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  • Nora Naughton

EV owners increasingly frustrated with home charging, and it should worry every electric car maker

By Nora Naughton

Eggs, gas, and now electric vehicles. Inflation is hitting electricity rates, making EV home charging a more miserable experience for some drivers at the absolute worst time.

A new J.D. Power study of EV owners who use Level 2 home-charging stations found that overall satisfaction in the home charging experiences has declined 12 points since last year. (More on EV charger types here). A major factor in this decline in satisfaction was the inflationary rise in electricity prices, the study found.

This could pose a real problem for the EV market, as home charging has often been held up as a solution to daily range-anxiety issues. Without a robust public charging infrastructure, daily home charging is currently key to effective EV ownership, according to automotive executives, dealers, and analysts.

"Whether you're an automaker, dealer or utility company participating in the EV ecosystem, improving the EV owner experience with respect to home charging should be a common goal shared by all," Brent Gruber, executive director of the EV practice at J.D. Power, said in the study.

Gruber pointed to several programs designed to ease the cost of EV home charging, including options to schedule charging at the most affordable times of day. But the J.D. Power study found that this is little awareness for these money-saving tricks, which brings down the overall experience. "As the EV marketplace continues to grow, brands that help owners take advantage of these offerings will be in a much better position down the road," Gruber said.

Where you are and what you drive matters

Geography played a role in overall satisfaction levels with home charging, J.D. Power found. In New England, where electricity prices surge at peak hours, home charging satisfaction saw the largest year-over-year decline.

Only about half of EV owners in the study said they had an understanding of their local utility company programs for home charging. Increasing this awareness is key to improving the EV home charging experience, said Adrian Chung, J.D. Power's director of utilities intelligence.

"This can snowball into helping potential EV owners make a more informed purchase decision, as well as minimizing home charging concerns and supporting greater EV adoption," Chung said.

Different brands also had different levels of satisfaction, with Tesla home charging stations topping the list.

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