Charging Station Availability Anxiety

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Staff member
Dec 15, 2011
Hills above Silicon Valley, California
So, we've been driving our i-MiEVs for exactly eleven years and between my wife and myself have put on over 150,000 miles on the i-MiEVs and another 90,000 miles on the Tesla. Never ever failed to get to our destination and not only never ran out of charge but also have never seen 'turtle'. We have no range anxiety as we know our cars' limits and plan ahead.

I've taken my i-MiEV on some pretty long trips, requiring multiple dcfc stops along the way - most notably up to Lake Tahoe from the SF Bay Area. Never a problem, and always have a 'Plan B' in my hip pocket. Although there is excellent dcfc coverage around here, with the popularity of EVs in this area nowadays I am finding myself unable to plan even a simple i-MiEV trip from my house to San Francisco and back home (necessitating at least one CHAdeMO session) because all-too-often I'm experiencing one of the following when arriving at a charging station:

1) Someone is already charging their BEV (no problem, I can wait unless there's a line)
2) A BEV is plugged in, the charging has stopped, and the owner has not moved the vehicle
3) A BEV newbie is using it as a parking spot (grrr)
4) It's ICE'd (very rare nowadays)
5) The station is broken

We simply don't drive the Tesla locally, especially into the big city. Sorry, we love small cars and don't want to risk the Tesla.

My most recent experience was a few weeks ago when I was running low with my CHAdeMO i-MiEV (the OBC was partially inoperable so J1772 didn't work) and I pulled into a local mall's Electrify America complex with 14 stations (only one of which is CHAdeMO) and there was a Lucid plugged in and charging at the only station with a CCS/CHAdeMO. The Lucid was at 95%, so I thought I'd wait. Long story short, it was over an hour before I could plug into that sucker!


For members of this forum, how has your experience been for charging station availability (especially CHAdeMO) in the rest of the US and Canada, or, for that matter, the rest of the world?
I haven't had serious trouble, but as well as planning ahead and having a plan B, I generally just avoid long trips, and my overall mileage is much less than yours. Anecdotally, though, I hear that things are getting worse. I saw this video the other day, hopefully a non-representative extreme case:
Hi there

I don’t need to charge en-route but I have heard all the usual stories you mentioned from other users.

However one measure here has dramatically reduced incidents of someone ‘hugging’ a DC charge point: providers slap on a hefty surcharge after 45min of use (10hours in case AC)…
MickeyS70 said:
...However one measure here has dramatically reduced incidents of someone ‘hugging’ a DC charge point: providers slap on a hefty surcharge after 45min of use (10hours in case AC)…
Yes, this has been employed by Tesla for years at their high-usage stations (with a five-minute grace period) and Electrify America at this shopping center imposed a penalty fee after a ten-minute grace period. This particular Lucid Air owner not only charged to 100% but showed up nine minutes after the car stopped charging and was, let's just say, unsympathetic despite my politeness.

Anyway, that was the last straw and I've just picked up a used 2020 Hyundai Kona Ultimate (with Head Up Display), primarily for mid-range driving around the greater San Francisco Bay Area by my wife to obviate the need for public charging, the two i-MiEV's continuing being employed as our local workponies.
In 10+ years, I've never opened the ChaDeMo door on any of our iMiEV's - We've simply never used the cars that way. They're local grocery getters and we never venture so far from home that we can't get back on the charge we had when we left. Like you, we've never had a range anxiety problem as we know how far we can go and we never exceed that. Until a couple years ago, we never had a ChaDeMo station anywhere near here, but now we do have one at the EA station in Gulfport, about 15 miles from home, so it would be an option if we needed it, but that's never happened
I do sometimes see other EVs blocking DC chargers after they have finished. If there's no-one in the car though I just move on to another charger as it's not worth the trouble usually. They should really add a surcharge.

The worst I had happen to me is when I was using an AC charger at a shopping mall and an BMW i3 user had the nerve to unplug while I was still charging! Playing devil's advocate, it may have been the car "pausing" the charge at 70% and they thought I was finished. I use a small padlock to stop this happening now...