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Most electric vehicle drivers charge them at home

In a bid to boost electric car sales, Bay Area cities have installed hundreds of public charging stations where drivers can top off their batteries.

The stations are considered essential to warding off “range anxiety,” the fear of running out of electricity on the road. But a new survey suggests that many plug-in car owners rarely use them.

Just 10 percent of charging happens at public stations, according to the survey from PlugInsights. Seven percent of charging takes place at work. In contrast, 81 percent of electric car charging happens at home.

PlugInsights is a service of Recargo, a Southern California company that makes apps for electric vehicle drivers. PlugInsights tapped the growing pool of Recargo users to conduct its survey on drivers’ habits and attitudes, gathering data from 3,247 people.

Car companies and electric vehicle advocates have always expected that most charging would happen at home. It’s impossible, after all, to beat the convenience of filling up in one’s own garage.

But Norman Hajjar, PlugInsights’ managing director, said there’s another factor at work. Most public charging stations are “level 2” chargers, which typically add between 10 and 20 miles of driving range for each hour of charge. For many drivers, Hajjar said, that’s just not enough.

“Level 2 charging is not a practical way to bridge two distant points,” he said. “The majority of people say they’re using level 2 charging when they absolutely have to.”


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