California Needs More Accountability for Electric Vehicle Charging Industry

A recent announcement by several major car manufacturers highlights a lack of confidence in the current state of electric vehicle (EV) charging in California. The manufacturers, including General Motors, Honda, Mercedes, and Hyundai, are joining forces to develop a more reliable charging system. This move reflects the frustration of both early adopters and the general public regarding the broken and unusable public chargers in the state.

California has been a leader in electric vehicle investment and adoption, but without widespread consumer buy-in, the state will struggle to reach its ambitious zero-emission vehicle goals by 2035. While early adopters have expressed their frustration with the charging infrastructure, a recent Los Angeles Times opinion piece titled “I’m Ready to Trade in My Electric Car” emphasizes the urgent need for improvement.

As an “early adopter” and a legislator, I have personally experienced the shortcomings of the current charging infrastructure. Public chargers are difficult to find, require multiple apps to use, and are often out of order, despite what the company’s app may indicate. This issue extends beyond Los Angeles and Ventura counties, with a recent Cornell study revealing that approximately 25% of EV chargers in the Bay Area are unusable.

Despite the $1.7 billion investment in building a public charging network, the current situation resembles a series of dysfunctional sculptures in grocery store parking lots. However, there is hope for improvement, as demonstrated by the success of Tesla’s private charging network. Tesla drivers enjoy a seamless charging experience due to the company’s investment in its own charging infrastructure.

The state of California must take responsibility for improving the oversight and accountability of the charging industry and the programs that subsidize public EV charging. Currently, many charging companies prioritize installing chargers over maintaining them, resulting in unreliable charging stations. The state must ensure that these companies uphold their obligation to keep charging stations operational and inform Californians of their availability.

By providing drivers with the assurance that finding a working station will be easy, California can meet its zero-emission vehicle goals. It is time for the state to demand greater accountability from the charging industry.


– Ventura County Star: Article by Jacqui Irwin

– Cornell study on EV chargers in the Bay Area