Electrify America Charging Stations Have Incapacitated at Least Three EVs Since November

Photo:  Bing Guan/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

Electric cars may be the future, but here in the present we’re still working out a few kinks with them. Range anxiety, charging infrastructure — all the little details that make them truly usable as daily drivers. But, despite all the progress, it seems there’s another key aspect we haven’t quite nailed: Charging an EV without breaking it in the process.

Electrify America seems to have a ways to go on that front. It seems that a few of the company’s chargers have gone rogue, disabling a small number of vehicles while they charged. Car and Driver investigated three such incidents, speaking with both the company and the cars’ owners.

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Photo:  Bing Guan/Bloomberg (Getty Images)
Photo: Bing Guan/Bloomberg (Getty Images)

The three cases Car and Driver investigated involved three different makes and models: A Ford F-150 Lightning, a Chevy Bolt, and a Rivian R1T. In all three instances, the vehicles were charging perfectly normally at Electrify America’s public chargers. Then, owners heard a loud pop or bang noise, and their cars went dead, unable to drive or even power up. (Electrify America acknowledged each incident in statements shared with Car and Driver, as did Ford and Chevrolet. Rivian did not comment.)

Luckily, the Ford and Rivian were fixable, and after a stop at a dealer service center they’re both reportedly operating normally. In those two cases, it seems the Electrify America charger tripped a circuit breaker inside each vehicle — safety equipment functioning exactly as intended. The Bolt, sadly, met a worse fate. It was declared a total loss by a General Motors dealer in Florida, and has been passed off to the owners’ insurance for review.

Car and Driver’s full investigation is worth reading, but it seems Electrify America is standing behind its chargers. In each case, the company has investigated what went wrong, and appears to be working to fix it. But, next time I’m charging an EV, maybe I’ll opt for another brand — just in case.

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