This is the Sept. 22, 2022, edition of Boiling Point, a weekly newsletter about climate change and the environment in California and the American West. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.
My name is Russ Mitchell. Sammy Roth is on vacation, and I’m attempting to fill his fine and well-crafted shoes. I cover automobiles at The Times. So I’m making electric cars and EV chargers the theme of this week’s Boiling Point.
I recently piloted a Ford F150 Lightning EV from my Berkeley home down Interstate 5 to Long Beach, a 400-mile trip. The truck? Great. The charging experience? Miserable.
The misery was meted out in several ways. Charging stations were hard to find. Maps that locate stations were not reliable. Paying for a charge with a credit card often proved troublesome, sometimes impossible. Worst of all, way too many chargers were broken or otherwise out of order. (“Unavailable” is the preferred industry euphemism.)
Running low on juice at the foot of the Grapevine, for example, I found a ChargePoint station off Interstate 5 at Frazier Mountain Park Road. The station comprised two chargers on the far weedy fringes of a nearly empty Jack in the Box parking lot. Only one of the two was what’s called a DC fast charger.