EV drivers want safety features at charging stations

🚗🔋 EV drivers prioritize safety at charging stations—calling for bright lights, security cameras, and 24/7 visibility to match the growing network needs!

Safety at charging stations is a top priority for electric vehicle drivers but many stations lack basic safety features, according to a report by the Transportation Energy Institute.

EV drivers surveyed said they want public charging stations in visible areas that are open 24/7 and have multiple charging ports, bright lighting and security cameras. The report included responses from 500 EV drivers across the U.S. and 99 charger site hosts.

About half of the charging stations in the survey have multiple charging ports, 24/7 service and bright lighting around their chargers. About two-thirds of the stations are in highly visible areas and have security cameras.

Safety features and other amenities at chargers are becoming more critical as the U.S. builds out a nationwide public charging network.

The Biden administration has set a goal to make 500,000 public chargers available by 2030. About 64,000 public charging stations with about 174,000 plugs are scattered across the U.S. today, according to the Department of Energy. Tesla, the EV charging leader with about 60 percent of the fast chargers in the U.S., plans to slow the growth of its Supercharger network.

More than half of EV drivers spend 30 minutes to an hour at charging stations, and about a third purchase a snack or a drink while they are charging, according to the report.

The downtime, much longer than a typical gas station stop, makes charge station amenities imperative, John Eichberger, executive director of the Transportation Energy Institute, told Automotive News. Some EV drivers requested charging stations have playgrounds for children, the study found.

“When you refill gas, it’s three to five minutes and you’re on your way,” Eichberger said. “But if you’re going to be sitting sedentary for 15, 20, 30 minutes, then you need something to do. Otherwise, you’re going to feel like you’re wasting your time.”

Charging station operators can monetize that downtime by having a store that sells food or beverages, said Robby DeGraff, product and consumer insights analyst at AutoPacific.

EV intenders also concerned

Safety at charging stations is a concern not only for EV owners but also for consumers considering an EV purchase, DeGraff said.

More than 40 percent of those considering or intending to buy an EV and 30 percent of current EV owners are concerned about finding safe, reliable chargers on the go, an EV consumers insights study by AutoPacific found. Lack of safety discourages car buyers from purchasing an EV, DeGraff said, as they are accustomed to the safety features most gas stations offer.

“If you go to a gas station, there’s typically somebody inside, there’s a camera set up, there’s more of a public eye on it,” he said. “At EV charging stations I’ve gone to, a lot of times you might be the only one there, and if you’re there at night, there are concerns about public safety.”

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