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Third party chargers are absolute trash!

acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,794
1,792
Richland, WA
I feel bad for all those other guys having to deal with absolute crap chargers. I’ve been reporting an out of order SemaConnect charger for at least three months with zero results.

Today I was traveling in Seattle and dropped by the Woodland Park Zoo and specifically found the lot that had some ChargePoint chargers. Oddly they were branded Reach (the stupid BMW i3 rental program that went belly up) but apparently ChargePoint does something with them... certainly not manage them.

First there were two or three that just were out of order... one with a printed out sign on it that’s been there for a couple months based on other reviews. When I finally did find a charger that worked (moved the car twice) I pulled up the app and tried to use it as a guest. Charged $0.99 for that privilege. Then tried to get the charger to start only to be told the card wasn’t supported. Since it was using Apple Pay and I was using an Amex I thought maybe they didn’t support America Express. So tried again, charged another $0.99, and picked a VISA instead. Of course same not supported message.

Ok, maybe I’m stupid, so let’s look at the instructions... which were like SEVEN steps. Verify that I’m doing everything right and decided I’ll sign up for a damn account so I stop getting charged $0.99 guest fee every time. OF COURSE I HAVE TO LOAD TEN BUCKS WHEN I SIGN UP. But it must support this, I mean it’s a ChargePoint charger with a charge point account loaded with money... new message now saying charger is requesting payment card. Could NOT make the app work. Finally said screw it and went and enjoyed the zoo knowing I can swing by a Supercharger on the way home.

If these were my “go to” chargers I would be so frustrated, nervous, and stressed out.

I know sometimes superchargers go down or aren’t working 100%, but usually Tesla gets on it to fix them and there is even a prompt in the car to contact a help number to report it. Also... one step, plug in.
 

webbah

Active Member
May 22, 2012
1,004
971
Lucerne, Switzerland
That sucks if true. In Switzerland there are third party chargers everywhere and I rarely find one that is a problem. Grateful we have good infrastructure here! The Ionity chargers support 350Kw which is more than our Superchargers even. However the car is limited at 250Kw.
 

SSedan

Active Member
Jul 24, 2017
2,948
2,589
Greenville Wisconsin
Not knowing you need a ChargePoint account and having a card associated with it beforehand is on you.

My experience with ChargePoint is low voltage and slow enough that I don't bother often, really only use them enough to try and encourage expansion because they really aren't worth the effort.

15miles per hour connection at a grocery store I will spend 20minutes at is stupid.
 
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M3-Florida

Member
Mar 18, 2019
66
39
NE Florida
Is there a general consensus on how the public chargers are owned? Do the businesses buy them in hopes of attracting customers or do the charging companies lease space to make money on charging?
 

Wennfred

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Apr 4, 2019
3,042
2,117
San Diego
Haven’t seen a ChargePoint station down yet, I use them all the time with my Leaf & Volt. ChargePoint is my goto station because I know they work. The mobile app and the small key card that clips with the keys work fine. ChargePoint also have the 50kw CHAdeMO stations as well as the 350+ CSS.

Fred
 

Wennfred

Supporting Member
Supporting Member
Apr 4, 2019
3,042
2,117
San Diego
I have accounts for all of these, you never know and should be prepared.

6C759A74-B2ED-4807-A3ED-C3EC720F335B.jpeg
 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,794
1,792
Richland, WA
Not knowing you need a ChargePoint account and having a card associated with it beforehand is on you.

My experience with ChargePoint is low voltage and slow enough that I don't bother often, really only use them enough to try and encourage expansion because they really aren't worth the effort.

15miles per hour connection at a grocery store I will spend 20minutes at is stupid.

Why have an app that says you can tap your phone to charge if you need the physical card?

Why have the option to sign up for an account OR use guest access if you HAVE to have an account, and it still doesn’t work?
 

SSedan

Active Member
Jul 24, 2017
2,948
2,589
Greenville Wisconsin
Why have an app that says you can tap your phone to charge if you need the physical card?

Why have the option to sign up for an account OR use guest access if you HAVE to have an account, and it still doesn’t work?

By card associated I mean ChargePoint having your CC on file so they can bill you, not referring to the optional ChargePoint card that can be avoided with app use.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,000
13,791
California
Why have an app that says you can tap your phone to charge if you need the physical card?
I use my phone to initiate charges at ChargePoint chargers all the time. Either by using the app or using the RFID ChargePoint “card” in Apple wallet. I’ve never had a single problem.

Why have the option to sign up for an account OR use guest access if you HAVE to have an account, and it still doesn’t work?

I’m not sure this is the case either, despite your personal challenges.

It’s indeed frustrating to try and make some of this stuff work in the moment, at a strange place, having never done it before. A little pre-planning goes a long way. ChargePoint is a big network, generally well run, and useful in a pinch. Spend a little time being proactive, signing up for an account and figuring things out ahead of time instead of setting yourself up to fail in the zoo parking lot.

TBH I haven’t even thought about my ChargePoint account in ages. Start a charge via RFID from the phone, they slurp another ten bucks from my account whenever they need it. Doesn’t get much simpler.
 

ucmndd

Well-Known Member
Mar 10, 2016
7,000
13,791
California
Is there a general consensus on how the public chargers are owned? Do the businesses buy them in hopes of attracting customers or do the charging companies lease space to make money on charging?

ChargePoint has a number of options ranging from completely owned by the property owner to a fully managed subscription service where they take care of everything.
 

mswlogo

Well-Known Member
Aug 27, 2018
6,162
5,318
MA, NH
You have to give credit to Tesla for generally keeping their Super Chargers up and running. I don't use them a ton, but I've yet to see one down.

Obviously the Super Chargers are well built, but they also get used a lot and I'm sure need some maintenance.

 
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acarney

Active Member
Jul 9, 2019
2,794
1,792
Richland, WA
I use my phone to initiate charges at ChargePoint chargers all the time. Either by using the app or using the RFID ChargePoint “card” in Apple wallet. I’ve never had a single problem.



I’m not sure this is the case either, despite your personal challenges.

It’s indeed frustrating to try and make some of this stuff work in the moment, at a strange place, having never done it before. A little pre-planning goes a long way. ChargePoint is a big network, generally well run, and useful in a pinch. Spend a little time being proactive, signing up for an account and figuring things out ahead of time instead of setting yourself up to fail in the zoo parking lot.

TBH I haven’t even thought about my ChargePoint account in ages. Start a charge via RFID from the phone, they slurp another ten bucks from my account whenever they need it. Doesn’t get much simpler.

I tried to pre-plan. I checked the app ahead of time and it made it look like I didn’t need a physical card. Since I rarely plan to need to use them I figured the app would be good enough. Then I checked that these chargers were showing in the app, all looked to be working in the app. Then I noticed you could start a charge as a guest.

Then I went to the zoo. I spent about 15 minutes with these chargers, so I wasn’t rushed. Having two of them being off was annoying but not a huge issue since no one else was there. Have no branding that they were charge point except for the little notecard sized screen was a little confusing, but they were the only chargers I saw. I knew BMW’s Reach program was shut down, so I figured ChargePoint took over at that time.

Then having confusing instructions on the screen and app wasn’t helpful. From the app there is a “start charging” button. It said “contacting charger” and then after awhile said start charge or something. But at no time did the charger screen actually do anything, so on the screen you have to pick chargers 1 or 2, and then it requests payment and then you have to wave your phone in front of it. It would be nice if you could start 100% from either the charger or the phone. When the phone says contacting charger it would be nice if a message pops up asking if it’s charger 1 or 2 etc, and then flashes the screen on the charger to “ swipe phone or card”.

Like I said, maybe these were down since BMW Reach shut down and there hasn’t been a check in since May of 2018...

If I had little kids with me, a friend that didn’t own and EV, or someone else, this would have been more stressful (if I wasn’t in a Tesla). It would have been somewhat embarrassing, especially if we had to go move the car to a different lot, kids wouldn’t want to wait around for 10+ minutes, and it might turn off someone else from buying an EV watching how much trouble it was to charge.

These companies really need to look at Tesla and try to copy the ease of use model as much as possible.
 

doghousePVD

My grandfather’s car
Dec 3, 2018
653
600
New England, USA
My first five attempts at using 3rd party chargers all failed. The SC network works so well.

Since then I have gotten Chargepoint account (no money in it) and have been able to charge free with the low power J-plugs on occasion. 99.9% of my charging in on Tesla equipment - it usually works and is hassle free.
 

user212_nr

Active Member
Aug 26, 2019
1,407
874
US
Is there a general consensus on how the public chargers are owned? Do the businesses buy them in hopes of attracting customers or do the charging companies lease space to make money on charging?

There's no way that the charge companies make money on charging. You just need to look at their utilization rates + kWh price.

They are paid for by the businesses, managed to some degree by ChargePoint.
 

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