Marques Brownlee, otherwise known as MKBHD, put together this video with a story to tell, and it’s a story that will likely hit home for anyone who’s had some experience charging an electric car. The premise is that the electric car charging experience is really just as important as the EV itself, and the public EV charging infrastructure in the US needs plenty of help, as it’s “ruining electric cars.”
Brownlee drives a Tesla, but he’s had an opportunity to drive and charge many other EVs. Moreover, even though he likely does most of his away-from-home charging at a Tesla Supercharger, he’s also charged a Tesla at a non-Tesla charging station, and one of those experiences was the inspiration for the video above. However, it wasn’t his Tesla or his charging session.
As the story goes, Brownlee stopped at a local mall to run in and grab some takeout. Before he got inside, a woman flagged him down asking for help. She could see that he pulled up in a Tesla, and she was trying to figure out how to charge. She had parked her son’s Tesla Model 3 at one of the mall’s few charging stations and she had no idea how to get it to plug in. At least she wasn’t at a gas station …
First of all, it was a ChargePoint station, and she knew nothing about CCS or the fact that you have to use an adapter. Marques popped the trunk of the Tesla, familiarized her with the adapter, and got the EV plugged in. Of course, she didn’t have a ChargePoint account, but she didn’t end up needing one to pay and get the ball rolling. Marques helped her get plugged in and initiate the session before heading into the mall.
When he came back out with his food, she was flagging him down yet again. Despite doing everything correctly, the charging session never started. Marques noted that this was likely one of those situations where the session was never going to start, and he’d probably never figure out why. He also notes that such situations are increasingly common for EV owners.
Brownlee did observe that the car right next to the Tesla was charging properly, but it looked like the EV’s owner had purposely crossed the charging cable over from another unit, possibly realizing ahead of time or quickly learning that the one charging station wasn’t working for some reason or another.
In the end, he told the lady to head to a nearby Tesla Supercharger station, where she’d be able to easily plug in and charge without such issues.
Brownlee goes on to talk about the state of charging stations in the US, in general. He uses some examples of broken and unreliable stations right in front of his own property. one of which starts and stops charging depending on how the wind blows. We’ve seen countless examples on social media, and you don’t have to look very hard to find them.
He also emphasizes the fact that it’s not just broken or unreliable charging stations that are the issue, but also the fact that there’s so much some people don’t know or understand. It’s not as simple as just filling a car with gas. The whole adapter situation, having accounts with various charging networks, the payments, just all of it can be a bit much, especially at first.
Our friend and colleague Kyle Conner of the Out of Spec Studios started “Rate Your Charge,” so that EV owners can share their experiences, good and bad, and get the word out. As EV owners and advocates, if we want the charging infrastructure to get better, we need to get involved and speak up.
After you’ve watched the videos, let us know what you think of the EV charging situation in the US. Do you own a Tesla or a non-Tesla EV? How has your experience been? Share your stories in the comment section below.