Charging Station Wars Sweep California as EVs Outpace Capacity
Take a surge in electric vehicle use, add a shortage of charging stations, and you have all the ingredients for the charging station wars that have begun to sweep California.
EVs are at the centre of California’s ambitious carbon reduction plan, “but the push to make the state greener is creating an unintended side effect: It is making some people meaner,” the New York Times reports. “Unlike gas stations, charging stations are not yet in great supply, and that has led to sharp-elbowed competition.”
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The result? “Electric vehicle owners are unplugging one another’s cars, trading insults, and creating black markets and side deals to trade spots in corporate parking lots,” Richtel writes. “The too-few-outlets problem is a familiar one in crowded cafés and airports, where people want to charge their phones or laptops. But the need can be more acute with cars—will their owners have enough juice to make it home?—and manners often go out the window.”
Tensions have been mounting, to a point where “it’s high time for somebody to tackle the electric vehicle etiquette problem,” said Maureen Blanc, Director of the non-profit Charge Across Town in San Francisco. As a longer-term solution, Governor Jerry Brown has promised to increase the number of chargers across the state to 1.5 million by 2025. According to one charging station provider, the state currently has one public charger for every 10 EVs.