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Poling Shows Most EV Owners Don’t Wait To Charge In Public

We polled members of two battery-electric vehicle social media clubs and asked EV owners if they wait to charge their vehicles in public when away from their home chargers. The results surprised us.

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One of the main talking points around EV adoption today is something to the effect of “Poor public EV infrastructure is holding back EV adoption.” While this may be true for some potential EV shoppers and first-time buyers, most EV owners report that they don’t wait to charge their EVs in public, and among those who have waited, most have only ever waited up to 20 minutes.

Hyundai Ioniq Poll results - waiting to charge - by John Goreham

The idea to conduct this poll came to us from a post in a Ford Mustang Mach-E forum. A poster asked how long folks typically wait to charge when they are too far from home to use their home charger. The comments seemed to tip heavily towards, "I never wait to charge my EV in public.” So, we then polled owners in two large BEV owners clubs of top-selling models aside from Tesla. Tesla has its own private charging network called the Supercharger network in America (as every Tesla owner knows). As of now, it is only open to Tesla owners. If that later changes and Tesla’s Superchargers become public chargers, we will circle back and include that brand.

Hyundai Ioniq Poll results - waiting to charge - by John GorehamWhat Did Our Polls Ask?
We asked owners to tell us if they wait to charge when they are traveling too far from their home charger to rely on it. We used the word “road trip” to describe the type of charging we mean. We did not intend to ask the small minority of owners who don't have a home charging option what they do, though we did not exclude such owners from answering. We know from many of our own polls, along with easy-to-find data, that most EV owners charge at home most of the time.

What Do EV Owners Say About Charging In Public?
We looked through the comments folks placed under the polls we posted to see what owners of EVs were saying about how they may have waited when they charged. Here are some quotes we think are self-explanatory:

The worst I've ever experienced in pulling into a station to find the working ones all occupied and one guy waiting....just drove another 20 minutes along my way to the next station and plugged right in.

I do a lot of road trips. Usually, I never have to wait, but I think maybe once I had to wait for a station that was super busy. It's a non-issue.

I've only done road trips in our previous car, which was a leaf. At EA stations, I could only use one of them because of the stupid connector Nissan chose. Even with that, I only had to wait once for someone else to finish up

If we could select one comment that we felt was best at summarizing the polling results we saw, it would be this one: “I move on if I see a line. Careful planning with backup plans has spared me of long waits at the chargers.”

If you own an electric vehicle and have the ability to charge at home, tell us in the comments below if you wait to charge in public when you are too far from home to make outback to charge.

Image of Ford Mustang Mach-E charging in public by John Goreham

John Goreham is an experienced New England Motor Press Association member and expert vehicle tester. John completed an engineering program with a focus on electric vehicles, followed by two decades of work in high-tech, biopharma, and the automotive supply chain before becoming a news contributor. In addition to his ten years of work at Torque News, John has published thousands of articles and reviews at American news outlets. He is known for offering unfiltered opinions on vehicle topics. You can follow John on Twitter, and TikTok @ToknCars, and view his credentials at Linkedin

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Justin Hart    January 31, 2023 - 3:37AM

I drive a Tesla Model 3 on half a dozen long trips per year. Have only ever had to wait for a supercharger spot to open up once (at the oldest and smallest supercharger in the state on a Thanksgiving weekend). I have always found an open spot at superchargers otherwise in the 38,000 miles I have driven mine. When I owned a 2011 LEAF, though I never took a road trip in longer than 70 miles from home (due to its limited range), I only ever had to wait once for any public charger it used, too (in a busy grocery store parking lot when I just needed about 10 mins of fast charging to make sure I had enough range to get home).

I’ll point out that Tesla’s massive network of 240V “Destination chargers” is largely already open to the charging public of all EVs and PHEVs with the use of an adapter. I use them regularly with my Kia Sorento PHEV in fact and now lend my adapter to my father in law so he can use it with his Kia Niro EV some times too. If/when Tesla opens its superchargers too, I wonder if that might change people’s poll results? by the way, in my PHEV I have also had to wait (but gasp, a couple of times) to gain access to a 240V charger that was free to use at a resort, and at other venues that offer free 240V charging (wineries, hotels, etc.).