a lot of electric charging stations

Electric Car Charging Network Fragmentation

It needs to stop. Now. While I appreciate the development of charging infrastructure for electric cars, the development of proprietary networks is unsettling.

Tesla has been building their own Supercharger networks for years, but, you can’t blame them since at the time they started, there was simply no standard for automotive fast charging.

Things have changed now, but worldwide and even locally, Automakers use different charging standards.

This puts electric cars on a major unnecessary disadvantage: even if there are plenty of charging stations, you might not be able to charge your car, whereas an ICE vehicle can be refueled at virtually any gas station.

Imagine dedicated household power sockets for charging Apple laptops and Lenovo laptops. Or imagine multiple Wi-Fi standards, one for different types of computers, with users having to set up multiple access points. Does that sounds absurd? That’s where we are heading with electric cars.

While many car makers team up to build shared charging networks, I see competition in the future with a few networks trying to compete on the market, building redundant infrastructure, similar to the nonsensical fragmented cellular networks.


Isn’t building three or four times the amount of charging stations we really need contrary to the idea of environmental benefits of electric cars?

ChHAdeMO, CCS, Typ1, Tesla’s Supercharger… the first problem are different plug types (some of which are interoperable through adapters). But if we don’t do anything about this now, we’ll drive around with a trunk full of dongles for decades!

The second problem are companies locking users with unwanted car brands out of their chargers. Legally, you can’t prevent that as these companies pay for the land and permits. But again, a public parking spot or gas station only accessible to, say, Audis, would be absurd. But that’s exactly where we’re headed with electric cars.

Make it stop! Do we really need regulations that make public infrastructure accessible to everyone?

At least, all Electric cars can be charged on the AC power grid. That’s nowhere near fast enough to meet the definition of “fast charging”, though.

In the meantime, the majority of users who don’t have the luxury of home charging will be bewildered by the ecosystem fragmentation and reluctant to acquire an electric car. Because even if you currently live at an apartment that offers one type of electric charging, you might have to move a few years later to a place with a different charging connector (or none at all). Having an electric car limits your choices in this regard and thus, makes relocation potentially so much more expensive that it negates all the operational cost savings from driving an electric car in the first place.

If you really try, you can find a solution. You can use local legislation to force your landlord to let you install a station for your car. You can educate yourself about charging standards and get the right adapters. You can arrange your routes to hit the right fast chargers. But why the hassle if the next gas station is a few miles away? If we want to make electric cars attractive, we need to make them no-brainers and currently, for the majority of the population they’re not.


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