Patrick Reich, CEO and co-founder of charging app Bonnet, said chargepoint operators should be forgiven if units are difficult to use, for now.
Speaking on the latest episode of the Everything EV Podcast, Reich explained how his app, Bonnet, aims to make the process of charging your electric vehicle whilst out and about easier.
His subscription-based model removes the need for multiple charging apps and gives his users access to a wide network which spans over multiple different countries across Europe.
And whilst complaints over the ease to use of certain electric vehicle chargepoints may feel specific to the UK, Reich explained that it is a problem all over the world.
“It’s a universal issue,” he said. “The industry is just so young and at the end of the day we’ve got to keep in mind that you are communicating with just a piece of metal on the pavement right and anything can go wrong. Its unmanned, just standing by itself somewhere on the motorway and if the signal cuts out or breaks, you’re screwed basically and so until the engineering team gets out there and fixes it, it takes forever.
“It will get better as the industry develops and as the hardware becomes better, as innovation drives better products. But it’s not a UK thing, it’s definitely a bit better in some countries just because they’re slightly ahead in terms of EV sales but other than that, we’re doing pretty good over here.”
Many chargepoint operators and companies have received complaints regarding their units and how difficult they are to operate, to the point where some have questioned the safety of particular public chargers.
However, Reich believes that, although more can be done to improve the useability of chargers across the board, chargepoint operators should be forgiven whilst they continue to rollout an expansive network across the UK.
He said: “I think the one thing that chargepoint operators should be held accountable for is just the uptime of their hardware. But equally, I think a lot of people give them a hard time because they think that they need to do everything correctly but most CPO’s are concerned with just building out a wide coverage and a big network, they’re tendering for land which is hard to come by and they’re funding rapid chargers which cost £40,000 a pop so it’s a very difficult business to be in.
“Plus, you have to consider that EV demand and like charging demand is nowhere close as high as how many charges we have today. As long as they get their hardware right, I think that’s the main thing they should really be doing and then for now, I’d cut them some slack in terms of everything else that they’re still figuring out.”