Having had an electric car since 2011 you experience all the challenges of an EV owner. One of them is finding charging stations, which has improved significantly in the past few years. With Tesla having their own charger network, which is faster it helps with users not leaving their cars plugged in after it is charged. But with the rest of the chargers you will see cars plugged and not drawing power, or not even plugged in, or plugged in over the designated time limit, or completed and still plugged in, even cars that are not EV just parked in the spots designated for EV, in Burbank, I see city vehicles parked in EV spots, sometimes occupying two parking spaces leaving no room for an EV to park. This is like blocking the pumps at a gas station. It would not over very well with the gas station owner. Imagine I pull up to a gas pump with my EV and just park there and leave for an hour. My car would be towed, in a matter of minutes. What shift needs to occur to have the same happen for EV charging? I understand that people may leave their car plugged in longer than the posted limits and that enforcement by the city is a slippery slope.
If you encounter a situation like this what do you do? What’s the best approach here, as it seems apps like Greenlots are challenged by implementing reminders or alerts when your car is fully charged, or setting time reminders. One possible idea is as a responsible owner you place a note on the charger, or on your car. That makes it easy for another EV owner to contact you if your space is needed. I certainly would not mind moving my car for a fellow EV owner who is in need of a charger more so than myself.
One possibility is to have apps like Greenlots and Chargepoint facilitate the communication with a person plugged into a charger that you are requesting to use. But that assumes that the charger is in use. The charger networks along with the cities can do more to streamline the process. As EV owners we need to ask the network owners to add functionality and support the EV community. Greenlots owned by Shell, seems to have the most opportunity to enhance the experience, but barely seems to provide a basic feature set in the app. Should cities hold companies like Greenlots accountable to improve the experience? I would say yes, If a city is allowed a charger network on city property, then there should be a basic set of criteria that is required, uptime, maintenance, and features, the city officials signing off on the installation should use the service themselves or know people who do. The key longer term is to have faster charging, where you basically stay with your EV while it is charging or batteries are being swapped, etc.. Whatever the mechanism is to get charged as long as it is “fast”, then this issue of parking and use challenge would be eliminated, Yes these are growing pains, and take many years to resolve, meanwhile there will be thousands of EV vehicles that will be a generation or two behind or that do not support the newest charging technology.