What EV Drivers Want From Charging Stations Is Similar To What We Want At Home

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When it comes to driving electric, it helps a lot to be able to charge at home. But, even if you have a great charging setup in your own driveway or garage, when it comes to a long trip, that only takes care of your needs for about half of the vehicle’s real-world range at most. When you go further than that point of no return, you’ll have to charge the vehicle away from home. At that point, things change, and an EV driver’s needs change with it.

Or do they?

A recent survey by the Transportation Energy Institute’s Electric Vehicle Council shows us that an EV driver’s needs might actually be pretty similar to those of their main charging station at home! After seeing the numbers, I realized that most driver needs charging away from home are really just a variation of needs at home. To explain why, I’ll look at them in detail.

About the biggest need (according to 68% of respondents) is that the chargers should be in a highly-visible location. This was followed closely by a desire for visible security cameras (65% of survey respondents). How’s this like home? It’s really our basic need for security and ease. We want to be safe out charging just like we want to be safe at home, and we want the station to be easy to find. In other words, security and comfort.

The other things in the press release were similar. 56% of respondents want bright lighting around the charging units. Again, security and comfort. People also wanted the station to be open 24/7 and it needs to have multiple charging spots. Like at home, we want it to always be there and always be available for us when we need it.

When I thought about the other needs I’ve seen and written a lot about, I saw the same pattern. I talk a lot about amenities, and again, that’s something we want from home. We want safety and reliability, but we want comfort and we want to satisfy our human needs. Just about every home has a place to use the restroom and a nice place to sit and rest. We have food we can eat when we get hungry (hopefully), and we have things to do if we’re bored.

While the longer report talks a lot about the needs of site owners, the big takeaway we can learn from this about drivers is that site hosts need to make the place like home. In most cases, we probably aren’t literally looking for a place to live (with the possible short-term exception of hotels with Level 2 charging), but we are also looking to do what we do with our cars: take as much home along as we can.

The more charging stations can provide a home away from home, the more people will want to be there.

The last big question we need to ask now is what we might come up with to go the extra mile to make charging like home. Safety, security, comfort, and satisfying other human needs seems obvious, and many charging stations are already doing this. But, what else might a charging station be able to provide to make the station feel like a home away from home?

I’ll leave that one for further discussion in the comments and on social media.

Featured image by Jennifer Sensiba.


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Jennifer Sensiba

Jennifer Sensiba is a long time efficient vehicle enthusiast, writer, and photographer. She grew up around a transmission shop, and has been experimenting with vehicle efficiency since she was 16 and drove a Pontiac Fiero. She likes to get off the beaten path in her "Bolt EAV" and any other EVs she can get behind the wheel or handlebars of with her wife and kids. You can find her on Twitter here, Facebook here, and YouTube here.

Jennifer Sensiba has 1997 posts and counting. See all posts by Jennifer Sensiba