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3 Things to Know Before Using Charging Stations for Electric Cars

Electric vehicles (EV) are slowly but surely gaining in popularity. However, one of the downsides to owning an EV is the recharging time. Many companies are upgrading charging stations for electric cars to make traveling faster and to ease this concern. 

>>>READ: Can This Tech Company Help Solve the Electric Car Industry’s Charging Bottleneck?

Despite the growth and progress, a few problems have come to light about charging stations and EV compatibility. Here’s what to know before charging an electric vehicle before leaving home for a driving trip.

Electric Charging Stations and EV Circuit Breakers

There have been at least two scenarios – one with a Ford F-150 Lightning, and another with a Rivian – in which consumers have stopped to charge their cars while on the road, only to have their vehicles towed after hearing a loud sound.

In both cases, a detail about EVs that most people didn’t know about came to the surface.

Unbeknownst to most EV-driving consumers, electric vehicles have an extra precaution that regular vehicles don’t–circuit breakers.

They operate just like the ones that we have at home. Too much flow will mean a break trip, interrupting the circuit and protecting the car from possible damage.

Depending on the outlet, these vehicles can take half a day to fully charge which has been a major source of frustration for drivers who travel long distances. On the road, however, electric charging stations can cut that time to half an hour and pump more charge.

All of that flow in such a short amount of time can mean bad news, in some cases. It sometimes equates to circuit breaking, and a driver’s vehicle will shut off completely. Frustrated and left stranded, EV consumers need a tow to the mechanic.

While it may be inconvenient to have a vehicle shut down while on the road, these circuit breakers are meant to do exactly that – as a means to protect the vehicle. It may become more common as stations explore ways to pump more charge in shorter amounts of time. Something to keep in mind. 

Warranties on Car Charging Stations

Consumers may think that these issues are covered under manufacturer warranties, but that may not be true and is based on the maker.

Like regular cars, EV defects under normal use can be covered through warranties. However, many manufacturers state within their policies that vehicle malfunctions from car charging stations or normal functions are not covered.

>>>READ: The Biggest Obstacle to EV Sales is the Government

In other words, circuit breaks will not usually be covered by car makers if the break is accurate and normal. As previously stated, these breaks are meant to happen as a precaution to further and more serious damages.

This also means that a car malfunction due to a broken charging station may not be covered, either. Some charging stations may not work properly, leading to an improper charge and complete shutdown of an EV. That could mean out-of-pocket expenses for owners at the shop. 

Battery Replacements are for Dealerships

One of the risks consumers run into when purchasing electric cars are faulty batteries, which may occur when using faulty EV charging stations.

If this problem arises, it’s important to note that battery failure can result in a total loss like it did for one Chevy Bolt EV driver. Replacement is also the responsibility of the dealership – not the manufacturer.

Some car makers may cover this, regardless of normal use or not, but it’s not guaranteed.

General Motors, for example, covers circuit breaks regardless of circumstances. Ford and Chevy, on the other hand, have stipulations for warranty coverage on their breakers.

Like with any vehicle, it’s important to consult the manufacturer’s warranty policy on electric vehicles when it comes to malfunctions or damages that occur from outside interferences.

The views and opinions expressed are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of C3.

Copyright © 2020 Conservative Coalition for Climate Solutions

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