Keeping EV Charging equipment operational takes time, money and effort. Many of the charging stations are five years old now and showing signs of wear. Companies that are based solely on EV revenues struggle to keep up. Blink (Car Charging Group) is an example where revenues are inadequate for the company to keep its charging stations operational at all times; with units out of service for weeks, months and sometimes years.
Companies that don’t rely solely on charging revenue fare better but it still takes a commitment of time and money. At Nissan HQ, 2 out of 10 charging units are out of order in the visitor and adjoining employee parking lot and have been that way for several weeks. At Nissan HQ there are plenty of units so the redundancy reduces the impact of the failures, many locations have just one or two units which can leave a car without a charge.
We’ve all seen gas pumps taped off and out of order at the gas station, stuff happens. However gas pumps rarely remain out of order more than a couple of days. At the Mapco Mart in Hendersonville TN, the DCFC charging unit there has been out of order since December 2015. When was the last time you saw a gas pump out of order for 6 months? Charging stations going weeks and months to repair reveals a reduced level of commitment or ability to repair the charging equipment. This stations owner, NRG eVgo is struggling to keep equipment running. Recently NRG energy spun the eVgo unit off as a separate entity. Charging revenue is inadequate and already the cracks are beginning to show.
Now the honeymoon period is over for EV charging networks (when the networks could rely on government sponsorship) keeping the charging stations up and running is going to be a challenge. Without the money, spare parts and desire to keep these networks up and running, they could fall into disrepair. And that would not be a good thing.
A few weeks after I posted this article, Nissan have repaired both of the faulty units and are now back up to full strength. The CHAdeMO was fixed first by a Schneider Electric repair crew. The Level 2 unit near the front entrance was fixed on the 23rd June. I spoke with the repair crew who installed a brand new Aerovironment unit; apparently a visitor had driven over the parking space block and demolished the charging unit rendering it inoperable.