform – the digital experience on a charging provider’s website and smartphone app; 2) Charging Location – the physical interaction at the charging station location.
While Electrify America also took the lead in the Digital Platform category, Tesla Supercharger scored highest in Charging Locations.
Hakan Ekmen, CEO telecommunications and managing director at umlaut US, said: “Congratulations to Electrify America for winning the ‘Best-in-Test’ award for the second consecutive year. Even though we tested in different states this year, the overall results indicate that the EV charging infrastructure in the US is improving in terms of accessibility, ease-of-use and fewer charging errors.”
The benchmark indicates that the charging infrastructure for electric vehicles has been growing substantially and the charging process is becoming more reliable with less interruptions. The testers also found clear improvements for holding charging power compared to last year’s test.
Chris Ruoff, Publisher at Charged, said: “With this collaboration between Charged and umlaut – to test and report on the charging user experience – we aim to clarify where the EV charging industry is making progress and where it should focus its efforts to improve. While the EV charging experience is steadily getting better, this year’s test results show considerable room for improvement.”
Areas of improvement for the overall user experience include:
Starting and ending times: With 8.59 seconds, Tesla Supercharger had by far the fastest starting time while the combined charging systems of all other CPOs were significantly slower.
Convenience: Charging stations lag behind gas stations in terms of service offerings such as food, restrooms and weather protection.
Transparency: Some CPOs fail to inform customers about how long the charging process will take and how much it will cost.
Roaming and interoperability: Currently, each CPO’s app shows only its own available charging stations and allows payment only within this CPO’s charging networks. While third-party apps for navigating all charging stations in the country are available, none offer payment across all networks.
Christian Sussbauer, manager eMobility at umlaut, said: “We see the charging infrastructure in the US expanding – and so does the gap between the leading Charge Point Operators and their smaller competitors. As a result, customers often aren’t getting the experience they should and is crucial to making e-mobility attractive to more customers.”
The benchmark results are coming at a time shortly after the US Infrastructure bill was signed into law on November 15, 2021. It will add $7.5 billion in funding to create a nationwide network of charging stations for electric vehicles to foster widespread adoption of e-mobility.
umlaut used its independent and internationally applicable methodology to measure critical customer experience factors – such as intuitiveness and convenience of the charging process, the convenience of parking and access at charging locations, and whether the charging power was suitable for a location – with 77 different key performance indicators. Only DC charging infrastructure was tested, which is more widespread and accessible, whereas AC charging is often private and residential. The testing took place in September 2021 across 28 EV charging stations in Connecticut, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania.