Plugged In: Firsthand Experiences of Global EV Charging

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Plugged In: Firsthand Experiences of Global EV Charging

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Electric vehicle sales are predicted to more than double by 2026, with shipments of new EVs expected to grow from 10.5 million in 2023 to 27 million, according to BloombergNEF. However, challenges within EV charging infrastructure mean there is still a long way to go to provide seamless EV experiences. To assess the current status, during the last few months, our Commercial Team got in the EV driver's seat. 

A couple of months ago our CEO, Eugene Tsyrklevich, embarked on a two-week EV trip around Portugal and encountered numerous charging problems. Since then, three more members of the Parkopedia team have assessed the current state of EV charging around the world and have reported on their experience: Kyle Ammann and Vitaly Yurchenko in the US, and Jaap van den Hoek in the Netherlands. 

The US experience 

The US EV charging network is still deeply fragmented, causing various issues for drivers. According to recent research from J.D Power, US EV chargers are highly unreliable, too, with at least one in five charging attempts failing - a 5% increase compared to data from 2021. Charging is a very real problem for EV drivers, as experienced by two members of our US team. 

Kyle Ammann - Director of EV Business Development

Kyle is based in Fort Worth in the state of Texas, US. He uses his vehicle daily and completes frequent road trips, both for work and leisure.

Looking Back - Kyle’s premiere EV road trip

When I decided that I wanted an EV to be my next car, I had a few prerequisites: I wanted a car that wasn’t a Tesla, had a c200-mile range, and I wanted to charge exclusively via public charging or with L1 charging at home. 

In the first month, I had both successful and unsuccessful charging experiences, but mostly positive. The real troubles for me started when I embarked on my first EV road trip. I was driving to a meeting in another city, which was approximately 200 miles away, with an additional 200 miles for another meeting.  

I had my fair share of poor charging experiences on my way there, however, the worst was yet to come. My return trip was roughly a 400-mile trip through more rural areas. It was projected to last nine hours, with three required charging stops. 

The first stop went smoothly, however, the second was not as positive: there were eight chargers at the charging location - four 150+ kW, and four 60kW chargers. Not one worked properly. I plugged into each one and had varying experiences, from them not working at all, to starting to charge then shutting off less than one minute in, to charging at a maximum of 25kW. I spent 30 minutes on the phone with the network provider to get an answer of “sorry, they just aren’t working now, we will open a ticket”. My last resort was to plug into one of the chargers that was working at 25kW and wait for the car to charge. I was very frustrated at this point, and this was made worse by unclear pricing. These chargers were priced per minute as opposed to per kWh, so instead of paying the $20 I was expecting, my charging ended up costing me $75.

I was back on the road after three hours. I continued to follow my navigation recommendations, and arrived at my last charger with 9% charge left. There I found all four chargers with ‘out of order’ and ‘do not use’ signs. I checked the app, which reported that they were all operational. I gave it a try and quickly realised all the chargers were in fact broken. 

At this point, I got back in my car and searched for the next closest Level 2 charger. My navigation told me it was about 25 miles away, and that it would take 11% of the battery to make the trip - and I was at 9%. It was quickly approaching midnight. I decided to go for it, turning off the air conditioning, dimming the screens, and driving slowly. Somehow I managed to get to the charger with 0% left. There I charged for 5-6 hours so I could make it to the next charger that I knew was working. I arrived at my final destination after 18 hours instead of the originally planned 9 hours.  

Following this experience, I developed range anxiety for long-distance trips. However, I haven’t had a poor experience as drastic as this since and I am still a strong EV advocate, just developing one clear rule that I follow: travel with one trusted network in mind, even if it adds additional time to your trip and book hotels that have integrated chargers.  

Vitaly Yurchenko - Director of Business Development

Vitaly resides in Los Angeles, US. He uses his vehicle daily to run errands around town but only on short trips. On weekends, he often takes longer journeys to the beach or the mountains. 

Vitaly’s LA charging troubles

Unlike Kyle who purchased an EV, I went down the rental route and tested out an EV for a month. When renting, my only requirement was to stick to a vehicle with the CCS1 connector. I ended up with a 2023 Subaru Solterra, which came with a 73kWh battery, providing about 228 miles of range.

The car was low on charge when I got it. An ultra-fast charging location nearby was showing availability, and once I got there, I parked at one of the three available spots. I eagerly opened the charging flap, reached for the cable and…realised the charger was offline. The other charger was down as well. With all the other chargers in use, I needed to find another location to top up.


Next on the list was a slower-speed charging location a couple of miles away but still with ‘fast’ chargers. I parked, connected the cable, and then spent quite a bit of time setting up the associated app with all of the vehicle and payment details. Once I was finally done, I clicked the coveted ‘Start Charging’ button and waited. Nothing was happening for at least a minute, but then a relay clicked and the 200kW DC charger started humming. I was finally in business! The joy was short-lived, as the charger was maxing out at 28kW. A few attempts to restart the charging didn’t improve the speed, and I came back 40 minutes later, and all I got was an extra 25% State of Charge. 

Over the next few days, I did a lot of research on optimal charging conditions, things that affect charge speeds, and how DC fast chargers work in general. I even hooked up an OBD2 reader to the diagnostic port looking to get more detail into the battery temperature and charging status! I also found that it was very challenging to find an available charger during busy hours - one Sunday, I had to visit five charging locations before I could find a charger to plug into. 

Living with an EV in Los Angeles was an eye-opening experience, especially when I was constantly told by my colleagues how lucky I was to live in a place with a ‘developed’ charging infrastructure. The reality on the ground is that we are not quite there yet, and not by a long shot. Things are getting better as automakers work to improve the in-car charging experience, and the entire ecosystem is evolving and getting less fragmented in the process. Looking back at the last four weeks, I have to admit that all the pain points that I experienced were bumps in the road, and are being addressed by the industry, which makes me very optimistic about the future of EV driver experiences. 

The EU experience

Despite ambitious plans to make Europe climate-neutral by 2050 and deliver significant EV sales numbers in the last year, charging infrastructure across Europe still leaves much to be desired. The countries with the most developed charging infrastructure are Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands and Germany, according to the 2023 Global EV Outlook by IEA. However, EV drivers in these places still experience issues, as documented by our Head of Global Partnerships, Jaap, who resides in the Netherlands.

Jaap van den Hoek - Head of Global Partnerships

Jaap lives with his family in the countryside in The Netherlands, close to major cities, such as Amsterdam, Rotterdam and Utrecht. He uses his car regularly to get to the gym every other day, business meetings in various locations two to three times a week, and go to shops and restaurants at the weekends - averaging about 10 to 20 trips per week. 

Jaap’s EV impressions 

I was lucky enough to loan a BYD ATTO 3 for my latest EV experience, kindly provided by Louwman.

The vehicle had a 420km claimed range and performed well. It had all the functionality you would expect from a new car, with the charging information on the screen being easy to follow and understand. The EV charging locations on the screen were easy to find and navigate to, but I quickly noticed vital information was missing. Three out of the eight chargers in my town were not shown on the screen, and some indoor locations in the next city were also missing.

After a week of driving and charging the BYD, I noticed several things. Firstly, even though the Netherlands is considered to have one of the most developed EV charging networks in Europe, it is still not easy to locate a charging point or one that has decent speed. Secondly, payment is a serious pain point. An EV driver has to have different app accounts to be able to charge, and the applications would take my personal and payment data but sometimes wouldn’t send a confirmation. The car came with a card, but that didn’t work everywhere. There was also no transparency on pricing. Until I got my credit card statement, I was unaware of how much I paid for each session. 

What I quickly realised was that having an EV today requires you to make changes to how you would treat journeys with an ICE vehicle, as you have to build a certain amount of pre-planning into your routine for charging. Even with all the planning, some range anxiety still persists, as you can never be 100% sure the charge point will be operational or take your payment.

There is also still a big problem with the ‘etiquette’ surrounding charging spaces in the Netherlands - often you come to charge and there’s an ICE vehicle blocking the way. 

Overall, I enjoyed my BYD experience, but I can confidently say that the infrastructure is still lacking, and the ratio of charge points in urban areas is too low compared to highway installations.

                                                                 ICE vehicle blocking the charge point. Still a common sight in the Netherlands. 


It is evident that the EV charging process can be very problematic. However, the industry is constantly developing and seamless charging is possible with the right integrations and setup. At Parkopedia, we continue to play a significant role in the evolving connected car ecosystem with our services aimed at improving the overall driving experience worldwide. For EV drivers in particular, we offer our seamless Park and Charge service which facilitates finding and paying for charging with ease, directly from the vehicle. 

The experiences above show that, even in areas where EV charging infrastructure is more developed, such as California and the Netherlands, issues persist. Our team covered various geographical locations and had differing demands from their vehicles. However, they shared similar key conclusions with failed charges, complicated payment processes, inaccurate location data and fellow motorists contributing to the associated issues with overstaying and ‘ICEing’ charging bays.

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